A Season in Carcosa (Miskatonic River Press, 2012), edited by Joseph S. Pulver Sr, is a collection of 22 short stories that are based on Robert Chamber’s King in Yellow mythos. The request to potential contributors of this collection stated: “No reprints. No HPL anything…This is a book about madness, altered realities, splintered minds, and what is behind the mask.” The stories in A Season in Carcosa range from good to AMAZING. Most stories range in the ‘very good’ category. A few were well-developed but the writing style was not my cup of tea. I have a confession… I have never read The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers. In my defense, I have been planning on reading it. I know much about the premise of the King in Yellow since it is has been referenced by Lovecraft and heavily used in Call of Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian games. Not having read the original collection of short stories by Chambers did not diminish my enjoyment of this book. However, I am planning on reading KIY sooner rather than later since finishing this collection.
It seems there is a rather small circle of prominent Lovecraftian writers and many of them have stories in the collection. The two stand-out tales were Slick Black Bones and Soft Black Stars by Gemma Files and Wishing Well by Cody Goodfellow. After reading Wishing Well I want to go out and read everything Goodfellow ever wrote. One story cleverly included HPL’s dad, Winfield Scott Lovecraft (who died in a psychiatric hospital from tertiary syphilis). This tale fits very well into the theme of this book. The King in Yellow received some mainstream popularity last year when HBO released True Detective. One will find much repeating imagery here; Carcosa, debauchery, masks, and tortuous demises will be familiar to fans of this HBO series. Season in Carcosa will not necessarily answer many questions, but can give one more of a glimpse into the dark realm of Carcosa. This was another great collection by Miskatonic River Press.