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Customer Review

15 of 17 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 (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.
The Statement of Randolph Carter
Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
The Picture in the House
The Outsider
Herbert West--Reanimator
The Hound
The Rats in the Walls
The Festival
Cool Air
The Call of Cthulhu
The Colour out of Space
The Whisperer in Darkness
The Shadow over Innsmouth
The Haunter of the Dark
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Aug 2011 18:19:55 BDT
Mr. Lovecrafts early "decadent" stories are, indeed, essential; but he had yet to find his literary voice, at that point. "The Haunter Of The Dark", on the other Star-Spawned Limb, is a wonderful story, amongst other things because it intergrates the "decadent" element appropriatly into Mr. Lovecrafts other interests...& is a comment on Mr. Blochs raw, melodramatic style.

Posted on 9 May 2012 04:15:32 BDT
Kodanshi says:
This contains my favourite Lovecraft story: 'The Colour out of Space'. If only it had 'The Shadow out of Time' in it too!

In reply to an earlier post on 9 May 2012 05:04:59 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 May 2012 05:07:31 BDT
"The Shadow out of Time" is in THE DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES. It is the first time the story has been in a Lovecraft collection since Lovecraft's original handwritten manuscript had been discovered. Have ye seen DIE FABRE? It is an amazing film version of "The Colour out of Space"!

In reply to an earlier post on 9 May 2012 11:29:38 BDT
Kodanshi says:
Nope, but I shall look into that now! By the way, I am in the middle of reading your contribution to the Black Wings of Cthulhu collection, and I am loving all the Art references in it!

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Aug 2012 03:10:41 BDT
Thank you for your kind words. S. T. initially rejected that story, but then he read it a second time and changed his mind, thank Yuggoth! BLACK WINGS II was recently published by PS Publishing, and it is an excellent anthology. My friend Jessica and I sold a story to BLACK WINGS III.
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