" It is new, indeed for I made it last night in a dream of strange cities: and dreams are older than brooding Tyre, or the
contemplative Sphinx, or garden-girdled Babylon" The Call of Cthulhu

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"The Same Deep Waters As You", Brian Hodge

"The Same Deep Waters As You", Brian Hodge, Weirder Shadows over Innsmouth, Edited by Stephen Jones, Fedogan & Bremer 2013. Cover by Les Edwards.

Stephen Jones has dedicated 3 vols. to the strange folk from Innsmouth. Shadows over Innsmouth 1994,  Weird Shadows over Innsmouth 2005, and this his third volume
Weirder Shadows over Innsmouth.

Hodge's view of the Deep One/Hybrids is far darker and stranger than that offered by Ruthann Emrys in "The Litany of Earth". Kerry Larimer is the divorced mother of one and host of a moderately successful program on the Discover channel Animal Whisperer. Kerry has some innate ability to understand animal behaviour. She describes this ability as "A combination of things. It's like receiving emotions, feelings sensory impressions, mental imagery, either still of with motion. Any or all. Sometimes it's not even that, it's just ... pure knowing." It it this ability that has resulted in Kerry's recruitment by Homeland security and her transportation to a facility described by it's commanding officer, Colonel Daniel Escovedo as an older version of Guantanomo Bay, holding the most-long term enemy combatants ever held in US. custody. Some 200 plus inhabitants of Innsmouth were rounded up in 1928, some 63 remain. Since 1942 they have been housed on an island off Washington state in a facility more impregnable zoo than prison .

"They were down to the last leg of the trip, miles of iron-gray ocean skimming three hundred feet below the helicopter, and she was regretting ever having said yes. The rocky coastline of northern Washington slid out from beneath them and there they were, suspended over a sea as forbidding as the day itself. If they crashed, the water would claim them for its own long before anyone could find them. Kerry had never warmed to the sea—now less than ever"

from "Same Deep Waters as You". 

While the youngest of the prisoners were initially capable of communicating with their captors, all have now fully changed and no communication has occurred in decades. Kerry has been brought in because for only the second time in their very long captivity the creatures behaviour has changed, 

" like they were waiting for something"

from "Same Deep Waters as You". 

I will leave you there, I hate spoilers. I have read an embarrassingly large number of Lovecraft inspired stories. Many, especially the early one had almost the same plot elements, old books, scholarly but rather clueless narrators and some variation of a giant alien. Hodge has obviously given a great deal of thought to all the ramifications of the situation he has set up. How prisons work, how government works, expanding beautifully on the few lines HPL provided on the fate of the Innsmouth captives, indeed these lines from Lovecraft's original story form the epigraph to Hodge's story

"During the winter of 1927–28 officials of the Federal government made a strange and secret investigation of certain conditions in the ancient Massachusetts seaport of Innsmouth. . . . news-followers. . . wondered at the prodigious number of arrests, the abnormally large force of men used in making them, and the secrecy surrounding the disposal of the prisoners. No trials, or even definite charges, were reported; nor were any of the captives seen thereafter in the regular gaols of the nation. There were vague statements about disease and concentration camps, and later about dispersal in various naval and military prisons, but nothing positive ever developed. "

"The Shadow Over Innsmouth” . H. P. Lovecraft (1936)

from "Same Deep Waters as You". 

Also the early stories almost inevitability features a male protagonist. Now the field has become far more inclusive with a far greater diversity of authors participating but I was still pleased to see a male writer create a fully realized female character. I also love that Kerry shares Howard's aversion to the sea. As I mentioned I feel atmosphere and good writing are essential to capture the mood of this type of story and both can be found here. 

 “It was easy to forget how remote a place could once be, even on the continental U.S., and not all that long ago, all things considered. It was easy to forget how you might live a lifetime having no idea what was going on in a community just ten miles away, because you never had any need to go there, or much desire, either, since you’d always heard they were an unfriendly lot who didn’t welcome strangers, and preferred to keep to themselves.”

from "Same Deep Waters as You." 

For me, as the quote below indicates, Brian Hodge gets Lovecraft, what elements are important and how to introduce them to a story in a way creates a new, interesting, innovative story. 

David Hodge on Lovecraft

"For me, he was working in this ideal window of time. He was a contemporary of physicists like Einstein and Max Planck and Niels Bohr. His work often taps into that zeitgeist of the frontiers of science being radically expanded, and the nature of reality being plumbed at a much deeper level, where things get very strange. At the same time, the world was a bigger, more disconnected place. There were no interstate highways. Aviation was barely underway. Global population was less than a third of today’s. No camera phones, no satellites, no TV with a 24-hour news cycle. The more remote locales he uses feel genuinely isolated and hard to get to. They’re places where superstitions die hard. They feel capable of containing weird events without them drawing much wider attention, with plenty of time to congeal into area folklore. I love how he stirs all this together."

from Rue Morgue, Why is LOVECRAFT still relevant? Seven experts weigh in
Wednesday, November 25, 2015


This story has been reprinted several times, please see the link below to locate it.


I thought the plotting and characterization excellent, the introduction of action well handled, and having as I have said read many pastiches I still found the ending of The Same Deep Waters As You to be, possibly the most unsettling.

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