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Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos Paperback – 1 Aug 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Bks.,U.S.; Reprint edition (1 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034542204X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345422040
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.6 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 190,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Murray on 12 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a sort of nostalgia trip, having read a lot of Mythos fiction a while back, I wanted to revisit it, see how it held up. The result was that the few really good stories in this volume - those by Lovecraft, Campbell, Colin Wilson, CAS - really stood out. These guys knew how to write, and you can tell that HPL and Ramsey Campbell write their horror fiction from a real conviction and deep sense of the meaning behind it. The others, though, were poor. Some better than others - August Derleth can do dialogue better than Belknap Long can write just about anything, but neither can write atmospherically, and they throw around crude horror elements like a five year old throwing around primary colour paint. I expected Robert Bloch to be better, and though he can write, he can't write Mythos with the delicacy and conviction of HPL. The Joanna Russ wasn't really a mythos tale, so disappointed by being something other than what was expected. The Stephen King was his usual "slumming it" in hack-and-slash horror effort, with no surprises. The Robert E Howard was good, but pulpy - but at least you expect that.
Really good mythos fiction is quite thin on the ground. When it's good, it's great, and this book is worth buying for those few great pieces in it, if you don't already have them. The rest merely serve to accentuate the good stuff by being so poor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, Esq. on 29 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Ye Contents:
Introduction by Jim Turner
The Call of Cthulhu, by H. P. Lovecraft
The Return of the Sorcerer, by Clark Ashton Smith
Ubb-Sathla, by Clark Ashton Smith
The Black Stone, by Robert E. Howard
The Hounds of Tindalos, by Frank Belknap Long
The Space-Eaters, by Frank Belknap Long
The Dwellers in Darkness, by August Derleth
Beyond the Threshold, by August Derleth
The Shambler from the Stars, by Robert Bloch
The Haunter of the Dark, by H. P. Lovecraft
The Shadow from the Steeple, by Robert Bloch
Notebook Found in a Deserted House, by Robert Bloch
The Salem Horror, by Henry Kuttner
The Terror from the Depths, by Fritz Leiber
Rising with Surtsey, by Brian Lumley
Cold Print, by Ramsey Campbell
The Return of the Lloigor, by Colin Wilson
My Boat, by Joanna Russ
Sticks, by Karl Edward Wagner
The Freshman, by Philip Jose Farmer
Jerusalem's Lot, by Stephen King
Discovery of the Ghooric Zone, by Richard A. Lupoff

This is the "Golden Anniversary Anthology" edition of this book, edited in 1990 by Jim Turner and originally published by Arkham House. It was Jim's updating of August Derleth's original 1969 edition and it adds new stories and drops stories such as "The Haunter of the Graveyard" by J. Vernon Shea (who was an original member of the Lovecraft Circle and corresponded with HPL) and "The Deep Ones" by James Wade (a magnificent story which will soon be reprinted in a Mythos anthology edited by S. T. Joshi for Mythos Books). Turner's updated version is interesting but not an improvement over Derleth's original, with one exception. That exception is the inclusion of "Sticks," by Karl Edward Wagner, one of the finest Lovecraftian tales ever penned.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
The editors of this book obviously made a very pointed effort to pick those stories that are not only tied to the Cthulhu Mythos, but are actually worth reading. The stories by Lovecraft, Derleth and Bloch are the best in the book, and even Stephen King gets a short tale in. There probably should be a couple more Cthulhu Mythos follow-ups to this as there are several good selections that didn't make it into the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NoPoet406 on 8 July 2010
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent anthology for all fans of dark fiction and the Cthulhu Mythos and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. I do have some problems with some of the stories though, so I cannot in all honesty rate this at 5 stars; on the other hand the better offerings are so good they're worth reading again and again.

The worst offence which nearly every story commits is the making of direct references to HP Lovecraft and his work. Basically this destroys the carefully-crafted atmosphere of each story by pointing out that each one is based on a work of fiction; it's like someone stopping halfway through a terrifying ghost story to say "By the way, this is all made up" (and I know someone who actually did that - everyone immediately lost interest in the story). Also, this tends to come off as fanboy-ism. Everyone who reads a Cthulhu Mythos book already KNOWS how awesome Lovecraft is, we don't need it shoving down our throats.

I'll rate each story out of 5:

The Call of Cthulhu (Lovecraft, 4*) - the original and one of the best, though in my opinion some of Lovecraft's other work eg the Whisperer in Darkness and Colour Out of Space are more exciting and a lot scarier.

Return of the Sorcerer (Clark Ashton-Smith, 2*) - short story about a man who moves in with his (male) employer despite legitimate concerns that the employer is a weirdo; basically an excuse to place a character in jepoardy.

Ubbo-Sathla (Clark Ashton-Smith, 2.5*) - slightly confusing tale about a man who gazes through time and space to the primal entity Ubbo-Sathla. Written as though it was part of Lovecraft's dream-cyle, which I always regarded as Lovecraft's worst efforts due to their convoluted and somewhat bizarre nature.
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