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The Shadow Out Time (H.P. Lovecraft Ebooks Book 12)

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Extraterrestrial species with the ability to travel through space and time, their original purpose is to study the history of various times and places, and they have amassed a "library city" that is filled with the past and future history of multiple races, including humans. The Shadow Out Time, first published in the June 1936 issue of Astounding Stories, is an horro Extraterrestrial species with the ability to travel through space and time, their original purpose is to study the history of various times and places, and they have amassed a "library city" that is filled with the past and future history of multiple races, including humans. The Shadow Out Time, first published in the June 1936 issue of Astounding Stories, is an horror story by H.P.Lovecraft.


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Extraterrestrial species with the ability to travel through space and time, their original purpose is to study the history of various times and places, and they have amassed a "library city" that is filled with the past and future history of multiple races, including humans. The Shadow Out Time, first published in the June 1936 issue of Astounding Stories, is an horro Extraterrestrial species with the ability to travel through space and time, their original purpose is to study the history of various times and places, and they have amassed a "library city" that is filled with the past and future history of multiple races, including humans. The Shadow Out Time, first published in the June 1936 issue of Astounding Stories, is an horror story by H.P.Lovecraft.

30 review for The Shadow Out Time (H.P. Lovecraft Ebooks Book 12)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    This novella is Lovecraft's last major effort, and resembles—in relation to his own work, if not in literary quality—Joyce's Finnegan's Wake and James' The Golden Bowl: all three extend to the limits of aesthetic possibility their author's personal concerns, and as a result can be boring, infuriating, and sometimes just characteristically odd. Nonetheless, they are mature works by master craftsmen, and may often reveal the hearts of their creators more intimately than earlier, less ambitious, and more su This novella is Lovecraft's last major effort, and resembles—in relation to his own work, if not in literary quality—Joyce's Finnegan's Wake and James' The Golden Bowl: all three extend to the limits of aesthetic possibility their author's personal concerns, and as a result can be boring, infuriating, and sometimes just characteristically odd. Nonetheless, they are mature works by master craftsmen, and may often reveal the hearts of their creators more intimately than earlier, less ambitious, and more successful works. The Shadow Out of Time is the story of Professor of Economics Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee who faints one day in the middle of a lecture and regains consciousness five years later only to find that he—or some entity inhabiting his body—has been pursuing eccentric researches in the obscure libraries and remote places of the world. As he follows the trail of this five year search—of which he has no conscious memory—he begins to dream (or remember?) cyclopean cities and the massive conical beings which inhabit them. Eventually his journey ends in the outback of Australia, amid cavernous ruins and terrifying revelations. This 25,000 word tale often taxes the patience of the reader, but it also reveals—more subtly and precisely than many Lovecraft tales—the intimate relationship between imagination, memory and landscape, and the transcendent importance of the written word both as an affirmation of our identity and as a proof of our connection with the past.

  2. 4 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    H.P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Out of Time is an interesting, rambling discourse. Yes, it is interesting--with scattered gems here and there--but it rambles and shuffles and repeats itself. At first, the narrator is the focus, his amnesia and deteriorating mental faculties. However, in what seems like a fevered and reoccurring dream, the emphasis shifts to the narrator's exploration of the Elder Race and a civilization millions of years old. I well might read this again, but as a narrative I think H.P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Out of Time is an interesting, rambling discourse. Yes, it is interesting--with scattered gems here and there--but it rambles and shuffles and repeats itself. At first, the narrator is the focus, his amnesia and deteriorating mental faculties. However, in what seems like a fevered and reoccurring dream, the emphasis shifts to the narrator's exploration of the Elder Race and a civilization millions of years old. I well might read this again, but as a narrative I think it ultimately doesn't satisfy. 3.5 stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leonard Gaya

    This is one of the last stories by HPL, written a few months before cancer possessed his body and took him away. Also, it is probably one of his very best. The story is in keeping both with The Dreams in the Witch House, through a series of disturbing dreams in the first half of the tale, and with At the Mountains of Madness, through the second half and the archaeological excavation in the Australian sandy desert. The time travelling race is redolent of H. G. Wells’ Time Machine. The Shadow Out of Time seems to sum up/>The This is one of the last stories by HPL, written a few months before cancer possessed his body and took him away. Also, it is probably one of his very best. The story is in keeping both with The Dreams in the Witch House, through a series of disturbing dreams in the first half of the tale, and with At the Mountains of Madness, through the second half and the archaeological excavation in the Australian sandy desert. The time travelling race is redolent of H. G. Wells’ Time Machine. The Shadow Out of Time seems to sum up, in one grand (albeit short) narrative, the whole of the Cthulhu mythos Lovecraft had been building through different angles over the years. It opens immense vistas on the history our planet which, although they seem petrifying and malevolent to the narrator, could well be perceived as grandiose and glorious (as suggested earlier, at the end of The Whisperer in Darkness). In a way, HLP's stories of the hidden past of our world are a dark counterpart of Olaf Stapledon's bright perspectives into the farthest future of the universe (see: Star Maker and Last and First Men). The ending of Lovecraft's tale is brilliant and unexpected. The architectonic descriptions regarding the “Cyclopean” masonry of the “Great Race” — possibly evocative of ancient Egyptian or Inca buildings — are incredibly detailed and probably inspired the idea of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. To be sure, it also influenced the paintings and designs of H.R. Giger. I suspect Borges might also have remembered this tale when writing his Library of Babel (in Ficciones). Too, this story is a blueprint for Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    Lovecraft Illustrated Volume 4 Contents: ix - Introduction by S. T. Joshi 003 - "The Shadow out of Time" by H. P. Lovecraft 091 - "The Vanity of Existence in “The Shadow out of Time” "by Paul Montelone 108 - "The Shadow out of Plastic" by Pete Von Sholly 111 - "“The Shadow out of Time” as Lovecraftian Horror" by W. H. Pugmire

