H.P. Lovecraft

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Alien Enigma

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I never read anything by H.P. Lovecraft in the past and I read him for the first time today. I am totally blown away by this man's talent. They say Poe was the master of short stories. I think Lovecraft out ranks him. I'm not talking about Amazon rankings either. I'm talking about story quality and the ability to hold the reader until the end. The tales he tells by his words are strange and totally insane. Is all of his stuff as good as the Dunwich Horror and Others Collection?
 

Cathy C

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OMG, Yes! His "At the Mountains of Madness" is one of the classics of horror. Lovecraft excelled at blending reality with fiction, even going so far as to draw complicated maps of his reality so it would fit into ours seamlessly. In the age before cell phones and the internet and a car in every garage, he could easily convince people that he was writing about a REAL place. I have all his collections and re-read them nearly every year. He is the creator of the Cthulu Mythos, BTW. It was the first (I believe) "open" continuity world that anyone could write in and add to the reality.

Also, you should pick up the short stories by Robert E. Howard, a buddy of his and creator of the Conan series, who wrote equally amazing Cthulu stories.

Glad you found him, and enjoy the creeping dread! :)
 

Jaycinth

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I just re-read 'The Shadow over Innsmouth' for the 30th+ time and it still creepes me out. He pulls you into the tale, implying that he can tell you 'everything'. Then, at the end, everything seems like too much.

Once you've read his work, go read his biography.
 

blacbird

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Lovecraft's power is in his vision and ideas, and is, unfortunately, sometimes compromised by clunky writing. It would have been interesting to see what a better prose stylist (say, Dunsany) could have done with the same inspirations. But Dunsany was a good deal sunnier a person than Lovecraft was, so that wouldn't have worked anyway.

One of my favorite Lovecraft stories isn't part of the Cthulhu Mythos, but is more of a dark SF tale, "In the Walls of Eryx". Hard to find, but worth a read.

caw
 

Scarlett_156

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So many good Lovecraft stories-- he's been an inspiration to me in many ways since I was a wee tyke. "The Colour Out Of Space" is a great story, also "The Rats in the Walls". A friend of mine and I plotted out an "HP Lovecraft road trip" one time, where we would tour the areas discussed in his stories and attempt to find as many of his landmarks as we could. Oh, and how could I forget "Dreams in the Witch House"...? Brown Jenkin! *shudder*

"In the Walls of Eryx" is great; I found an on-line copy of it: http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/~wcoburn/hpl/eryx.html.

I still get creeped out reading some of Lovecraft's stories, even though I've read them over and over. It was in his work that I first became familiar with the "inter dimensional portal", an idea that continues to fascinate me to this day.
 

shawkins

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Jaycinth said:
Once you've read his work, go read his biography.

YES!! I've been pushing the S.T. Joshi biography for YEARS now, but no one seems interested. Have you also read Lord of a Visible World? (For those of you with lives, LoaVW is an edited collection of Lovecraft's letters.)

Actually, you might be interested in this: I'm part of a cul^h^h^h enthusiast's group who are petitioning to have HPL canonized. The thinking is that bloggers are about due for a Patron Saint, and based on his correspondence with "Augie"* Derleth, we believe HPL is as good a candidate as anyone. We meet at midnight every 4th Thursday under a graveyard in Providence. (Hokey, I know, but it brings in the goth kids.) If you come bring a casserole or something.

Ia! Ia! Snark F'Thagen!

*Really--that's what he called him.
 

Jamesaritchie

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Lovecraft

I don't think Lovecraft wrote nearly as well as Poe. His strength was his imagination, not his writing skills. He wrote horrible dialogue, but knew he did, so was very limited in it's use.

But his imagination was so great that his stories are wonderful, despite some clunky writing and consistently poor dialogue.
 

Akuma

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I have to say, my favorite story of his is The Rats in the Walls.

Very morbid and creepy. I loved it.
 

