Editor Wheeler has assembled an excellent Lovecraft overview and collection. The book contains 19 stories and totals out at 536 pages. It also includes the following: Introduction by editor Andrew Wheeler by Lovecraft Appendix A-History of the Necronomicon by Lovecraft Appendix B-Notes on Writing Weird Fiction by Lovecraft Appendix C-Some Notes on Nonentity Appendix D: Chronology of the Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft In these stories I found several themes that I greatly admired - Lovecraft frequent usage of New England and Essex County as a setting for many of his stories and the consistency of his horrific rational. Included are some of my most admired stories: The Call of Cthulhu; "The Shadow Out of Time"; "The Lurking Fear", "The Thing on the Doorstep"; "The Dreams in the Witch House" and the masterpiece "The Shadow Over Innsmouth". Also included in this collection is, in my estimation, one clunker "At the Mountains of Madness". The story is interesting but it is so bloated and repetitious about 50 pages could have been jettisoned and what remains would have been a much better story. A thoughtful quotation by Lovecraft opens the book. I will include here because I agree with the truthfulness of it. "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation of flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age". HPL "The Call of Cthulhu" 1926
The best single volume of Lovecraft around...but you need to check your pages.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 12 years ago
First, a handy note: if you find this collection, and you're thinking of buying it (a decision I thoroughly endorse), do yourself a favor and check to make sure that you're not missing, say, page 490-508. Because I can tell you, from experience, that getting 80 pages into "At the Mountains of Madness" and suddenly realizing you're missing 18 pages of the story? Not a fun time. It's the only sour note I can say that I have about this book, though, which is easily the single best anthology of Lovecraft's work I've found to date. Containing a wide range of the master's work, from "The Call of Cthulhu" and most of the major Mythos stories to standalone works like personal favorite "In the Walls of Eryx," editor Andrew Wheeler clearly picks from a fan's perspective, but his order (grouping stories that echo each other, setting short stories between longer ones) is great, and his choices superb. As he says in the introduction, not all of the best stories are here, but there's not a bad one in the batch. A great introduction for anyone just coming into Lovecraft's work, and a solid, spectacular collection for any diehard fans. No one unsettles and horrifies like Lovecraft, and if you've never read his surreal, nightmarish visions, you're in for a massive treat, and some of the best and most horrifying tales of all time. Any serious fan of horror owes it to themselves to find this volume - provided, of course, that it has all of its pages.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 13 years ago
Heed the Call "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear..." H.P. Lovecraft A quiet, little hamlet that might be set down anywhere in New England, and call itself at home, but located in the rolling hills of north-central Pennsylvania. The man who rented me this house was accommodating enough, but there was something--reptilian about him, for lack of a better word. In fact, he brings to mind the word batrachian [you know, frog-like; no, not Bactrian, that's a two-humped camel] In fact, the whole town seems kind of cold-blooded. I don't mean unfriendly, just something just not quite human. I mean, it's a quaint town, and if they did a little creative marketing and were a little more hospitable, I'm sure they'd have a nice tourism industry. But the odd, shambling gait and furtive nature of the residents doesn't do much for sales, and it makes my skin crawl... No author makes me more likely to nail shut the cellar door than H.P. Lovecraft. Never heard of him? Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1890. He spent his life in genteel poverty, living on small, dwindling inheritances and earning a pittance for his writing. He mostly wrote short stories, set in his native New England, for the pulp magazines of the `20s and `30s, especially Weird Tales. One of the best known and studied American horror writers of the early 20th century, his influence is still felt seventy years after his death, though his readership was limited in his lifetime. His reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now commonly regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th Century, exerting widespread and indirect influence, and frequently compared to Edgar Allan Poe in his writing style. Lovecraft's works are generally classified as horror, though there are science fiction and fantastical elements, a sort of weird, cosmic fiction. His better known stories came to form what is now know as the "Cthulhu Mythos", a series of loosely interconnected tales featuring a pantheon of hideous entities, as well as the famed Necronomicon, a grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. The stories with creepy atomsphere and dark, lurking fears, created a mythology that challenged the tradtional values of Judeochristian society and made humanity's role in the universe meaningless. Lovecraft was an atheist and his purpose of the creation of the Mythos was to act as a background element to his stories, as well as taking advantage of mankind's greatest fear, fear of the unknown. Much of Lovecraft's work was directly inspired by his nightmares. The Mythos usually takes place in fictional New England towns and is centered on the Great Old Ones, a fearsome assortment of ancient, powerful deities who plunged to Earth vast eons ago and once ruled the Earth. They are presently in a death-like slumber, waiting silently beneath sea, sand, and snow, waiting to be released into the world again. The most well-known of these beings is Ct
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