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eddie Watkins

    In some ways the boldest of Lovecraft’s tales, in that he risks dulling monotony in order to effect the sensation in the reader of his profoundest fears and nightmares. It begins, like many of his best tales, with a man experiencing or discovering something that irrevocably alters the fabric of his life, sending him scrambling to restore his sanity; but in this case this aspect is reduced to little more than a framing device for detailed descriptions of how the Great Race – an effectively disemb In some ways the boldest of Lovecraft’s tales, in that he risks dulling monotony in order to effect the sensation in the reader of his profoundest fears and nightmares. It begins, like many of his best tales, with a man experiencing or discovering something that irrevocably alters the fabric of his life, sending him scrambling to restore his sanity; but in this case this aspect is reduced to little more than a framing device for detailed descriptions of how the Great Race – an effectively disembodied race that successively inhabits the bodies of others throughout the universe – manages incredible feats of time and space travel, and of descriptions of the ruined habitations of the Old Ones in a desert in Australia. These descriptions do have a dulling quality, as Lovecraft autistically elucidates the details of how the Great Race time travels by inhabiting the minds of other races of the future, and of repetitive descriptions of cyclopean columns and enormous fallen walls as his protagonist scrambles over them in masochistic pursuit of proof of his nightmares; but at the same time by reducing the role his human protagonist plays in his basic thesis of the cosmic puniness of humanity is enhanced. His protagonist, who is a stand-in for all of humanity, literally diminishes in the reader's mind's eye. The real protagonist here is the Great Race, Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee is merely a pawn, a vehicle (one of many) for the Great Race’s survival. For five years his body is inhabited by the far superior mind of an individual from the Great Race, while his mind goes millennia back in time to inhabit the body of his possessor. After five years Peaslee’s mind is restored to his rightful body, and as would be expected he soon begins to experience strange haunting nightmares and quirks of thought. This leads him to scour arcane literature for other examples of his bewildering experience, and eventually leads him to an archaeological dig in a desert in Australia, where he discovers (or does he?) something that verifies his most terrifying hypotheses. What ends up haunting about this tale, and what makes it one of his most successful, is that only portions of his worst nightmares are actually verified. Yes, there was apparently a far superior race of beings inhabiting the earth in some dim prehistoric era, but did Peaslee actually suffer possession by one of their kind? He has incontrovertible evidence in his hand at one point, but then loses it, by which time reality and dream are so intertwined that he will never be able to unravel them. Whether he did or not there is no doubt his nightmares and psychological disturbances will continue. It seems no matter how many times I reread Lovecraft’s best tales they never fail to give me a physical sensation of vast dark realms beyond the perimeter of my daily mind, and for this I am perversely thankful.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    A professor suffers an unexplained collapse, followed by strange changes in personality. After another episode five years later, Peaslee is left with no memory of the intervening years. No memory of his recorded life, that is -- he does have fragmentary, dream-like memories of another life in an alien place...

  7. 5 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    'I shiver at the mysteries the past may conceal, and trembled at the menaces the future may bring forth.' Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee is perfectly normal, ordinary, albeit very smart man who works at Miskatonic University. His origins are normal and he tries hard to get that fact through. It is important because something horrible has happened to him. For five years Nathaniel's mind has seemed to be gone and something else was there. The Nathaniel of those five years acted strange, knew foreign and dead la 'I shiver at the mysteries the past may conceal, and trembled at the menaces the future may bring forth.' Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee is perfectly normal, ordinary, albeit very smart man who works at Miskatonic University. His origins are normal and he tries hard to get that fact through. It is important because something horrible has happened to him. For five years Nathaniel's mind has seemed to be gone and something else was there. The Nathaniel of those five years acted strange, knew foreign and dead languages, travelled to weirdest places, researched the strangest things and talked to various cult leaders. Until one day the real man came back. Then the nightmares started. They seem to be memories of the things he couldn't possibly know. The professor had a misfortune to encounter the Great Race - beings that mastered mind-projection in order to study and learn about other races and worlds to learn everything they can about them, their past and their future. It is very important to note the difference between captive minds and exiled ones. The Great Race isn't exactly aggressive in a usual sense (they don't go klling people), but the fact is they possess whomever they judge knowledgeable enough for their own goals. Whatever they do, they do it to be able to run when their own horrors awaken. The Shadow Out of Place is Nathaniel Peaslee's written testimony of what happened to him, or rather an account of a series of events that he left to his son to judge whether he was dreaming or it was all real. You can read it here

