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H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was a reclusive scribbler of horror stories for the American pulp magazines that specialized in Gothic and science fiction in the interwar years. He often published in Weird Tales and has since become the key figure in the slippery genre of "weird fiction." Lovecraft developed an extraordinary vision of feeble men driven to the edge of sanity by H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was a reclusive scribbler of horror stories for the American pulp magazines that specialized in Gothic and science fiction in the interwar years. He often published in Weird Tales and has since become the key figure in the slippery genre of "weird fiction." Lovecraft developed an extraordinary vision of feeble men driven to the edge of sanity by glimpses of malign beings that have survived from human prehistory or by malevolent extra-terrestrial visitations. The ornate language of his stories builds towards grotesque moments of revelation, quite unlike any other writer. This new selection brings together nine of his classic tales, focusing on the "Cthulhu Mythos," a cycle of stories that develops the mythology of the Old Ones, the monstrous creatures who predate human life on earth. The stories collected here include some of Lovecraft's finest, including "The Call of Cthulhu," "At the Mountains of Madness," "The Dunwich Horror," "The Colour Out of Space," "The Shadow over Innsmouth," and "The Shadow out of Time." The volume also includes vital extracts from Lovecraft's critical essay, "Supernatural Horror in Literature," in which he gave his own important definition of "weird fiction." In a fascinating introduction, Roger Luckhurst gives Lovecraft the attention he deserves as a writer who used pulp fiction to explore a remarkable philosophy that shockingly dethrones the mastery of man. Featuring a chronology, bibliography, and informative notes, this is a must-have critical edition for Lovecraft aficionados, and the best introduction to his work for first-time visitors to his strange fictional world.


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H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was a reclusive scribbler of horror stories for the American pulp magazines that specialized in Gothic and science fiction in the interwar years. He often published in Weird Tales and has since become the key figure in the slippery genre of "weird fiction." Lovecraft developed an extraordinary vision of feeble men driven to the edge of sanity by H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was a reclusive scribbler of horror stories for the American pulp magazines that specialized in Gothic and science fiction in the interwar years. He often published in Weird Tales and has since become the key figure in the slippery genre of "weird fiction." Lovecraft developed an extraordinary vision of feeble men driven to the edge of sanity by glimpses of malign beings that have survived from human prehistory or by malevolent extra-terrestrial visitations. The ornate language of his stories builds towards grotesque moments of revelation, quite unlike any other writer. This new selection brings together nine of his classic tales, focusing on the "Cthulhu Mythos," a cycle of stories that develops the mythology of the Old Ones, the monstrous creatures who predate human life on earth. The stories collected here include some of Lovecraft's finest, including "The Call of Cthulhu," "At the Mountains of Madness," "The Dunwich Horror," "The Colour Out of Space," "The Shadow over Innsmouth," and "The Shadow out of Time." The volume also includes vital extracts from Lovecraft's critical essay, "Supernatural Horror in Literature," in which he gave his own important definition of "weird fiction." In a fascinating introduction, Roger Luckhurst gives Lovecraft the attention he deserves as a writer who used pulp fiction to explore a remarkable philosophy that shockingly dethrones the mastery of man. Featuring a chronology, bibliography, and informative notes, this is a must-have critical edition for Lovecraft aficionados, and the best introduction to his work for first-time visitors to his strange fictional world.

30 review for The Classic Horror Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kyriakos Sorokkou

