Original language: English
Original title: Eyes of the God. The Weird Fiction and Poetry of R. H. Barlow
Year of publication of the compiled volume: 2002
Translation: Aurora Jimenez
Valuation: Okay (recommended for those interested)
The night of the ocean and other tales of the strange compiles several of the texts (some of them revised, corrected, or even co-written by Lovecraft) that Barlow produced in his youth.
It is positively surprising how eclectic Barlow’s stories are. Of the fifteen compiled in this anthology there are, it is true, some that are formulaic, excessively conditioned by the pulp literature of the time or the influence of Lovecraft. However, we also find more sui generis pieces, such as “The Battle That Ended the Century” or “The Interrogator.” Coincidentally, the ones I liked the most lean toward the less terrifying fantasy, even though I am a devotee of the latter genre.
The aforementioned “The Battle That Ended the Century” is my favorite piece of the set. Brief, imaginative, hilarious and absurd, it has captivated me because of the crazy premise, the attention to detail it displays and the multiple references it gives us. In it, two fighters face each other in an extremely surreal and violent combat.
I also value the abstract vocation of “The Death of the Monster”, “The Interrogator” or “The Craftsman’s Reward”, although the execution of the three stories leaves a lot to be desired. Another vindictive story, despite its somewhat soulless style, would be “Until the Seas”, an environmental apocalypse that crudely narrates the extinction of humanity and the withering of planet Earth.
Let us now turn to Barlow’s verses. Perhaps because of my limitations as a reader I have not been able to appreciate them adequately; In any case, I admire that they touch on eroticism (although Barlow, who was homosexual, barely takes advantage of the opportunity to sublimate his desire) or pre-Hispanic mythology (when he grew up, Barlow became a recognized expert on the subject).
Summarizing: The night of the ocean and other tales of the strange It is a valuable anthology, especially as a tribute to one of the most forgotten authors of the Lovecraft Circle. The only complaint I would make is that the two introductory texts seem redundant. For the rest, I highly recommend it to those who may be interested in it; Despite the irregularity of the pieces that make it up, lovers of fantasy and cosmic horror will especially like it.