Not Before Bed isn't just a title...it's a warning.”
I’ve tried getting into Lovecraft. I bought a best of and dug in. I don’t think reading it in the height of summer helped, but I just couldn’t get into it. I’ve come across Lovecraft in the works of authors continuing the mythos he’s created; I get it, Old Ones and tentacles and what not, but as for the man himself. Just no. Didn’t turn me on.
Before reading “Not Before Bed” I was aware of the Lovecraftian influence, and still thought why not. The truth is, this stands up on its own, whether you’re aware of the Lovecraft mythology or not, Hallam makes it his own. But not only are the tales genuinely unnerving, they’re funny as well. I mean really funny. Not only are you getting horror here, you’re getting some fine written British dark comedy as well. Hallam welds humorous prose into the direst of situations. All the traditional horror stalwarts are on show here along with a generous helping of tentacles, the best of which is the aptly named “Lovecraft” which mixes the jadedness of the dating scene with tentacle love. Sheer brilliance this, one of the funniest horror shorts I’ve ever read. Another favourite is “Oestrids”, that deals with a Triffids-like invasion, which the last man on earth takes on with a hilariously grisly trial and error set of experiments.
Even through his writing, you can tell Craig Hallam is a likeable sort of fellow, and you can detect his positive influences clearly. There’s the sharp, sardonic wit that is unmistakeable British, and the creepy gothic of the classic seeping into every page.
I won’t ruin any of the tales, but rest assured, there’s something for everyone and each is unique as the last. Halloween is coming and it’s not all about the scares you know, it’s good to laugh as well. Even if it’s maniacal giggles.