The Litany of Earth

Every Wednesday over at LibraryThing, the Deep Ones group discusses a work of weird fiction.

This story was discussed a little over two years ago, and most people liked it better than me.

Normally, I don’t blog about the readings (though I will be doing a future review on an annotated edition of  J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla”), but this novella is available for sale separately.

It’s also relevant to Emrys’ follow up story, Winter Tide, which I’m writing a review of.

It will not be a good review.

Raw Feed (2015): The Litany of Earth, Ruthanna Emrys, 2014.Litany of Earth

An interesting update of the Cthulhu Mythos treating them as a “modern day” (the story is actually set after World War Two) religion, the Aeonist faith.

This story plays off the end of H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” with the inhabitants of that town hauled off to concentration camps.

The narrator of this story was taken to such a camp where she met interned Japanese-Americans.

When she gets out, she gets a job at a bookstore. She is approached by a Federal agent who (in a very obvious allegory to those who think that Islam is not bad except in the hands of some extremists) wants her help to infiltrate such dangerous groups of Aeonists.

The narrator has no love of the government. Her mother died, held in the desert away from the nurturing sea, while being experimented on to find the Deep Ones weaknesses.

The story is infused with the typical liberal sf faith: there are no dangerous forms of life or aliens, just misunderstood ones, that conflicts can not be irresolvable. We are also shown the frankly nihilist faith which says there is no good or bad yet we are to find the government’s actions bad in protecting normal humans.

Nevertheless, I liked the serious exploration of the Aeonist faith and the future history that it shows. Emrys nicely incorporates many elements of Lovecraft’s Mythos. And, ultimately, the Aeonist faith offers only a story to find meaning in, not salvation.


More reviews of fantastic fiction are indexed by title and author/editor.

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