Friday, November 30, 2012

Review: The Beast of the Bosporus by Matthew Quinn

H.P. Lovecraft is one of the underrated writers of speculative fiction. He is credited with influencing the horror writers of the 20th century, popularizing weird fiction and giving us the classic Cthulhu Mythos. Alternate historians have been infatuated by the author as well. Published alternate histories about the author or his fiction include "A Colder War" by Charles Stross and The Lovecraft Chronicles by Peter Cannon. Online you can find Lovecraft's influence in the timeline Green Antarctica by DValdron and many of the ASB Settings of Bruce Munro.

As a big fan of Lovecraft myself, I was of course excited to read the new short story "The Beast of the Bosporus" by Matthew W. Quinn (author of the alternate history short story "Coil Gun" and a contributor to this blog). The story is set in the Ottoman Empire, post-Battle of Lepanto. The Sublime State's navy has recovered from the defeat, but Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha fears Lepanto is one of many failures the Turks will experience in the future. Perhaps the strange book printed on skin brought to Istanbul by an Armenian merchant holds the key to victory...

The problem with short stories is, well, they're short. You can't give away to much in a review without spoiling the plot. Still short fiction is a wonderful medium of story-telling that I have come to appreciate in the past couple of years. Although I have been consuming short fiction recently through audio podcasts, it is refreshing to read a good short story like Quinn's.

"The Beast of the Bosporus" fits well into the Mythos. The characters' short-term greed causes them to experiment with forces they cannot possible understand, which is a theme of many Lovecraft works. Except for a couple of typos and moment of clumsy wording, the story is well-written and I think we can all look forward to quality short fiction from the prolific Quinn in the future.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a volunteer editor for Alt Hist magazine. His fiction can be found at Echelon PressJake's Monthly and The Were-Traveler. When not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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