"Ride the Star Wind: Cthulhu, Space Opera, and the Cosmic Weird" Book Review
Written by Shane D. Keene
Published by Broken Eye Books
Edited by Scott Gable and C. Dombrowski
2017, 460 pages, Fiction
Released on September 26, 2017
It's hard to do justice to a book such as Ride the Star Wind: Cthulhu, Space Opera, and the Cosmic Weird within the space of a single book review. Weighing in at 450 pages and containing twenty-nine stories, it's an expansive tome to say the least. And if the sheer breadth of the thing weren't enough, it's one of those rare anthologies wherein every single tale deserves an individual review of its own, so it's difficult to determine which to include and which to leave out. Each entry in the book is so much of a standout that if you were to ask me to name the one that most deserves your attention, I would simply say, "yes."
When it comes to fiction, if I were to name two extreme pleasures of mine, they would be space opera and cosmic horror that dips into the Cthulhu mythos but takes it in unique directions. As it turns out, those are two great tastes that taste great together. In the introduction to Ride the Star Wind, editor Scott Gable says, "We wanted to find out what kind of cosmic weird tales weren’t being told."
And I'm here to tell you right from the jump that they discovered wonders dark and terrifying, yet at the same time endearing and beautiful, often filling you with a sense of awe and wonder at the sheer originality and transformative power the authors answered the call with.
Gathering together a diverse group of voices from across the stratosphere of horror fiction, the book wastes no time ramping up the pace and tension with Remy Nakamura's brilliant tale of assimilation, "The Children of Leng," followed immediately by Lucy A. Snyder's "Blossoms Blackened Like Dead Stars," a story with a heavy Starship Troopers vibe replete with body horror and an unlikely relationship between a black woman and a former member of the Aryan Brotherhood. Those first two stories show you right away that you're in for something special and unique. Editors Gable and Dombrowski demonstrate a keen curatorial eye with these and the tales that follow, providing an offering of creative imagination that, if anything, gets even better as the anthology progresses.
Filled with horrific tales such as the great Brian Evenson's "Lord of the Vats" and Robert White's "Union," there is something for everyone here. But I'm delighted once again to tell you that it is the women who take the game ball in this matchup. In this month devoted to women in horror, there is no more appropriate book to be talking about right now. With brilliant stories like the aforementioned Snyder entry, Desirina Boskovich's "Cargo," and "The Writing Wall," Wendy N. Wagner's standout vignette involving alien flora and fauna and—something else, the ladies bring a cornucopia of awesome to an already above-par thing, making this one of the best anthologies I've read in years and one that deserves immediate attention from readers of all shapes and sizes.
And—queue late night TV commercial voice—as if that weren't enough, I've yet to mention some of the strongest, most terrifying and wonder-filled pieces in the bunch. Author Ingrid Garcia's "Under Venusian Skies" and Cody Goodfellow's "The Temptation of St. Ivo" are two of the most visually stunning, poetically penned stories in the book, while author Tim Curran's "The Call of Yiggrath" is arguably the most terrifying, though Nadia Bulkin's stunning anchor piece, "A Dream, and a Monster at the End of It" takes a close second for sheer, breath-stealing horror. All in all, when you come down to the end of it, what you have is one of the anthologies your likely to read anytime soon, with a cover to cover selection of masterful brilliance penned—and curated—by some of the finest minds working in our favorite genre today. If you are a fan of horror, no matter what your favorite flavor may be, Ride the Star Wind: Cthulhu, Space Opera, and the Cosmic Weird has something to offer you and you shouldn't waste any more time reading my babble. Instead, go get this smoking hot anthology from the amazing editing talent at Broken Eye Books.