Reviewed by Jeremy Billingsley
British author Simon Kurt Unsworth has an impressive list of publications to his name. He has won horror awards and has released a number of novels and short story collections. His short story, “Into the Water,” appears in Best New Horror, Volume 25 as an ode to H.P. Lovecraft..
I agree with Unsworth, who says Lovecraft can be stuffy – even claustrophobic – and hysterical, to the point of featuring cliché characters. But there is something elemental about Lovecraft’s stories, though they are rarely subtle, and in tackling “Into the Water” after a haunting image refused to release his imagination, Unsworth had to capture the atmosphere of the classic author while making the language accessible to a more modern readership.
“Into the Water” tells the story of journalists witnessing a massive global flooding event. Nothing imminent and quickly encroaching, but a slow, steady rise of the waters as towns are overtaken one by one all over Europe. Everyone is at a loss for why the waters are rising, but it is growing more and more apparent that the worst has yet to come. Cameraman Isaac Kapenda is on assignment when he meets the enigmatic David and starts finding strange figurines in some of the flood zones. The figurines represent denizens of a long-lost civilization, and as frightening as they appear, they are merely harbingers to what is coming in with the flood.
Unsworth succeeds in capturing the mythos of Lovecraft in this terrifying tale about the eve of humanity’s destruction as seen by one of the witnesses to the event, and possibly even the only person to know what’s going on.