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maciek

    The Shadow Out of Time is one of Lovecraft's last stories, written between 1934 and 1935, and published in 1936 - just a year before his death. Lovecraft thought so little of it that he mailed the original, handwritten manuscript to his friend without keeping a copy for himself - he seemed to be very dissatisfied with most of the stories he wrote, and made little effort to get them published. The Shadow Out of Time, like many other Lovecraft stories, is narrated in the form of a confession by Natha/>The The Shadow Out of Time is one of Lovecraft's last stories, written between 1934 and 1935, and published in 1936 - just a year before his death. Lovecraft thought so little of it that he mailed the original, handwritten manuscript to his friend without keeping a copy for himself - he seemed to be very dissatisfied with most of the stories he wrote, and made little effort to get them published. The Shadow Out of Time, like many other Lovecraft stories, is narrated in the form of a confession by Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee, a professor of political economy at Arkham's Miskatonic University. Contrary to other Lovecraft protagonists that I have encountered in his fiction, Peaslee is not a loner - he is married and has three children, and is leading a satisfying and calm life of an academic. Peaslee has no reason to consider himself unhappy - and has no interest in either the occult or abnormal psychology, until he is struck with what he describes as "queer amnesia". While giving a lecture to his student, Peaslee is struck with a strange vision - he sees strange shapes in the lecture hall, and begins to feel disconnected the world around him. He collapses, and when he comes to after many hours he doesn't remember anything about himself; he doesn't remember how to walk and move about, and is distrustful and withdrawn from those around him. There is something alien about Peaslee; his wife and children cannot stand him anymore. Claiming that he is possessed, they leave him and he will never see them again, even after his "return to normality" five years later. During these five years, the not-Peaslee is possessed - by a new interest in the occult; he raids libraries for strange, old books, and travels around the world, visiting the weirdest places. He learns about this from others afterwards, as he tries to pick up the pieces from the period of his life that he knows nothing about - and discovers a truth stranger than anything he might have suspected. The Shadow Out of Time explores Lovecraft's theme of humanity's vast insignificance in the general scheme of cosmic events - particularly when Nathaniel discovers what he claims to be the truth about a great alien race, which has inhabited our world long before we did. Peaslee becomes a literal pawn in this game; like humanity, he ultimately cannot control his fate and visibly disintegrates before our eyes. The story is notable for being one of the few stories which take place outside Lovecraft's familiar New England surrounding (at one point Peaslee travels to a desert in remote Western Australia - though the setting is differentiated largely, if not only, by name alone), and one where the protagonist doubts the actuality of the horrors that he witnessed. Was he truly possessed by an ancient creature, or was it a delirium? Peaslee writes the account for his son, hoping that he might understand from it the truth of his experience - and use it as a warning for others if it's true, and as a way to convince himself that it is not, because the possibility of truth is too terrible to consider. The Shadow Out of Time apparently shared the fate of most of Lovecraft's fiction, and became more appreciated after his death; some of the critics consider it to be one of his major stories, even his greatest achievement. I would advise you to decide for yourself - like always, you can freely and legally read it online or download a copy for your eReader.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pickle.

    Some random thoughts: “Archaeology became a professional activity in the first half of the 20th century...” (Wiki), with an accompanying surge of interest from the public. The beginnings of aerial archaeological survey, flight getting cheaper, aeroplanes more numerous in the 1930s. The new tools of Aerial photography / reconnaissance by the RAF during interwar years blossomed. The rise of cropmark and soilmark indicating darkened structures underneath topsoil was news....here Pro Some random thoughts: “Archaeology became a professional activity in the first half of the 20th century...” (Wiki), with an accompanying surge of interest from the public. The beginnings of aerial archaeological survey, flight getting cheaper, aeroplanes more numerous in the 1930s. The new tools of Aerial photography / reconnaissance by the RAF during interwar years blossomed. The rise of cropmark and soilmark indicating darkened structures underneath topsoil was news....here Prof. Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee spots the “...lines from the air...” the ‘great races’ telltale unveiled existence, “cyclopean corridors” and the like, unwrapping realisations of truth in his “pseudo-memory”. Its bloomin’ great. I’m guessing that it is no accident that these current archaeological scientific events influenced Lovecraft here, giving an extra depth of interest to the modern reader. I’m drawn to the gulf of knowledge and pushing of the extremes of difference between each race here also. The hieroglyph-like obscurity of the carvings of the Yith, their great purpose of mind projection perplexing beyond the library of races. An unknowability, the entirely foreign form of super intelligence of the ‘Forbidden Planet’ like elder beings even the scholarly Great race of Yith were afraid of, a whole ‘nother level of mystery. Scary? Rarely. Was it good? A lispy Yith. Imagination-wise: six stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    John

