Tales of H.P. Lovecraft Prime – Kairafanan.co

When He Died In , Destitute And Emotionally And Physically Ruined HP Lovecraft Had No Idea That He Would Come To Be Regarded As The Godfather Of The Modern Horror Genre, Nor That His Work Would Influence An Entire Generation Of Writers, Including Stephen King And Anne Rice Now, At Last, The Most Important Tales Of This Distinctive American Genious Are Gathered In One Volume By National Book Award Winning Author Joyce Carol OatesCombining The Nineteenth Century Gothic Sesibility Of Edgar Allan Poe With A Daring Internal Vision, Lovecraft S Tales Foretold A Psychically Troubled Century To Come Set In A Meticulously Described, Historically Grounded New England Landscape, His Harrowing Stories Explore The Collapse Of Sanity Beneath The Weight Of Chaotic Events Lovecraft S Universe Is A Frightening Shadow World Where Reality And Nightmare Intertwine, And Redemption Can Come Only From Below In Her Preceptive And Penetrating Introduction, Oates, Herself A Virtuoso Of The Gothic Style, Explains How Lovecraft S Singular Talents Fused The Supernatural And Mundane Into A Terrifying Complex, Exquisitely Realized Vision

10 thoughts on “Tales of H.P. Lovecraft

  1. says:

    These stories are florid, overwritten, offensively racist xenophobic And they nearly all have the same basic plot.But there s also an odd brilliance to them They re less terrifying than I expected them to be, but they are fascinating with their revelations of elder beings and unimaginably alien architecture and geometry that s wrong There s a sense of paranoia and of secret truths, and his world building is very effective I think my favorite parts were the exploration of the pre prehistorical ancient cities in At the Mountains of Madness and The Shadow Out of Time.So, there s part of me that wants to dismiss these stories wholesale, or at least to advocate the Cthulu worshippers as oppressed colonial Others, but I also understand exactly why Lovecraft s stories are so influential.

  2. says:

