I recently watched Predator with my teenage daughter. I hadn’t actually seen it since the ‘90s but I thought it was still a fantastic movie. Imagine how I felt and how taken aback I was when my daughter later asked me if all the men in action films - "back in the day" - were so over the top? Forced to reply in the affirmative, I received the 'eye-roll of death' and I was left feeling embarrassed at enjoying such a display of overt machismo.
Cthulhu Armageddon had much the same effect on me.
C. T. Phipps has created an interesting contribution to the Cthulhu mythos here. He is a self-professed gamer who has utilised his comprehensive knowledge of the role-playing game, Call of Cthulhu, to produce a novel that clearly shows its influence throughout. Fans of Mad Max, The Dark Tower and the computer game franchise Fallout will feel right at home with the post-apocalyptic setting of this story.
Cthulhu Armageddon is the first in a series of novels that are set a century after the great old ones such as Cthulhu, Hastur and Nyarlathotep have risen from their watery resting places. They have remade the Earth to better suit themselves, after nearly wiping out the whole of humanity in the process. The chief protagonist of the story is John Henry Booth, an elite ranger for the United States remnant and an overall badass with a level of masculinity that would make Schwarzenegger blush. The tale is a classic one of vengeance and retribution with Booth hunting the mad scientist/ arcane sorcerer Ward who plans to remove the problem of humans once and for all. Helping Booth on his travels are a range of supporting characters that includes a woefully underused, centuries-old ghoul who provided both comic relief and an interesting link to the world before it fell.
The issue of supporting characters now brings me to my main critique of the novel. The author’s female characters are, without exception, terribly one dimensional. In fact, his portrayal of women came across as quite immature - with every female encountering Booth falling in love and acting quite irrationally. At times their lack of character development meant I had to stop and check which person was in dialogue with Booth. Hopefully, as the series progresses that might change and I sincerely hope it does.
While I did have some gripes with the novel, I can say I rather enjoyed it. It’s a welcome addition to the mythos and I'm also looking forward to reading the second novel in the series. After all, there's always room for a little bit of machismo in our lives.
“Under an alien sky where gods of eldritch matter rule, the only truth is revenge.” CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON is the story of a world 100 years past the rise of the Old Ones which has been reduced to a giant monster-filled desert and pockets of human survivors (along with Deep Ones, ghouls, and other “talking” monsters). John Henry Booth is a ranger of one of the largest remaining city-states when he’s exiled for his group’s massacre and suspicion he’s “tainted.” Escaping with a doctor who killed her husband, John travels across the Earth’s blasted alien ruins to seek the life of the man who killed his friends. It’s the one thing he has left.