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'd read virtually no Lovecraft before taking on this short novel, and as I soon discovered there's a very good reason why this should be so. It's hard to take seriously as literature a text that includes sentences like this one: Could I still find the house of the writing-master, and the tower where S'gg'ha, a captive mind from the star-headed vegetable carnivores of Antarctica, had chiselled certain pictures on the blank spaces of the walls? Obviously, lots of people find I'd read virtually no Lovecraft before taking on this short novel, and as I soon discovered there's a very good reason why this should be so. It's hard to take seriously as literature a text that includes sentences like this one: Could I still find the house of the writing-master, and the tower where S'gg'ha, a captive mind from the star-headed vegetable carnivores of Antarctica, had chiselled certain pictures on the blank spaces of the walls? Obviously, lots of people find Lovecraft true triff -- The Master of Eldritch Wotzit! -- and even more of them write in imitation of him; it's as if he were the sort of Rocky Horror Picture Show of the printed word. But, me, I had a hard time keeping my eyes open; I kept counting my blessings that I had to read just this one section out of the gorblimey 807 pages of the very elegant Library of America edition of his work (with annotations by Peter Straub). Nathaniel Peaslee, a prof at Miskatonic University, falls into a strange psychological state for some years: although physically himself, he has suffered an appalling character shift, almost as if his body had been possessed by something . . . other. He can read as fast as he can turn the pages, no matter the language of the book in front of him -- and read he does! devouring all the arcane ans squamous texts he can lay his hands on, to the ill concealed revulsion of the librarians who must supply him with these accursed tomes. Then, late one night, neighbours notice him being visited by a tall, alien-seeming fellow on a bicycle; in the morning, Peaslee is his old self again, albeit himself with no memories at all of the events of the past five years. Oh, and there's a strange-looking machine nearby. Eventually restored to health, Peaslee remains tormented by strange and vivid lucid dreams. Soon he realizes that these aren't random: if pieced together jigsaw-fashion they form a coherent whole, they form a story. Could they be trying to tell him something? He goes into a frenzy of research, involving not just visits to the libraries where those self-same accursed tomes are to be had (complete with incomprehensible marginal annotations made by his possessed self) but also interviews with the leaders of unspecified occult sects, whose traditions he mines in search of further clues as to what's happened to him. And at last he's able to put everything together. About 150 million years ago (those occult traditions go back a long way!), the earth's dominant species was the Great Race, a people who took the shape of tall leathery cones with four long tentacles branching out from near the apex and who walked in the same manner a slug does: This [. . .:] was the greatest race of all; because it alone had conquered the secret of time. It had learned all things that ever were known or ever would be known on the earth, through the power of its keener minds to project themselves into the past and future, even through gulfs of millions of years, and study the lore of every age. From the accomplishments of this race arose all legends of prophets, including those in human mythology. Since the Great Race died out fifty million years before humankind came onto the scene, I'm uncertain how those legends made the jump, as it were. Still and all, even the Great Race folk aren't quite what they seem; although physically born from this earth, they were long ago possessed by the minds of alien creatures fleeing from their doomed world and seeking a fleshly home elsewhere in the tormented cosmos. Peaslee slowly works out what happened to him ("Such was the background of intertwined legend and hallucination"). The people of the Great Race, eager to learn every scrap of information about their own future, use time machines to send minds to possess individuals in every age; the minds of the possessed individuals, meanwhile, are snapped back in time to occupy the conical bodies of their mental usurpers. They're treated with every kindness while in the remote past, but brainwiped at the end of their stay so as to make them remember nothing of it; it's because his brainwiping was imperfect that Peaslee has been having the strange dreams. During their forays into the future, the time-travelling Great Racers, in their human guise (or their giant-beetle guise, if sojourning among the next dominant species after our own), do as much research as possible into the past and present of the relevant era; meanwhile, the abducted mentalities, back in the 150-million-years-ago world, are encouraged to write down as full a history as they can of their own times. The results of both prongs of the research are made into books and stored in a library designed to withstand even the mightiest geological upheavals the future might throw at it (cue muted drum roll: you're getting ahead of the story, aren't you?). The way the books are made is really, really arcane and alien: they open from the top, rather than the side, and their bindings are metal, not board. Golly. When I came to this example of the writer's imagination not so much vaulting as tripping over its own shoelaces it occurred to me why Lovecraft's work has always had so very little appeal to me. His imagining seems somehow very restricted, and also very clumsy. He hasn't really thought through the Great Race, whose appearance is like something an adolescent would dream up and whose social customs and psychology seem little different from their human equivalents. While 150 million years seems an impressively vast period of time, it's actually too vast for Lovecraft's plot, because oral traditions simply cannot last that long; anyone who tries to tell you historical details that are 150 million years old is either a madman or a Scientologist. And so on. Back to the story, the rest of which is soon told. Peaslee publishes the results of his research in a scholarly journal, and decides to get on with his life. However, a while later, he gets a letter from an Australian mining engineer who says that he has recognized some of the Great Race hieroglyphs Peaslee sketched for his journal illustrations as identical to those he'd discovered on some ancient, artificial-seeming boulders in the midst of the Australian desert. Off goes Peaslee with an archaeological team to Australia to see what they can find. Out for a stroll one night without his companions, Peaslee stumbles across an opening in the sands exposed by the desert winds and explores down it to find the remains of the ancient library and, you've guessed it, the book he himself wrote while in a Great Race body!!!!!!!! He flees, because a couple of the Old Ones who preceded the Great Race, and whom the Great Race loathed and feared, have escaped from their "subterrene" prisons and are on the prowl. The next day the sands have shifted yet again, and there's no trace left of the opening to the underground library. Even so, Peaslee flees Australia and leaves this hastily handwritten memoir for those who might come after . . . That's quite a long discussion of what's only a long novella/short novel, but I feel I'm owed it. The text has, if I recall aright, not a single line of dialogue. It was Lovecraft's conceit -- again an adolescent one, it seems to me -- that it was Fine Writing never to use one short, simple word where several long, obscure ones would do, with the result that I constantly felt as if I were having to hammer my forehead against the page in order to extract meaning from the narrative. Added to this was the effort of trying to take seriously concepts and imaginings that seem to me to be bordering on the puerile. I kept wanting to shout out, Scenes and events and ideas are not world-moving or horrific or portentous simply because you say they are! In fact, if you have to keep saying they are, they almost certainly aren't. But I didn't shout that, because Lovecraft wasn't there to listen and anyway he's been dead a long time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dorotea