    Weirder Than You Think A Book Review of Tales of H P Lovecraft edited by Joyce Carol Oates Without a doubt Howard Philips Lovecraft, or commonly known as H P Lovecraft, is one of the greatest writers the turbulent twentieth century ever produced No one can refute that he is indeed the natural inheritor of the American horror tradition next to his literary hero, Edgar Allan Poe, to which Lovecraft is usually compared to Peeking further into the life of H P Lovecraft, it seems call it a trick of fate, coincidence, or a bad joke by the ghastly gods of the unknown that than the similar quality of the stories they churned bizarre, brilliant, inspired, original, yet frequently hackneyed, derivative and repetitive, if I may quote from Joyce Carol Oates s introduction from this particular book s edition both their life carve out parallel patterns, just to mention a few both were born in New England and were fatherless at an early age both had disastrous marriages and lived a truncated life both tried to live off by means of their writing and sold them to magazines with little financial pay off and though branded as literary misfits of their respective times, importantly, both established a body of work ironically appreciated only after their death that became the foundation and left an indelible mark for much of today s horror fiction Writers old and new pay them both tribute for their timeless macabre and pitch of fascinating malevolence Acclaimed author Stephen King once said of Lovecraft He was the twentieth century s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale What s distinctive about H P Lovecraft is that he is perhaps one of the early Western authors to write exclusively in the horror genre, fusing together elements of classic gothic tale steeped with mysticism, the occult, and hidden cults along with what would later be known as science fiction creating a subgenre which he calls cosmic horror Besides this his stories feature a keen, psychological dread, rather than an intrepid, obvious threat His themes often center on what maybe instead of what is , externalizing inner fears and demons into universal horror stories that share a helpless, hapless view of the fate of humanity Ultimately, the fears in Lovecraft s stories are all about things we can t see, can t find, and can t understand What if those things beyond our understanding are best left there What if we push the envelope of discovery a little too far and find something that will swallow us whole, destroying our perception of what we think of as what is underneath the crushing weight of truth too hideous to comprehend Before delving into the individual stories included in this collection I want to, at this juncture, commend Joyce Carol Oates for her insightful introduction to this edition this really convinced me that I should try some of her books sometime soon , from which I learned a lot, and her splendid choice of some of H P Lovecraft s seminal short stories Truth be told, this is the first time that I had read Lovecraft and I can t recommend this edition enough if some of you Gentle Readers want to try him out Though not arranged in the chronological manner by the time either which the stories were written or published, Oates see it fit that the reader will not be swamped else potential readers thought that they had bitten than they could chew by its otherworldliness presenting each stories by increments, like a ten course meal starting off with a simple yet delectable appetizer that as your done with the first and satisfied will urge you to try the next one until you get into the heavies, the meat and potatoes.A caveat of sorts Lovecraft writes in a flowery prose that certainly harks back to the nineteenth century sensibility and use of language If you re already familiar with the short stories of Poe, then you re in good company, you ll trudge along just fine Unlike Poe, who in times meanders in abstraction and philosophize before he even starts his story, Lovecraft dives on into the kernel of his tale.Following are the stories in this edition and arranged in the order of their appearance in the book along with my comments and observations on them The Outsider the tone of the narrator and the setting which he describes just screams Gothic It is easily one of my favorites at the outset and works the best, in my opinion, as an introductory story if you want a sampling of Lovecraft The unnamed narrator s voice soothes like a friend he invites you in his world of vine encumbered trees and a castle of infinitely old and infinitely horrible Seemingly, it s a conversation starting off sensibly well till self doubt gnaws our protagonist The tale quickly slides into a slightly disturbing derangement It uses a truly classic twist that the reader might never expect The Music of Erich Zann set in Bohemian Paris Lovecraft clearly evokes in here the world of impoverished students and tortured artists It s not as scary as such, but has a fine, feverish mood that builds to a classic Lovecraftian freakout With excellent use of suggestive atmosphere along with the ambiguous nature of the supernatural threat which you get a lot of if you re a veteran reader of horror short stories , it lends the tale with a fairly nice edge of madness The Rats in the Walls the thing with Lovecraft is that he seems to create characters that s a stand in representative of himself which I also noticed with some of the characters of Stephen King, especially if that character happens to be a writer Lovecraft during his lifetime believes that he is the scion of a minor New England aristocracy, the last of a noble line, which happens to be the background he gives to this story s protagonist, Walter Delapore Why Lovecraft did it so is a thing you will discover for yourself as you read along The horror of this one pretty much worked for me and its scare tactic is one used by a number of authors who had been inspired by this short story Case in point if you ve read Jerusalem s Lot by Stephen King you might know what I m speaking of More importantly, Lovecraft seems to be striving to place his story in the context of the contemporary world by particularly placing this one along the current events of his time Unlike the previous two this one specifically follows a definite pattern specific, detailed, and placed expertly in the real world a structure he will later use in the stories to follow The Shunned House specific, detailed and placed expertly, this is a structure Lovecraft closely goes after in the fourth short story in this collection Apparently the titular house of this tale is actually a real house which stands up to this day at 135 Benedict Street in Providence, Rhode Island I thought I would be served with a clich d haunted house tale I partly blame the shabby title, heh only to be surprised by a curios story told in the first person narrative of Elihu Whipple and his confrontation with a fiendish horror Lovecraft s level of historical detail an almost obsessive recitation of dates and names covering two centuries and anchor s the story to a convincing real world narrative Evidently, this