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Top 3 H.P. Lovecraft Stories

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Behelit, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. Behelit

    Behelit Troubadour

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    Not limited to just a list. Feel free to review, critique, and/or discuss any of H.P. Lovecraft's stories. Share any information you may have in regards.

    If you haven't heard/read any of his stories,

    H.P. Lovecraft is known for his cosmic horror, the insignificance and fragility of man in such a vast universe. His settings tend to revolve around early 1900s New England yet contain much that is fantastical, dream-induced and unspeakably horrific.

    They do lean on the Sci-Fi, Horror, Supernatural element.

    I would recommend any of his collections. Be wary as some share a few of the same stories. I personally own two mass markets that are absolutely worth every penny, Waking Up Screaming and Shadows of Death. Don't be thrown off by the titles.

    The following is a link to H.P. Lovecraft Public Domain Audiobooks and E-Text


    1. Beyond the Wall of Sleep
    2. Celephais
    3. The Shadow Over Innsmouth


    One thing that I find ironic about his writing is though I see him as descriptively brilliant he will fall back on words or phrases such as "unspeakable", "indescribable", "futile to try to describe". In retrospect, perhaps he likes to allow his readers to fill in the blank with their own imagination, fears, dreams, etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  2. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    1. At the Mountains of Madness
    2. The Shadow over Innsmouth
    3. The Dunwich Horror, with Call of Cthulhu as a close fourth.
     
  3. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    The Case of Charles Dexter Ward… even if it is fairly obvious where he got the idea. (No, I'm not going to spoil it for you.)
    "The Dunwich Horror"
    At the Mountains of Madness

    One word of warning for those not yet initiated into the cult: there are three different kinds of story that will appear under Lovecraft's name. The first are the ones written solely by him. The second are the ones he wrote as a "collaborator"–very often more of a ghost writer, nearly always as the dominant voice, no matter whose name appeared on it, and most of which are as good as his solo material… in a couple cases, as good as his best. (Most of these can be found under the cover The Horror in the Museum, though as with all his stories they've all been reprinted in more than one place.)

    Then there's the third category, the ones written by Lovecraft "and" or "with" August Derleth. While Derleth may have been almost single-handedly responsible for keeping Lovecraftian fiction alive in the decades between his death and the resurgence of supernatural lit somewhere in the 70s or thereabouts, for which I am thankful, these posthumous "collaborations" contain very little that was written by Lovecraft himself, often no more than ideas excerpted from his correspondence… and Derleth, as the saying goes, was no Howie Lovecraft. One could construct a college writing course on how not to write a story based solely upon the contrast between the two. (I got the same feeling I did from reading some of the Conan material "completed" by de Camp and Carter… for that matter, Carter wrote some Mythos fiction himself, and it's just as weak as Derleth's. I'm told that Derleth was actually fairly competent in other genres, but I've never felt the urge to verify this.) So unless and until you buy into the whole extended Mythos thing, and feel you have to read everything in it, avoid these like the plague.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  4. Legerdemain

    Legerdemain Troubadour

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    My favorite is At the Mountains of Madness, but no clear second or third in my book. Lots of fun and interesting stuff.
     
  5. After reading numerous Freudian interpretations of his work I really can't take Lovecraft seriously. I like his stories, don't get me wrong, and his influence on fantasy fiction in general is immeasurable. But as a human being he was an annoying little scrote, and his views on racial theory would've had me emptying my pint over his head. Still, who said authors had to be nice guys?;)
     
  6. Behelit

    Behelit Troubadour

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    Hmm, not much in the way of racial theory registered with me while reading his stories. With the more obvious exception of Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family. I guess some people are more sensitive to those topics or perhaps I'm just a very awful reader and take most works at face value.

    Never been fond of reading too deep into author's personal lives either.
     
  7. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    Given that I near exclusively read rather old books, I've grown pretty used to racism, sexism, and miscellaneous bigotry and let it slide. When was Lovecraft about? 1920s? Certainly before Martin Luther King and his bunch. I'm not going to care if he was a racist. That's like complaining about sexism in Medieval literature.
     
  8. I haven't heard of this author but I will certainly look into it.. I love my interesting reads and you guys give such good opinions and reviews on the books you like I have no choice but to feel compelled to read them >.<
     
  9. That's always a possibility. Then again, having witnessed people being hacked to death because they belonged to the wrong tribal group it could be that I've seen an extreme application of these kind of notions. Of course it's possible to read Lovecraft and not care what was going on in his head, just as it's possible to listen to Wagner and completely ignore what a nasty individual he was away from the music. I'm not suggesting everyone should follow my lead. It's a personal quirk; if I don't have respect for someone as a human being I find it impossible to respect their work to any great degree, however talented they are. Ho hum, that's the way it goes. It'd be a dull ol' world if we all thought the same. I have read all of Lovecraft's fiction, back when I was a callow youth, and as I said his contribution is enormous. He's just not someone I want on my bookshelves.
     
  10. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Well, I can settle at least one question here: Lovecraft was blatantly racist in some of his works–no "Freudian" analysis necessary. Less a product of his times than of his personality: he was incredibly introverted, lived a largely isolated life (massive correspondence aside), and as a result leaned toward xenophobia. If there's any redeeming feature to be found there, it's that skin color itself didn't mean much to him; he was just as averse to Poles and Portuguese (who, oddly, show up quite a bit) as to any other group… in fact, Negroes–his usage, and the "correct" term at the time–generally get handled better than some European groups. So it would probably be less accurate to call him "racist," under its normal usage, than to simply call him averse to anything that wasn't, well, him.

    That having been said: just read past it. Nothing in his stories requires buying into, or even acknowledgement of his prejudices; the stories read the same way regardless. Take all ethnic references to read "stranger" or "other," and ignore the specifics.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  11. Except when it comes to the creatures he created, though I don't think it necessarily takes an expert to figure out what was going on with him.
     
  12. drkpyn

    drkpyn Scribe

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    I absolutely love "Under the Pyramids" because it was written with Harry Houdini and based off a story which he claimed had actually happened while on a trip to Egypt.
     
  13. ShortHair

    ShortHair Sage

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    At the Mountains of Madness (seems popular, but nobody's mentioned The Thing yet)
    The Shadow over Innsmouth
    The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (a natural but oddly not yet mentioned)

    As already noted, there is still racism in the world. Reject HPL for it and you have to reject many more. That doesn't make it right.
     
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