Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows by James Lovegrove, Narrated by Dennis Kleinman

James Lovegrove writes himself into the narrative with The Cthulhu Casebooks, in a fictionalized account of his own life in the preface to this tale. As a distant relation to the former H.P. Lovecraft, a parcel finds its way to him upon the passing of another member of the Lovecraft family.
Contained within is a trilogy of manuscripts penned by Dr. John Watson, confidant and partner of Sherlock Holmes. In the tale that unfolds, we learn that the meeting of Watson and Holmes did not transpire as we’ve come to believe. Additionally, further elements of Watson’s previously available documentation of the cases he and Holmes investigated have been fictionalized to protect the world from forbidden knowledge of things best left unknown.
From the deserts and mountains of Afghanistan to long-forgotten catacombs beneath London, a global tale of unspeakable horror emerges. Upon meeting one another, Holmes and Watson find themselves in pursuit of answers to a rash of ritualistic deaths occurring during the new moon. What they discover will leave the pair, as well as other familiar characters from the Holmes’ archives, changed in ways never hinted at within the released accounts from Watson.
All-in-all, this was a worthwhile mixture of the Lovecraftian mythos and the characters developed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The writing style emulates Doyle’s prose surprisingly well, and the insertion of creatures like Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu into the narrative was performed seamlessly. The story itself didn’t impress me quite as much as I’d hoped, but it was decent enough to nudge me toward checking out the additional two volumes in this series.
Dennis Kleinman’s narration of Watson was quite fantastic, as was his performance of Holmes’ dialogue. Sadly, the other characters felt perhaps a bit less set apart from the background. This is not to say that they weren’t distinct enough to tell them apart, because he managed that quite well, just that they weren’t brought to life in quite the same way the two protagonists were.

Alien Sex Fluids: Experiments 1 through 3 by Reekfeel

Attempting to provide a traditional review of Reekfeel’s three Alien Sex Fluids titles would be to perform a disservice. It could be argued that this is simply me attempting to rationalize the fact that I am in no way capable of properly reviewing the material contained within these shorts.
Packed with a sort of free association or stream of consciousness writing that more accurately resembles poetry than narrative prose, Reekfeel’s Alien Sex Fluids plays fast and loose with both language and structure. One almost has simply to let the words–the sounds and visual elements implicit in those words–flow over and around them, dragging the reader along through the cacophony of it all.
The free-flowing, anti-literature qualities are most pronounced in Alien Sex Fluids: Experiment 1, where we’re introduced to Nyarlathotep of Lovecraftian fame, and reinterpreted by the author. This is not the being/creature/god as good ol’ Howard Philips wrote it, but rather a mischievous and whimsically cruel thing prone to juvenile outbursts and toilet humor.
We are also introduced to the beings/people ostensibly conducting the experiments–or are they the subjects of the experiments?–named after various elements of the periodic table. We’ll get to know them in greater detail in further installments of the series.
Reekfeel also takes this time to introduce us to the inhabitants of the garden, strange, child-like creatures without discernable form or function as we perceive it. There’s no conceivable way I could describe the activities during that interlude, and you’ll have to read it for yourself if you want to better understand what I mean.
Alien Sex Fluids: Experiment 2 takes on a more prose-like structure in part, diving more into the narrative elements of the overall story being constructed/deconstructed by Reekfeel. We focus more strongly on Selenium, and it’s a strange reversal of norms that the revelation of a dream is more coherently literary than the surrounding material.
In Alien Sex Fluids: Experiment 3, we get to witness Reekfeel inserting themself into the narrative in a rather tongue-in-cheek sense, providing a sort of halfhearted apology for how challenging it is to follow along with dialogue from Bismuth as an RPG of some kind is being played to assist Selenium(?). Of course, this only serves to upset Nyarlathotep, who is sharing this story with us through Reekfeel as a conduit.
I’d like to say that Experiment 3 continues the more coherent aspects of the narrative as we’d experienced in Experiment 2, but I’d be lying to you, and I’m not a liar! The vast majority of this installment of the series takes place within and is focused around the role-playing taking place, and Reekfeel’s attempt to clear up the mess of multiple dialogues only serves to make it all more of a mess.
It’s virtually impossible, as you might understand, to provide a proper review of Alien Sex Fluids, but it’s worth taking the time to dive into the tumultuous, disorganized, yet strangely calculated and lunatic-by-design story you’ll witness unfolding. This is, after all, something being conveyed to us, through Reekfeel, by the crawling chaos itself. If it weren’t indicative of madness, it wouldn’t be authentic. One thing I can say for sure, there’s a certain brilliance and creative imagination impossible to ignore in the distorted, untethered, insanity of Reekfeel’s work.

Experiment 3 was released as part of the 31 Days of Godless event over at http://www.godless.com You can pick up all three installments of Alien Sex Fluids by going to the website or by downloading the app to your preferred mobile device. The links to the three current volumes are below: