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HP Lovecraft Has Yet To Be Surpassed As The Twentieth Century S Greatest Practitioner Of The Classic Horror Tale Stephen King The Oldest And Strongest Emotion Of Mankind Is Fear, And The Oldest And Strongest Kind Of Fear Is Fear Of The Unknown HP LovecraftThis Is The Collection That True Fans Of Horror Fiction Must Have Sixteen Of HP Lovecraft S Most Horrifying Visions, Including The Call Of Cthulu The First Story In The Infamous Cthulhu Mythos A Creature Spawned In The Stars Brings A Menace Of Unimaginable Evil To Threaten All MankindThe Dunwich Horror An Evil Man S Desire To Perform An Unspeakable Ritual Leads Him In Search Of The Fabled Text Of The NecronomiconThe Colour Out Of Space A Horror From The Skies Far Worse Than Any Nuclear Fallout Transforms A Man Into A MonsterThe Shadow Over Innsmouth Rising From The Depths Of The Sea, An Unspeakable Horror Engulfs A Quiet New England TownPlus Twelve Terrifying Tales


10 thoughts on “The Best of H.P. Lovecraft

  1. says:

    I know, I know the diction is unnecessarily latinate and the prose is frequently overwrought, piling up the adjectives like shambling and eldritch to the point where certain passages are laugh out loud funny And yet Lovecraft has fashioned from the New World s New England a land so very old, a world in touch with realities so alien, that Christianity albeit peripherally present is completely irrelevant, and mere sanity the best one can reasonably hope for depends upon a few ancient formulae and extraordinary personal luck The precisely imagined landscape convinces the reader, even though the prose often fails Lovecraft makes us believe in his world, and his world is genuinely terrifying.


  2. says:

