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Customer Review

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overrated as a writer, but with some intriguing ideas., 13 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Paperback)
I have read nearly the entire volume and looking back I find Lovecraft horrendously overblown in his writing, so that sometimes he seems on the verge of self-parody. It was the Cthulhu mythos that intrigued me and yes, the cosmic horror genere was practically invented by him, and it is difficult to see where Campbell would've got his inspiration for the writhing thing in Who Goes There, and numerous other science fiction writers with their own blubbery star-spawn if not for Lovecraft, but in his supernatural, 'inherited guilt' stories, the plots are pulpy, characters are jokes and twists obvious. The much-cited Herbert West: The Reanimator is frequently as funny as it is macabre, and I hope that was his intention. The best writing occurs in Celephais, a love-letter to dreams and the power they have to take us back to an unalloyed state of childlike wonder, and which makes good use of his ability to write poetically in order to conjure a wonderful dreamscape, rather than indulging in ultraviolet prose to communicate ancient, unknowable horrors. The notes helped with some archaic references, and sometimes proved more interesting than the main text.

After much gushing verging on cultism around the man and his mythos in the nerdier domains of cyberspace, I invested some nights getting to know the work first-hand. Now that I have, I can't honestly see what the fuss is about.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 May 2013 20:25:41 BDT
The fuss is due to the man's magnificent talent for writing--his prose is hypnotic and excellent. But it is probably his awesome imagination that sets him apart as a genius in ye genre. Lovecraft was an extremely careful writer, and his prose conveys absolutely what he was trying to get across in his art. Certainly, he has weaknesses as a writer, and some of his ideas are lacking and inexpertly express'd; but moftly he succeeded in conjuring the mood and atmosphere that he thought of as essential to the weird tale. I have been reading him, non-stop and intensely, since the early 1970's, and his fiction grows more fabulous and perfect with each passing year.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jun 2013 14:14:11 BDT
T. West says:
Yes he could generate atmosphere, but the style is awful in 80% of his work - his prose is so purple it veers into the UV, and I think sun cream should be applied while reading. Celephais was magical, but the inherited guilt stories are just pulp horror at best. I suggest the problem may lie with your reading of him, non- stop and intensely since the seventies.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2014 00:19:03 BDT
His style is close to perfection, and he was in almost every sense the complete master of his narrative voice. The purple patches you mention don't exist for the most part. His style is that of the prose-poet and the pure Literary artist. His careful attention to the crafting of his excellent stories will be displayed in the forthcoming three volumes of THE VARIORUM LOVECRAFT from Hippocampus Press, edited by S. T. Joshi, and THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT, edited by Leslie Klinger for W. W. Norton.
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T. West
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Location: England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 478,548