Title: Skyships Over Innsmouth
Author: Susan Laine
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 200 pages
Category: Horror, Sci-Fi
At a Glance: A Lovecraftian horror adventure, perfect for those hardcore Dagon fans.
Reviewed By: Ben
Blurb: Twenty winters have passed since the Cataclysm brought down society and robbed people of their memories. Humanity, vastly reduced in numbers since the initial chaos, has started anew in Canal City with the aid of library books and steam technology. The Scout and Ranger Corps was established to search for possible survivors and to replenish dwindling resources.
Dev is the captain of the scout airship Smoke Sparrow, and Shay is the scholar of their newest expedition. Their destination is Innsmouth, Massachusetts, a small fishing town that is mentioned in obscure books but shows up on no maps. Might its secrets offer answers? But within the fog-covered, ruined hillside town by the bay lurk unspeakable dangers and horrors beyond imagining. The expedition team soon learns that Innsmouth is one town that should have been left forgotten.
Review: Plain and simple, this is a Lovecraftian horror story, with not much of a LGBTQ+ romantic hook, but the female protagonist was awesome. If you like Lovecraftian themes, and Dagon worshipers, then you’ll probably love this. Something that amused me was this story reminded me a bit of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign I was a part of several years ago: a group of adventurers wander into a seemingly abandoned town, find a crazy fish statue, and then people start dying. That could be a Lovecraftian theme in general, admittedly.
My main problem with the story was the prolific telling. Too many sentences started with something akin to, “Ned is sad,” and then showed in dialog or action how Ned was sad. That repetitive-style-telling grated on my nerves. The story also took longer than twenty-five percent to get going to a pace I felt comfortable with. From the little I know of Lovecraft, he uses psychological thriller themes, and while not entirely action-oriented, he creates a certain level of suspense through intrigue and horror. This novel was lacking that.
As I said, I did enjoy our female protagonist. I felt as if she was the most fleshed out of any of the characters. That could possibly be due to unique features of the world itself. The entire world suffered extreme memory loss in something they refer to as “The Cataclysm,” but our Malia turns out to be special, and retains more of her past self than others. She was the heroine of the story, and while I’d love to tell you about the twist at the end—spoilers…. I found her point of view more compelling than the others, partially due to her being more developed, but also possibly because she had more agency than any of the other crew. Dev and Shay, our gay romantic hook, weren’t nearly as intriguing to me, and there wasn’t much actual romance, but I forgave the two of them for that because they were kinda busy running and screaming most of the book. You kinda have to cut them some slack for that. *wink*
You can buy Skyships Over Innsmouth here: