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on 5 September 2014
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on 5 January 2014
This is one in a series of hardcovers that Guillermo del Toro has selected for publication by Penguin. Despite the very poor and uncouth cover illustration, the book is a wonderful tribute to the genius of H. P. Lovecraft, and contains many of his very finest tales.
Series Introduction by Guillermo del Toro
Introduction by S. T. Joshi
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Texts
The Tomb
Beyond the Wall of Sleep
The White Ship
The Temple
The Quest of Iranon
The Music of Erich Zann
Under the Pyramids
Pickman's Model
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Dunwich Horror
At the Mountains of Madness
The Thing on the Doorstep
Explanatory Notes

Despite the lapse of decades since these tales were written, and the horde of followers who, influenced by these stories, write riffs on them (guilty), the fictions here presented retain their magnificence and originality. The writing is not at all "cumbersome," as another reviewer has claimed, but smooth, poetic and near-perfect. Lovecraft alter'd his style to suit the mood and needs of particular tales; and the narrative voice of "Pickman's Model," perfect for that peculiar tale, is not the voice of "The White Ship" or "The Music of Erich Zann." It is wonderful and proper to see Lovecraft's fiction dignified by being publish'd by Penguin, Modern Library, and The Library of America; for he was a Literary Artist as assuredly as was Franz Kafka, Virginia Woolf, Henry James and Oscar Wilde--and Poe. Although Lovecraft's writing is at times flawed, and his imagination perhaps a bit unrestrained to the point of absurdity of expression, he was an author usually in complete control of his style, knowing what he wanted to achieve as an artist, and succeeding. It is foolish to call his style "Victorian," and Lovecraft is in many ways a very modern writer--but this is a critique that modern readers sometimes, ignorantly, hurl at writing that strives for a tone of High Literary Art. Good writing is never dated, and H. P. Lovecraft was an excellent writer. His stories are timeless, and will be read by many future generations.

Lovecraft wrote in all of the Fantastic genres of science-fiction, fantasy & horror; and it is part of the unique nature of his Works that he at times combines genre elements so as to produce stories that are uniquely Lovecraftian. Some of his tales are so uncanny, so outre, that one cannot be certain that the tale is the recording of an actual event in reality, or the misty recollection of dream or vision. "The Music of Erich Zann" is such a story; and of it Lovecraft wrote, in a 1922 letter to Rheinhart Kleiner, "It is not, as the whole, a dream, though I have dreamt of steep streets like the Rue d'Auseil.

French critic Jacques Bergier wrote of "Erich Zann" that it captures convincingly the atmosphere of Paris. This statement expresses an important point about Lovecraft's genius: his ability to evoke, convincingly yet dreamily, a sense of place. This talent brings to majestic life the mythical town of Dunwich, in a story that is remarkable on many levels. S. T. Joshi is mistaken to consider "The Dunwich Horror" an artistic failure--it is a success in every way. The story shews that they who claim that Lovecraft was poor in his creation of characters don't know what they're talking about. Lavinia Whateley, although given no dialogue, is fully brought to life, suggestively, in the story, and an entire novel could be written based on the snatches of story Lovecraft whispers of her. In THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD, Lovecraft writes what some have considered a kind of aesthetic love letter to his birth city. Both times I have prowled ye North End of Boston, I have used ye paperback edition of this Penguin book as guide; and it is strange how a Lovecraftian aura can colour that section of ye North End to this date.

Powerful, with prose that is more often near-perfect than merely functional, this is the collection of a poet's dreams and fancies, his visions and passions and nightmares. These stories work on a multitude of levels, and they contain such depth of ingenious imagination that one may return to them again and again, forever.
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on 26 July 2009
This is a very fine number of Lovecraft's stories though in this collection his longer works predominate over the shorter stories.

Amongst others, this volume contains three of Lovecraft's most iconic stories, The Horror of Dunwich, The Thing in the Doorstep and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

At the Mountains of Madness is another long story that starts phantastically well, though it withers a bit towards the end.

The short stories are not Lovecraft's best, but The Music of Erich Zann and The Temple hold their own fairly well.

Most notably, the near complete absence of his oniric tales (I can't think of anybody who would rank those as their favourites) makes this volume his most palatable.

The comments and edition by S.T. Joshi is second to none and his notes at the back are a great help to contextualise both in time and within Lovecraft's opus each of the tales.

Just for The Horror of Dunwich, this collection is worth every penny. As a whole, it's brilliant.
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on 13 April 2003
Not only is Lovecraft the orignal master of the horror genre, to my mind he is among the greatest authors of all time. I can't explain quite how appealing his work is, but among other characteristics it is his style of thoroughness. He never leaves a loose end or an unexplained point. His is methodical and full. A writer really in touch with his imagination, his work comes across with the feel of an unlimited universe to which the reader is invited, if they dare. I go back to his stories over and over again.
Many critics talk of his early death and connect it with his imagination and an all too real link with the dark world about which he writes...maybe so, maybe not. But for sure his death was all too early because I believe his best was yet to come. You will not be dissapointed with this work whether or not you are a fan of horror or just a fan of good writing.
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on 8 December 2013
Few can dispute the legacy of Lovecraft. His influence echoes down the decades, and you can pretty much draw a direct line from his works to Rod Serling, The X-Files, Lost, Stephen King... that's quite an achievement.

