Jack Kerouac taking on Lovecraft and his cult. There are very few writers who like to mix and match. Some love to experiment with different genres while others love to take inspiration from the existing work of fellow writers.
Nick Mamatas is a mix of both. With Move Under Ground, he manages to integrate his love for Kerouac and the Beats. His three characters are on the verge of an adventure, stumbling into Lovecraft’s R’lyeh.
Move Under Ground follows three characters as they discover this fictional city which holds the Cthulhu. The book features plenty of references to other materials and holds an engaging storyline for any reader that loves this horror, fantasy genre. Move Under Ground chronicles the adventure of Kerouac as he goes off across America and witnesses the rise of the old mythological town of Lovecraft, R’lyeh. All three characters, Kerouac, Cassady, and Burroughs (with special participation of Ginsberg) featured in the book are non-fictional and each one was a huge proponent of Beat literature.
Mamatas’ book gives the reader the best of many worlds. He manages to successfully incorporate the Beat style along with Lovecraft’s mythos. The nice thing when reading this book is that the reader doesn’t really need to be completely familiar with the writing style of the Beats before understanding what Mamatas is trying to mean. A little research would do well, but it’s not completely necessary. However, for readers who are not familiar with Kerouac’s On the Road or even just a slight hint of his style, the read can become a bit uncomfortable.
In a nutshell, the book features the Beats as they travel from California to New York in an attempt to save the world from all the madness caused by Lovecraft’s evil godlike being Cthulhu. They find that they, along with hobos,discontented folks and drug users, are the ones not affected by the madness. As they travel to help stop it all, they find that the madness is slowly consuming them as well.
Surprisingly, Mamatas was capable of molding and creating each of the characters. They had their own distinct personalities in the book, although there was a hint of preserving some historical accurateness in most of them.
Move Under Ground is certainly aimed at those who have a specific love for the genre and can clearly appreciate Lovecraft inspired writing. It may not be the most clear or even the best book out there, but it certainly makes for a great and interesting read. Worth your time if you have plenty of it.
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