Cower not, fierce reader! This fine day we visit with an example from Appendix N, and one of the ones reviewed by Jeffro Johnson in his book covering such(which I seem to be in at least mild disagreement with him here). Of course, most of the establishment wants this book long forgotten, as their narrative of newer works being both better and more enlightened MUST be upheld. This is reportedly his first book, and can be found in a cheap ebook here. To the charges!
Well, firstly, there's more imagination within most chapters of this book than within the great bulk of tradpub sff. Even the use of a biologist as the narrator gives the story character that most would not think of these days. And while the frequency of the entrance opening may not be unique, the solution to gaining entrance otherwise certainly is, as is the description of the entrance.
Merrit's wordcraft, even with his first novel, was remarkable. This is absolutely an understatement. And while his descriptions of the godlike ancient beings may come off as very like Lovecraft's most ponderous writing, his sentence variation and structure helps keep the reader engaged far more easily than I expected.
Is there any sense of "misogyny" charges here? If you don't like women being leaders, even spiritual leaders in cults of ancient and unspeakably powerful beings, then sure. Because, while they hold these positions, they are still very much women and like men, or rather the same man. Yes, these women are both strong and feminine, and very much the second.
As to potential charges of racism, that depends more on the definition used. For while at an early point a character states he needs white men for the expedition, that comes across more as a need for men from whom superstition has largely been removed(It was the Year of Our Lord 1919, after all.). Great portions of the world still swam in a mixture of native religions, and this definitely applies to the islands of the Pacific at the time. Then there's the barriers created by language and cultural differences.
Now, as to any charges of xenophobia, given the terrors faced by our characters, I hold no blame over them. I would not care to face such things, even the allies our heroes meet.
As to the differences of opinion Jeffro and I seem to have over this book, I think it comes down to perspective and the reasons we read it. Jeffro was searching for the roots of D&D, and looking for what he terms "gameable material". I find no fault with this, though it does push more for a desire for the story to move faster, earlier. I came to it after hearing time and again from multiple sources how good Mr. Merrit's works were. This was the first one in the anthology, and I was looking for the story, for my enjoyment and entertainment. The slow start is in some ways a Hero's Journey in and of itself, but as a setup to the real adventure.
Yes, I expect later work might be better, but this is one to spare some time for. 8 of 10 fell deeds.
When you play Social Justice, the world loses.