She Dares to Walk in Shadows

I’ve just finished She Walks in Shadows (ed. Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Paula R. Stiles), and I have to say one of the criticisms levelled at it seems to be true. Fortunately.

She Walks in Shadows is an anthology of Lovecraftian stories written by women, each of which has a significant female character in it. As you might expect of the internet, there are several objections to this premise, or to the execution of it, many of which I had difficulty distinguishing from cunning pastiches of the ill-educated cultists that feature in some classic Yog-Sothothery.

However, having read the anthology there is one comment I mostly agree with: the stories are Lovecraftian tales only with girls in.

Where I deviate from the commenter and their supporters is in what that means. While it does mean that the stories aren’t the overt paean to feminism some might expect from the premise, it also means that:

  • enough women can write Mythos tales which read like Mythos tales that one can suppose that sex/gender isn’t a factor in writing a good Mythos tale;

  • the presence of well-crafted female characters doesn’t detract from a good Mythos tale.

It’s almost as if women are just as insignificant in the face of an uncaring universe as men are.

Do you think women don’t really understand how scary the world can be? Do you think being casually destroyed like an ant by incomprehensible forces is a fundamentally masculine activity?


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