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On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and Camera

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An academic's whimsical decision to take a DNA test leads her into uncharted territory, where she discovers some extraordinary truths about herself and new possibilities for her future. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied. An academic's whimsical decision to take a DNA test leads her into uncharted territory, where she discovers some extraordinary truths about herself and new possibilities for her future. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


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An academic's whimsical decision to take a DNA test leads her into uncharted territory, where she discovers some extraordinary truths about herself and new possibilities for her future. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied. An academic's whimsical decision to take a DNA test leads her into uncharted territory, where she discovers some extraordinary truths about herself and new possibilities for her future. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

30 review for On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and Camera

  1. 4 out of 5

    karen

    “Family on the Vineyard?” It might have been a cheerful tone. It might have been a leading one. But it was the sort of question anybody might ask. As so often happens when one has an unconventional upbringing, small talk brought me up short and sharp. “I don’t know,” I admitted. “I’m adopted.” for a lovecraft story, from the standpoint of a staunch non-lovecraft-fan, this was good. for an elizabeth bear story, from the standpoint of someone who LOVED The Girl Who Sang Rose Madder, This Chance Plan “Family on the Vineyard?” It might have been a cheerful tone. It might have been a leading one. But it was the sort of question anybody might ask. As so often happens when one has an unconventional upbringing, small talk brought me up short and sharp. “I don’t know,” I admitted. “I’m adopted.” for a lovecraft story, from the standpoint of a staunch non-lovecraft-fan, this was good. for an elizabeth bear story, from the standpoint of someone who LOVED The Girl Who Sang Rose Madder, This Chance Planet, The Horrid Glory of Its Wings, and Deriving Life, it was just okay. meaning, if i had read this story with a different author's name attached to it, i woulda thunk, "hey! i unexpectedly enjoyed this lovecraftian story!" but my expectations are different when it's an author whose stories have moved me so in the past, so here we are at a three and a half, rounded up. i've actually read another of her lovecraft-inspired tales, Shoggoths in Bloom, and enjoyed this one a whole lot more, but while this is a fine story in its own right, it was written in a different tone than the ones of hers that have pierced my little reader-heart. when she works dark and bleak and emotionally-gutting, i'm the first in line. this one takes a more prickly-humorous tone, and while i dug the narrator's voice, and the way bear played with lovecraft's inescapable vocabulary, particularly the "gobbling shrieks," the fact that i don't have any lovecraft bones in my body along with my hunger for more of her smash-my-heart stories made this one less appealing to me. but there's no way your reader-makeup is exactly like my reader-makeup, so never let me dissuade you from reading anything (except harry turtledove's supervolcano trilogy—that's a hard objective "no"). if you like beleaguered female academics with uncertain parentage going on interdimensional and undersea adventures, full of altars and these things and these things by all means, come to this novelette. bring cameras. and guns. read it for yourself here: https://www.tor.com/2020/11/18/on-saf... come to my blog!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Hm. I must admit to never having read anything of this author's before. I was voluntold to read this short story of hers and so I did. What awaited me as a slightly Lovecraftian tale of a female physicist finding out that over 10% of her DNA are "unidentifyable". Since curiosity killed the cat, she and a colleague (a geneticist) go on the search of what these ominous 10% mean, where they come from and ... suddenly they find much more than they've bargained for. Think (view spoiler)[Stargate + (hid Hm. I must admit to never having read anything of this author's before. I was voluntold to read this short story of hers and so I did. What awaited me as a slightly Lovecraftian tale of a female physicist finding out that over 10% of her DNA are "unidentifyable". Since curiosity killed the cat, she and a colleague (a geneticist) go on the search of what these ominous 10% mean, where they come from and ... suddenly they find much more than they've bargained for. Think (view spoiler)[Stargate + (hide spoiler)] Lovecraft + (view spoiler)[Riddick-like flying creatures + frog people (hide spoiler)] . The writing had a nice flow to it if you excuse the pun. I also chuckled a time or two. Nevertheless, it didn't exactly rock my world (yes, sorry, I can't stop with the puns today, it would seem). However, this was a nice excursion until the abrupt sort of ending that still made me round up from 3.5 stars. You can read the story for free here: https://www.tor.com/2020/11/18/on-saf...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    And so here we were, on a strange planet under an alien sun, surrounded by twisted, non-Euclidean geometry; pistols at alien dawn with inside-out monstrosities which (presuming our hypothesis was reliable) wanted to eat our faces; and all the while attracting the wrath of dread gods. And it wasn’t even our first trip. This time, we had been “prepared.” Despite what seems to be a complete inability to appreciate Lovecraft's direct work, I'm an absolute fiend for other authors working in his univers And so here we were, on a strange planet under an alien sun, surrounded by twisted, non-Euclidean geometry; pistols at alien dawn with inside-out monstrosities which (presuming our hypothesis was reliable) wanted to eat our faces; and all the while attracting the wrath of dread gods. And it wasn’t even our first trip. This time, we had been “prepared.” Despite what seems to be a complete inability to appreciate Lovecraft's direct work, I'm an absolute fiend for other authors working in his universes - and this short from Elizabeth Bear had a great protagonist to get behind. https://www.tor.com/2020/11/18/on-saf...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    On a whim, an anonymous female physicist in New England gets her DNA run, with surprising results. She ends up on Martha's Vineyard in winter, standing on what turns out to be a portal to another world. And not a nice one. But after the *next* portal: "I was not sure what I had expected, but an entire glorious undersea city wasn’t it. An entire glorious undersea city existing in what should have been utter blackness, bioluminescing among the convolutions of deep-sea corals I had not even realized On a whim, an anonymous female physicist in New England gets her DNA run, with surprising results. She ends up on Martha's Vineyard in winter, standing on what turns out to be a portal to another world. And not a nice one. But after the *next* portal: "I was not sure what I had expected, but an entire glorious undersea city wasn’t it. An entire glorious undersea city existing in what should have been utter blackness, bioluminescing among the convolutions of deep-sea corals I had not even realized existed in the North Atlantic, swarming with large, pebble-skinned, sociable people." Well, that should be enough to catch your attention. I'm hoping this is the opening of a WIP, that I can't wait to see finished. Story link: https://www.tor.com/2020/11/18/on-saf... Thank goodness for writers like Elizabeth Bear! This story: why I keep reading this stuff.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    No spoilers, but this fun little Elizabeth Bear story has tones of Lovecraft and R. Chambers while reading like a straight SF novel of scientific and personal discovery. Did I think it was brilliant? No. But I did think it was solid and evokes all those glorious memes and religious terror wrapped up in an awesome genetic jewel. It almost makes me believe that the spirit of inquiry DOESN'T automatically lead to 1d6 dead investigators. No spoilers, but this fun little Elizabeth Bear story has tones of Lovecraft and R. Chambers while reading like a straight SF novel of scientific and personal discovery. Did I think it was brilliant? No. But I did think it was solid and evokes all those glorious memes and religious terror wrapped up in an awesome genetic jewel. It almost makes me believe that the spirit of inquiry DOESN'T automatically lead to 1d6 dead investigators.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    A curious and unexpected Lovecraftian inspired journey into the unknown parts of an orphaned scientist's genetic legacy. Lighthearted and touching, rather than chilling, Bear plays on some familiar tropes in interesting ways. A curious and unexpected Lovecraftian inspired journey into the unknown parts of an orphaned scientist's genetic legacy. Lighthearted and touching, rather than chilling, Bear plays on some familiar tropes in interesting ways.