    THE oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. H.P. Lovecraft Introduction from 'Supernatural Horror in Literature' Lovecraft was the subject of the first book by the leading contemporary French Novelist Michel Houellebecq. [...] The novels of Stephen King are unthinkable without Lovecraft as are the films of the Alien series [...] Particularly the Swiss artist H. R. Giger's designs for the [first] film [in the Alien series]. [In the same ve/>Lovecraft THE oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. H.P. Lovecraft Introduction from 'Supernatural Horror in Literature' Lovecraft was the subject of the first book by the leading contemporary French Novelist Michel Houellebecq. [...] The novels of Stephen King are unthinkable without Lovecraft as are the films of the Alien series [...] Particularly the Swiss artist H. R. Giger's designs for the [first] film [in the Alien series]. [In the same vein] is Guillermo del Toro's fantasy cinema. [...] All this is not bad for a [reclusive] man of fragile health who only circulated his stories to close friends in handwritten form, or published them in tiny networks of amateur journals. Roger Luckhurst Introduction of this book. My first contact with Lovecraft was in 2013 when a Facebook friend sent me a pdf format of Lovecraft's complete fiction, but since I loathe reading in an electronic form I haven't read it, not even a paragraph. In 2014 when I was in Manchester, UK a flatmate gave me her The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories but the elaborate descriptions and elaborate use of adjectives and adverbs by Lovecraft made me abandoned (dnf) the book. Now 3 years later I seized him for good. Note: I read 83% of this book in 2016, so it makes it a 2016 book and I put it in 2016 reading challenge since I want to start 2017 with a new book. THE TALES ▶ 1 The Horror at Red Hook Lovecraft himself said that "The Horror at Red Hook" "[was] rather long and rambling, and I don't think it is very good. I agree with him. ❇ ❇ ❇ ▶ 2 The Call of Cthulhu Most emblematic and well known story by Lovecraft. So I was expecting something longer than the 29 pages I read. And it felt like a journalistic piece of writing; a bit fragmented, with good elements of horror. It didn't move me though, the characters and narrative felt a bit flat and dry despite the slimy oozing atmosphere it had. Next time maybe ❇ ❇ ❇ ▶ 3 The Colour out of Space Finally a decent horror story. A meteorite falls nearby a farm and in a year everything is infested: vegetation, animals and the family that owns the farm. Madness, Disappearances, Disfigurements, Emissions of an alien vapour in indescribable colour. What I was looking for in a collection of horror stories by H.P. Lovecraft. ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇,4 ▶ 4 The Dunwich Horror Something is (pretty) rotten in the state of Dunwich. Something not of this world. Something abominable and dangerous. A child the result of an albino woman and an unknown [possibly] non-human father. All these and more surround this story that feels like a B-horror movie but certainly the story is not B rated. ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ▶ 5 The Whisperer in Darkness I felt a few shivers while reading this story especially during the last 30 pages. Extraterrestrial or to be more precise extracosmic beings are present in this story. Our narrator has a correspondence with a Vermont folklorist who believes non-human evil creatures pester him at his farmhouse. Then out of the blue he invites the narrator to visit him as if nothing happened. I felt that something was wrong; & it was. ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ▶ 6 At the Mountains of Madness Longest story so far (103p.) Even though it was a really interesting story and had many references to Poe and other authors, even though it reminded me of Indiana Jones, Alien vs Predator, Dan Brown's, Deception Point, and other Science Fiction/Horror stories it had elements I don't really enjoy in a story. Elaborate descriptions; that slow down the pace of the story. Architectural descriptions that go on and on and description of how a beast or person looks and what he wears. . . Oh bother! ❇ ❇ ❇,5 ▶ 7 The Dreams in the Witch-House Probably the best story so far. A university student rents an attic in an old house that's rumoured to be cursed since a witch that disappeared during the Salem trials was once living there. Nightmares are becoming one with reality. In his dreams he repeatedly encounters the witch, a negro (Lovecraft can't avoid racism) & a rat that has a human face (Brown Jenkin). ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇,5 ▶ 8 The Shadow over Innsmouth A scary story indeed. I felt goosebumps towards the end, see keyholes and abandoned hotel. The ending wasn't very bright for the narrator or for the reader. It depends on how you see it. ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇,5 ▶ 9 The Shadow Out of Time A VERY interesting story, BUT at the end it was all: That horror which I saw. I'll tell you in a moment. The horror oh! the horror it's coming. The horror was there, I saw it you know what it was? A horror. . . No answers, a lot of confusion, felt a bit turn of the screw-ish so its initial enjoyment evaporated like a f ❇ ❇ ❇ Even though I find Lovecraft a repulsive racist and his race and eugenics views inexcusable even for his times, he was indeed a great storyteller and I will certainly look for more stories by him. 3.7 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    240316 this is a much later later later addition: just read an engaging postmodern sort of horror that is inspired by hp, an africanamerican version of horror built out of his work. it is a conflict the author is well aware of- systemic, open, constant racism, and in this way is a great comment on history and current racism... rec highly: Lovecraft Country: A Novel https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... this is a later later addition: have read a few graphics, found some rather too clean, too legible, but then a few which ar 240316 this is a much later later later addition: just read an engaging postmodern sort of horror that is inspired by hp, an africanamerican version of horror built out of his work. it is a conflict the author is well aware of- systemic, open, constant racism, and in this way is a great comment on history and current racism... rec highly: Lovecraft Country: A Novel https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... this is a later later addition: have read a few graphics, found some rather too clean, too legible, but then a few which are woozy, nauseous, disturbing to look at- and in this perhaps better capture the spirit of lovecraft. he is not meant to be sharply, clearly, scientifically rendered, but rather his images should be ugly as the world at 3 AM to a drunk drinking more, more, more as if there is somewhere to go to. this is why he might fail to translate to film, unless the other artist is equal to such imagery. just read an article in 241113 LA Review of Books, suggesting that in fact he is not a bad writer, that he is 'difficult' with a purpose, http://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/real..., that maybe he was just out of his time, that even now he is not likely to be enlisted in anything like a 'canon'... yet if there has been a writer more influential over entire genres of the twentieth century, i cannot think of one... this is a later addition: have read another collection, including 'the case of charles dexter ward', then some graphics, and can certainly place lovecraft in the history of 'body horror' like cronenberg, the sci-fi horror of 'alien' series... and decide to read some 'gothic horror' of which he might be thought a derivation. for pure expressions of horror, yes can see how influential his work has been. there is still the critical aspect of his kind of 'anti-rationalist' horror, his vision of an uncaring, amoral, unsettling universe- but this attitude feels now almost deliberate ploy to have some meaning, any meaning, even nihilist unmeaning, to human life... after reading much philosophy, much of which seems predicated on human reason as the way to understand and be living, even nietzche's designed refutation of the enlightenment ideals... after this, lovecraft seems a pop-culture expression against such hubris... something to read on more... I did still like 'the case...'... 170414 first review: i had not read lovecraft for many years, but read an essay in 050513 LA Review of Books, http://lareviewofbooks.org/review/to-..., on his work and this one collection specifically. wondering whether this would hold up, after so many other books read, films seen, life lived, i decided to try this out. i recall the emotions provoked of his work, more than the work itself, and his tendency to using four adjectives or adverbs where one might do- his repetition, his overstatement, his narrators always on the verge of madness or fear or horror- i think of with fondness. according to standards of literature of contemporary days, he is nearly indigestible, but i found the verbiage engaging... the idea words, concepts, eloquent descriptions, could never catch the weirdness, this is great... i do not now and never did follow his sort of 'open-source' horror world, the 'cthulhu mythos', in fact do not read much horror. but it is much in evidence here. and yes the editor seems to have caught the right thread to link several of the stories, often naming the 'necronomicon' of that mad arab abdul azhared... but rather than summoning up thoughts of say stephen king, whose horror seems thin, pallid, not nearly as gibous and fungoid, blasphemous and nameless and...sorry, easy to get carried away- but rather than horror fiction i have read, i ended up thinking of beckett, where the horror is very darkly comic and not horror, and alain robbe-grillet, where the story is subtle, precise, language deployed in an emotionless survey, where emotions are inherent but unmentioned, where you just look... pretty much the opposite of this... for this is what can be parodied or dismissed as bad literature- not in any ironic way, not any camp way, not 'so bad it is great'- it is the extremes of emotion that lovecraft furiously writes. there is no clearer case that demonstrates fear as being borne of ignorance. i read this, think of how it would emerge on pulp pages, how it would give its popular readers moments of horror etc., and oppress the reader with vast, uncaring, cosmic vistas, where we humans are not the first nor last nor greatest beings. or only beings. or have any great knowledge- throw in references to einstein primarily to discount his limited perspective- the fact lovecraft is a tortured prose stylist seems completely understandable, as he sounds like a tortured man... so yes, he held and demonstrates in writing repellent excessive racism even more than of his time- but such views seem aligned with the times and also too many other artists eg. dw griffith- and so he flew too close to the dark sun of horror, the unimaginable, mutated, gibous, fungoid- sorry again. and can we recuperate his writing? say it is just of its time? well as long as we notice and critically assess such errors in thought. or is it errors in emotion? an artist friend, who does like horror in all mediums, claimed his most effective horror was the film 'the exorcist', because, after all, it is the devil after you and what can you do? i said you can not believe in god, thus not believe in the devil. so is horror borne of ignorance? is fear a human existential constant? this collection did inspire me to try and find another novella of his i had liked as much as 'at the mountains of madness'- the novella 'the case of charles dexter ward'... any book that drives you to read another book, is a great book...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    My own personal rating rule: since I'm more willing now to close a book if I don't like it, and if I've read at least a fourth of the book, then I give it a one-star rating. Big problem with this volume: If you've read one Lovecraft story, you've read them all. These stories are about weird alien visiting Earth, weird gods, weird whatever disrupting earthlings. There is certainly nothing horrifying here (but I've never been truly horrified by any book placed within the "horror" genre). A better My own personal rating rule: since I'm more willing now to close a book if I don't like it, and if I've read at least a fourth of the book, then I give it a one-star rating. Big problem with this volume: If you've read one Lovecraft story, you've read them all. These stories are about weird alien visiting Earth, weird gods, weird whatever disrupting earthlings. There is certainly nothing horrifying here (but I've never been truly horrified by any book placed within the "horror" genre). A better title for this book might be "The Weird Fiction of Lovecraft." The writing is solid and consistent, but that's the main problem: every story feels the same: I could only read four of the stories before closing the pages permanently. (As a side note, the most horrifying book I've ever read is "A Little Life", but at the same time it's the most beautiful and best book I've ever read.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    ECH

