on 12 April 2008
Wow. Wasn't expecting that much. This 900 pages book look so huge and is fantastic with the black leatherbound cover. When first opening it you got a Arkham map illustrated on the inside of the cover. All the great stories of H.P. Lovecraft are in there, even some poems. They all have the original published date and infos on them too. It's like a Lovecraft Encyclopedia! There are just enough illustrations and at the end you got a LONG biography of Lovecraft beautifully written. For this price it's a steal. I must stop writing now, Cthulhu calls me! GET IT!
(For the glue on the back sticker it's pretty easy to remove. First get the sticker off and then stick it again where there is glue remaining. Do that several times and all the glue will be removed)
on 7 October 2012
Lovecraft was well known for his zealous protection of his prose, and would rather have a tale go unpublished than for an editor to mess with his carefully crafted words.
However, for some reason the published of this particular collection decided to throw the budget at the faux leather cover (ruined by a sticker on the back which leaves a horrid residue when removed) and failed to employ anyone to proof read the text. So we have to endure typos and errors which should never have made it to the printing press.
on 9 April 2008
This is truly a most worthy edition of the master's tales - and the price is laughable! A bargain if there ever was one!
I must, however, give vent to my anger regarding one point. It would seem as though the fine people at Gollancz - unknowingly, I'm sure - have amongst their ranks a daemon! This fiend has revealed its presence to me by its ingenious manoeuvre of making sure that the sticker on the back of the book (combined price- and barcode sticker) has been applied using the most heinous kind of glue heretofore known to Man! Upon having removed the sticker, I found, much to my dismay that the slime, which lay hidden beneath, would not yield without a fierce fight; and it is with sore fingers I now write these words of warning. So either keep the sticker or be prepared to set aside some time for removing the glue.
In conclusion I'd like to express my hopes that Gollancz will follow up this release with similar editions of other authors such as, say, Clark Ashton Smith. Well, one can always hope ...
on 18 April 2008
It appears that I, unlike the other reviewers of this book, am a new edition to the legions of Lovecraft fans that I had until recently been completely unaware of. I have long since been a fan of horror film and have read my fair share of such obvious novelists as King, but never could have dreamt of something as elegant and terrifying in the nowadays all too neglected medium of the written word.
The tome itself bleeds horror; the black leather cover (which alone would suggest a much higher price) and occasional illustrations and even the feel of the pages spark the imagination, but it is undoubtedly Lovecraft's own artful imagery and originality that would be expected long after his time makes this a vital part of the collection of not just any horror fan, but any literary enthusiast.
However, as has been said before me, the sticker is the one blight of this book, and you must be prepared for a strenuous battle. The glue! THE GLUE!
on 14 March 2012
A collection of the best of H P Lovecraft's tales, in a book which is well crafted and beautifully presented.
But the proof reading and sub-editing are abysmal.
Mostly just irritating typos; 'this' instead of 'his', 'flight' instead of 'light' and the word 'he' omitted in error. These 3 examples from one short story alone (The Haunter of the Dark). But in other places the errors are much more serious.
For example, this sort of sentence from 'Cool Air' "My amateur efforts, however, proved of no use; and when I had new piston would have to be obtained." (sic). Shoddy.
Although HPL wrote mostly for the pulp magazines he was a meticulous craftsman. It is as much his style and precision as the sweep of his imagination that make him the important, influential and popular writer that he remains.
He deserves more care than this.
on 29 March 2009
For anyone used to a variety of paperback editions over the years- and indeed hopefully for new readers of Lovecraft- this beautifully presented hardback is a real treat. Containing over thirty stories and two poems, it is as close to a definive edition as could ever be hoped. All HPL's best tales are there, including all the major components of the "Cthulhu Mythos." It must be said, however, that there are a number of annoying typographical errors in several of the stories
There is an informative "Afterword" by editor Stephen Jones which not only adumbrates HPL's life and career, but also his influence on subsequent writers and the creative media in general- as well as sressing the pivotal roles of August Derleth and Donald Wandrei in preserving HPL's work from ill-merited obscurity.
In short, typographical errors aside, this is an essential collection, and a bargain even at cover price.
on 23 September 2009
When I saw this book at Amazon, I jumped at it because it was the kind of book I was looking for containing an anthology (or bunch of stories) by Howard Phillips Lovecraft! I was not disappointed! It runs to 880 pages of Stories and supportive texts by some of the world's greatest Horror Authors. The whole Cthulhu Mythos is included and lots more stories to make you pee yourself in terror of what your reading! The book is in Hardback in a faux leather cover. There has been some discussion on the price maker on the back cover, and as a decorator, I found that methylated Spirit removes the gum residue after you've peeled off the label carefully. A very good bargain at the price offered by Amazon - so much so my son wanted it too - so its cost me more - buut it was worth it to get my son's head into a book at last ;)! Hugo Shepherd
on 1 August 2010
I bought this book after learning a bit about the Cthulu mythos and other Lovecraft stories online. To me, this is a fantastic collection of works which really suits my interest as a sci-fi/horror/fantasy fan. Thoroughly recommended, with the following comments:
- Truly scary stuff - I can't say I've ever seen a "horror" film which actually frightened me, maybe just startled or repulsed instead. Some of Lovecraft's stories can inspire true terror if you allow yourself to get sucked in, especially if reading alone in the dark!
