With the Molosser, here we are already at the ninth book offering an adaptation of Lovecraft by Gou Tanabe, nine dazzling books of quality and horror where two masters from two eras combine their talents for the greatest pleasure of readers!
But this time, it is not a major work, having given birth to the legend of Lovecraft, but rather three short stories, independent, but in which we find all the themes and anxieties of the author.
Three stories therefore, having in common only the fact that the main character finds himself alone in the face of horror, three places, three different countries, but everything refers to Lovecraftian mythology, forgotten cults, ancient cities, ancient strange peoples with uneasy and infamous rites!
It should be noted, however, that while this is the latest work to be released in Ki-oon’s superb collection, it is also the first that Gou Tanabe has tried his hand at. And it is with sadness that we can see that to this day it is also the last that has not reached us…it will therefore most likely be the last for quite a while!
In summary therefore of this anthology of horror and the strange: “The temple”, where the crew of a German submarine sinks inexorably into the darkness of the sea depths; “the molosse” where two dandies in search of sensations improvise grave robbers; and “the nameless city” where an archaeologist discovers an ancient city hiding many secrets in the Egyptian desert!
When I discovered that the next adaptations to come from Lovecraft were these three works in question, I first took the time to read them again, and in a second time I was particularly surprised that Gou Tanabe also tackled the titles short and in the end with so little to say (but exciting nonetheless).
And yet the author is once again doing a remarkable job of adaptation with judicious choices while respecting Lovecraft’s work as closely as possible!
For example with “Le temple”, the author changes the temporality of the story. In the short story the main character reads the pages of his diary which he writes knowing he is condemned, here Gou Tanabe chooses to tell the story in the present tense, whereas he could have introduced us to the character writing his writing before darkness seizes him, partially revealing the outcome of the story and then returning to the events experienced. It doesn’t change much, but it keeps a real tension rising little by little. And if Tanabe does not hide the origins and “beliefs” of the main character, he will however erase his odious and contemptuous side, considering himself to be greatly superior. Again, it doesn’t change the story, nor does it particularly contribute to making it endearing (and I don’t think that was the goal), but it makes it less detestable.
Likewise, he erases the abnormal presence of the dolphins which, if they are present, are seen only once, whereas in the short story the character keeps seeing them. Maybe the idea here was to remove the reassuring side of the dolphins in order to make the city itself more disturbing.
This first story, the longest of the three, is also the most enigmatic, because only the observed facts are delivered but they do not allow any conclusion, especially since it is also the only story with an open end on the character’s future. , which Lovecraft himself did not accustom us to.
And strangely it may be the only short story with a reversed approach compared to the usual writings of Lovecraft! While in normal times, we follow the decline of the character who will do everything to get out of the horrible situation in which he sinks, hoping to survive, here when the character’s death seems inevitable, obvious and certain, in the end the conclusion suggests that perhaps this saving light can save him from a disastrous fate… strange but exciting!
The second story would almost be like a story of vampires or werewolves, with more classic monsters, moving us away from the ancient and unnameable creatures to which the author has accustomed us; and yet we do indeed find the touch of Lovecraft, not to mention the atmosphere, the codes of the universe are there! Starting with the famous Necronomicon! Then we find this unspeakable fear of horror lurking in the darkness.
Here again nothing is done to make the characters sympathetic or endearing, it is the least of the worries of the authors; here only counts the horror of the curse that falls on two grave robbers who believed that their erudition would save them and allow them to commit unspeakable acts with complete impunity without having to pay the price! And we all know what the price to pay at Lovecraft is: fear, horror and death…and not necessarily in that order!
Finally, the shortest and most classic account of the collection, “the city without a name”, makes us explore an ancient city, not corresponding to human civilizations, alongside an archaeologist who will gradually delve into horror as it discovers!
Nothing exceptional here, nothing surprising, but it remains incredibly staged by a Gou Tanabe at the top of his game!
A fascinating collection, offering three stories that are certainly short but engaging and surprising, quite distinct from each other, allowing you to explore several facets of the universe of Lovecraft. Obviously less exciting than the more important titles like those already published in this same collection, these stories are no less excellent and must be enthroned in your collection!