    Lovecraft is an interesting beast. Due to adaptations and the complicated relationship Lovecraft's works have to the public domain, many of his more popular creations have existence independent of their original context. They are something of a cultural meme. The terms Lovecraftian, Cthulhu, and Shoggoth often have meaning even to those who have never read a word of Lovecraft's prose Unfortunately, while Lovecraft deserves some credit for the genesis of these tropes, much of his actual work is j Lovecraft is an interesting beast. Due to adaptations and the complicated relationship Lovecraft's works have to the public domain, many of his more popular creations have existence independent of their original context. They are something of a cultural meme. The terms Lovecraftian, Cthulhu, and Shoggoth often have meaning even to those who have never read a word of Lovecraft's prose Unfortunately, while Lovecraft deserves some credit for the genesis of these tropes, much of his actual work is just not very good. This collection makes that obvious by leading off with "The Horror at Red Hook," a story where Lovecraft's much-noted racism is not just prominent but overwhelming. From there, the quality varies, but the premise is usually the same. A white man discovers some evidence that non-Abrahamic extremely powerful supernatural beings (Cthulhu, Shoggoth, Dagon etc) may exist. He then fails to cope. The difficulty I have with Lovecraft is that his two main methods to convince me that I ought to be horrified do not succeed. His protagonists panic when faced with something different than and also more important than western civilization. The existential crisis of realizing they do not matter in the scheme of things combined with a deep seated dread from looking at mythos things too strange to understand produces their breakdowns. The first one, the dread of unimportance, holds some merit with me, and Lovecraft should be commended for introducing it. However, at this point, the myriad adaptations and reinterpretations of Lovecraft's ideas do a better job than the original of handling it, with less belabored prose. However, it is the second, the panic of beholding something alien and different, that I find truly exasperating. Here, conceptually, I see a lot of Lovecraft's xenophobia. His narrators often panic and declare a thing to be horrifying and wrong, when information they are able to provide places it merely as foreign or difficult to explain. In fact, its often just as I become interested in the mythos that the protagonists become completely insane. I, like many of those engaged with the modern Lovecraft meme, feel the urge to study the mythos, to understand the lore or merely enjoy its strangeness. However Lovecraft's own protagonists, some of whom are anthropologists or scientists, do not. In conclusion, looking back on Lovecraft's stories from the perspective of the Lovecraft meme, I find them unengaging. Lovecraft's best creations were his myths, and culture has loved them better than he did.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Beneath the bloated, fungoid moon… "As the ghastly light shone hideously down from the bloated, fungoid moon, the alien and unnameable thing from another aeon revealed itself as so loathsome, blasphemous and hellish that it would drive me to the uttermost edge of madness if I were to describe it..." OK, I made that sentence up, but I bet anybody who's read HP Lovecraft was fooled for a moment. ;-) This book brings together some of HPL's stories published from about 1926 onw Beneath the bloated, fungoid moon… "As the ghastly light shone hideously down from the bloated, fungoid moon, the alien and unnameable thing from another aeon revealed itself as so loathsome, blasphemous and hellish that it would drive me to the uttermost edge of madness if I were to describe it..." OK, I made that sentence up, but I bet anybody who's read HP Lovecraft was fooled for a moment. ;-) This book brings together some of HPL's stories published from about 1926 onwards. Each story is extensively and interestingly annotated to tell when it was written, where published and how it fits in not just to HPL's own "Cthulhu Mythos" but also the wider landscape of "weird tales". There is also an excellent introductory essay by Roger Luckhurst which tells us about HPL's life and puts his work into the context of the period in which he was writing. Luckhurst's argument in part is that, love him or hate him, HPL has remained an influence on writers of weird fiction up to the present day. He credits HPL with being one of the main writers who moved horror away from the human-centric gothic tale, with its vampires, crucifixes and garlic, to a universe where man is an insignificant and helpless part of a greater whole. I admit it - I thought the stories ranged from loathsomely mediocre to hellishly poor myself, (even though I've always been partial to mushrooms). Luckhurst quotes Edmund Wilson on the subject of HPL's tendency never to use one overblown adjective when four would do..."Surely one of the primary rules for writing an effective tale of horror is never to use any of these words - especially if you are going, at the end, to produce an invisible whistling octopus." My feelings precisely! However, whether a fan of HPL's style or not, the introductory essay and annotations provide interesting insights into a genre that has had considerable influence over the years and those alone make the book a worthwhile read, hence my four star rating.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susie

    Lovecraft is quite a character. I say "is", despite his being deceased, because he is clearly the star of each story, no matter the name he gives to the narrator. This collection, which I've read sporadically throughout the year, was my first exposure to HPL's writing. While I certainly enjoyed some selections more than others, on the whole I find his creations fascinating. As a character, HPL seems to have been a brilliant, well-read, intellectual, narcissistic, racist and sexist man Lovecraft is quite a character. I say "is", despite his being deceased, because he is clearly the star of each story, no matter the name he gives to the narrator. This collection, which I've read sporadically throughout the year, was my first exposure to HPL's writing. While I certainly enjoyed some selections more than others, on the whole I find his creations fascinating. As a character, HPL seems to have been a brilliant, well-read, intellectual, narcissistic, racist and sexist man with low opinion of anyone unlike himself. I don't think I would have wanted to get a coffee with him, but I quite appreciate his work. He had an impeccable talent for weaving words together, and his creations are uniquely strange. All of these stories are far-fetched, but enjoyable so. Some ramble on more than others in redundant explanation rather than plot development, which gets tiresome. Kudos to those that compiled this collection with its detailed notes. Anyone with interest in sci-fi, and particularly horror, should give Lovecraft a try. His ability to inspire, both creativity and nightmares, is without doubt.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John

