The Private Life of Elder Things ★★★★☆

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Title: The Private Life of Elder Things
Series: ———-
Editor: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 207
Words: 77.5K


Publisher’s Blurb

From the wastes of the sea to the shadows of our own cities, we are not alone. But what happens where the human world touches the domain of races ancient and alien? Museum curators, surveyors, police officers, archaeologists, mathematicians; from derelict buildings to country houses to the London Underground, another world is just a breath away, around the corner, watching and waiting for you to step into its power. The Private Life of Elder Things is a collection of new Lovecraftian fiction about confronting, discovering and living alongside the creatures of the Mythos.

With stories from Adrian Tchaikovsky, Keris McDonald and Adam Gauntlett

My Thoughts:

This was a fantastic little read. I only have one quibble, which is why this got 4 stars instead of 5. One of the stories deals with a ghoul and ghouls reproduce by necrophilia. It wasn’t the main part of the story and isn’t revealed until the end, but it just made me go “Oh, that is disgusting!” and wonder if I’d made a mistake in picking the book up. Thankfully, nothing like that is repeated.

I’m a sucker for short story collections. Something about an author distilling a story down to just a couple of pages, or even up to 20’ish, works really well for me. Now, I can’t read just ONE short story. I won’t sit down and read one short story all by itself. So short stories that are online only (like the Powder Mage short stories were before McClellan put them altogether in one book) are a complete no-go for me. But give me a collection and bam, I’m eating that stuff with 2 spoons, 3 forks and a bottle of ketchup!

I also have a soft spot for cosmic horror. As long as it’s done well and doesn’t rely only on violence and profanity to shock the reader. The Rites of Azathoth was such a book and when I started this collection I was a little afraid that that was what I might be getting. Thankfully, I got some good writing and some excellently shivery stories. Just what I wanted and expected from a book with a title like this!

One thing to be aware of is some of the limey slang. One of the stories especially seemed to be deliberately written so as to be incomprehensible to anyone outside the shores of Albion. If I hadn’t read the movie review of The Sweeney a couple of months ago, I’d have been totally lost. Gor blimey govnah, the Sweeney is doing a real snazzertowsin. Ok, I made that up, but for that one story I felt like I had to get half the story from context instead of the actual words.

If Tchaikovsky were to put out another collection like this, I’d definitely be interested. But without his name I doubt I’d try something by the other two authors.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

39 thoughts on “The Private Life of Elder Things ★★★★☆

    1. Beyond the fact that you said your review was useful, I haven’t the faintest what you are trying to convey. You have truly stymied The Man with your subversive slang meant to undercut authority and be part of a power to the people movement.

      Or something like that 😉

      Liked by 1 person

            1. Not in those exact words, no. But your reviews where you praise him seemed close enough.
              If it would make things easier, you could always say that in your NEXT review that stars him, then I can do this retro-futuritevely.

              Liked by 1 person

                    1. oh my goodness, it is 1000 worse than I thought. I now live in an America where Chevy Chase gets to steal my money and make movies about himself.

                      Farewell, cruel world!
                      * blasts off to Mars*

                      Liked by 1 person

  1. “I’m a sucker for short story collections”…For me it’s actually the opposite😅😅 Usually I find that in those collections there are some very good ones, a whole bunch of mediocre ones, and some really bad ones (but noted, there are exceptions) That said, I do love the whole Lovecraft Mythology, so this does sound like one I would probably enjoy…with a little ketchup added to it😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If cosmic horror is your jam, then you’ll like this even if the short story format isn’t your favorite. But if you like cosmic horror, then I’d highly recommend trying this.

      And tell Dave he can’t read any other books until he gets a good chunk of his Warhammer books read! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Blimey! You must be ‘avin’ a larf, mate! Limey-speak is a piece of cake to get yer ‘ead around.
    I’m a big fan of this collection, too. That ghoul story was the most gruesome one in there, wasn’t it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was so revolting that i had to read the paragraph again to make sure that I was actually reading what I thought I had read.
      And yet I appreciate that it wasn’t done in any detail or anything. The author did a fantastic job of drawing the picture with the barest of lines. It was masterfully done :-/

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have found in the last couple of years that cosmic horror, when it is done right, really grips me. But most of the time, the stuff is just pablum so I avoid it. Tchaikovsky’s name as the editor and contributor is what drew me this time around.


    1. You just can’t go wrong with Tchaikovsky as an author and I think he did an excellent job as editor too. It helps that there are only 2 other authors, so you don’t get that dreaded “slump” by Chump Author X that nobody really likes but feel obligated to include in an anthology.

      Liked by 1 person

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