The Ballad of Black Tom


Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom (Tor.com, 2016)

In part, the book sub-textually explores why we’ve, up until now, only heard the skewed and misleading account of the Red Hook horror through the legacy of Lovecraft’s story. It is interesting to see the original “The Horror at Red Hook” itself become a kind of cover up story—that is something Lovecraft does all the time with the news reports of mythos occurrences, and here, it is turned against his own tale. 

Among other things, there are some neat ideas about our subconscious perceptions of others being like cast spells. In addition, Black Tom’s motivation for throwing-in with such an awful entity is thought-provoking; this goes some way toward giving one answer to that age old question: why would there ever be mythos cultists? 

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