Whom The Gods Would Destroy by Brian Hodge, DarkFuse, Kindle, £1.88, DarkFuse Shop
Reviewed by David Brzeski
It’s never a good idea, I feel, to give away too much of the plot, especially when reviewing a fairly short book, so I’ll try not to say too much here.
Damien is an astronomer. Brian Hodge does a great job, in the scene where Damien explains to his non-geek girlfriend, exactly what his vocation means to him. He touches heavily on the concept of the insignificance of humankind in the vastness of the Universe—a concept that is integral to Lovecraft’s fiction. He has a dark and mysterious past. His vague memories of being dragged along to some sort of ritual, performed by his uncaring mother and his half brother still disturb him. Then, one morning, after several years in which he’s managed to get his life on track, he finds his estranged half-brother asleep in his car. The first in a chain of events which lead him towards the terrible truth about his mother.
Some Lovecraft scholars have stated the opinion that, had Lovecraft lived longer, his work would likely have veered more towards science fiction than supernatural horror. This book is a good example of the direction he may have taken, and indeed had already taken in tales such as, ‘The Colour Out of Space’. “Magic’s just science that we don’t understand yet.” is a famous quote by Arthur C. Clarke, and it certainly applies here.
Not only does Brian Hodge get the “Cosmic Awe” concept nailed down, but his characters, and the way he describes the relationships between them, are expertly drawn to a degree that Lovecraft, himself could never have achieved.
This was my introduction to the writing of Brian Hodge. I’ve since read another of his excellent tales in ‘Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth’, which has firmly solidified his position on my personal list of authors to watch out for.