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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection assembled by ST Joshi
This volume contains the stories: Dagon, Randolph Carter, Arthur Jermyn, Celephais, Nyarlathotep, Picture in the House, Outsider, Herbert West, Hound, Rats in the Walls, Festival, He, Cool Air, Call of Cthulhu, Colour out of Space, Whisperer in Darkness, Shadow Over Innsmouth, Haunter of the Dark, as well as a fourteen page Introduction by Joshi (the foremost scholar on...
Published on 29 April 2005 by J. A. Stewart

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3.0 out of 5 stars Mountains of madness
Maybe it's because we have become inured to the idea of hideous malevolent aliens interfering with our planet by the likes of Dr Who and decades of SF and horror films, but the idea of someone going into shock through the simple sight of such an intruder seems rather quaint. But it happens all the time in Lovecraft.

I should probably have read Lovecraft as a...
Published 5 months ago by DB


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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection assembled by ST Joshi, 29 April 2005
By 
J. A. Stewart - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This volume contains the stories: Dagon, Randolph Carter, Arthur Jermyn, Celephais, Nyarlathotep, Picture in the House, Outsider, Herbert West, Hound, Rats in the Walls, Festival, He, Cool Air, Call of Cthulhu, Colour out of Space, Whisperer in Darkness, Shadow Over Innsmouth, Haunter of the Dark, as well as a fourteen page Introduction by Joshi (the foremost scholar on Lovecraft), a suggestion for further reading, a note on the text, and an extra sixty pages of explanatory notes.
This is an excellent collection of Lovecraft stories with a lot of interesting notation and material on his background, his childhood, his inspirations for each story, and various other pieces of fascinating information. It is also, in my opinion, the strongest of the three current Penguin collections of his work, containing as it does the superb Colour out of Space, Shadow over Innsmouth, and Call of Cthulhu (my favourite). Each story is annotated with numbered reference points which can be a bit distracting at first but doesn't really get in the way of your enjoyment of the stories, and provides fascinating insight into the use of certain words, the origins of characters' names, towns and events that influenced the plot, etc. In addition, each of these stories are the definitive editions compiled by Joshi himself, making this currently one of the best Lovecraft collections in the UK. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic introduction to Lovecraft, 9 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This selection of H.P. Lovecraft's shorter and longer stories is greatly benefitted by the choice of 'Dagon' as the opening story. I can still remember reading this astonishing piece of writing which compresses the very essence of Lovecraft's genius into just 6 glorious pages. Everything is there; the adjective-soaked prose which delightfully borders on the verbose, the horrific images of aquatic inter-stellar monsters and that indescribable sense of despair and madness.

My favourite story is 'The Shadow Over Insmouth' which is like an expanded version of 'Dagon'. I have re-read this one many times. There are many other great works in this selection besides these two including the truly terrifying 'The Colour Out Of Space' and 'Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family' which has a horrible twist at the end.

Not every story is a classic and some strike me as resembling other better Lovecraft stories too much. However, this drawback has a silver lining in that the reader can clearly see Lovecraft's obsession with a relatively small number of themes and, in my opinion, obsession has its own special brand of power that is not all bad.

