The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre Paperback – 1 Oct 1982
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From the Inside Flap
This is the collection that true fans of horror fiction have been waiting for: sixteen of H.P. Lovecraft's most horrifying visions, including Lovecraft's masterpiece, THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME--the shocking revelation of the mysterious forces that hold all mankind in their fearsome grip.
"I think it is beyond doubt that H.P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the Twentieth Century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."
About the Author
Almost completely ignored by the mainstream press during his lifetime, H. P. Lovecraft has since come to be recognized as one of the greatest writers of classic horror, on a par with Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft's mentor. H. P. Lovecraft's work has been translated into more than a dozen languages, his tales adapted for film, television, and comic books, and he has been the subject of more scholarly study than any other writer of horror fiction save Poe.
Top customer reviews
Every story herein deserves it own review, frankly. "The Rats in the Walls," "The Dreams in the Witch-House," and "In the Vault" (one of my favorites) offer traditional horror tales full of Lovecraftian atmosphere. "The Outsider," perhaps the least satisfying read, is an allegorical tale reflecting an isolated individual's view of society and of himself. "The Silver Key" is a solid representative of the dream-myth stories of the author's earlier years and serves as an introduction to Lovecraft's heroic character Randolph Carter. "The Colour Out of Space" is a singular, science fiction/horror tale counted by Lovecraft himself as one of his favorites. "The Picture in the House" is perhaps Lovecraft's most efficiently horrifying story ever, "The Music of Erich Zann" is an unforgettable tale touching on the great secrets of the unknown, and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" sensationally evokes the horror and depths of influence by unseen agents on this earth. These stories effectively set the stage for the Cthulhu Mythos tales, of which the remaining stories form an integral part. "The Call of Cthulhu" and "The Dunwich Horror" herald the full manifestation of Lovecraft's cosmic horror and describe the ambivalent agency of incomprehensible outside forces on mankind. "The Haunter of the Dark" and "The Thing on the Doorstep" highlight even more mysterious access points of the unknown into man's consciousness. I must give special attention to my two favorite Lovecraft tales: "The Whisperer in Darkness" and "The Shadow Out of Time." Much of the action detailed in the first of these stories is related to the reader by way of letters exchanged between an isolated scholar in the hills of Vermont and the narrator, an expert in folk tales who is compelled to believe the ancient stories of alien influences he once preached against. We see no action first-hand until the latter pages, when the protagonist finally visits his correspondent in Vermont and is presented with facts and examples proving the reality of advanced alien life forms; the evolving conclusion of the tale is perhaps predictable to a degree but the final revelation remains quite effective nonethless. I consider "The Shadow Out of Time," written very near the end of Lovecraft's too short life, to be his masterpiece, and it does effectively tie together many of the themes of cosmic horror and alien influence he devoted so much of his time to. A learned man loses almost five years of his life to amnesia, during which time a wholly secondary personality controls his body and masquerades as his old self. After he returns to his body, he continually dreams of a strange world in which he is a "monster" setting forth a record of earth's history. When he discovers a buried megalithic structure underneath the Australian desert corresponding exactly with his dream-images, he is faced with the realization that he underwent a transfer of consciousness with a Great Race of beings who garnered knowledge of space, time, and the universe eons before man's forebears crawled out of the earth's hot oceans.
I've only had this book for a few days now, but already i'm hooked. The book comprises 16 of Lovecraft's tales, each of varying lengths. Some are very short (The picture in the house, The outsider) but this is great as they can be read in an evening, just before you switch your light off and go to sleep - if you can!!! I read 'the rats in the walls' last night and then was up for an hour trying to ignore a strange creaking at the foot of my bed!!!
Can't wait to begin some of the longer, and more renowned tales like 'The dunwich horror'.
I heartily recommend this volume as a great introduction to the man and his works. There is an excellent forward by Bloch which helps you to understand the author's background and history.
Lovecraft has a great antiquated writing style which really adds to the arcane feel of his tales. First rate stuff 5*
Thematically, his range is rather narrow; he developed a mythos involving primordial beings that lurk in Earth's depths and occasionally intrude into the present world. Almost all his work is a variation on that. Oddly (and ironically, given his name) erotic or romantic elements are entirely absent from his writing. It is as if he were asexual. His great strength is in his style, which is unfailingly elegant and has a musical quality to it. He was a great Anglophile and often employs British English spellings and usages. He is a pleasure to read, and has a unique voice and vision. All lovers of fantasy or horror fiction, or of fine writing, should sample Lovecraft.
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