  7. 5 out of 5

    R.C.

    I love stories that take fantastical things seriously, and I love how this story does that. (I also loved the whip-sharp cracks at being a woman in academia, but that's probably me.) I also liked the aspects of coming home, the normalization of the weird. My only complaint is the end - I felt like the beginning and the ending scenes are not entirely moored to the rest, and that things wrap up right when I'd like more. But then, that's always the way with good short stories/novellas. (Read for fre I love stories that take fantastical things seriously, and I love how this story does that. (I also loved the whip-sharp cracks at being a woman in academia, but that's probably me.) I also liked the aspects of coming home, the normalization of the weird. My only complaint is the end - I felt like the beginning and the ending scenes are not entirely moored to the rest, and that things wrap up right when I'd like more. But then, that's always the way with good short stories/novellas. (Read for free on the Tor.com site.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Smart, fun, concise, lucidly told. Thank you for restoring my faith in modern SF and giving me the Sense of Wonder I look for. Not too much on the characterization, though, or, tbh, the What If. Still, if this is typical of Bear, maybe it's about time I read something by her. Smart, fun, concise, lucidly told. Thank you for restoring my faith in modern SF and giving me the Sense of Wonder I look for. Not too much on the characterization, though, or, tbh, the What If. Still, if this is typical of Bear, maybe it's about time I read something by her.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Really liked this Lovecraftian shortie by Elizabeth Bear. Raises all sorts of questions that I hope get answered in a future work! 5 stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Perez