Eleasha

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One of mine too. The Creeping Chaos is the first I ever read, and it totally sucked me in. And The Picture in the House. He was an incredible writer. I think Poe is a little easier to read, and flows better, but there's just something about HPL...
 

C.bronco

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Jaycinth said:
I just re-read 'The Shadow over Innsmouth' for the 30th+ time and it still creepes me out. He pulls you into the tale, implying that he can tell you 'everything'. Then, at the end, everything seems like too much.

Once you've read his work, go read his biography.
I've never read his biography, but now my interest is piqued! I've loved H.P. since high school.
 

kct webber

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I don't think Lovecraft wrote nearly as well as Poe. His strength was his imagination, not his writing skills. He wrote horrible dialogue, but knew he did, so was very limited in it's use.

I agree completely. There's my two coppers.
 

Diana Hignutt

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Favorite Lovecraft Novels or Stories

I've been on a Lovecraft kick lately (as you can see from my thread in the Movies section). What are your macabre and disturbing faves from the master?

Mine:

The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Thing on the Doorstep
Whisperer in the Darkness
Dreams in the Witch House
Colour Out of Space

Yours?
 

Zelenka

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"The Rats in the Walls" is my favourite for reasons I'm not that sure of, although I love "Dagon" as well. I have a really great audio recording of The Rats in the Walls and it just is my favourite thing if I want to be creeped out. It's hard picking though.
 

Camilla Delvalle

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My favourite is The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. One of the reasons is that it was the last that I read and it felt like the conclusion to all the other stories. I don't remember ever crying so much when reading the final chapters of a book.
 

ChimeraCreative

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I've always found The Color Out of Space to be a great read. Dialogue's a little iffy, sure, but still a solid story. Big thumbs up. ^_^
 

childeroland

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Favorite story: "The Music of Erich Zann." I don't know what S.T. Joshi's problem is with this story, but I guess it's a matter of taste. Lovecraft does creepy atmosphere much better than he does his jelly monster mythology, IMHO.

I guess At the Mountains of Madness is his best longer story *shrug*
 

blacbird

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I'll weigh in on the side of "The Colour Out of Space". About as good as Lovecraft ever got at perfecting a short story.

But another poorly known one I quite like is "In the Walls of Eryx". It's outside the Cthulhu mythos stuff, and there's evidence it may even have been a form of plagiarism, but the result, however it came about, is a pretty good story.
 

dpaterso

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I liked many/most of HPL's stories but At the Mountains of Madness stands out for me. Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!

A loooong time ago, I came across an old, dog-eared hardback horror antho in the library that included a Lovecraft tale titled, "Black Paws" -- possibly the first HPL story I'd read, come to think of it. I didn't see that title in any of the collections I bought later. The internet reveals that it was actually The Diary of Alonzo Typer by H. P. Lovecraft and William Lumley, which must have been re-titled for the antho, reason unknown. Maybe because "Black Paws" was my intro to HPL, this story also holds a place in my memory.

-Derek
 

Guardian

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The Colour Out of Space
Cool Air
The Rats In The Walls
Herbert West: Reanimator

Perhaps more, someday. I haven't read through all of them yet.
 

DrZoidberg

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"The Temple" is my favourite. But it was the first of his stories I read, so I'm not sure it's a fair comparison. "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" is also up there.

The only thing I really like about Lovecraft is simply how he constructs sentences to bring out a sense of unease. He's undoubtedly the master of this. Even though I've read everything I can get my hands on, I think he's pretty weak in every other regard. This one talent makes up for it.
 

Sunnyside

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My vote goes to The Colour Out of Space and The Shadow Over Innsmouth. The mood is better than the plot, but with HPL, it's the mood that makes it. In his case, style trumps substance.

And it's awesome that the Very Proper Library of America recognized HPL as a unique American writer and saw fit to devote a volume to Lovecraft. Now they need to do the same with Ray Bradbury.
 

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