Black Pantheons: Collected Tales of Gnostic Dread is the first of Lawson’s work that I’ve had the opportunity to read, and this collection shows a fantastic range of voice and original creativity. Despite the title, the eleven stories in this collection do not directly tie into Gnosticism. Rather, there is a reoccurring theme of primordial darkness that threads through a majority of the stories. There are hints of a larger cosmology at play but nothing is really fleshed out on that level, either intentionally or not I’m not sure of.
Personal favorites include:
“Demons of Manzanar”: An interesting insight into the subtlety of evil.
“Pinocchio & the Black Pantheon”: A highly entertaining, dark, original take on the classic story. Strong tip of the hat to Lovecraft, but clearly owned by Lawson’s personal voice.
“The Carousel Horse”: One of my high favorites simply because of how different it is from the other stories. A definite thematic curveball, so do not go to this story immediately. Read it after a few of the others.
"Labyrinth of Winter’s End- A Devoured Story": A brutal tale of darkness from many different streams. It’s rather hard to decide who you’re rooting for by the end of this story, it goes that grim.
"Paramnesia": A great combination of personal horror and supernatural horror. Lawson does some excellent character building in this one, a trait that really adds to some heartbreaking moments in the story.
All in all, Black Pantheons: Collected Tales of Gnostic Dread shows an excellent spectrum of talent and vision from a great, new writer to watch. Definitely give it a look.
Black Pantheons: Collected Tales of Gnostic Dread can be purchased at Amazon.
Lawson's official website