    What a nice little Lovecraftian-themed story. It's not horror, mind you, or another commentary on H. P. Lovecraft's prejudices, just a nice story of learning you are in a world that just happens to have eldritch creatures. Read it here . Griswold is elderly physics professor who does a DNA test; she was adopted and never knew her birth family. The results show 10% unidentified. With the help of her geneticist friend Roberts she tracks a man who had a similar situation down and travels New England What a nice little Lovecraftian-themed story. It's not horror, mind you, or another commentary on H. P. Lovecraft's prejudices, just a nice story of learning you are in a world that just happens to have eldritch creatures. Read it here . Griswold is elderly physics professor who does a DNA test; she was adopted and never knew her birth family. The results show 10% unidentified. With the help of her geneticist friend Roberts she tracks a man who had a similar situation down and travels New England to learn where she really came from. I really liked Elizabeth Bear's writing here. Griswold was a refreshing perspective; I don't often read older women characters, but I genuinely enjoyed Griswold's curiosity, occasional desperation, and how tired she felt from everything. I also loved her platonic relationship with Roberts, they reminded me a lot of Jessica and Seth in Murder She Wrote. This was just a nice read. Lovecraftian, but not pretentious or preachy or horror-centric. Just casual.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    The title had me expecting a spoof of old adventure memoirs, which this isn't at all, more an exercise in sending a scientist with few fucks to give into the Mythos, instead of Lovecraft's usual neurasthenic humanities types. Which can often risk draining the essential strangeness, of course, but here includes lovely details that deepen it, like the narrator noticing that in Carcosa, octagons interlock. Or the inciting incident, the wonderfully modern idea (on which the story had apparently been The title had me expecting a spoof of old adventure memoirs, which this isn't at all, more an exercise in sending a scientist with few fucks to give into the Mythos, instead of Lovecraft's usual neurasthenic humanities types. Which can often risk draining the essential strangeness, of course, but here includes lovely details that deepen it, like the narrator noticing that in Carcosa, octagons interlock. Or the inciting incident, the wonderfully modern idea (on which the story had apparently been waiting 30 years) of someone finding out their Deep One heritage by a mail-order DNA test. But just when I feared that the story might slip into the same excessive revisionism as Ruthanna Emrys' tales of the unfairly persecuted Innsmouth folk and their lovely sense of community, Bear pulls back, lets her lead's not-a-joiner personality keep counting for more than her ancestry, and thank goodness for that.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    This was interesting. I read these free shorts every once in a while, and sometimes I fall in love with the concepts and covers and just wish there was a paperback copy for me to read in person so I could fully digest it. This story has so much potential. I have found that as I'm getting older, I'm also getting more desperate for weird concepts in books... and this one here would make one weird novel. Anyways, the title and cover are both such a vibe and I really enjoyed getting to experience th This was interesting. I read these free shorts every once in a while, and sometimes I fall in love with the concepts and covers and just wish there was a paperback copy for me to read in person so I could fully digest it. This story has so much potential. I have found that as I'm getting older, I'm also getting more desperate for weird concepts in books... and this one here would make one weird novel. Anyways, the title and cover are both such a vibe and I really enjoyed getting to experience this story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Zoe's Human

    An academic's mid-life crisis takes a strange twist after the surprising results of a DNA test. An academic's mid-life crisis takes a strange twist after the surprising results of a DNA test.

  14. 5 out of 5

    PyranopterinMo

    When your DNA test results include 10% unknown and your geneticist friend tells you it's not even human. When your DNA test results include 10% unknown and your geneticist friend tells you it's not even human.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ellie at BookBucket

    Loved it. Feels like the start of a series. I hope it is.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    A lovely lovecraftian short Without spoiling too much, I really enjoyed this story. It doesn't self-importantly "reverse the tropes." It just tells a fun story in an interesting way. A lovely lovecraftian short Without spoiling too much, I really enjoyed this story. It doesn't self-importantly "reverse the tropes." It just tells a fun story in an interesting way.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michaelann

    A charming, quick read. I love having a professional protagonist who I find so relatable, a middle aged woman motivated by family and and career.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emilie

    I enjoyed the humor, especially the commentary on life in academia for a woman who's a professor in a hard science field. Ms. Bear has made previous forays into the territory of Lovecraft-with-a-twist. I especially like that some of the protagonists of those stories are strong female characters. I would have preferred a clearer resolution here, but I enjoyed the journey that showed how scientific curiosity provided Greer and her geneticist friend strong motivation to explore new things. My very f I enjoyed the humor, especially the commentary on life in academia for a woman who's a professor in a hard science field. Ms. Bear has made previous forays into the territory of Lovecraft-with-a-twist. I especially like that some of the protagonists of those stories are strong female characters. I would have preferred a clearer resolution here, but I enjoyed the journey that showed how scientific curiosity provided Greer and her geneticist friend strong motivation to explore new things. My very favorite of Ms. Bear's Lovecraft-with-a-twist stories is still "Mongoose," co-authored with Sarah Monette. There are a few stories set in that universe, which has Lovecraftian concepts and Lewis Carroll's terminology. The others that I'm aware of have a stronger horror vibe. I thought this story was a good take on alternate Lovecraft.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kam Yung Soh

