Top critical review
on 23 July 2017
I bought this collection of Lovecraft's work knowing that it contained only a fraction of his very best - most of which I already have.
There are roughly three categories of tales here - high fantasy influenced by Lord Dunsany, cosmic horror - the so called Cthulhu Mythology and a more general type of supernatural horror including the first Lovecraft story I ever read 'The Moon Bog'.
Generally I think the 'high fantasy' stories are amongst Lovecraft's weakest. However having said that they do include the charming 'The Cats Of Ulthar' one of my favourite tales in all of Lovecraft. 'The Dream- Quest of Unknown Kadath' also fits into this category but I think it is a lesser work than either 'The Case of Charles Dexter Ward' or 'At the Mountains of Madness' Lovecraft's other short novels. 'The Shadow Out of Time' is regarded as one of Lovecraft's greatest cosmic tales, acclaimed by the likes of S.T. Joshi and Lin Carter. It is certainly a worthy effort but I miss the more visceral impact of the likes of 'The Call of Cthulhu' and 'The Colour out of Space'. In the final category we have the aforementioned 'Moon-Bog' - a good story similar in some ways to the even better 'The Rats in the Walls', as well as rather crudely shocking horror such as 'In The Vault' and 'The Lurking Fear'.
All in all not a bad anthology and a must for the dedicated fan but the casual reader should probably begin their Lovecraft journey elsewhere.