is one of Lovecraft s earlier outings into the nascent science fiction realm using the technical advancement of the time to make his horrors sound plausible The Call of Cthulhu this piece alone stands out as the archetypal Lovecraftian story and initiates the reader into what fans have called as the Cthulhu Mythos Look no far for all the ingredients of Lovecraft s horror concoction is here dreams, ancient myths, degenerate cults, and impenetrable and incomprehensible horror The structure of the story is also typical from what we expect from him a distant, anonymous, narrator the accumulation of information from diverse sources the slow build up and suggestion of dread The long winded crescendo that starts with the dreams of a few aesthetes, to the hideous final ritual in the swamp up to one of the characters encounter with the monster gradually raises the scope and stake of the story from the trivial to the Earth shatteringly profound Further, the quality of Lovecraft s narration makes it stands out among the others epitomized by the chilling expression of the cosmic horror in the opening line that makes a killing The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age The Colour Out of Space again Lovecraft s strength in creating atmosphere and memorable description is very much felt here illustrated no less by a very poetic opening line West of Arkham, the hills rise wild and there are valleys with deep woods that no axes has ever cut Reading that one made the hairs on my neck stood on end, instantly inspiring images of a dark, malign landscape that looms and threaten The opening paragraph carry this theme through, outlining the history of unsuccessful settlement in the area, establishing man s weak grip on the Earth and the ineffable nature of the wilderness The sudden intrusion from outer space into the lives of the modest and god fearing folk of rural New England depicts a horrible insight into man s own smallness, breaking their minds and bodies both, and vividly portraying, in the best gothic tradition, their physical demise by an outward affliction which also works as a perfect metaphor for man s inner dissolution Also one of my favorites The Dunwich Horror gripping, horrible and totally bizarre, that s how I describe this seventh tale Throughout Lovecraft s story there s a running thread of recurring motifs that give the impression that these short stories are somehow linked Some of these elements are the Necronomicon, an ancient book of evil spells Arkham, a fictional city located in Massachusetts and Miskatonic University, an imaginary college near the area As the The Dunwich Horror unfolds readers can see these Lovecraftian ideas at work and pretty much enjoy this story garbed in the traditional good vs evil plotline along with its noticeable relevance to the Cthulhu Mythos As expected from such tales, yes the good guys will have to face and defeat a hideous fiend, but don t worry they ll almost make it What makes this story out of the ordinary though I will not tell you, but this one just left me speechless, gaping at the final page At the Mountain of Madness the longest tale in this collection by its sheer length alone I think it s a novella Like any men of learning of his time Lovecraft also dabbles in a bit of science, and one his constant interest is polar exploration, which in the twentieth century is one of the uncharted, harshest regions in Earth This fascination ultimately seeps through in At the Mountain of Madness, about the expedition of William Dyer and some professors from Miskatonic University in the cold, desolate continent of Antarctica The details of the expedition, the gadgets and mechanisms used available technologies of the era are thoroughly depicted I admit that this one bored me on the few pages, but what sustained me in slogging through this glacial mass of narration is the question of why does the protagonist foil other explorers from venturing in this deadly place Lovecraft s real life scientific knowledge about geology evidently embellishes this tale as much as he does with his other tales with a heavy historical background However, what makes At the Mountain of Madness stand out from the rest is its meticulous level of realistic detail in the plot and the evocative description of the frozen wasteland with the confluence of horror in the story the devastating chasm of time and the fact that a race of beings with a thousand year history had lived, thrived, and perished long before the evolution of man This tale, I believe, is one of the finest among stories using the theme of strange horrors unexpectedly exposed in rediscovered lost or ancient places The Shadow Over Innsmouth the single story representative of weird fiction, Lovecraft shows the very best of what he can offer in this outlandish account of Robert Olmstead about the village of Innsmouth, Massachusetts Writing at his best, Lovecraft pools his various oddities such as the mysteries of a town shrouded in secrecy, whispers of cults, and of course ties this one in the famed Cthulhu Mythos to produce a sublime mounting horror where all rudiments harmonize resulting to very unsettling climax The story also focuses on some of his favorite themes like racism, deterioration, superstition, the phantom of madness ever present over all his first person narrators and added on this list a perverted view of sexual aggression So far this one has THE most disturbing ending my flesh literally pricked at the final reveal Favorite among favorites this one is The Shadow Out if Time foremost of the stories that Lovecraft wrote before his death, The Shadow Out of Time tells the experiences of Professor Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee under an alien race and their ability to take over or switch host bodies I suppose this is one of the precursors of the alien abduction tale The story has a tone of a febrile dream, where like the narrator you distrust even your own senses, where reality and insanity is separated by a thin line Despite that, Lovecraft s message here is crystal clear in the absence of knowledge, chaos ensues and that even in his twilight years he s still a force in horror fiction to reckon with.Whether or not propped by an undercurrent of supposed mythologies present in such wild yarns, and though themes, symbols may run counter to what Lovecraft initially have in mind, a tale is just a tale after all, and that myth in whatever guise is the dregs it scatters about picked up by anyone who finds whatever meaning from it It cannot be denied, however, that the true allure of the gothic tale is in how it stirs deep seated fears, and by that I don t only allude at the ones you feel inside your guts, I also mean those that can short circuit your brain fuse haywire, for as Lovecraft said The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is the fear of the unknown _________________________Book Details Book 34 for 2011Harper Perennial Modern Classics Trade Paperback, 2007 Edition 346 pagesStarted August 22, 2011Finished August 30, 2011My Rating See this review on my book blog Dark Chest of Wonders and for many others.