    The title probably gives the game away, but this is a story about the horrors of a land well known to those who enjoy the works of H.P. Lovecraft. But the actual story itself is more of a prelude to the actual expedition. It starts when a researcher decides to take a DNA test and discovers that a significant part of her own DNA is 'unknown'. Some digging reveals that another person may also have the same unknown DNA but attempts to personally meet the person fail, but in a rather inhuman way. Clue The title probably gives the game away, but this is a story about the horrors of a land well known to those who enjoy the works of H.P. Lovecraft. But the actual story itself is more of a prelude to the actual expedition. It starts when a researcher decides to take a DNA test and discovers that a significant part of her own DNA is 'unknown'. Some digging reveals that another person may also have the same unknown DNA but attempts to personally meet the person fail, but in a rather inhuman way. Clues lead them to a certain popular island off the Atlantic coast and it is here that the adventure to the land in the title begins. As the story ends, the researcher learns to accept the truth behind her unknown DNA: and to prepare for the real adventure in the land of horrors.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Netanella

    “We wouldn’t be having this conversation if you’d flunked Algebra, Griswold,” Roberts said, racking another shell into his hunting rifle and peering over our flimsy barricade. He was trying to see if the monstrous creatures beyond were preparing for another assault. Elizabeth Bear is an incredible writer, and in this Tor shortie, she offers a lighthearted take on Lovecraft. Very enjoyable.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    As a Lovecraft fan, I enjoyed this story. I've previously read Shoggoths in Bloom by Elizabeth Bear, which is very good. She mercifully does not try to imitate Lovecraft's style and it is lighter in tone. L0vecraft nerds will work out the big twist quite early, but it's none the worse for that. As a Lovecraft fan, I enjoyed this story. I've previously read Shoggoths in Bloom by Elizabeth Bear, which is very good. She mercifully does not try to imitate Lovecraft's style and it is lighter in tone. L0vecraft nerds will work out the big twist quite early, but it's none the worse for that.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lori Holuta

    Clever, unexpected story. I thought I knew were it was going... but I was wrong! It's as if Ray Bradbury and H.P. Lovecraft got to talking about possibilities, and after a few drinks, came up with this. I love Elizabeth Bear's ability to keep coming up with fresh stories, and this one is no exception. Clever, unexpected story. I thought I knew were it was going... but I was wrong! It's as if Ray Bradbury and H.P. Lovecraft got to talking about possibilities, and after a few drinks, came up with this. I love Elizabeth Bear's ability to keep coming up with fresh stories, and this one is no exception.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leanne (SavageHaeven)

    THIS STORY WAS SO COOL. It would make an excellent dark, atmospheric, mysterious film or even investigative video game. The writing is fantastic, and Elizabeth Bear is so good at painting just enough of the scene for me to feel the surroundings and thrill of suspense as I'm reading. Need more Lovecraftian fiction (or any kind of fiction if it's written like this) by her immediately. THIS STORY WAS SO COOL. It would make an excellent dark, atmospheric, mysterious film or even investigative video game. The writing is fantastic, and Elizabeth Bear is so good at painting just enough of the scene for me to feel the surroundings and thrill of suspense as I'm reading. Need more Lovecraftian fiction (or any kind of fiction if it's written like this) by her immediately.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    This was an interesting, Lovecraft inspired story. I want to read more.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jill Carroll

    Delightful beginning, with enough banter and cheek and snark to make Scalzi swoon. Ending fizzles somewhat. Could be a fine start to something larger?

  26. 4 out of 5

    MH

    A nice modern Mythos tale, well-executed.

  27. 4 out of 5

    MollyK

    I loved this. I really enjoyed the MC's voice and the Lovecraft spin. It would be great to see this idea developed into a series. I loved this. I really enjoyed the MC's voice and the Lovecraft spin. It would be great to see this idea developed into a series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mountainroot

    It was OK i guess.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Fernando

    A lot of fun references in this short story. Two plot threads are developed at the same time. One was interesting and the other one confusing. Overall a good read with thriller vibes.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Weird and fun A good take on the deep ones, and how they might actually interact with us. It starts out in a Lovecraftian way, but then kind of takes a welcome left turn....

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