The Shadow Out of Time (Prohyptikon Value Classics) Paperback – 30 Aug 2010
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About the Author
HP Lovecraft is the focal point for Weird Literature, a tradition that precedes the dawn of civilization. The genre, now formalized, pervades the modern landscape of art and literature. Lovecraft weaves of dreams, science, history and horrors in order to compound an effect of cosmic insignificance upon the reader. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
"The Shadow out of Time" was maligned by the editors and copy-editors of Astounding Stories, and then badly edited for those early Arkham House books, the texts of which are now used for really bad editions of Lovecraft's fiction such as the three H. P. Lovecraft Omnibus volumes published by Voyager in the mid-1980's and the Gollancz edition known as NECRONOMICON: THE BEST WEIRD TALES OF H. P. LOVECRAFT. Arkham House finally hired S. T. Joshi to re-edited and correct the texts of all of Lovecraft's four volumes of fiction published by them. The Joshi texts have given us the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft as Lovecraft wrote it and wished his fiction to be preserved.
This wee paperback is really outstanding, and I love it. It has an amazing Introduction of 22 pages that discusses the story and its publication and recounts the fascinating history of the discovery of Lovecraft's original manuscript in 1995, upon which the text of this edition is based. The story's text is followed by over thirty pages of notes, an appendix that includes Lovecraft's original outline Notes to the story, &c.
This is the definitive text. This is the story as Lovecraft wrote it, unhampered by editorial chaos. This is the way Lovecraft would have loved to have seen his story published, and it is very sad indeed that he went to his grave innocent of the fact that his fantastic fiction would eventually be so preserved for the keen enjoyment of future generations. This definitive text has since been included in the final volume of Lovecraft's fiction published by Penguin Classics, THE DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES (S. T. Joshi, editor; 2004), complete with numerous annotations.
This amazing work seems to represent the beginning of what might have been the next major phase of Lovecraft's literary career had he not died in 1937. He seems to have almost come to grips with the horror of his content enough to present it in almost pleasant terms. Gone is the dismissal of the unknown as 'evil' and, in its place, is an evaluation of it as something approaching wonderful.
Yet, for all this new-found optimism, that indescribable sense of being in the presence of things vast beyond imagination is still very much there. In fact, it is there in even more vivid terms as ever before in Lovecraft. Specifically this is due to his focus on the endlessly befuddling concept of time.
The only niggling problem with the story is the injection of rather pedestrian pace very near the end which slows things up right when they need to race faster and faster. But this may be only my impatience.
I am very glad I bought the story in this special form as it lent an extra special meaning to my first ever reading of Lovecraft's last ever major story. It comes with an insightful introduction, extensive notes and a cover which reproduces the cover of the pulp magazine in which 'The Shadow out of Time' was first published. Now, tell me those strange cone-like beings aren't slightly cute!
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