    Lovecraft apparently wasn’t satisfied with this novella – one of his final works - but I, as many others before me, think it’s brilliant. Several interesting concepts are present: from a different perception of time to dreams as a learning experience and/or a portal to a different world and/or forgotten memories. Above all, I found amusing how for him, horror is external (an alien civilization, a different body, etc) and not internal (your own mind tricking you), which instead I deem simply terr Lovecraft apparently wasn’t satisfied with this novella – one of his final works - but I, as many others before me, think it’s brilliant. Several interesting concepts are present: from a different perception of time to dreams as a learning experience and/or a portal to a different world and/or forgotten memories. Above all, I found amusing how for him, horror is external (an alien civilization, a different body, etc) and not internal (your own mind tricking you), which instead I deem simply terrifying.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lanko

    Can't express how much I enjoyed reading this. I actually picked up this expecting an Horror novella, but it's actually one of the few works of Lovecraft that has a very strong Sci-Fi vibe and actually no disturbing or terror aspect, at least comparing to some of his other works. The premise is amazing: a professor of economics is giving his usual lecture when he starts having visions and collapses. He returns to "normal" 5 years later without any memories, but "he" was actually trave Can't express how much I enjoyed reading this. I actually picked up this expecting an Horror novella, but it's actually one of the few works of Lovecraft that has a very strong Sci-Fi vibe and actually no disturbing or terror aspect, at least comparing to some of his other works. The premise is amazing: a professor of economics is giving his usual lecture when he starts having visions and collapses. He returns to "normal" 5 years later without any memories, but "he" was actually traveling the globe in search of obscure libraries, books and hidden cults. Suddenly, speaking in the middle of nowhere, the professor continues his economical lecture that he was giving his class 5 years ago. And then he starts having dreams about alien beings, worlds and buildings, each time becoming more and more real. Turns out he was possessed by one of the Yith, an extraterrestrial species with the ability to travel through space and time. And not only to the past, but to the future as well. They possess someone, and this someone is sent back (or forward) in time to the body of the Yith. This allowed this race to create a library of all the knowledge available in the universe, both from the past and the future. The person who is now inhabiting the body of one of the Yith can talk with other Yith or possessed aliens from other worlds or time periods and even access the library of the Yith. Sometimes this gets disastrous results when the host returns to his world, be it the future or the past, with their forbidden knowledge. But this is not the only use of this ability. For example, the Yith all migrated to another planet by switching minds with another race when their home planet was about to be destroyed. So they moved to live, and the other race was left to die in their original bodies. Imagine you are going about your daily routine and the next moment you are in an alien body, staring up at the sky and see a freaking meteor or the sun approaching, no possibility of salvation. You are gonna die, and you are not even allowed to be yourself at that moment. Disturbingly awesome. Even more disturbing is that the Yith will transfer their minds to Earth at some point to save themselves again. But not with us humans, but with the race that will inherit the planet after we are gone. It's subtle, but we can only guess what terrible calamity will happen to us that the planet will still be inhabitable, but we are no longer here. The psychic time travel would be considered today a great "magic system" and Lovecraft naturally imbues this race with it. Just look at some passages: (view spoiler)[ Most of the tales and impressions concerned a relatively late race, of a queer and intricate shape resembling no life-form known to science, which had lived till only fifty million years before the advent of man. This, they indicated, was the greatest race of all; because it alone had conquered the secret of time. It had learned all things that ever were known or ever would be known on the earth, through the power of its keener minds to project themselves into the past and future, even through gulfs of millions of years, and study the lore of every age. From the accomplishments of this race arose all legends of prophets, including those in human mythology. .... In the latter case the course was easier and more material. With suitable mechanical aid a mind would project itself forward in time, feeling its dim, extra-sensory way till it approached the desired period. Then, after preliminary trials, it would seize on the best discoverable representative of the highest of that period’s life-forms; entering the organism’s brain and setting up therein its own vibrations while the displaced mind would strike back to the period of the displacer, remaining in the latter’s body till a reverse process was set up. The projected mind, in the body of the organism of the future, would then pose as a member of the race whose outward form it wore; learning as quickly as possible all that could be learned of the chosen age and its massed information and