    Ph nglui mglw nafh Cthulhu R lyeh wgah nagl fhtagn Try saying that backward or forward, which is equally challenging.H.P Lovecraft is definitely the granddaddy of Cosmic Horror and Weird Fiction He is often mentioned in science fiction fantasy horror related websites and forums, not to mention myriad other kinds of websites Reading fans raving about his works and seeing the numerous fan arts online make many of us genre fiction enthusiasts want to start getting into his fiction to see what the fuss is all about I suspect a lot of first time readers of Lovecraft are disappointed at what they find The way he goes about telling his stories is very idiosyncratic, he has a tendency to overwrite and is often ridiculously verbose This can be very disappointing and off putting if you choose the wrong story to start with and you were expecting a quick thrilling read.This is where the unwieldy titled The Best of H.P Lovecraft Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre comes in This is a greatest hits type of anthology which is ideal for the uninitiated and of course fans who want their favorite stories all in one book It does not include the novellas At the Mountains of Madness and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, which is just as well as these are not so suitable starting places I think it is better to get used to and forgive the author s verbiage and appreciate the otherwise awesomeness of his stories.A lot of the stories tend to be supernatural sci fi hybrids with witches and wizards summoning aliens from another planet or dimension by magic Here is my quick run through of the stories in this collection Introduction by Robert Bloch Best known for Psycho, one of his prot g s A good intro to Lovecraft the man and his fiction Don t skip it The Rats in the Walls As your very first Lovecraft story his convoluted prose style may take a while to get used to The climax is spectacular but also a bit of a mess in the narrative department The story is great though, worth a reread later on The Picture in the House The book that drips blood where the useless protagonist runs away just when things are heating up to a critical point, next time stay at home old chap Nice, short and atmospheric though The Outsider A story of self discovery Great twist at the end Awesome in a most eldritch way Pickman s Model You are in for a treat with this one Classic Lovecraft, one of his most popular and enduring stories The colloquial writing style is rather unusual for Lovecraft I think Possibly his most accessible story and a great starting point for new readers In the Vault Break a leg An amusing and rather inconsequential little story The Silver Key Time traveling shenanigan featuring some Lovecraft s patented awful faux hillbilly dialog A Twilight Zone ish story The Music of Erich Zann Featuring a man who is attracted by weird music Next time just buy a Yoko Ono album Actually one of HPL s most popular stories Doesn t really do much for me, unfortunately The bloody protagonist does a runner again just when things are getting interesting The Call of Cthulhu The narrative is a little fragmented and the story is rather incohesive, but there is some tremendous world building going on in this story The creepy atmosphere is very well done and for once the monster actually shows up in all its glory HPL s monsters generally prefer to lurk and mess with your head This story is also often cited as evidence of his racism According to Robert Bloch Lovecraft did become mellow and tolerant of foreigners after marriage The Dunwich Horror This is what newcomers to Lovecraft are probably looking for A great, thrilling and creepy tale That Wilbur Whateley reminds me of Damian in the Omen movies a bit to begin with He changes later on though not for the better of course The Whisperer in Darkness Gives new meaning to the Kodak moment , talk about product placement A very creepy story featuring weird floating monstrosities and a whispery ET The Colour Out of Space This Ladies and gentlemen This Lovecraft s best story IMO For a change, the story is pure sci fi, no chanting monks, witches, voodoo or Cthulhu The poor Gardners family literal disintegration thanks to a meteor falling on their farm will surely give you the heebie jeebies The Haunter of the Dark Set in Italy The story of a weird black church If you spot a copy of the Necronomicon by Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred in a church head for the exit immediately The Thing on the Doorstep This also What a great body swap story, much better than Freaky Friday Featuring the eponymous Thing on the Doorstep whose catchphrase is Glub Brrrr The Shadow Over Innsmouth Oh my Gawd A blasphemously amazing story of some very fishy folks Set mainly in the creepiest town ever Featuring a very cool twist The Dreams in the Witch House Featuring a witch, a rat with a man s face and a sort of hyperspace bypass The narrative is a little rambling for my taste, but a great story is embedded in there The Shadow Out of Time Another story of involuntary body swap The Great Race aliens are almost benign by HPL s standard, unauthorized body swap notwithstanding It is a longish story 70 pages or so , it starts off very fascinating, but then Lovecraft goes into his rambling mode in the second half of the story an example of his overwriting Still a great story though, one that will stay with you.Due to his verbiage, thin characters and appalling dialogs Lovecraft s dissenters often dismiss him as a bad writer IMO he was not bad as such, but his literary ambition exceeded his ability, or perhaps he is the most excellent bad writer of all time The thing about his writing is that while some of the stories will have you nodding off while wading through the long winded prose, but once you get to the end of the stories you realize that they are actually quite good Also when he is on top form, such as in The Colour Out of Space where the narrative is very evocative and the story is just right, he is unbeatable._______________________________Notes The website Cthulhuchick has kindly put together a free e book of the Complete Works of H.P Lovecraft in several formats The download link is on the main front page.You can read any and all of Lovecraft s stories online at Dagonbytes.Download links for free Lovecraft audiobooks.


  3. says:

    H P Lovecraft is a peculiar writer His stories are extremely predictable The first person narrator, a sober man of reason and science, will halfway through the story start noticing something odd about his surroundings It was almost as though horrifying revelation from the end of the story , but I knew that could not be the case And then, at the end, when all his reason has been denied, It was then I knew the terrible truth horrifying revelation that we all guessed thirty pages ago He also tends to use the same handful of adjectives over and over again ancient, blasphemous, and cyclopean occur far often than is really necessary.But for all that, there is still some strange magical property to his writing A personal example the first time I read Lovecraft, I was visiting my sister on spring break I wanted something to read before going to bed, so I picked up The Best of H.P.L. and started reading The Call of Cthulu Halfway through the story, I was thinking Wow, this is really kind of hack y and predictable I was starting to feel rather afraid, though what of I couldn t tell you Then, I went to sleep, and had scary effed up nightmares all night about undersea cities and evil giant monsters Which, I think, is rather the point of reading H P Lovecraft.He s not a terribly good writer, but his stories have a strange way of getting into your subconscious and taking root.


