Instead of making obvious literary comparisons, we believe Cthulhurotica is best matched to a singular piece of Japanese art- The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife. The 1814 print of a shell diver sexually entwined with a pair of bug eye octopi perfectly captures the essence of Cthulhurotica.
This anthology of 20 plus stories is about stimulation of types defined by you the reader- terrifying, creepy, arousing, provocative- take your pick.
If you don’t know who H.P. Lovecraft was or his body of work, please check out the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.
Cthulhurotica starts off with possibly the most perfect piece of erotic Lovecraftia in Descent of the Wayward Sister by Gabrielle Harbowy. In this introductory piece of fiction a young woman with a checkered past finds her inquisitiveness and libido knotted up as she probes the secret lair of her brother’s home.
Another favorite Daddy’s Girl by Madison Woods has a oozing, odd S&M trainer of the beastly feel to it. It has you flipping the few pages of its life span wondering where it will go next. Will it descend into depravity, rise to the heights of ecstasy, or do both?
Also counted in our most arousing picks from Cthulhurotica were The Lake at Roopkund by Andrew Scearce and The Summoned by Clint Collins.
Even with occasional images of a pendulous phallus and sensually writhing tentacle, Cthulhurotica should not be considered horrific titillation. Surely it is sensually exciting at times, but it’s a type of mental caress that causes tingles of both excitement and discomfort.
Now while many will read-up and sing praises of the fiction, which we have done in this review, we wanted to recognize the trio of essays about Lovecraft and eros in this anthology. These are solid anchors to Cthulhurotica and thoroughly pleased our non-fiction-centric reviewer, providing academic context and provoking conversation about this loose collection of erotic tales.
Also, the artwork, from the sensual cover from artist Oliver Wetter, to the drop-in black and white illustrations, glues the anthology.
We must also point out the solid intro by editor Carrie Cuinn. This is a project that in other hands could have become grotesque literary hentai, instead she guides the work with a keen eye and sense of pace.
We’re not quite sure what H.P. Lovecraft would think of Cthulhurotica, but we know as HPL fans this book was both unsettling and arousing. And that is pure Lovecraft.
Cthulhurotica- Edited by Carrie Cuinn was received for free for review by Boston Book Bums