  3. says:

    I m not reading these in order necessarily Finished The Dunwich HorrorProbably one of the best known stories by Lovecraft and pivotal to the Cthulhu mythos This is quite gruesome and gory Lovecraft has a wonderful way of giving us the setting and carrying the plot forward However, likely because of the time this was written, there is zero character development This is disappointing given that there is a person whom I would really have liked to know about I also want of the book story yes it s the Necronomicon I m hoping there is about books origin in other stories.Finished The Shadow Over InnsmouthI chose this one next because of its influence on the Aquaman movie So, I need to come up with Mel s Abridged Versions of classics because the first 20 pages of this story are completely unnecessary There s a lot of extra prose in this one Otherwise it s a decent story I liked the twist at the end The one thing to note here is that this is a very xenophobic racist story Remembering the timeframe in which Lovecraft lived, this is not surprising But be prepared for a lot of assumptions, prejudiced statements and pieces of the story that may make you uncomfortable I give kudos to Aquaman for being inspired by this story but flipping the xenophobia to make the strange or unknown miraculous and beautiful, instead of horrifying.

  4. says:

    Whenever I m in the mood for a couple of sleepless nights spent listening for hell beasts under my bed, I just wrap myself in a few blankets and settle in with my big book o Lovecraft.

  5. says:

    There are two central recurring elements in Lovecraft s stories the academic and the fear of miscegnation The academic nature of his stories is what causes so many of them to bloat and become glacially slow reads, but at the same time it is essential to Lovecraft s idea of horror an idea which does not fit into our mental world, which scares even when there is no immediate danger In a way Lovecraft s stories can be seen even as an assault on academia, showing the limits of the pursuit of knowledge This is theoretically a good idea for horror fiction the reader doesn t have a serial killer breathing down their neck, but they read the ideas just as well as the characters The problem is that to a modern reader, or at least this modern reader, most of these ideas are less frightening and just kind of cool.And then there s the miscegnation thing Most people treat the racism in Lovecraft as incidental, a relic of the era although this excuse is, as always, a little inadequate , but it s essential to several of his stories The Dunwich Horror and The Shadow Over Innsmouth both play heavily on this fear of racial mixing Weirdly, these stories are the ones with the most conventional horror narrative The fear of the outsider is a key element to Lovecraft s stories.As for actual quality Well, the problem with Lovecraft is that there are a lot of brilliant ideas inside overwritten stories with one dimensional characters This was the early 20th century, so there was no such thing as RPG sourcebooks or websites to post your awesome worldbuilding stuff in Some stories are almost pure exposition the entire plot of The Call of Cthulu , for instance, is a guy researching something and then getting scared The world Lovecraft created is pretty freaking cool, and has been used as the basis for a board game and several tabletop RPGs, but it had an awkward way of getting out.There s no doubt that Lovecraft was a hugely influential horror author, possible the most influential, but I can t say that his stories are essential reading Like a lot of early genre fiction, it s worth checking out if you want to see how the genre develloped, but it can be a bit of a slog to get through.

