1. TheSilverBeetle
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    TheSilverBeetle Member

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    H.P. Lovecraft

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by TheSilverBeetle, Jan 5, 2013.

    So I recently received a leather bound book of all of Lovecraft's fiction for Christmas from my awesome girlfriend and have only read a few of his stories so far. What are your favorite stories by him? I mean I know the big ones like The Call of Cthulhu and The Re-animator but any of you have a few more obscure favorites?
     
  2. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    My favorites have always been: Whisperer in Darkness, Dagon, The Temple, White Ship and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

    When I was in my mid teens I went through a big Lovecraft phase, and I've read every single word he ever published. Now though, while I still keep his books I've not really looked at them in some time.
     
  3. Oswiecenie
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    Oswiecenie Active Member

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    Really difficult to pick a favourite, all of his works are fantastic, but I might go with these ten:

    At the Mountains of Madness
    The Dunwich Horror
    The Lurking Fear
    The Shadow over Innsmouth
    The Hound
    The Outsider
    The Thing on the Doorstep
    The Music of Erich Zann
    The Dreams in the Witchhouse
    Out of the Aeons
     
  4. Bright Shadow
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    Bright Shadow Member

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    Lovecraft is maybe my all time favorite author...but there is a secret many people don't know about him. And that is that he wrote horror AND FANTASY.

    His dream cycle stories are amazing, if hard to get into. "Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath", for example, is novel length, written entirely in exposition but without chapter breaks...and it is awesome.

    That, and there is my favorite story of his, "The Silver Key." Basically, if you took all the hopelessness, horror and terror of every one of the Cthulhu Mythos stories...and then wrote the exact opposite, what you would have is "The Silver Key." It is as uplifting and wonderful as Shadow over Innsmouth was terrifying.
     
  5. TheSilverBeetle
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    TheSilverBeetle Member

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    Who doesn't love a bit of dark fantasy?
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Apart from The Call of Cthulhu, I've only read At the Mountains of Madness. I remember thinking both stories were simply OK, nothing too special. But that was many years ago. My opinion might be different if I read him again.
     
  7. Caeben
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    Caeben Member

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    I feel like the Case of Charles Dexter Ward stands far ahead and beyond all of Lovecraft's other works. Every single scene and emotion fits just perfectly into the story. I've read it maybe a dozen times. The Dunwich Horror, The Music of Eric Zann, and The Colour Out of Space are similarly brilliant.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think Lovecraft had an amazing imagination, but I never really got into him for two reasons. First, his style is so self-conscious and comically over-the-top, and second, he undermined his own horror by explaining it too much. Cthulhu and the Elder Gods are frightening, but as soon as he said they're from outer space, they became less so. Any explanation of the origin of the horror diminishes the horror for me. Also, Lovecraft seemed to think that old things are scary because they're old. He's constantly telling us that his baddies are ancient and nameless, as if that is supposed to make us fear them more. It doesn't, with me.

    Somehow, Lovecraft has become cool in recent days, but that doesn't mean we should emulate his writing style.
     
  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I think I can give a reason for that. Lovecraft was an antiquarian and proud. He really enjoyed the 17th and 18th centuries, and emulated the life of people like Francis Bacon and Alexander Pope in his private life. His finding horror in something so old it's 'unnamable' might be a corruption of his antiquarianism. It's a personal thing, just like the guy didn't like cold drafts or the strong smell of fish, so to him Innsmouth was everything he hated in the world. A lot of his horror is very personal to him when you get down to it.

    I spent last night rereading some of Lovecraft's stuff and, honestly, I don't think Lovecraft was a very good writer any more. He wasn't a very diverse writer, though he did try, and his style noticeably simplifies and greatly improves in the last years of his life, it was too little too late sadly. Lovecraft never stopped being a dorky teenager, and I can't help but notice most of his new readership are teenagers. Hell, I was one of them.
     
  10. Terry Turton
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    Terry Turton Member

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    I think it was called the colour from out of space.That's a great story.

    wiki says:

    In the tale, an unnamed narrator pieces together the story of an area known by the locals as the "blasted heath" in the wild hills west of Arkham, Massachusetts. The narrator discovers that many years ago a meteorite crashed there, draining the life force from anything living nearby; vegetation grows large, but tasteless, animals are driven mad and deformed into grotesque shapes, and the people go insane or die one by one.
     
  11. Jon Deavers
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    Jon Deavers Member

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    I'm not a Lovecraft expert but I did enjoy "At the Mountains of Madness" quite a bit. It's great to read some of his works and recognize the influence on several big pop culture franchises. Predator is an obvious one and I think it was the first half of that god-awful AVP movie that was a direct adaptation of "Mountains" that I had to smirk at.
     
  12. patrickgoggles
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    patrickgoggles Member

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    Shadow over Innsmouth would have to be my favorite. I think it was one of the few stories of his that I read where I wasn't annoyed by his writing style.

    My problem with Lovecraft is that his writing is way over the top for my taste. His ideas though, are generally so good that I can forgive his writing most
    of the time.

    I've just started reading other people's writing based off of Lovecraftian Mythos in hopes of finding those good ideas with more accessible writing. So far
    I've really enjoyed 'The Barrens' by F. Paul Wilson and 'The Big Fish' by Kim Newman.
     