    2.5 The book was half too long. If I had stopped reading where At the Mountains of Madness originally ended, I would have been happier. The stories tended to have similar plot points and story arcs. There is real originality here, and I see the writer’s influence in many ways. In fact that I why I read him, was because many things get described as “Lovecraftian.” The Whisperer in the Darkness was my favorite. Lovecraft’s favorite word seems to be “Cyclopean.” He used it abo 2.5 The book was half too long. If I had stopped reading where At the Mountains of Madness originally ended, I would have been happier. The stories tended to have similar plot points and story arcs. There is real originality here, and I see the writer’s influence in many ways. In fact that I why I read him, was because many things get described as “Lovecraftian.” The Whisperer in the Darkness was my favorite. Lovecraft’s favorite word seems to be “Cyclopean.” He used it about every 12 pages, and I am not sure I have ever seen it used before. I had to look up what it meant in the context he was using it. Once I noticed it, I could not stop noticing it, and had to smile at its overuse.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ariana

    I loved the colour out of space, I very much liked The whisperer in darkness, and The dunwhich horror. With At the Mountains of Madness I had many breaks in which I read other books. It is tooooo long and there are to many descriptions. The Dreams in the Which House was too repetitive. In general I find all the stories too repetitive and H.P.Lovecraft keeps using the same vocabulary once and again. Masonry, aeons, cyclopean pop up in every single story thousand times. This book became a nev I loved the colour out of space, I very much liked The whisperer in darkness, and The dunwhich horror. With At the Mountains of Madness I had many breaks in which I read other books. It is tooooo long and there are to many descriptions. The Dreams in the Which House was too repetitive. In general I find all the stories too repetitive and H.P.Lovecraft keeps using the same vocabulary once and again. Masonry, aeons, cyclopean pop up in every single story thousand times. This book became a neverending task. Finally I can move on and start something new.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Sweeney

    One note; in the introduction, Roger Luckhurst refers to Jorge Luis Borges as a "novelist." Really? This is nitpicking, but when you make a mistake like this in the first couple of paragraphs, it really undermines the integrity of your credit as "editor."

  10. 4 out of 5

    SH Marcus

    Entering the bizarre, sometimes frightening (macabre, eldritch, sordid) world of HP Lovecraft is like entering a new dimension where imagination roam free and without hinges. The distinct early 20th century prose style entrances with refined taste, in tandem with its interesting contents, often involving overpowered aliens and impregnable deities from Pluto (woops Yuggoth) that forms the legendary Cthulhu mythos. In a mere span of a few dozen K words (the longest short story is around 40k), the Entering the bizarre, sometimes frightening (macabre, eldritch, sordid) world of HP Lovecraft is like entering a new dimension where imagination roam free and without hinges. The distinct early 20th century prose style entrances with refined taste, in tandem with its interesting contents, often involving overpowered aliens and impregnable deities from Pluto (woops Yuggoth) that forms the legendary Cthulhu mythos. In a mere span of a few dozen K words (the longest short story is around 40k), the Lovecraft stories show such level of ambition that dwarfs many novels in terms of the haunting power and afterthought they elicit in the reader's mind. Although I find it true that the language can feel exaggerated or over the top, many of the paragraphs overly long and redundant, and the similar, often stale formula he used in most every fictional work, they do not deduct from the overall reading experience all that much when your mind is occupied by ghastly images of wild creations, and the pure terror of unfathomable outer beings lurking at the fringes of human civilisation capable of destroying humanity just by showing up. Lovecraft's world is vivid, stylish, horrific yet beautiful, and it speaks to me - a fan of not just good prose writing but boldly imaginative settings and universes. Now I must provide my personal ranking of all the more famous Lovecraft works, at least the ones featured in this book, which compared to other collections is rather meager in content, although enough to apprise of Lovecraft's genius. 1. The Dunwich Horror - Not my favourite Lovecraft work, but probably his best. Dunwich Horror has the best, most intriguing story of them all, at times reminding me of Jaws. The beginning is already pretty solid even though like all Lovecraft stories it is expository and background talk, and at the end there is a memorable twist that makes you want to reread again. There is a real sense of threat throughout and it ultimately well serves the Cthulhu mythos. If you are looking for a lengthier story to start with before going into the quintessential story, this is my recommendation. 2. The Call of Cthulhu - MUST READ, cuz well afterall it is how you learn about Lovecraft, isn't it? While it might be lacking in terms of word count, it is definitely not dearth in term of content, and nothing less than stellar in terms of idea execution and pace. My favourite aspect is its use of multi-perspective storytelling, using the accounts of different fictional characters and different forms of information to build up suspense, and finally culminating in a worthy climax featuring the ultimate Lovecraft creation - Mr. Cthulhu. It settles the formula for the future brainchilds to come, and it is the purest and most seminal piece in his oeuvre. The writing is also phenomenal. 3. The Whisperer in the Darkness - The scariest Lovecraft story. I had low expectations coming into this tale, knowing it's plot is pretty simple. While it opens lackluster (not as strong as Madness and Innsmouth), it picks up midway through and manages to exude actual scariness/fright. The unwitting narrator was lured into a false sense of security that is very obvious, making his helpless tread through classical sci-fi/horror set ups pretty unbearable for readers. It was literally disturbing until the last sentence, and I appreciate the surprise. It would be better if the story were longer and more detailed. 4. At the Mountain of Madness - Actually my favourtie Lovecraft work. It has the best setting and opening of them all, with the story taking place in the enticing mysterious Antarctic realms far away from the bustling urban life, under the backdrop of a curious expedition. As the story developed, I was not impressed by some of the choices and story beats, but still ended up satisfied by the ending and the memorable details that embellishes the story. The mythos is also more fleshed out than the other tales, and accompanied by classical Lovecraftian elements, makes for some of my favourite reading experiences. 5. The Shadow over Innsmouth - I'm actually not as impressed by this work as the others. Not sure why. I still consider it a good work, with the standard Lovecraftian formula in play. The climax was not as stark and memorable as his other works, and it suffers from too much bloated content. However, it should be noted that the world is very fleshed out, thanks in part to a certain character's long speech in the middle and the shocking revelation at the end. The tone is the grimmest of all the Lovecraft tales, and the action scenes are a welcoming addition, although I think it is bogged down by a bit too much inner thinking. Check it out if you want to get a glimpse of Lovecraft's best and worst aspects. Here, these are all my thoughts, and I salute Lovecraft for the great times and unforgettable dreams.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wyatt

    Roger Luckhurst's edition is good for teachers (like me) who want to teach the best and worst of Lovecraft. The best: his influential cosmic "weird" horror; the worst: his racism. Luckhurst's introduction provides a good biography of Lovecraft and contextualizes his work within the genre of the weird as it was developing. Most importantly it analyzes the ideas within Lovecraft's work in their historical context, not shying away from the racist ideology that informs much of it. It's a bold choice Roger Luckhurst's edition is good for teachers (like me) who want to teach the best and worst of Lovecraft. The best: his influential cosmic "weird" horror; the worst: his racism. Luckhurst's introduction provides a good biography of Lovecraft and contextualizes his work within the genre of the weird as it was developing. Most importantly it analyzes the ideas within Lovecraft's work in their historical context, not shying away from the racist ideology that informs much of it. It's a bold choice to begin the collection with one of Lovecraft's most notoriously xenophobic stories, "The Horror at Red Hook," setting the tone for a critical re-reading of Lovecraft in the 21st century. Can one disentangle the inventive weirdness from the fear of the other? Lovecraft makes for uncomfortable reading, and Luckhurst makes it harder for the reader to deny or ignore this aspect of his work. This edition will work perfectly in my college-level horror fiction class with Victor LaValle's "Ballad of Black Tom," which uses "Horror at Red Hook" as its starting point, with echoes of "Call of Cthulhu" and "Shadow over Innsmouth" (also included in this edition).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paul McParland