This book is fantastic in that it gives the reader a substantial taste of Lovecraft's work while still leaving a good portion of his work to be discovered afterwards if desired. It is thoroughly recommended!
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovecraft achieves classic status at last, 13 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This volume, in its own small, quiet way, is a momentous book. Momentous not for being necessarily the best collection of Lovecraft's stories (there are plenty of others to choose from) but because it marks the passage of Lovecraft's reputation from the genre ghetto to the broader realms of literature.
Consider this: Lovecraft's career ran parallel with that of Jon Dos Passos (Lovecraft was six years older). Dos Passos' first novel, 'Manhattan Transfer' was published in 1926, the same year as 'The Call of Cthulhu' made its debut appearance in the pulp magazine 'Weird Tales'. Yet while Dos Passos went on to achieve great acclaim for his subsequent novels, Lovecraft's writing remained ignored during his life outside a small group of enthusiastic magazine writers and readers. 'Cthulhu' when first published didn't even rate cover status in the magazine, that honour being granted to Elliot O'Donnell and some ridiculous piece of his called 'The Ghost Table'. At Lovecraft's early death in 1937 he was recognised as a modern master of the horror story by his friends but to the world outside he was invisible; no collections of his stories had been published, his work languished in the crumbling pages of the pulps.
Sixty years on, after the heroic efforts of August Derleth at Arkham House, who put his own money into publishing the first Lovecraft collections, Howard Phillips Lovecraft finally has his place in the sun (probably an inapt metaphor, he used to spend all day with the curtains drawn). The stories are in print all over the world, there's a growing body of critical writing about his work and spin-off items in the form of comics, games, films, music, etc. show how far his reputation has travelled. It's a simple fact that powerful work in any medium cannot be kept down, however humble its origins; the 'Chants de Maldoror' of Isidore Ducasse (Lautreamont) followed a similar path from obscurity to cult renown (among the Surrealists) to world fame. Lovecraft's champions along the way have included some real heavyweights such as Jorge Luis Borges (who dedicated a story, 'There are More Things', to him) and William Burroughs ('Cities of the Red Night' contains references to "Kutulu, the Sleeping Serpent").
So here he is finally, a classic of the Twentieth Century, complete with the usual well-chosen Penguin cover art; for this edition it's a painting by the apocalyptic Romantic John 'Mad' Martin. The book has an excellent introduction by the world's leading Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi who also provides sixty pages of notes for references in the stories. The texts are taken from the definitive versions compiled by Joshi for the editions Arkham House put out ten years ago, correcting many accumulated typos that had dogged the works since original publication. The story selection tries to cover the whole of Lovecraft's career and includes some of his weaker, more fantastical material. I personally would have preferred a different selection ('Herbert West - Reanimator' is not one of his best stories) but then every fan would probably have a different choice of their own. For a curious reader this is a great place to start and its status in the Penguin canon may serve to draw some to Lovecraft who would have shunned the garish packaging of a horror paperback. Some of us have known for years this stuff was the business, it's satisfying to have these feelings reinforced. Well done Howard.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First in an Amazing Series, 29 May 2010
This review is from: The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
In a video interview I conducting with this book's editor, S. T. stated that he thought this was the very best of all of his editions of H. P. Lovecraft's tales, because of its selection. S. T. Joshi has spent the better part of his life bringing us H. P. Lovecraft's texts as Lovecraft wanted them preserved. We remember that, when Lovecraft first submitted his stories to Weird Tales, he wrote to the editor, "Should any miracle impel you to consider the publication of my tales, I have but one condition to offer: and that is that no excisions be made. If a tale cannot be printed as it is written, down to the very last semicolon and comma, it must gracefully accept rejection." This is from Lovecraft before he was selling regularly to a professional market; obviously, he had an artistic vision and wanted it preserved as he created it. S. T. Joshi has worked to correct the blunders and misreadings and (in some audacious instances) the rewriting of Lovecraft's tales, so that we now have his texts as close to his originals as is perhaps possible.

Lovecraft was a cautious writer, and his style is exactly what he wanted it to be. If he is at times extravagant, it is because he so chooses. Some people have moaned at the style of "The Hound," but it seems perfect for the tale being told. I love the story and do not want to believe, as S. T. seems to, that it was written as partial parody of Lovecraft's style. Lovecraft came to dismiss so much of what to me is his really fascinating work, such as "The Outsider" and "The Hound." The wonderful and intriguing thing about what has been called Lovecraft's "lesser" work is that these tales are still extremely interesting and effective. They are very unusual and they have a kind of spell (over me, at least) that never fades, I return to them again and again.

I've been entranced with the figure of Nyarlathotep, to the point where I have just completed an entire book of tales concerning ye Crawling Chaos. The original prose poem of Lovecraft's concerning this enigmatic creature is in this book. Nyarlathotep is mentioned in future works, also collected here, such as the amazing and potent "The Rats in the Walls" and the fascinating "The Whisperer in Darkness." (This latter story has recently been filmed by the eldritch folks at The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society, the same people who gave us the remarkable silent film version of "The Call of Cthulhu." Judging from the trasiler, their cinematic treatment of "The Whisperer in Darkness" will be absolutely faithful to Lovecraft's magnificent story!)

"The Haunter of the Dark" is my all-time favourite story by Lovecraft. I love its sense of Gothic mystery, the evocative church and its nameless history, and the queer fate of its protagonist. It has been said that Lovecraft, had he lived on, would have deserted Gothic horror absolutely and concentrated on writing tales of science fiction, but I find the idea absurd. This was his last completed story, and it is supernatural in the peculiar way that Lovecraft's work treats the supernatural. It is a story that really does haunt one. A superb recent cinematic treatment of the film was shown at last year's H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival -- a film called, strangely, PICKMAN'S MUSE.