  13. Corazon Santiago
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    Corazon Santiago Member

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    I will echo the opinion that Lovecraft's writing style is generally annoying. Sometimes it's just awkward to read, other times it comes off as a joke. The protagonist in "The Temple", for instance, had me laughing (in my head), because of how crude he was. He's essentially an "iron-willed Prussian", a fact of which he constantly reminds the reader of, who executes his entire crew for insubordination and remains ludicrously ignorant to the blatantly obvious, supernatural phenomena going on around him.

    The one saving grace of Lovecraft's work, is that it's sometimes quite imaginative. When it's imaginative, it's readable. His short stories like Dagon, The Tomb and even The Temple were all, in spite of his style, entertaining. But when it's not imaginative, when it's based around some tired cliche, like The Transition of Juan Romero was, it's utterly unworthy of my time. That's why I skim through all of his lesser known work, he's the only author I do that to, because he's the only author that's so hit-and-miss with his works.
     
  14. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    ^That's all true, I also cannot help but notice that most of his famous works all have essentially exactly the same story. Most, not quite all of his stories can be described as 'guy sees something he really shouldn't have, runs away screaming/dies'. There just isn't a lot of underlying variety.
     
  15. patrickgoggles
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    patrickgoggles Member

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    True, it does get a little old, especially when people are exploring ruins.

    That's also why I like the stories that deal more with Dagon than the other beings. The creatures seem to be a lot more concrete and focused on cult like behaviours rather than seeing something and going crazy.

    ...
    Actually I just looked over the plot of Shadows over Innsmouth and it does have a see something and faint moment. I maintain it's different because they're more concrete beings! :-D
     
  16. Monger
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    Monger Member

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    Lovecraft, for me, has always been the perfect of that old axiom - never confuse the art with the artist. I mean, the man was a remarkable talent. He elevated horror literature to a height that it had never been before, and created works which still send chills down spines all these years later.

    But on the other hand, he was a despicable human being. Granted, he was no de Sade in terms of evil, but I find his racism extremely off putting.

    One does not need to respect the author to respect the work.
     
  17. TaylorWP
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    TaylorWP New Member

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    What other "Lovecraftian" writers and stories are good? Charles Stross' Atrocity Archive series is entertaining, but who else wrote or is writing fiction based in Lovecraft's universe?
     
  18. Corazon Santiago
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    Corazon Santiago Member

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    August Derleth wrote a ton of Lovecraftian stuff. I'm reading his 'The Watchers Out of Time' collection right now and finding it to be quite decent. He was certainly a better writer than Lovecraft.

    Robert E. Howard also wrote some Lovecraftian stories. I haven't read them, but he's a good writer so they should at least be passable.

    Eh? I have a different view of him. That he was an interesting person with some good ideas, stemming from his eccentricity, but an incredible lack of writing talent.

    Was he really overly racist though? I know that he held some racist views (which was quite common for any person in his time), but I've never heard of him acting out on them. In any case, I wouldn't call someone despicable simply for harbouring views which I find distasteful. Really, by your logic, you might as well call every writer despicable, because I'm sure that no one's opinions align exactly with your own. The most despicable writers of all would be the likes of Plato; those who are so far removed from the modern mindset that you would find their views wholly alien. Plato's teaching would be like devil-worship to the modern reader.
     
  19. Monger
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    Monger Member

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    You're correct, of course. I didn't put as much thought into my post as perhaps I should have. I have a low tolerance in general for racism, and Lovecraft was always very vocal about the superiority of the white race. I recognize that, as a man of his time, such thinking was hardly outside the norm. But, it's also worth noting that Lovecraft's particular form of racism (and not just against blacks, but against anybody not from an English, Anglo-Saxon lineage) was considered extreme even for his place and time.

    Despicable may well have been a poor choice of words on my part, but at the same time I stand by the majority of my post. I think that you're verging dangerously close to hyperbole by suggesting that by my reasoning on this one issue I should consider every writer with a point of view which differs from my as despicable. It's not a matter of my wanting anybody's opinions to align with my own, it's a matter of Lovecraft's deeply held convictions being extremely off putting to me.

    I don't think that he was an inherently bad fellow, that's not at all what I'm trying to suggest. For example, his love of cats over people is one of his beliefs which I find admirable and endearing.
     
  20. Snicket
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    I think I have only really read Call to Cthulu. I do like Lovecraft's imagination, he's one of my most inspired writers. But he also annoys me. I tried to read At Mountains of Madness. I had to put the book down. Now I like detail, I love lots of detail. But my only gripe is sometimes Lovecraft over saturates his stories in detail and it feels like it is going nowhere. He just goes on and goes on. And you're like Lovecraft it's great to see you have an imagination, but do you have a story somewhere here.
     
  21. sylvertech
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    sylvertech Active Member

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    What I remember from reading Lovercraft is how inspiring he way.

    I believe the first short story I ever wrote was inspired by his writing.
    I always feel as if his style is mentally satisfying in its depth.
    Perhaps his over-explaining concepts made considering writing easier to do.
     
  22. sylvertech
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    sylvertech Active Member

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    I can't believe I found this.

    lovecraft_scrabble.jpg
     

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