  4. says:

    I recently read a review by Glenn Russell of a Lovecraft short story called From Beyond In his review Glenn provides this link to a Guttenburg Australia site titled the Collected Stories of Lovecraft H.P Lovecraft, 1934, age 43 3 years until he passed on to what These are horror stories dating back close to a century now, from one of the stranger American fiction writers The fictional worlds that Lovecraft created are located in temporally shifting realms which intersect with everyday reality in usually horrific ways, inhabited by ancient creatures having no relation to the life forms familiar to us The stories generally involve an interaction between the other these worlds and creatures , and a human being who has somehow come into contact with this other The contact often happens through some type of portal, likely in an old abandoned house or castle, perhaps simply in an outdoors location miles from normal human traffic The results of such contacts are always pretty unfortunate for the human, resulting in death or, just as frequently, insanity.The other that Lovecraft created is often referred to as a mythos , specifically as the Cthulhu Mythos from a series of stories which refer to one of these ancient beings by that name view spoiler To my knowledge, these are the only stories in the horror literary genre that have ever been made into successful games the Arkham Horrorboard game, the Call of Cthulhu role playing game Other literary works on this rather small shelf sources for games are mostly fantasy and science fiction tales Such game source stories that I m familiar with with associated games include Frank Herbert s Dune same name Robert Heinlein s Starship Troopers same name Joe Haldeman s The Forever War same name Anne McCaffrey s Dragonriders of Pern series same name Tolkein s Lord of the Ring s trilogy several games Marion Zimmer Bradley s Darkover series same name Isaac Asimov s Foundation trilogy on which the boardgame Star Traders was loosely based the Buck Rogers pulp magazine comic strip series same name and One Thousand and One Nights which served as inspiration for an offbeat game called Tales of the Arabian Nights hide spoiler


  5. says:

    It was only last year that I discovered the joy of short stories thanks to Anton Chekhov and Edgar Allan Poe although it seems longer since time is a great ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff Since then I have been interested in the great short story authors of all time as well as writing my own short stories , among whom Lovecraft is often mentioned So I was very optimistic about this volume of stories when I started to read it particularly in regards to the infamous Cthulhu Mythos This volume opened with a brilliant foreword by Robert Bloch which described why Lovecraft deserves to be among the greats of horror writing and short story writing When I read his stories I found them to have a similar effervescence and mellifluous beauty to Poe and in some parts the simplicity of Chekhov, yet clearly the work was one hundred percent unique What Lovecraft has done with his short stories is create a world that focuses on the unknown His terror is not simple blood and gore shock tactics to scare the audience, it is the horror that requires a deeper level of skill, to creep the audience out by linking the narrators to mysterious and creepy terrors I found the supernatural and science fiction elements of his horror unique to him as while his language may have been similar to other short story artists the themes were completely unique and specific to his work Very few other short story writers have written short stories that constantly link while telling different stories.What are the themes of these short stories Well Lovecraft deals in a variety of themes such as dreams, mirrors and hence the self, the other , the unknown, the danger of cults and occult powers, corpses, tombs, old ruined houses, cannibalism, science vs religion, the cosmos, monsters vs men, crawling and slimy creatures, insanity and psychology It seemed to me that Lovecraft believed not in deities as such or had a personal religion but was a scientist who believed in the power of the cosmos His view seems that the universe is strange, chaotic and hence unordered by the power of one supreme being but perhaps there may be old powers that exist in the black seas of infinity and will exist after people Of course while my beliefs are very different it was interesting to note this in his fiction He seemed to still hold a concept of black and white morality despite there being very much a greyness about his stance on human life and the powers in the universe CuriousThe thing I also loved about the stories was pointed out to me by the foreword Where most novels and short stories have either an unreliable or a reliable narrator Lovecraft wrote stories that had both at once in some strange way The way he did this was to write first person narratives with characters who had the information but also some kind of flaw to make you doubt where the reliability was or was not For instance this particularly occurs in the first story in this volume view spoiler Where the narrator appears to describe everything reliably until right at the end we discover that he is in fact narrating from an asylum and he is being classed as insane However he claims he s not insane So which viewpoint do we take hide spoiler