    It is very difficult to score this particular book due to the number of individual stories by HP Lovecraft. A lot of the short stories in this collection are the famous entries, but among them are some more unusual choices. Some of these choices are better than others. An issue that is present with all of Lovecraft's stories is the dense language. I found it difficult to read a number of them straight after one another. Not a huge issue, but it is a book that I had to take a break from after sev It is very difficult to score this particular book due to the number of individual stories by HP Lovecraft. A lot of the short stories in this collection are the famous entries, but among them are some more unusual choices. Some of these choices are better than others. An issue that is present with all of Lovecraft's stories is the dense language. I found it difficult to read a number of them straight after one another. Not a huge issue, but it is a book that I had to take a break from after several of the stories. Lovecraft is hugely influential on the horror genre as well as many authors in general and the imagination and invention of the author is strong enough to break through the dense prose and entertain the reader, if for only short bursts at a time though.

  13. 4 out of 5

    J.Seale6

    It was the legacy an influence of Lovecraft that brought me to read him, but I found his writing doesn't live up to the art is has inspired. I think each story read independently is actually quite good. For me, the effect diminished as I read further into the collection. He crafted a style of horror that was brilliantly original and I'd certainly call him one of the main progenitors or the modern horror genre. However, his dogged adherence to the same story format, in terms of its nar It was the legacy an influence of Lovecraft that brought me to read him, but I found his writing doesn't live up to the art is has inspired. I think each story read independently is actually quite good. For me, the effect diminished as I read further into the collection. He crafted a style of horror that was brilliantly original and I'd certainly call him one of the main progenitors or the modern horror genre. However, his dogged adherence to the same story format, in terms of its narrator, plot development, various personality-starved characters and conclusions quickly made it a chore to read. In his idea he was creative, but in its delivery he was mundane.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Javier DeLeon

    The writing is entriguing and complex, a lot is lost to age because I am not practiced enough to know dead words so i find myself needing to guess words by context or have breaks in the thrill to research the words. This particular book has asterisks (*) next to figures/sayings in the book that have endnotes explaining what they are. Another loss of momentum. The stories are good but might require multiple readthroughs for the casual readers.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mere Rain

    The cover images are from Haeckel's Art Forms in Nature; I'd love to think this was a deeply-considered and thoughtful choice and have a huge discussion with the editor or designer concerning it, but probably he just chose some random mildly apt free image.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Barchet

    I didn't care for 2 of the stories in this collection but the rest really make up for that. Excellent, original story telling ahead of its time. This is a great book to have in your library.

  17. 4 out of 5

    André

    Another book from NetGalley, this one because I had never read H.P. Lovecraft. I had thought about it, of course, after reading works influenced by him (it's almost impossible not to) and a collection of his most relevant stories seemed like a great way to finally do it. I've previously mentioned here that I'm not a great fan of horror literature, but I must say that Lovecraft surprised me with stories more close to what we call weird than actual horror, which made this that much more interestin Another book from NetGalley, this one because I had never read H.P. Lovecraft. I had thought about it, of course, after reading works influenced by him (it's almost impossible not to) and a collection of his most relevant stories seemed like a great way to finally do it. I've previously mentioned here that I'm not a great fan of horror literature, but I must say that Lovecraft surprised me with stories more close to what we call weird than actual horror, which made this that much more interesting to me. This collection starts with an excellent introduction by Roger Luckhurst that gives the reader some contextual information without spoiling too much and ends with some more explanatory notes. Luckhurst's contribution in one of the details that distinguish this from other Lovecraftian collections, giving it an almost academical component without ever being boring or over-thought. There is a real intention to help the reader understand the text as it was written. Towards that - another distinguishing detail - the works were reproduced as faithfully to the original writing as possible without the alterations made by the different editors that published them in the first place. The book collects the following stories: The Horror at Red Hook, The Call of Cthulhu, The Colour out of Space, The Dunwich Horror, The Whisperer in Darkness, At the Mountains of Madness, The Dreams in the Witch House, The Shadow over Innsmouth and The Shadow out of Time. The is also an excerpt from his essay, Supernatural Horror in Literature. If when it comes to cultural interest, this was one of the most important books I've read recently, my thoughts on the stories themselves aren't always as positive. On on hand, I recognize that Lovecraft is, to my knowledge, probably the most effective author generating an ambience of weirdness and feelings of intrusion and unpredictability. On the other hand, the amount of adjectives and their repetition - specially in different stories - become overwhelming and tiresome. I feel his style works best in short stories and probably read separately, as they were published. Given all I've just said, it's easy to see why the one I enjoyed less was At the Mountains of Madness, which in spite of being one of his best known works is also one of the biggest and ended up boring me. H.P.Lovecraft focuses on a kind of fear that differs from the usual in the more traditional, religiously biased stories or in the contemporary ones, that focus on feelings of entrapment and enemies hidden in plain sight. The fear in Lovecraft isn't associated with any punishment or guilt or even anything necessarily human. It comes from the outside, from space, from other dimensions, it's external to our comprehension. The terrifying beings in his works have a near incredible description, such is the weirdness of their organisms. There is an association between these creatures (with whom he created a whole interconnecting structure that came to be called the Cthulhu Mythos) and cults or witchcraft contributing to the plausibility of the stories. The creatures have incomprehensible behaviour, live through ages which gives them a different concept of existence and have abilities far beyond ours. Common to every one of their appearances is the feeling of weirdness they cause to the narrator, as if his world was being invaded by something he can't understand and that, perhaps precisely because of that, terrifies him immediately. Lovecraft transmits, more that fear, this feeling of near insanity, through a mix of doubt and expectation associated with blurred and over-adjectivized information that gets the reader almost to nausea. These are stories that assume we've left behind those fears associated with religious morality, with guilt, seducing or punishing devils, saved pious or doomed non-believers and because of that are dedicated to the exploration of the fears of those who question alien life, outer-dimensional life, time travel or who consider the possibility of there being other creatures with abilities similar or superior to ours and whose intentions are unintelligible even when we come across them. There is, on the other hand, an obvious preoccupation with racial and cultural purity which shows, to those who are alert, a prejudice that Lovecraft was openly supportive of - something that can spoil the experience of reading his work. As it is, I recommend this collection to those who haven't read H.P. Lovecraft and have any interest in speculative fiction and horror or weird in particular, but also to those who have read one or other isolated work and wishes to read the original and more memorable ones. It will also be useful to those who wish to understand the author's context, a man who came to influence so much of what has been written ever since, and not just in horror literature. This review was originally published in Portuguese and English on my blog.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    H. P. Lovecraft, the classic horror writer, or so I had always heard. I knew that I had read a couple of comic books based on Lovecraft stories many years ago, and I thought that there was a TV show or maybe a movie called The Dunwich Horror. But I didn't really think that I had read any stories by H. P. Lovecraft. So here was my chance. First off, let me say that the introduction by Roger Luckhurst is excellent. He suggests that you might want to save it until after you have read the H. P. Lovecraft, the classic horror writer, or so I had always heard. I knew that I had read a couple of comic books based on Lovecraft stories many years ago, and I thought that there was a TV show or maybe a movie called The Dunwich Horror. But I didn't really think that I had read any stories by H. P. Lovecraft. So here was my chance. First off, let me say that the introduction by Roger Luckhurst is excellent. He suggests that you might want to save it until after you have read the stories, but I was glad that I had read it first. He gives you a lot of very interesting and valuable insight into the mind of H. P. Lovecraft. I didn't feel that there were any spoilers, so that wasn't a concern. Mr. Luckhurst chose a fine selection of stories for this volume and also included a short article from H. P. Lovecraft that explains his idea of "weirdly horrible tales". Mr. Luckhurst concludes this book with an extensive section, entitled Explanatory Notes. There are a total of 9 tales included in "The Classic Horror Tales", but not a one of them would be considered a horror story today. In fact H. P. Lovecraft didn't call them horror stories. He called them weird tales. Every science fiction, fantasy, or horror fan should read these stories, just so that you understand where H. P. was coming from. Most of his tales are from a first person point of view. He will tell you that he has found something that is too horrible to describe, then go on spending a couple hundred words describing it. And speaking of descriptions, try to get this book as an ebook, so that you can use the built-in dictionary on your ebook reader, because H. P. uses a lot of words that you will have to look up. Mr. Luckhust has a note for many of them, but even those will be easier to use with an ebook. H. P. Lovecraft had a whole made up universe. He referenced a bunch of nonexistent books by nonexistent authors such as "the Necronomicon by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred". Many of his experts came from Miskatonic University, a fictional college in Arkham, Massachusetts, a fictional town. Many of his stories have an alien race that landed on earth long before there were any humans. Using various devices, he will let you know about these horrible creatures, but always is of the opinion that they are too terrible to be talked about, that people would go mad if they knew that such a thing had happened in the far distant past. H. P. Lovecraft is very wordy, but that isn't always a bad thing, sometimes you can get into the flow of his many adjectives and adverbs and it is nearly poetic. Other times, not so much. These are good weird tales, just don't expect to have the sh-t scared out of you, because these aren't horror stories. I give this book 4 stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up! Read this if you have never tracked down any H. P. Lovecraft stories and always thought "I have to read H. P. Lovecraft sometime". The introduction and notes from Roger Luckhurst make this volume the one to read. I received this book for free from NetGalley.com.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Reem

