Odd tales of campus life at Miskatonic University!
This is your first year? Welcome! Oh, you’re going to love it here at Miskatonic. Just . . . be careful. I mean, I’m sure everything will be fine, but you know, things happen. This can be a strange place. You hear stories: people changing and buildings rearranging, ghostly sounds and overly attentive textbooks, odd notions and foul deeds . . . even monsters! Hah. Just stories, right? Sure.
Faculty struggling for funding in the occult sciences. Students trying to navigate whole new worlds of possibility. Administration striving for growth and progress and not just damage control. And Arkham residents adjusting to the constant influx of new faces.
Just study hard. Party safe. Maybe find love. And don’t die.
Title: Welcome to Miskatonic University – Fantastically Weird Tales of Campus Life| Edited by: Scott Gable and C. Dombrowski | Publisher: Broken Eye Books | Pub. Date: 16 July, 2019 | ISBN13: 9781940372235 | Pages: 258 | Language: English | Genre: Lovecraftian Horror | Source: Received from the publisher for review consideration | Starred Review
Welcome to Miskatonic University Review
Oh sweet Cthulhu I loved Welcome to Miskatonic University. I have to admit, the cover did turn me off slightly. I’m not saying it was bad by any means, it just didn’t quite hit that “Gimme!” spot. I thought it would be geared more towards humour than horror. And some stories are pretty funny…until they take a sharp turn sideways into horror.
So, the stories:
Some Muses Are Not Gentle:
I have to admit that I did skim the poetry sections of this story because I found its frame far more interesting. It was interesting to see a PoC character telepathically clash with and address outright some of Lovecraft’s more distasteful opinions. It also has a character that uses they/them pronouns which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It was slightly confusing for a page because I thought there were more people in the room or that Noelle was sharing a body with an entity (it’s Lovecraftian horror so it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility). Once I adjusted my brain it was clear as day.
What do you do when your religion clashes with your life? That seems to be the essence of this story and it’s done well. There is a pretty funny part in the first couple of pages that I loved, showing that it can be really rough to work at a school that houses the Necronomicon.
The Long Hour:
This is one of the stories that start out humorous and trails into madness so subtly you’ll be wondering where it happened. And it’s great.
The Needles Eye of Nothingness:
I loved hearing Aiden’s inner thoughts as he tries to figure out both the mysteries of the Sogthian and his crush, Sam.
Through Cryptic Caverns, The Shoggoth Comes At Night:
At first Kelsey can’t believe her luck at getting the beautiful Yuko for a roommate but soon their group project leads them down a path of madness and terror. Where else? The author does a very good job of shifting between past and present very well and doesn’t leave you feeling lost.
Official Inquiry into the Waite-Gilman-Carter Antarctic Expedition:
Ah, to be an under-funded professor late for his meeting. Luckily for him, Professor Eldin Franklyn makes friends with the lacrosse captain (Gooo Fighting Cephalopods!) who just may be able to help him out. I loved this story and the character of Professor Franklyn as a crotchety professor. I would totally love to read more of the team of Randy and Franklyn.
This story hit very close and I applaud Diane for her choice in career. Sometimes you do what you gotta do, no matter how dangerous it is.
With all the vortexes, wormholes and unholy abominations that raid this school it makes me wonder how they stay in business. This story certainly had me wondering what the “Something Beautiful” was.
I get sleep paralysis from time to time so this story was particularly horrifying to me and, I’d imagine, anyone with night terrors.
From the Inbox of Madness:
An interesting look at the beaurocracy that goes into running the school and is all the more creepy at what’s obliquely referred to. It really feels like the inboxes of a real school.
Beyond the Surface:
This story took a bit of a different approach to the machinations of students and faculty. It was an interesting take on the people other people tend to look past. Who are they? And who could they be?
Like Candles in a Passing Breeze:
Like Candles in a Passing Breeze was very melancholic and really very sad. You don’t find much out about the trio, where they came from, what their purpose is. They don’t seem to know, either, which makes it even more sad.
A Lost Student’s Handbook for Surviving the Abyss:
This story has a constantly shifting reality but somehow does not get lost in itself. I would have liked more detail on what they were running from…and to.
This was a great collection. Every story is an excellent snapshot of what life could possibly be like if the Miskatonic University existed. They all feel like they could be intertwined. As though Aiden could easily share a class with Kelsey or Dorey. Like they could pass a nameless man with a broom and not realize that he’s studying them.
You can find Welcome to Miskatonic University via its Goodreads link or, if you’d like to help support literacy programs, at Better World Books
GracieKat was the first co-host of Sci-Fi & Scary, Lilyn’s partner-in-crime, and sub-head of the Kali Krew. She reviews horror books, movies, and games for the site. She also does a weekly Focus on the Frightful feature, and is the site list-maker. She is also in control of the Sci-Fi & Scary podcast which will relaunch soon.