by Claude Lalumière

Chizine Press


274pp/$18.95/October 2009

Objects of Worship
Cover by Erik Mohr

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

Claude Lalumière presents a dozen stories in Objects of Worship, two of which are original to this collection.  Although the stories run a broad gamut of the speculative fiction genre, all of them see to demonstrate an influence on Lalumière of the weird fiction written by H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and their contemporaries.  Lalumière has a tendency towards arcane settings and grandiose writing, at times over-writing, to allow his language and style to be almost as much a character as any of the the individuals who populate his stories.

The two new stories in Objects of Worship are "The Darkness at the Heart of the World" and "Roman Predator's Chimeric Odyssey." In some ways, the stories are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  "Roman Predator's Chimeric Odyssey" is set in a post-apocalyptic Montreal in which werewolves hold sway and Roman Predator is the alpha wolf.  Lalumière follows his attempts to retain his position on a hunt even as Roman Predator realizes that he must be nearing his own end.  "The Darkness at the Heart of the World" is set in one of those strange societies so popular among the Weird fiction authors.  Set in a primordial world, the culture has an ancient existence.  When Coro is unable to be healed of his infirmity by the Godpool, he drags himself on a quest to find the fabled flying people of Shifpan-Ur. What both stories have in common is the language that Lalumière uses in their telling.

This use of language is the common thread that runs through the complete dozen stories, whether the comic-book inspired "Spiderkid" or "Hochelaga and Sons" to the zombie stories "The Ethical Treatment of Meat" and "A Visit to the Optometrist," Lalumière appears to revel in the playful use of archaicisms which heighten the feel of the Weird in these tales.  However, at the same time, he addresses himself to various topics, such as the treatment of food animals or the acceptance (or non-acceptance) of the other in "The Ethical Treatment of Meat."

One potential problem with any collection, and especially one in which the stories are so stylistically similar in this manner, is that it is difficult to read through in a single sitting.  To do so causes the stories to blur together or seem repetitive.  Objects of Worship, therefore, should be enjoyed a story at a time, with other works, whether short stories, essays, novels, or non-fiction between the stories Lalumière has included.  Breaking the book up in this manner will allow the reader to enjoy each story on an individual basis and allow each of the stories to retain its identity.

The Object of Worship Njabo
The Ethical Treatment of Meat A Place Where Nothing Ever Happens
Hochelaga and Sons A Visit to the Optometrist
The Sea, at Bari Roman Predator's Chimeric Odyssey
The Darkness at the Heart of the World Destroyer of Worlds
Spiderkid This Is the Ice Age

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