So, here is collected a number of his stories, which most ardent fans will already have, but if you are a newcomer then you will get a lot out of it.

So why only four stars? The stories are original in concept (for their time), but the writing... it's cumbersome to the point of victorian, and more often than not centres around sitting in a corner contemplating their own sanity or lack of it. And so, from that point of view, it gets a bit dry and quite heavy going.

If you want a Lovecraft-ian tale, but with better prose and more pace, then definitely read A Gathering of Twine (The Spirals of Danu)
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on 26 July 2015
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on 19 May 2017
I did not like it at all! I would listen and re-listen because it could not hold my interest,
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on 8 January 2017
The narrator's old school-chum is bewitched by a form of succubus who also has the power to take over his body. The story is a light read with easy word flow. Unfortunately I found it predictable and slightly contrived.
The Kindle download is a publisher's PDF scan with some formatting errors, only a few lines per page and wide line-spacing which makes its presentation a bit irritating compared to most Kindle downloads.
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My dear Youngsters:--

Penguin seems to be reprinting this book in hardcover, as part of a series for which del Toro is the fake "editor" -- he has indeed written a new Foreword, but I assume that the forthcoming hardcover volume will be a reprinting of this softcover edition. The cover illustration on the hardcover is ruddy AWFUL...

Ah, I remember as if it were yesterday, that hot Octobyr of 1707 when my friends and I spent some four days in Providence. As chance wou'd have it, S. T. Joshi was in town, working on the Clark Ashton Smith poetry volumes that wou'd soon be publish'd by Hippocampus Press. I had taken my three beloved editions of ye Penguin Classics series of the tales of H. P. Lovecraft that Sunand had edited so brilliantly, and we met, a horde of Lovecraftians, in St. John's Burying Ground, where once Lovecraft and Barlow had sat upon tabletop tombs and written sonnets to Poe's memory. S. T. led us on a walking tour of Lovecraftian sites, and I carry'd with me all three of the Penguin editions plus my wee mass pb edition of FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH. As we stood in front of the mansion mentioned by Lovecraft in THE CASE OF CHARLES DOCTOR WARD as the childhood home of that title character, Jonathan Thomas asked S. T. about getting ahold of a reliable edition of the novel; & I handed S. T. my copy of THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES. We then moved down the street to 10 Barnes Street, where Lovecraft lived when he wrote WARD and so many other classics, many of which are found in this edition.

As usual, S. T. supplies a very inform'd & fascinating Introduction, in which he relates the history of the writing of the stories in this volume. And what tales they are! It seems to me incredible that HPL wrote such a fine early story as "The Music of Erich Zann" before he had WEIRD TALES as a professional market for his fictive art. The story remain'd one of Lovecraft's personal favourites among his own work, and it is deliciously evocative to that kind of nameless horror that Lovecraft evoked so provocatively. It is Lovecraft at his best as a subtle artist of supernatural phantasy.

"Pickman's Model" is often dismiss'd as a "minor" tale in the Lovecraft oeuvre, and yet it has always been popular. Indeed, in his recent anthology of modern Lovecraftian tales, BLACK WINGS, S. T. Joshi has included THREE stories that are inspir'd by "Pickman's Model." The tale has been criticized for its "obvious" ending; & yet the ending is its least interesting feature. The queer character of Richard Upton Pickman is skillfully portray'd, retaining his mystique and sense of strangeness as he haunts his fabulous darkness. Some years ago I visited Boston and found my way to Copp's Hill Burying Ground -- and it is very odd, how Lovecraft's tale renders this quiet place with a haunted aura in reality through his fictive art.

THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD is one of two works by H. P. Lovecraft that I claim to be my favourite among his work. It astonishes me no end that Lovecraft never polish'd this short novel (HPL hated the typewriter and refus'd to type this work) even though publishers are said to have sometimes asked him if he had a novel that they cou'd consider for publication. It is an intriguing question concerning this novel--is it a work of SUPERNATRUAL horror? Is the necromancy practic'd by Joseph Curren a supernatural matter or a form of outre science? What is the nature of Yog-Sothoth as describ'd in this magnificent tale? Questions not easily answer'd. Happily, S. T. Joshi hath prepar'd a fully annotated edition of THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD that has nigh been published by Tampa University Press.

I first try'd to read AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS when I was a wee lass new to Lovecraft, & I found the novel far too difficult to engage my interest or understanding. Over the years I have return'd--again & again -- to this novel, in which Lovecraft fused horror with the then-new genre of science-fiction; & in so doing he created a work that has never been equaled in excellence. Now in my twilight years, I have matur'd enough to admire absolutely this great accomplishment, this novel.

"The Thing on the Doorstep" has some few flaws, but it is certainly one of the QUEEREST of all of Lovecraft's tales. It is a curious and perverse study of seductive and pernicious sorcery, of soul-abduction and defilement, It has unnerv'd me.

This is, again, my all-time favourite single edition of H. P. Lovecraft. The annotations at the back are thorough and of intense interest. My gawd, I must return to this book again, dip into it and feel that velvet kiss of nightmare on my haunted eyes.

Begging to remain,
Ever Thy hmbl Srvt,
W. H. Pugmire, Esq.
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on 29 December 2016
A classic Lovecraft novel for free on the kindle... well worth the read. Lovecraft is the master of horror and will suck you into a terrifying world.
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