This is a fine collection of H. P. Lovecraft's weird fiction, complete with a wonderful Introduction by S. T. Joshi and containing his annotations and notes for each tale. The three editions of Lovecraft's tales from Penguin are, for me, the very best editions of Lovecraft. S. T. Joshi feels that this is his very best single edition of Lovecraft's tales.
CONTENTS
Introduction
Dagon
The Statement of Randolph Carter
Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
Celephais
Nyarlathotep
The Picture in the House
The Outsider
Herbert West--Reanimator
The Hound
The Rats in the Walls
The Festival
He
Cool Air
The Call of Cthulhu
The Colour out of Space
The Whisperer in Darkness
The Shadow over Innsmouth
The Haunter of the Dark
[Explanatory Notes]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Call Of Cthulhu & Other Weird Tales, 28 Jun 2002
By 
Richard M Rayner (Billericay, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
A fine collection of stories by a terrific story teller enhanced by anotations by the editor detailing references to places & times mentioned in the stories, such as in Shadow Over Innsmouth, where he gives details on what real town it is based on & where he got the ideas for his stories.
A real treat for any H.P. fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horror Treat!, 27 April 2009
Very faithful readings of the classic stories. Ian Fairbain is himself a cult legend and handles his tales with aplomb. Gareth David-Lloyd is offers his warm Welsh tones which rest very easily upon the ear. A must for fans of Lovecraft or either of these cult actors!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horror Fiction at it's finest, 20 April 2007
By 
Paul Macdonald "mac20584" (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937) is a name synonomous with most horror fiction fans; and one can easily see why once one reading the first few sentences of his beautiful prose.

Most of the stories contained in this teriffic compilation are of 'short' veriety - with some noticeably lengthier. They deal with all sorts of strange beasts and ideas; from creepy old men in the backwoods of New England, Zombies, unseen ghouls and massive god-like monsters.

Of course, these stories would hold up without the assistance of explanatary notes which occuply the end of this particular volume; however, editor ST Joshi's notes complement these stories brillinatly, providing an interesting backstory on some of the more curious passages, and offer exhaustive information on the inspiration for the fiction.

Joshi's introduction is also excellent, offering a short biography of Lovecraft's brief and tragic life.

Even though Lovecraft's fiction has been collected in various other volumes for dacades, this (along with 'Thing on the Doorstep' and 'Dreams in the Witch House') is the difinative version of the stories collected in this volume, and it will offer hours of reading pleasure.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful set of bizarre, intriguing & scary short stories, 30 Dec 2001
By 
A. B. Barak (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This was the first Lovecraft book I read and I really enjoyed it. There are 18 stories here which cover mysteries the unsuspecting come across which could be explained by sea monsters, aliens, elementals, ghosts, you get the picture!

Some of the stories seem a bit formulaic and there is a little repatition of themes, but this shouldn't distract - there are plenty of very original ideas here and also a useful commentary of notes by Joshi which explain some of the references and sources of the works and the relationships between the stories.
One of the stories, The Colour Out of Space, is particularly chilling.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mountains of madness, 23 July 2014
By 
DB "davidbirkett" (Co. Kildare, Ireland (but born & raised Liverpool, UK)) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Maybe it's because we have become inured to the idea of hideous malevolent aliens interfering with our planet by the likes of Dr Who and decades of SF and horror films, but the idea of someone going into shock through the simple sight of such an intruder seems rather quaint. But it happens all the time in Lovecraft.

I should probably have read Lovecraft as a teenager - I imagine I would have loved it then. But now, while I accept that he is someone every SF fan should dip into as an "important" read, and while I finished the book and quite enjoyed it, I'm not planning to read any more of his stuff - I find his stories too "samey".
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the completeists..., 17 Nov 2008
By 
Perkins "...the Uncanny" (Birmingham, West Midlands, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This is essential to get all of Lovecraft's stories.

For some reason, the three excellent omnibuses (omnibi ?)('Omnibus 1: At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels of Terror', 'Omnibus 2: Dagon and Other Macabre Tales' and 'Omnibus 3: Haunter of the Dark and Other Tales') don't include the short story 'Cool Air'.

These four books together are the complete stories.
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