A couple of months back, I read the Cthulhu Mythos related fiction of David Hambling.
I’ve liked Hambling’s science column in the Fortean Times for years, and I enjoyed his non-fiction look at technological spinoffs from weapons research, Weapons Grade. So, I was intrigued when I found out he had turned to fiction.
So, I decided to do a rare bit of impulse reading and bought and read Hambling’s three fiction titles. I was not disappointed, and I’ll be doing short reviews of each.
Review: The Elder Ice, David Hambling, 2014.
Hambling’s takeoff on H. P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness”.
He keeps the charming 1920s setting but moves the story to Norwood, South London (Hambling’s residence). He works in real history from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s doomed polar expedition and his family history, forteana (of course), and actual science (tardigrades, i.e. “water bears”, before they got their recent headlines), but, while Lovecraft’s story is the inspiration, the plot and characters decidedly are not a recapitulation.
Narrator Harry Stubbs is literate but no professor or bookish recluse. An ex-boxer and veteran of World War One, he works as a bill collector and process server for a London law firm. A partner has taken an interest in his career and expects Harry to write up reports of his activities in a style inspired by Kipling or H. Rider Haggard.
Harry can be a bit naïve at times but hardy and persistent. Cosmic horror rubs elbows with Harry’s near criminal associate, the Consignment Man. Hambling also brings in some British political anxieties of the time.