techniques. .... The beings of a dying elder world, wise with the ultimate secrets, had looked ahead for a new world and species wherein they might have long life; and had sent their minds en masse into that future race best adapted to house them — the cone-shaped things that peopled our earth a billion years ago. Thus the Great Race came to be, while the myriad minds sent backward were left to die in the horror of strange shapes. Later the race would again face death, yet would live through another forward migration of its best minds into the bodies of others who had a longer physical span ahead of them. (hide spoiler)] Speaking of the races (and places) described, I'm not sure if even Lovecraft himself understood what he was describing. Probably intentional. Mostly, new races in Fantasy that I have read assume humanoid or animal-humanoid shapes. No such thing here remotely resembling anything familiar. Things are truly... alien. This also has a nice ending. It may be a bit slow on some parts, but the set up is definitely worth it. It's also pretty short (around 70 pages). So totally recommended.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The shadow our of time is basically a prequel to a prequel, since it gives the reader the backstory to "At The Mountains of Madness", and that story gives the backstory to"The Call of Cthulhu". As such, this story is best suited for the true Lovecraft devotee. It's also told as an extended flashback, which lessens the dramatic impact. However, the story still has plenty of payoffs. It's full of "oh, that's what that was" moments for those who are familiar with the Mythos, and it develops the ide The shadow our of time is basically a prequel to a prequel, since it gives the reader the backstory to "At The Mountains of Madness", and that story gives the backstory to"The Call of Cthulhu". As such, this story is best suited for the true Lovecraft devotee. It's also told as an extended flashback, which lessens the dramatic impact. However, the story still has plenty of payoffs. It's full of "oh, that's what that was" moments for those who are familiar with the Mythos, and it develops the idea if The Great Race of Yith, which is *completely insane*. This story is a must-read for the true Lovecraft fan.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Finally! Nice to get some time where after weeks of the things that life insists we need to do l got to read this in sitting. Lovecrafts great appeal for many is apart from the incredible cosmic horror is the travelogues. Evil moons and cool breezes with a shifting sands hiding cyclopean structures it's all here with from the original manuscript with no changes. Worth every minute of time... and space.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jose Moa

    One of the first remarkable sf novels,written at the end of the life of Lovecraft and framed in the Lovecrafts miytology. Is a mix of oniric,fantasy,terror and sf novel,a tale of cosmic sf and horror,with beings of other universes,beings able of sending minds and abducing minds trough time,entityes that mastered projecting minds in time, future and past. Beings that build a civlization in the Permic age but that was also tormented by a more ancient semimaterial beings. One of the first remarkable sf novels,written at the end of the life of Lovecraft and framed in the Lovecrafts miytology. Is a mix of oniric,fantasy,terror and sf novel,a tale of cosmic sf and horror,with beings of other universes,beings able of sending minds and abducing minds trough time,entityes that mastered projecting minds in time, future and past. Beings that build a civlization in the Permic age but that was also tormented by a more ancient semimaterial beings. A novel told in first person by a human abducted mind,describing the world of the ancient alien strange civilization ,a world of amazing colossal partial underground costructions that persisted buried for eons. As many works of Lovecraft the frontier between sanity and madness is thin and the question if the tale is real or fruit of a tormented mind is open. A original sf novel that not aged at all,a entertaining read with the inconfundible taste of Lovecraft

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    Part of the Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft , which can be found formatted for Nook and Kindle on CthulhuChick.com. Synopsis: A young professor from the fictional Miskatonic University learns that aliens, the Yith, are possessing the bodies of humans to learn about the history and culture of the Earth. He soon becomes convinced that he is also possessed, but those around him fear he is simply insane.. My Thoughts: Ultimately, this novella affected me more strongly than any of them in the omnibus. The sense of deja vu that t/>My/>: Part of the Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft , which can be found formatted for Nook and Kindle on CthulhuChick.com. Synopsis: A young professor from the fictional Miskatonic University learns that aliens, the Yith, are possessing the bodies of humans to learn about the history and culture of the Earth. He soon becomes convinced that he is also possessed, but those around him fear he is simply insane.. My Thoughts: Ultimately, this novella affected me more strongly than any of them in the omnibus. The sense of deja vu that the narrator experiences through most of the story resounded strongly with me, due to my own experiences of repeating dreams, long periods of deja vu, and strange knowledge I have that I should not know. So, to be frank, this story really freaked me out. Beautiful!