  6. says:

    Well, I don t watch a lot of horror films, but now I see where they all rip off everything from Lovecraft I didn t read EVERY one of these stories, they got a bit repetitive after a while, but the stories were chilling and seeing how influential the storytelling is on modern horror is really interesting Fascinating how much suspense can be put into a 10 page story Yes, I had nightmares of tentacle things after I finished Don t make fun of me.


  7. says:

    Beautifully written horror that many imitate ahem, Stephen King but few can pull off The real horror of Lovecraft isn t the scariness of the monsters or the gore, but concept that we are pointless blips of dust on the gaping maw of a chaotic, ageless, indifferent universe that constantly destroys itself for no reason at all Each story reminds you of how puny and ignorant you are but that s a good thing because every character finds out a little too much and goes crazy, gets eaten, sacrificed, has his face ripped off, teleported to another dimension or wakes up as a rotting corpse Good stuff


  8. says:

    To the best of my recollection, this may have been my first reading of H.P Lovecraft Seems unlikely, I know What I found is that Lovecraft is as familiar as meat on a stick, seen at carnivals and malls everywhere I feel as though I know Lovecraft s work, for I ve read those who influenced him Edgar Allan Poe and Algernon Blackwood , and I ve read or seen films by multitude of writers influenced by him, such as Steven King and Brian Lumley, for example I wasn t aware until now that Lovecraft created the Cthulhu Mythos which you ll find in music, comic books, video games, and who knows what else in modern culture Lovecraft is everywhere shocking During my brief research, I discovered that a fictional book Lovecraft refers to often in his stories, The Necronomicon, is believed by some Christian fundamentalist groups to be a real book Amazing, isn t it, how writers imaginations can create generational uproars Therefore, although I have no memory of reading a Lovecraft story before this book, I probably have, either directly or indirectly, because I m a child of a culture with a deep thumbprint of Lovecraft upon it.The collection of stories I ve read was put out by the Carlton Publishing Group, not by Createspace which has a cover by the same name, but of poorer quality and fewer stories, or so I m told So, be careful out there Here are the titles in the Prion copy Herbert Wesst ReanimatorThe Rats in the WallsThe Call of CthulhuTHe Dunwich HorrorThe Whisperer in the DarknessAt the Mountains of MadnessThe Shadow over InnsmouthThe Shadow Out of TimeThe Haunter of the DarkThe Case of Charles Dexter WardQuite a nice selection, as it turns out Most of Lovecraft s works are public domain, but, as expected, lots of legal wrangling went on after his death he died young Only 47 I loved that he was generous with his work, encouraging others to borrow from his stories, etc In fact, the I read about Lovecraft, the I would have liked to have known him Almost forgot that I was here to write a review Overall, I was enthralled, but the ideas are so ingrained, that they felt familiar rather than fresh I could accurately anticipate much of the plot and was only surprised two or three times in over 600 pages that is how deeply I ve been seeped in Lovecraft s influence The benefit of this was that it allowed me to think outside the plot I could ask myself, why is this or that so frightening What cosmology has Lovecraft created here Etc This led to explorations of Cosmicism, which is Lovecraft s philosophy from Wiki that there is no recognizable divine presence, such as a god, in the universe, and that humans are particularly insignificant in the larger scheme of intergalactic existence, and perhaps are just a small species projecting their own mental idolatries onto the vast cosmos, ever susceptible to being wiped from existence at any moment I see now why Lovecraft has such ardent supporters His philosophy resonates and can displace the notion of a man centric universe that requires a personal god with a notion that we don t know what the hell is out there I imagine, for that, Lovecraft was discredited and a bit feared Fear That is what we go to horror for, isn t it We love to fear without real danger, but Lovecraft doesn t let us off the hook so easily You are an insect, he says, and there are things that go slop and slurp in the shadows that will eventually destroy you, and you will never see or understand them That, folks, is cosmic horror, and it doesn t need gore to send chills Reading Lovecraft can be pretty amazing if you have courage, entertaining if viewed on merely a plot level, but quite disturbing, perhaps, if you are of a highly sensitive nature Reading it is your choice, of course, but Lovecraft has most likely worked his way in your psyche already.


