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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Review - Titanic: QED by Catt Dahman

Well, I guess I don't have to worry about spoilers, now. It's all pretty much right there in the book description.

I really enjoy the tale Catt tells in this one. The previous short story collection I read from this author hearkens back to the past, so this story was the perfect match for her. The use of H.P. Lovecraft as a character is brilliant. It's never specified until the last page that Howard Philips is Lovecraft, but astute readers will pick up on this a lot sooner. It's very much a part of the Cthulu mythos, and by the time you're two-thirds into it, that becomes apparent. It's a great homage to a phenomenal writer and story-teller.

Although he wasn't actually on the Titanic (thankfully!), many of the other characters actually were. None of them stand out nearly as much, to me, as Maggie Brown, the plucky heroine of the story.

In fact, it's a sort of feminist piece, in part. The men, on the whole, behave admirably, as you would expect men from that era to act. Of course, not all do. A crisis can bring out the worst in us. But it's the women who stand out to me, as they are acting, not out of character as such, but beyond their ordinary station in life for that time period. You can also tell that a lot of research went into writing this.

Where Catt really shines is in writing horror, and that is here in spades. There's plenty of opportunity for it in this book. It really is a lot more than a mere Titanic/shark story. It succeeds as a literary mash-up of sorts. In fact, it's sort of a meta-prequel, in that it is a prelude to Lovecraft's entire writing career. That's an amazing and exciting accomplishment.

I'm dinging her a single star from my rating, but only to push the author toward further greatness. I realize it's a matter of taste and stylistic differences, but I'd have enjoyed the story more if the narration used contractions, for example. It doesn't really take away from the tale itself, though, and I recommend this book to fans of horror and the sea, and H.P. Lovecraft fans in particular.

Four out of five stars.

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