    This review is still a work in progress, and it is mostly a review of this edition of a collection of classic HP Lovecraft stories. Fans of Lovecraft and readers new to him alike will enjoy this edition, which - in addition to nine of his tales (The Horror at Red Hook, The Call of Cthulhu, The Colour Out of Space, The Dunwich Horror, The Whisperer in Darkness, At the Mountains of Madness, The Dreams in This review is still a work in progress, and it is mostly a review of this edition of a collection of classic HP Lovecraft stories. Fans of Lovecraft and readers new to him alike will enjoy this edition, which - in addition to nine of his tales (The Horror at Red Hook, The Call of Cthulhu, The Colour Out of Space, The Dunwich Horror, The Whisperer in Darkness, At the Mountains of Madness, The Dreams in the Witch House, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and The Shadow Out of Time) - also includes an introduction, a brief chronological biography of Lovecraft, explanatory notes, as well as select bibliography and an appendix titled "Introduction from 'Supernatural Horror in Literature'". The introduction warns readers: "Here be monsters - and spoilers. Readers may wish to cross the threshold unaided and treat this introduction as an afterword". A warning I am heeding. Already familiar with Lovecraft's work and a fan of his tales, this edition - with its chronology of his life and explanatory notes - makes for a richer reading and deeper understanding of Lovecraft's process and philosophy. Below I'll be rating and briefly reviewing each tale as I progress, but if you are a Lovecraft fan you will enjoy owning this beautiful hardcover collection of his tales, and if you're new to his genre and the the Cthulhu Mythos, this is a very good primer to introduce you to his fantastical work.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I liked this book but I didn't finish it, which sounds contradictory, I know. I read the first five stories and some of the sixth, and then I went back and read the introduction. Since I covered about 250 pages, I'm considering it a book read. Anyway, I'd heard mixed things about Lovecraft, and the mixtures were at extremes - either he's amazing or he's terrible. I found him very readable and I enjoyed seeing the antecedent so much of the horror/fantasy that I enjoy. The first five stories were I liked this book but I didn't finish it, which sounds contradictory, I know. I read the first five stories and some of the sixth, and then I went back and read the introduction. Since I covered about 250 pages, I'm considering it a book read. Anyway, I'd heard mixed things about Lovecraft, and the mixtures were at extremes - either he's amazing or he's terrible. I found him very readable and I enjoyed seeing the antecedent so much of the horror/fantasy that I enjoy. The first five stories were each between 20 and 40 pages long, which felt like the right length. The sixth was about 100, which was just too much for me. The first story was set in Brooklyn, which was an interesting read given that New York seems to have both broken Lovecraft mentally and also set his imagination somewhat free. The Call of Cthulhu was interesting since so much of the geek culture I find myself in these days references the Cthulhu mythos. I had wanted to get a taste of its original form, which is why I got the book in the first place, and this story certainly did that. The Colour out of Space I really liked the sense of - the idea that everyday colors could just start to fade away into a weird gray. Even At the Mountains of Madness - the one I stopped in the middle of - was interesting because it takes place in Antarctica and was written at a time when humanity really didn't know what was there. The concept that we could find something utterly outside our realm of experience was fascinating, especially in an age when there's pretty much no place on earth we haven't surveyed with satellites - we know there are no secret mountains taller than the Himalyas, but to imagine the excitement of that possibility was really interesting. It lost me in the seemingly never-ending descriptions, though. I think my favorite of the ones I read was The Dunwich Horror, perhaps because it was written in the third person which was a welcome respite after several stories in first person which began to seem fairly contrived after a few. This one also (again, perhaps because it was in third person) felt like it had a little more character development. Overall, each of the stories I read was different enough that they kept me going over the shorter lengths. I could easily imagine loving these if they were coming in magazines separated by months or years, and I imagine they stood out by miles from the writing around them in the early weird/sci-fi pulps. Reading them in a bunch is a bit much though, especially once they got longer.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Peyton