- Lots of longevity. As the book is made up of many short stories (some only a few pages, others containing many chapters) it's easy to pick up, read as much as you like, then put down and come back to weeks or months later.
- Poor editing. The book contains more typos than any other I've ever read, which can be a little distracting. This is almost certainly just due to laziness on the part of the editor/publisher when compiling Lovecraft's stories, and could've been fixed easily.
- Some of the stories are a little formulaic. I imagine in Lovecraft's time when these stories were read independently this wasn't an issue, but having so many of them back-to-back makes it very plain to see the sorts of literary tools he employs, making them a bit less effective as you get further through the book. For example, many of the stories are written from the first-person perspective with the main character recounting some past horror of their lives. Frequently, part of the story is "too terrible to repeat" - at first this isn't a bad thing as it raises the tension, but after reading several stories where the climax is too awful to describe, it starts to feel more like laziness.
- I personally found the images quite distracting. Some of them were good quality and fitted well with the stories on surrounding pages, but in most cases they are simply stock images which have little to do with the storyline (example: a picture of a tentacle holding a skull crops up several times, but I don't remember reading a story containing this description at any point). I imagine they were simply an afterthought to fill gaps in the pages.
- Lovecraft's writing is not for everyone. The long and short of it is that he was pretty racist, and it shows in some of his stories. If like me you can ignore this and enjoy the rest of the story for what it is then there's no problem, but others may not feel this way. Ultimately the stories were written in the early 1900's when attitudes were very different, so I don't think this should dissuade most people.
Based on the above it may seem I'm pretty critical of the book, but overall I maintain that it deserves 5 stars. The stories Lovecraft wrote were some of the first of their kind, and he inspired a generation of horror writers with them. I'll definitely be looking out for any of his works not included in "Necronomicon" the next time I'm looking for a new book.
on 14 July 2010
The complaints about the sticker on the back cover draw attention away from a more obvious problem: the fact that the book is appallingly proofed and edited. The text is full of transpositions and typos. Now maybe this is down to it being lovingly reproduced from the original pulps and amateur press publications, but it still looks a bit shoddy next to the beautifully edited and annotated texts of the stories in the collections ST Joshi has put together for Penguin. A lot of people may take exception to August Derleth's overzealous editing of the '60s editions that were probably most UK readers' first encounter with Lovecraft, but at least they didn't have the last paragraph of The Call Of Cthulhu open with the phrase: "Gthulhu still lives..."
For a book costing this much, and which is obviously supposed to be a desirable and cherishable object and the definitive one volume Lovecraft collection, that's downright shoddy. I fear that Stephen Jones needs a good slapping, particularly when this book is compared to the rather finer job he did with the Conan centennial collection. It just looks half arsed. Docked two stars for this blatant contempt for both the author and the reader, which is a real flaw in otherwise beautifully presented collection. Unless you particularly want a one volume hardback, stick to the Penguins.
on 5 January 2014
Until I read the other reviews I must confess I hadn't noticed how many typographical errors were in the text, I don't think it affected my enjoyment but upon reflection there are a lot. Likewise the sticker on the back not removing cleanly was annoying but not a major issue for me.
Despite owning this a while now I am still less than half-way through, and so my comment may not be reflective of the entire book, but for some reason I find it a slightly hard read. The quality of the writing and the groundbreaking nature of Lovecraft's work is undeniable but I don't think it will be entirely to everyone's taste. The stories tend to build slowly and have a relatively short final act. It may be a case of having had overly high expectations but I bought the book thinking that I would love every word and rip through it in no time but it hasn't turned out that way. I find many of the stories a little similar in both their structure and subject matter, and due to the short nature of each one this was a problem for me. If I read two or more stories in the same sitting I definitely lost some of the pleasure. I am now reading it slowly, perhaps one short story a week or even less, and finding it much more enjoyable to do that and spend a bit more of the time that I would have normally spent reading reflecting on the story. I suppose that is not really a problem and in a way it is merely me trying to prolong a good experience, but I am more used to reading large chunks (200+ pages) of books at a time and the time flying by. That wasn't how I found this at all. I would still highly recommend it though.
I did also appreciate the included biography which overall made this a really comprehensive experience of an essential part of horror fiction history. I usually find them superfluous and often fawning, but I really enjoyed this one and recommend skipping to the end to read it before the main text. I found it particularly interesting that contemporary readers of Lovecraft's stories would probably have been exposed to his works the way I ended up reading this compilation, i.e. in installments.