  6. says:

    This is my first time reading H.P Lovecraft I ve always heard his name mentioned, particularly in reference to The Call of Cthulhu, which is mentioned quite frequently in pop culture I ve seen Cthulhu stuffed animals, Cthulhu T Shirts, and even World of Warcraft references H.P Lovecraft lore with their Ancient Ones Anyway, I finally read his works, and I do have some mixed feelings about his writing style, but overall, I really liked this book Tales of H.P Lovecraft is a general collection of his better known short stories I ll break it down story by story, to give a good idea of my impressions.This Introduction itself by Joyce Carol Oates is highly interesting I do suggest reading the Introduction first as it gives some very good background information on H.P Lovecraft s life and writing style I don t think it s the best sort of biography you can find if you re interested in that I m actually curious and wouldn t mind searching around to see if such a biography exists, but this introduction does give a general idea of his backstory, which adds depth to my enjoyment of his stories.The first story is The Outsider The story itself is very cryptic in nature, meaning I found it perplexing in what exactly was going on and who this narrator was This made reading the story very fun, and I d say it has a fantasy and horror element to it The ending is highly predictable, but nevertheless enjoyable, and so it makes sense why this story is placed first in the collection.The second story is The Music of Erich Zann I actually preferred this story a lot than The Outsider Basically, it s about a young man who was living on a small street in Paris called the Rue d Auseil Unusually, however, since moving, he was never able to rediscover it, despite much searching, and it doesn t appear to be found on any map This is just one of the many aspects of Lovecraft s stories, where inconceivable instances such as this happen quite frequently But what s intriguing about this book is the curtain found in the old man s room upstairs There is so much suspense involved with the viol player and what is occurring outside the window And then it is revealed, and it completely dumbfounded me It was not what I expected Overall, a wonderful story, although since loving the story so much I read it a second time, and I found the second reading to be a tad bit less enjoyable, but it is still good nonetheless The Rats in the Wall is next Honestly I find this story to be a tad forgettable than most of them It does have a whole slew of characters, as the narrator introduces almost every member of his crazy family as he does research into his family s ancient dark past Strangely, we get a taste of H.P Lovecraft s slightly racist side, as the narrator s cat is actually named Nigger Man Yes Can you believe that The ending is quite fantastical though, and probably the best part of the story It reminds me of the episode of Angel when he goes into the other dimension with the spider like creatures that worship Jasmine Lovecraft really has a sense of the visual in this story that excites the imagination.The next is The Shunned House This one too is very much like Rats in the Wall The narrator goes into the history of this strange abandoned house, where all the vegetation is dead and freaky looking, like strange purple fungus, etc So, the narrator goes through the town annuls, and he researches about the family who once lived there So here we get a real sense of the strange history of what happened I actually found that part the most intriguing, because it felt like I was unraveling a mystery while reading his story However, the culmination of what happens with the narrator and his uncle is quite anti climactic It seems like it would be this huge exciting thing, but the monster disappears like a puff of smoke, which was slightly disappointing Overall, it is a good story, but I wish the ending could have been a tad bit exciting.The next story is The Call of Cthulhu, which is actually my least favorite of all the stories This one goes on and on in complete tedium Basically the narrator ties together all these stories, which are supposed to connect through his grand uncle, but to me they seem so jumbled and unrelated Apparently, his grand uncle was walking to his house, when a nautical looking negro basically a black sailor comes by and pushes his grand uncle down a hill and killing him This whole event is completely ridiculous, and I feel like H.P Lovecraft just throws it in to show his dislike towards black people Either that or he really wanted to write the words nauticaul looking negro The rest of this story isn t too bad I mean sure it s tedious, but where it gets really bad is the part with the mystery derelict found at sea I don t see the point of this portion of the story at all, and I recommend skipping it if you appreciate any bit of your time The ending is quite interesting, however, and I love how H.P Lovecraft describes the Ancient Ones island Although, I swear, Lovecraft has an obsession with the word Cyclopean Sure, it s a good word, but he uses it constantly, that I can t help but wish he used something else.Next is The Colour Out of Space This story stands out as it is so different from the previous stories It takes place in a super small town, and here we get a really good sense of local color I love it for that, and this is why it s one of my most favorite of his stories, at least of the stories found in this book It reminds me of that story shown in Creepshow with the meteor that falls on the farm, and eventually turning the man into some sort of moss creature however, this story is ten times better I