    I’m a fan of Lovecraftian video games so I had to check out the original stories for myself. This book was a bit of a slog and I couldn’t finish it before I had to return it. (I did get pretty close to the end, though.) Lovecraft’s work is pulpy, stilted and racist, but also very creative and oddly inspiring. Reading it was interesting for the sake of giving context to the horror and science fiction genres. I think the stories are best enjoyed through games, art, retelling, etc. as opposed to th I’m a fan of Lovecraftian video games so I had to check out the original stories for myself. This book was a bit of a slog and I couldn’t finish it before I had to return it. (I did get pretty close to the end, though.) Lovecraft’s work is pulpy, stilted and racist, but also very creative and oddly inspiring. Reading it was interesting for the sake of giving context to the horror and science fiction genres. I think the stories are best enjoyed through games, art, retelling, etc. as opposed to through the source material.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nerine Dorman

    HP Lovecraft is best described as the grandpappy of a genre that can be (un)comfortably labelled as Lovecraftian horror or as falling beneath the banner of the Cthulhu mythos. This particular brand has extended its many-tentacled nastiness into mainstream media, spawning comic books, films and even role-playing games. If you’ve ever watched Alien, The Evil Dead, The Thing or Dagon, you’ve brushed up against Lovecraft’s legacy. And these are but a few of the better-known end results. HP Lovecraft is best described as the grandpappy of a genre that can be (un)comfortably labelled as Lovecraftian horror or as falling beneath the banner of the Cthulhu mythos. This particular brand has extended its many-tentacled nastiness into mainstream media, spawning comic books, films and even role-playing games. If you’ve ever watched Alien, The Evil Dead, The Thing or Dagon, you’ve brushed up against Lovecraft’s legacy. And these are but a few of the better-known end results. While diehard fans might be disappointed in the selection editor Roger Luckhurst presents in this collection, The Classic Horror Stories will offer newbies an opportunity to sample a range of Lovecraft’s writing in one volume. Some classics, such as The Call of Cthulhu, The Dunwich Horror, At the Mountains of Madness and The Shadow of Innsmouth are present, and Luckhurst includes exhaustive notes in the appendix, which help establish context (useful, if you’d like a little more background). The introduction will offer insight too. My feelings about HP Lovecraft remain, as always, conflicted. His prose is ponderous, stilted and at times so flowery and dense that it’s impossible to read large sections of his writing in one sitting. To say that he was an eccentric is putting things mildly, and his misanthropy and fear of the other is glaring – amply reflected in the personal isolation of his characters. Yet he offers a peculiar kind of allure. Mankind is but a fly speck in the greater scheme of things. Our existence inhabits a thin sliver of reality as we know it, and for us to consider that we are more is nothing but conceit. In the face of Lovecraft’s vast, ageless entities and ancient aeons past, there is no hope for the human race. And those who wish to pry into the mysteries are often rewarded poorly as they try to assimilate their discoveries. Once you read a handful of Lovecraft’s tales, you are faced with similar themes of gradually unfolding horror in which characters often become enmeshed, unable to extricate themselves from the often ghastly revelations. How the luckless narrator responds to his dilemma has only one of two options: death or madness. Connoisseurs of dark and dismal tales will, however, find this process oddly compelling.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christos

    As an early twentieth century writer of sci-fi pulp fiction, you can understand why H.P. Lovecraft has a passionate following of geeks today. And I certainly wasn’t going to miss out! Intrigued not only by his reputation, but also on discovering that my interest in sci-fi, horror, early twentieth century literature and philosophical speculation all found their confluence in his writing, I was sold. ‘The Classic Horror Stories’ is a thoroughly collated and annotated anthology of Lovecraft’s short As an early twentieth century writer of sci-fi pulp fiction, you can understand why H.P. Lovecraft has a passionate following of geeks today. And I certainly wasn’t going to miss out! Intrigued not only by his reputation, but also on discovering that my interest in sci-fi, horror, early twentieth century literature and philosophical speculation all found their confluence in his writing, I was sold. ‘The Classic Horror Stories’ is a thoroughly collated and annotated anthology of Lovecraft’s short stories, and if you too want to take the plunge into his non-human moral universe where ancient behemoths slumber for millennia under the earths surface while ignorant humans live out their drab lives, this is a great place to start! Mind you, it is about 450 pages long, and after a while even I got sick of learned gentlemen in their dapper 1920s garb trying to save the world from unthinkable horrors through their knowledge of obscure and forgotten lore. So my tip would be to read it concurrently with another, vastly different genre of short stories, to avoid getting bored. At time his prose is a bit labored and repetitive, nonetheless, he still spins a good yarn. One word of warning: as an Anglican minister I would not recommend this book to any brother or sister who is sensitive to things that refer to the occult. If, however, like me you can appreciate a wild tale for what it is, then Lovecraft is quite entertaining.

  24. 5 out of 5

    P.W.

    Years ago I was given a book of Lovecraft from a friend, but never read it. When this book became available I grabbed an ARC of it figuring it'd be a nice quick read. That was not the case. If you're unfamiliar with Lovercraft, he wrote in a very immersive style that tends to loosely connect all his stories to a common universe (ancient ones visiting earth long ago, and references to the Necronomicon) with still having all the stories independent of each other... in fact, the characters have no Years ago I was given a book of Lovecraft from a friend, but never read it. When this book became available I grabbed an ARC of it figuring it'd be a nice quick read. That was not the case. If you're unfamiliar with Lovercraft, he wrote in a very immersive style that tends to loosely connect all his stories to a common universe (ancient ones visiting earth long ago, and references to the Necronomicon) with still having all the stories independent of each other... in fact, the characters have no knowledge of each other whatsoever. Lovecraft is often compared to Poe, mostly for the dark nature of his stories. But while Poe seems more focused on internal struggles with evil, Lovecraft is more about external sources. To me, the comparison seems a little forced. The stories in this volume fall more into the "novella" length rather than short stories, which was more of what I was expecting. While some of the stories are really engaging, others failed to ignite much excitement in me. There is also a good biography of Lovecraft at the beginning of the book. I'd recommend this book more for a true Lovecraft fan, although they probably already have the stories in various editions already. If you're just looking for a gift for someone it might work, or just be placed on a shelf for years since a thick book is intimidating. 3/5 stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tina Hayes

