Rating: 6.1 (out of 10)
The most recent iterations of Lovecraft revivalism have mostly been grounded in reshaping the “Lovecraftian” tale itself, by explicitly providing a new context for Lovecraft’s much discussed racism (The Ballad of Black Tom, Lovecraft Country) and misogyny (The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe), or by creating a meta-narrative about the Cthulhu Mythos itself (Carter & Lovecraft, I Am Providence). I guess it takes a couple of salty old pros like Eric Flint and Mike Resnick to remind us that, since most of the big beasties in the Lovecraft canon come from outer space, why don’t we all just hop in a space ship and track them down at home?
The Gods of Sagittarius is about two expeditions – one human, one not – that cross paths and purposes as they set off on their respective journeys to uncover the lost secrets of the Old Ones. It is a smart and well composed novel, as one might expect from the two names on the cover. Heady concepts abound: a Warlock Variation Drive that “develops alternative modes of existence. At apparent random”; a Moebius Wormhole, which is basically as cool as it sounds. It is also a comical odyssey that leans heavily on sarcasm, particularly inflected with Resnick trademark caustic humor. Some of the humor is smart and funny (as one might also expect from these two authors), some of it is hammy and boorish, and the rest of it appears to have been dreamed up on an exceptionally beer-drenched fishing trip where all they did was try to crack each other up with dick and fart jokes.
This novel had really built up a good head of steam in the second half, until its strained and overly cerebral climax killed the momentum, followed by an extraneous denouement that set up a sequel (I guess???) for no good reason.
Still, it’s at least two thirds of a fun ride, with enough smarts and smart-assery to satisfy the authors’ diehard fans.