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At the Mountains of Madness Paperback – Oct 1968


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Panther; n.e. edition (Oct. 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586025960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586025963
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,436,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

One of the greatest short novels in American literature, and a key text in my own understanding of what that literature can do. --Michael Chabon

Lovecraft' s fiction is one of the cornerstones of modern --Clive Barker --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"These tales of horror are in the true gothic tradition – full of hinted terrors and unholy stenches".
GUARDIAN

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Dec. 2002
Format: Paperback
"At the Mountains of Madness" is far and away the best of H. P. Lovecraft's tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. Once upon a time I would have thought "The Haunter of the Dark" was the best, but I heared Rod Serling explain once that Lovecraft wrote that particular short story as something of a in-joke (the victim is "really" author Robert Bloch; the two were taking turns killing each other off in stories). However, this novella has a scope and intensity that goes beyond any of Lovecraft's short stories.
I have always thought that "At the Mountains of Madness" would make a great film, even though I shudder at what Hollywood would do with its tendency to rely on special effects, the lessons of "The Blair Witch Project," "The Others," and "The Mothman Prophecies" to the contrary. However, I must admit that I notice Lovecraft's story contains elements of two of my all time top-10 science fiction/horror films, "The Thing From Another Planet" and "Five Million Years to Earth" (a.k.a. "Quatermass and the Pit"); think the claustrophobic arctic environment of the former and the discover of eldritch demons from the latter. Here we have an expedition from Miskatonic University that makes a startling discover buried beneath the snow of strange ancient creatures. When the expedition is slaughtered and the creates they found are taken away, a search team makes the grave mistake of following the trail to an immense ruined city.
I am sure I do not have to tell you how big of a mistake this ends up being.
I can remember staying up late at night reading this story, completing captivated and descending into terror step by step along with the doomed protagonists of the story. "The Mountains of Madness" achieves a level of pure terror that I never found in Poe.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
At the Mountains of Madness is one of Lovecraft's most singular, lengthy, and important pieces of fiction. Set in the cold wastes of Antarctica, it takes us far afield from the mysterious world of Lovecraft's New England yet in close proximity to the mythical framework of his most noted writings. A cadre of scientists from Miskatonic University travels to the coldest continent in order to pursue important geological work, but their mission is quickly transformed by one team's discovery of an ancient cavity housing hordes of scientific specimens at the base of an undiscovered range of weird, majestic mountains. The most important specimens found in the pit are largely intact bodies of terrifically strange creatures having both animal and vegetable characteristics and sporting immense, bat-like wings. As the first team begins a study of the creatures, the other party members rush to the campsite. However, they find only death, destruction, and mystery there when they arrive. Mysterious caves, peculiar shapes, and other incredible aspects of the adjacent mountains leads the expedition leader to dub them "the mountains of madness." Scientific curiosity impels two of the men to fly over those mountains to see what lies on the other side. What they find is an empty, ancient city, which they set out to explore. Statues and strange hieroglyphics lead the men to conclude that this city was once the most revered spot of the Old Ones mentioned in the Necronomicon and the Pnakotic Manuscripts, a city built long before man's first ancestors walked the earth. As they move deeper within the bowels of the city, they discover that it is not quite deserted after all.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
"At the Mountains of Madness" is a novella written in serial form, by H. P. Lovecraft in the 1930's.

The story follows a scientific expedition to a range of mountains higher than the Himalayas, in Antartica, where the evidence of ancient species and their society is discovered. The plot is told by William Dyer, a geologist, who writes the story of what he and colleagues experinced, in order to stop a second expedition to the same place.

Without revealing much details, the story develops when the expedition, led by William, finds a few preserved specimens of an unknown species. That by itself isn't overly strange, however they're unlike anything ever found and exhibit a lot more complexity that their geologic age would permit. Afterward, a city of enourmous scale is found which they (William and the expedition) associate to the specimens called Elder Things.

Despite all the set being composed of dead things or ancient monuments, there's still something alive in there (obviously), lurking among them, which of course brings a lot more excitement to the novella.

The style of the story is peculiar, because it is very expository, where the first intent is merely to inform. However as novella progresses, the style turns into a darker object, not merely informative, but also with an intent to scare, as if the writer is reliving the whole experience.

Much of the book is not engaging, because all the descriptions slow a lot the pace of the story. That does have a negative aspect, however all the tidbits of Lovecraftian facts dropped in the story map a quite interesting universe. Where the book is engaging (not as often as I would like), there's almost an overcompensation, where sensations matter a lot (which is usually fear).
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