    "The Classic Horror Stories" of H. P. Lovecraft is classic horror at its finest. This book also contains a lot of bonus information in the biography, chronology, and notes sections, to learn more about the author and his work. The stories are haunting, and certainly kept me up reading late into the night. One thing I find fascinating is that he died in 1937 but yet his stories are full of things, dreamed up in his imagination, that have since came into existence. He writes of space tr "The Classic Horror Stories" of H. P. Lovecraft is classic horror at its finest. This book also contains a lot of bonus information in the biography, chronology, and notes sections, to learn more about the author and his work. The stories are haunting, and certainly kept me up reading late into the night. One thing I find fascinating is that he died in 1937 but yet his stories are full of things, dreamed up in his imagination, that have since came into existence. He writes of space travel, and even more amazing, cryogenics when some of his characters from outer space have technology to carry brains in shiny metal containers and hook them up to machines so they can communicate. Another fun detail is that Lovecraft mentions certain things--the 'Necronomicon' and the Cthulhu, for example--in most of his stories, creating a thread of familiarity with his work while cementing in the reader's imagination what those things are. I'd love to know how many people have read this and tried to find an actual copy of the 'Necromonicon', partially because Lovecraft makes us believe the book actually exists in reality rather than fiction. Lovecraft was a wonderful author. I highly recommend these classic stories for fans of horror and science fiction.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Vaughan

    There are authors who I can go along time without reading ,and then one day for whatever reason I get the urge to return to them. H.P. Lovecraft is one of those authors. I'll admit it I read two or three of these srories and then thought I'm good with this. Here are some reasons for that. Even his most diehard defenders must admit that his bag of tricks is shall we say limited. His characters all seem to have the most tenuous grasp on sanity, because none of them are ever more than a There are authors who I can go along time without reading ,and then one day for whatever reason I get the urge to return to them. H.P. Lovecraft is one of those authors. I'll admit it I read two or three of these srories and then thought I'm good with this. Here are some reasons for that. Even his most diehard defenders must admit that his bag of tricks is shall we say limited. His characters all seem to have the most tenuous grasp on sanity, because none of them are ever more than a few moments away from seeing, hearing something or feeling that destroys their minds. And who can blame them Lovecraft's locales practically pulsate with dread and cosmic horror. Don't get me wrong there are things about Lovecraft that I like. The search for forbidden knowledge, hidden cults, and mad science are all tropes that have my inner nerd doing back flips. The problem is that Lovecraft lays it all so heavily that's like eating a large bowl of candy eventually even the biggest fan is going to get a tummy ache. Hence my need to take a break from him At some point I teally should invest in the complete edition of his works that Batnes and Noble has put out so that I may satisfy these fits when they come upon me

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Lovecraft is tricky. He's historical, and there is a direct line from Poe to Lovecraft, and Lovecraft to Stephen King, and I really like Stephen King. And Lovecraft's mythos is fun and dark and fascinating. This collection has some great stories: The Call of Cthulu, The Colour out of Space, At the Mountains of Madness. And then some that are not so great, or that could be great...if they weren't soaked through with his racism. Lovecraft's stories are sometimes dripping with racism, and it feels Lovecraft is tricky. He's historical, and there is a direct line from Poe to Lovecraft, and Lovecraft to Stephen King, and I really like Stephen King. And Lovecraft's mythos is fun and dark and fascinating. This collection has some great stories: The Call of Cthulu, The Colour out of Space, At the Mountains of Madness. And then some that are not so great, or that could be great...if they weren't soaked through with his racism. Lovecraft's stories are sometimes dripping with racism, and it feels like a lot of his darkest descriptions of the deep and dark evil in the universe comes from his own personal revulsion to people he felt were inferior to him. You really feel this is The Shadow over Innsmouth, which is really a good story. It's just hard to digest. Lovecraft is just hard to digest sometimes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    When this turned up on the new books display at the library it seemed a good time to scratch a chore off my to-read list. I had never read any Lovecraft, but had read and heard quite a bit about his, shall we say, "outdated" ideas about race. I question the wisdom of opening an introductory collection with "The Horror at Red Hook" since it's the most xenophobic of the lot and not the strongest story. Aside from that, this edition seemed to me a good survey of Lovecraft. I was very grateful for t When this turned up on the new books display at the library it seemed a good time to scratch a chore off my to-read list. I had never read any Lovecraft, but had read and heard quite a bit about his, shall we say, "outdated" ideas about race. I question the wisdom of opening an introductory collection with "The Horror at Red Hook" since it's the most xenophobic of the lot and not the strongest story. Aside from that, this edition seemed to me a good survey of Lovecraft. I was very grateful for the notes, which lead me off on some interesting tangents - Like Conan the Barbarian and the history of the sword and sorcery subgenre. I pushed on after "Red Hook" and in the end enjoyed the stories for what they are. The monsters, unusual as they are, are great food for the imagination and a nice break from the predictable old stable of anthropomorphic favorites.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tom Schutt

    Lovecraft's imagination is both his greatest strength and sometimes his downfall. His ideas are unique and he's very good at setting tone and building atmosphere. The problem arises when he starts delving into the back story of any number of cults, monstrous races, or demons. The less shrouded in mysterious menace somethibg is, the less scary it is. The Color Out of Space is the best story here because it explains almost nothing about the strange meteorite that crashes to rural Earth, or its mal Lovecraft's imagination is both his greatest strength and sometimes his downfall. His ideas are unique and he's very good at setting tone and building atmosphere. The problem arises when he starts delving into the back story of any number of cults, monstrous races, or demons. The less shrouded in mysterious menace somethibg is, the less scary it is. The Color Out of Space is the best story here because it explains almost nothing about the strange meteorite that crashes to rural Earth, or its malevolent contents. Not so in At the Mountains of Madness, which spends far too much time explaining the history of the Old Ones, thereby replacing the unknown with the tedious. Overall the stories are good; most of them could be told as effectively with 50-75% of the words Lovecraft used.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Azn

    It's hard to review a book like this because I feel very differently about each story. The writing is obviously good, but the pacing, the subject matter and the aim of each story made me either love a story or detest it. Horror at Red Hook and At the Mountain of Madness are the weakest for me. Especially At the Mountain of Madness, which had the potential, and probably is to many people, an amazing story, but it is just long winded with extraneous descriptions. The best stories, which were full It's hard to review a book like this because I feel very differently about each story. The writing is obviously good, but the pacing, the subject matter and the aim of each story made me either love a story or detest it. Horror at Red Hook and At the Mountain of Madness are the weakest for me. Especially At the Mountain of Madness, which had the potential, and probably is to many people, an amazing story, but it is just long winded with extraneous descriptions. The best stories, which were full of tension and creepiness, are The Color out of Space and The Whisperer in the Darkness.

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