  9. says:

    Not having read him before, I was surprised to find these rather enjoyable Not remotely disturbing or frightening to the modern mind, of course, but it is interesting to see the fears engendered by the scientific revolutions at the start of the 20thc Also interesting to see how much of contemporary sci fi horror is simply a regurgitation of his ideas.


  10. says:

    There are my Poe pieces and my Dunsany pieces but alas where are any Lovecraft pieces H.P Lovecraft, 1929 What really makes Lovecraft interesting is the degree to which he was a student of the Horror genre As his influential essay Supernatural Horror in Literature shows, Lovecraft was a voracious reader who went far afield in his search for interesting Horror authors If Lovecraft hadn t been such an odd recluse, and instead pursued an academic career, we might not have had to wait a century for scholar S.T Joshi to drag the genre into the sphere of literary criticism.Due to his vast knowledge, Lovecraft was able to pick through influences and styles when he wrote his stories, but instead of synthesizing all of those disparate inspirations into a new vision of his own, Lovecraft was likely to work in bits and pieces, creating recognizable, sometimes formulaic story types in which we can easily trace the ideas he drew from Dunsany, Blackwood, Hodgson, Chambers, or Bierce.Beyond that, his style was not always engaging, relying as he did on rather purple prose and extended explanations of his characters innermost thoughts, instead of letting the actions and subtle cues speak for themselves As such, his stories tended to lack the power and poetry of the great Horror authors who influenced him, but Lovecraft was such a prolific author, and so invested in his genre on a conceptual level that he did create a number of classics.He also had a considerable influence on other writers through the vast correspondence which he kept up throughout his whole life with lasting, notable authors such as R.E Howard, Fritz Leiber, Derleth, Clarke Ashton Smith, and numerous others, not only introducing them to the many ideas and authors Lovecraft had collected, but opening himself up to the thoughts and experiences of all those young, up and coming authors.Then there is the lasting effect of the Mythos sometimes called the Cthulhu Mythos , that interconnected set of ideas and approaches that became a sort of shared world for other authors to explore whit are still being explored in an unabated string of short story collections published every year despite the fact that all the stories in them tend to be terrible But the Mythos was not quite Lovecraft s original invention, it was instead an attempt to take the worlds of the previous great Horror authors and combine them into one grand setting.Probably the most unique aspect of Lovecraft s work was his combination of the chilling, aloof alienness of Dunsany s elves with the otherworldly, interdimensional terrors explored by Hodgson to produce that characteristic Cosmic Horror which, while not invented by Lovecraft, was brought to a higher lustre in his works.Though the Lovecraft stories that I find most interesting are not his Poe pieces , his straight Horror works which should not be surprising, since I m not especially fond of Poe but his Dunsany inspired Fantasies, such as The Silver Key and several other entries in his Dream Cycle, which tend to be rather less formulaic recreations of the styles and forms of earlier authors, than explorations of the mind, and of possibility Beyond that, Lovecraft s very deliberate, thoughtful style seems to work better in a world of waking dreams than one of world hopping adventure and monster attacks.However, in the end, I would suggest that the most lasting effect of Lovecraft s work was born in his intense dislike of seafood, which gave his monsters and beasties their shapes, and proved a much effective choice than Hodgson s odd distaste for pig Indeed, Lovecraft s disgust must surely rank among the most influential gustatory preferences in the history of literature.