Greetings, all. Eden is here to deliver you a reading recommendation. A labor of love illustrated and conceived of by Russell Smeaton, Residents of Innsmouth is a collection of poems and short stories exploring the denizens of the accursed town conceived of by the horror visionary H. P. Lovecraft.

When looking at the original Shadow Over Innsmouth by H. P. Lovecraft, it is clearly one of his best-realized pieces. Interwoven with the rest of his universe while simultaneously telling a self-contained story, it is clear why it has had such a widespread impact on the horror genre: From other literature to cinema to video games, Dagon’s tentacles have spread their influence far. Considering this, it only makes sense to revisit the infamous town of Innsmouth, and delve deeper into what it has to offer.

“Her Hair is Moonlight” © Russell Smeaton

Residents of Innsmouth is a collaborative project, with every poem or story accompanied by artwork depicting the unique individual it describes. Each piece examines a different resident of Innsmouth, from blubbery chefs to slinky seductresses to disciples to Dagon himself. Even some familiar, furry figures make an appearance. The stories vary in tone; some humorous narrations by the characters themselves, some are love poems, and yet more are dizzying descents into the seedy depths of the eldritch origins of these bizarre creatures. There are affectionate nods to other works of Lovecraft’s, and the authors take care to prove their knowledge of his bibliography. Some highlights I particularly enjoyed are The Child, Dagon’s Writ, and Cat of Innsmouth. A few notable stories even build something of an interweaving story of their own, which I admit, I want to see further explorations of.

                           “The Child” © Russell Smeaton

These tales all show the hopeless allure of the dreadful town, which inevitably draws both allies and victims into its cold, scaly clutches. This collection makes us take different perspectives when thinking of these fishy residents; for, surely, not all of them would be nothing but evil. There’s a variety of viewpoints to indulge in, sometimes humanizing and sympathy-evoking, while others concede to the deviant nature of the characters, who might consume a human — or even one of their own — without a hint of shame. The tide of Innsmouth, after all, pulls in all kinds.

At turns fascinating, amusing, and clever, Residents of Innsmouth is clearly a labor of love by its authors and illustrator, and will prove to be a treat for any enthusiast of Lovecraft’s mythos. You can learn more about the project here.

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