  17. 4 out of 5

    J L Shioshita

    This story is definitely more in the science fiction vein than a lot of Lovecraft's other stories. The mysterious amnesia is great, and the body dislocation element is menacing, but I just couldn't get into it. The horror was more ambiguous and ominous and not as visceral as other tales in the Mythos. Lovecraft goes to great lengths to really flesh out the world of the Yith, but in the end that detail weakened the ending for me and caused it not to be as surprising or as impactful as it could ha This story is definitely more in the science fiction vein than a lot of Lovecraft's other stories. The mysterious amnesia is great, and the body dislocation element is menacing, but I just couldn't get into it. The horror was more ambiguous and ominous and not as visceral as other tales in the Mythos. Lovecraft goes to great lengths to really flesh out the world of the Yith, but in the end that detail weakened the ending for me and caused it not to be as surprising or as impactful as it could have been if left to interpretation.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    This story was a re-read. And it just as good as the first time I read it years ago.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Kress

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Shadow Out of Time is H.P. Lovecraft's last major work, and I can see how several of his ideas, especially about deep-time, came together to help him hone his craft and create something great. I'm not sure, but I believe this was the second time I read this story. The first time around, I really didn't like or get it at all; I probably would have given it one star. But this time, because I understood his ideas, I thought it was amazing. (I am quite familiar with the elder Gods at this point. The Shadow Out of Time is H.P. Lovecraft's last major work, and I can see how several of his ideas, especially about deep-time, came together to help him hone his craft and create something great. I'm not sure, but I believe this was the second time I read this story. The first time around, I really didn't like or get it at all; I probably would have given it one star. But this time, because I understood his ideas, I thought it was amazing. (I am quite familiar with the elder Gods at this point.) Part of the tale takes place in Australia, where the protagonist and his comrades travel to do their research and make their discoveries of the ancient ones. I thought this was interesting because I am unaware of any horror story settings on that continent. Of all the horror authors I know of, I consider Lovecraft to be the best at writing one-liner endings. Other authors can bring a story around and surprise you with an ending, but nobody can do it as abruptly as Lovecraft. I anticipated it leading up to something great as I neared the end. "They were, instead, the letters of our familiar alphabet, spelling out the words of the English language in my own handwriting."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mizuki

    First, many thanks need to be given to the translators who translated this Lovecraft's masterpiece The Shadow Out of Time into Chinese---otherwise I most likely wouldn't survive chewing down Lovecraft's long winded, wordy and difficult paragraphs which stuffed his story. Lovecraft spent many parts of his story to describe the long-lost alien civilization which colonized Earth once in the unmemorable past, although the description is imaginative but it is also very, very, frustratingly long winded. H First, many thanks need to be given to the translators who translated this Lovecraft's masterpiece The Shadow Out of Time into Chinese---otherwise I most likely wouldn't survive chewing down Lovecraft's long winded, wordy and difficult paragraphs which stuffed his story. Lovecraft spent many parts of his story to describe the long-lost alien civilization which colonized Earth once in the unmemorable past, although the description is imaginative but it is also very, very, frustratingly long winded. However, Lovecraft rewarded our patience with one great, big final plot twist by the end of the story, which I absolutely love.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Jasko

    I have read and enjoyed a number of Lovecraft stories, but this one was a disappointment. It would have made an interesting premise for a science fiction story, but he kept trying to fit it into a horror template. This involved having the narrator constantly repeat how horrified he was at everything, which didn't work because the aliens in question weren't particularly horrifying or even that evil. Read "Shadow over Innsmouth" or "Dunwich Horror" instead.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wild

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Once again, H.P. Lovecraft sends the reader down into an incredible abyss of imagination, characterized by astral projection experienced by one Professor Peaslee. The frightening thing is, Professor Peaslee not only claims to have seen and "remembered " a totally alien and astoundingly ancient race that dwelt beneath the Australian desert. He actually escaped the hidden terrors that plagued his memories from beyond time itself. A fascinating tale sure to unlock the darkest realms of anyone' Once again, H.P. Lovecraft sends the reader down into an incredible abyss of imagination, characterized by astral projection experienced by one Professor Peaslee. The frightening thing is, Professor Peaslee not only claims to have seen and "remembered " a totally alien and astoundingly ancient race that dwelt beneath the Australian desert. He actually escaped the hidden terrors that plagued his memories from beyond time itself. A fascinating tale sure to unlock the darkest realms of anyone's nightmares!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Thor The Redbeard

    2,5*. It was as boring as At the Mountains of Madness. Best Lovecraft - is short Lovecraft!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Holm