highly recommend it The Dunwich Horror follows that one, and this is probably one of his better known stories There is a board game based on it, and Yog Sothoth, if you ve ever played World of Warcraft you d know of the boss Yogg Saron that most definitely references it Haha Love you Blizzard Anyway, this story is definitely worth reading if you want to read H.P Lovecraft The entire story is good all round, but the final few pages are such a letdown I was hoping for some epic battle, but it seems that H.P Lovecraft is good on the suspense but bad on the epicness Next is At the Mountains of Madness While researching H.P Lovecraft, I ve found that this story always comes up for some reason, although I ve never heard of it prior to this On it s own it s a pretty decent story, although it s way too long for what it is I wish Lovecraft could have kept it shorter, but you take what you can get The story takes place in Antarctica where a group of scientists discover a giant mountain with a hidden cavern underneath, where they find these strange plant like alien creatures One of the scientists, a biologist, dissects one of the plants, but something goes awry A huge blizzard sweeps across the camp destroying everything, and so a rescue team comes and guess what they findwait for itthe biologist is found on the operating table completely cut open and dissected And of course, these scientists, are like what the f happened But guess what happens next They forget about the whole thing and decide it would be in their best interest to go exploring these mountains Okay, maybe the mountains turned them mad, hence the name, but who else thinks that s strangely weird I mean if I found a body dissected on a table, I would think, personally, that there was some crazy psycho on the loose and it s time to leave But no, they go exploring until they stumble upon the monster who of course ends up chasing them I mean, what else would you expect This sucker is a whopping 93 pages, so it s much longer than any of the other stories It s still worth reading, but I might skim through some of the boring parts next time.Next is The Shadow Over Innsmouth This one is definitely the most exciting of all of the short stories found in this book I actually couldn t put this story down, and I read it pretty much all the way through Seriously, it was that good It s about a guy who comes upon this town where things are mighty weird And they get mighty weirder as he realizes they re going to try and kill him and sacrifice him to the sea monsters So, the narrator is constantly trying to find an escape so he isn t killed, and it s just awesome to read how he does it This one is probably my absolute favorite of all of them I didn t see the ending coming at all I mean I did once the character started referring to what was happening, but the majority of the way through the book I had no idea So 5 stars to Mr Lovecraft for his story on Innsmouth Finally, we have The Shadow Out of Time This one is nice, because it definitely adds to the Lovecraftian lore, but personally, if this story was not in the book, I don t think it would have been missing that much I mean, it s good, overall, but it just leaves you with this sinking, empty feeling, which isn t a really good way to end the book Personally, I would have liked it to end with Innsmouth, where I was blown away by what happened, and left excited by what happened This one, I was like, oh okay, yeah, that makes sense After all, the end of the story is given away in the first paragraph I never really understood when authors do that I mean, yeah I get it, it s about hooking you, and then getting you all suspensed up along the way, but then you re not really surprised by what happens, you know Anyway, it s a good story, I get why it s last, because it refers to a lot of stories referenced before, so you get a really good idea at this point on Lovecraft s style, which really fleshes out this story however, I would have much preferred Innsmouth to be the last one, but what can you do Anyway, I do recommend reading H.P Lovecraft, but you have to love horror sci fi Since I love both, it works for me, but I could see a lot of people not really getting into his stories However, since so much pop culture references Lovecraft, I feel that it behooves one to become familiar with his works I mean, when you start looking and you know what to notice, things reference Lovecraft all the time, whether it s other authors or video games or trading card games Also, Lovecraft does a really good job in creating his own Universe and Mythos, which he does so well and successfully.

  7. says:

    DNFI see how these horror stories influenced so many amazing authors I see the brilliance in the horror I can t get over the racism The only monster here is the author.

  8. says:

    These stories are to horror literature what hops are to beer strongly floral, ocasionally overpowering adjectives, dear lord, so many adjectives , sometimes adding a ridiculous, ill tasting, or pompous flourish, but utterly essential to keeping the basic recipe interesting I read some of these stories while I was traveling in England and quite ill, and I recommend them to those with fevers The Colour Out of Space is especially satisfying effective and creepy.

  9. says:

    Damn, those tales were damned After awhile, they began to resemble each other too closely, but I had been waiting to read The Call of Cthulhu for a long while and the experience I must not speak of.

  10. says:

    Not my cup of tea Lovecraft never says something outright when he can hint at it for 20 pages instead, and he s never met a run on sentence he didn t like.