The Challenge From Beyond 2014
CreepyCult, Arkham Bazaar
In 1935, H.P. Lovecraft, C.L. Moore, A Merritt, Robert E. Howard, and Frank Belknap Long participated in a round robin project known as “The Challenge from Beyond.” In 2014 an online fundraiser for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & CthulhuCon brought together a host of indie authors to do the same thing, attempting to honor Lovecraft with a story inspired by his mesmerizing universe. The resulting tale was released in a limited edition hardcover. Most of the copies went to financial contributors, but a few remain for the curious consumer and fanatical Lovecraft completist on the Arkham Bazaar website. Eight authors supplied the story. Mike Dubisch, Allen K., and Nick Gucker provided the fun, often fascinating, artwork for the CreepyCult release.
The authors were not credited individually by chapter so it’s unknown exactly who wrote what. The story begins commendably enough, though distinctly in the realm of children’s fare, call it Lovecraft for the Scholastic set, but quickly devolves into distasteful, decidedly adult (though immature and often misogynistic) ridiculousness. It’s so absurd, in fact, that subsequent writers even mention in their prose how stupid some of the previous chapters are. It’s disappointing that a few of the authors did not take the project seriously. Frankly, they should have been dumped in the editing process regardless of who they are or what their accomplishments had been up to the point of this venture. The apathetic approach of those few bad apples is an unforgivable insult to Lovecraft’s legacy, not to mention an affront to the enthusiasm and aptitude the other participants put into the project.
I cannot recommend “The Challenge From Beyond 2014” to anyone other than completists who want an added conversation piece to their collections, however brief and in absolute agreement with my assessment those discussions may be.