    "It was all the ultimate apex of nightmare, made worse by the blasphemous tug of pseudo-memory. One thing only was unfamiliar, and that was my own size in relation to the monstrous masonry. I felt oppressed by a sense of unwonted smallness, as if the sight of these towering walls from a mere human body was something wholly new and abnormal. Again and again I looked nervously down at myself, vaguely disturbed by the human form I possessed." “The Shadow Out of Time” is anti-anthropocent "It was all the ultimate apex of nightmare, made worse by the blasphemous tug of pseudo-memory. One thing only was unfamiliar, and that was my own size in relation to the monstrous masonry. I felt oppressed by a sense of unwonted smallness, as if the sight of these towering walls from a mere human body was something wholly new and abnormal. Again and again I looked nervously down at myself, vaguely disturbed by the human form I possessed." “The Shadow Out of Time” is anti-anthropocentrism epitomized. It depicts humanity as a pitifully insignificant, infinitesimal dust speck in a cosmos that forevermore remains – to quote H.G. Wells – vast and cool and unsympathetic towards us. Lovecraft composed its +25,000 words over three backbreaking months and revised his way through at least two entire drafts, yet again proving to be his own worst pettifogging critic. And he loathed the final manuscript so much he promptly dispatched it by mail to his friend August Derleth (who later, posthumously, anthologised most of his works). This whopping piece of science fiction details the sudden, perplexing lapse-out-of-consciousness befalling one Nathaniel Peaslee, professor of economics at Miskatonic University. During five years, four months, and thirteen days, Peaslee travels to suspect regions and devours piles of esoteric tomes, e.g. the Unaussprechlichen Kulten of von Junzt and Ludvig Prinn’s De Vermis Mysteriis, while he communes with a motley bunch of questionable new acquaintances. One day – snap! – he ‘wakes up’ mid-lecture, ostensibly quite himself again … but all is not well. “The Shadow Out of Time” is more sci-fi than horror, more weird and eerie than foul and scary, crossing nine-digit time spans and hinting at tremendous interstellar vistas beyond the beyond. However laborious and long-winded a read it can be in parts, it is overall a captivating piece of true “Yog-Sothothery” with a glorious adrenaline-pumping segment in the concluding chapter. True to academic custom and hyperbolic fandom, speculation about possible autobiographical traces in Lovecraft’s writings has been rife. His many idiosyncrasies – most of them eccentricities – have produced fertile ground for all sorts of wild conjectures, of which a lot are doubtless true! Most importantly, there is his supposed alter ego, Randolph Carter, an introverted and melancholy writer of stories, who appears in a total of seven stories. Also, both of his parents ended their lives in a mental institution called Butler Hospital, which presumably stimulated him to habitually revisit themes of dementia and (fear of) degeneration. As for the five-year bout of amnesia which propels the narrative behind “The Shadow Out of Time”, Lovecraft suffered a nervous breakdown in 1908, compelling him to mainly stay indoors and write poetry … until 1913. Coincidence? You decide.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Baal Of

    This book has all the flaws common to Lovecraft's writing style, but I still found myself consumed by the cosmic scope of the story. I don't think that the idea that people would be driven mad by the existence of the ancient and alien artifacts holds any merit in the real world, in fact I suspect there would be great excitement in numerous scientific fields if such a thing came to pass, but given that idea as a backdrop for the entire mythos, I can accept this story for what it is. The detail of This book has all the flaws common to Lovecraft's writing style, but I still found myself consumed by the cosmic scope of the story. I don't think that the idea that people would be driven mad by the existence of the ancient and alien artifacts holds any merit in the real world, in fact I suspect there would be great excitement in numerous scientific fields if such a thing came to pass, but given that idea as a backdrop for the entire mythos, I can accept this story for what it is. The detail of the mad descent into the ancient ruins, and subsequent frantic escape were entertaining, if overwrought, and the idea of the Great Race switching minds across time was fucking cool. There was a bit more to the main character than in many of his stories, but he's still just a pawn in a cosmic game. As usual, all evidence is lost, and thus the pawn has nothing to show to the rest of the world.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Like At the Mountains of Madness, this story also has a decidedly more pervasive Sci-Fi theme, which puts it more squarely up my alley than much of H.P. Lovecraft's other work. This shares a similar narration style, and many similar themes, and I'm awestruck by the originality and inventiveness of the story's main concept - an ancient race of aliens that explore the galaxy and the history of its civilizations across the eons from across time and space. Brilliant!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anton

    The Shadow Out of Time is probably the most brilliant theosophical work I've ever read in my life. Only Lovecraft could create an adventure story and make it gospel. Even though the story seemed to drag a bit after the 50% mark, I can't help but overlook the flaws, because this story is a spiritual occultist's dream--literally and figuratively.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mariana Mendívil

    WTF!!!??

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Marie

    3 stars. The beginning was pretty strong, but it got boring quickly. Review to come.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Outstanding ending.

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