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The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror & the Macabre

4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  24,765 Ratings  ·  486 Reviews
This is the collection that true fans of horror fiction have been waiting for: sixteen of H.P. Lovecraft's most horrifying visions, including Lovecraft's masterpiece, THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME--the shocking revelation of the mysterious forces that hold all mankind in their fearsome grip.
Published October 29th 2002 by Ballantine Books Random House (first published 1963)
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Bill  Kerwin

I know, I know . . . the diction is unnecessarily latinate and the prose is frequently overwrought, piling up the adjectives like "shambling" and "eldritch" to the point where certain passages are laugh-out-loud funny.

And yet . . . Lovecraft has fashioned from the New World's New England a land so very old, a world in touch with realities so alien, that Christianity--albeit peripherally present--is completely irrelevant, and mere sanity--the best one can reasonably hope for--depends upon a few
Ayla Zachary
Jun 19, 2008 Ayla Zachary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
H. P. Lovecraft is a peculiar writer. His stories are extremely predictable. The first-person narrator, a sober man of reason and science, will halfway through the story start noticing something odd about his surroundings: "It was almost as though [horrifying revelation from the end of the story], but I knew that could not be the case." And then, at the end, when all his reason has been denied, "It was then I knew the terrible truth: [horrifying revelation that we all guessed thirty pages ago]!" ...more
Jul 02, 2016 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn”
Try saying that backward (or forward, which is equally challenging).

H.P. Lovecraft is definitely the granddaddy of “Cosmic Horror” and Weird Fiction. He is often mentioned in science fiction / fantasy / horror related websites and forums, not to mention myriad other kinds of websites. Reading fans raving about his works and seeing the numerous fan arts online make many of us genre fiction enthusiasts want to start getting into his fiction to

It was only last year that I discovered the joy of short stories thanks to Anton Chekhov and Edgar Allan Poe (although it seems longer since time is a "great ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff"). Since then I have been interested in the great short story authors of all time (as well as writing my own short stories), among whom Lovecraft is often mentioned. So I was very optimistic about this volume of stories when I started to read it - particularly in regards to the 'infamous Cthulhu Mytho
I’ve recently been prompted to add a few words to this review by a review by Glenn Russell of a Lovecraft short story called From Beyond. (In his review Glenn provides this link to a Guttenburg Australia site titled the Collected Stories of Lovecraft.)

H.P. Lovecraft, 1934, age 43. ~3 years until he passed on to … what?

These are great horror stories dating back close to a century now, from one of the stranger American fiction writers. The fictional worlds that Lovecraft created are located in tem
Mar 05, 2007 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written horror that many imitate (ahem, Stephen King) but few can pull off. The real horror of Lovecraft isn't the scariness of the monsters or the gore, but concept that we are pointless blips of dust on the gaping maw of a chaotic, ageless, indifferent universe that constantly destroys itself for no reason at all. Each story reminds you of how puny and ignorant you are but that's a good thing because every character finds out a little too much and goes crazy, gets eaten, sacrificed ...more
Dec 30, 2009 Felicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, horror
Well, I don't watch a lot of horror films, but now I see where they all rip off everything from: Lovecraft!

I didn't read EVERY one of these stories, they got a bit repetitive after a while, but the stories were chilling and seeing how influential the storytelling is on modern horror is really interesting. Fascinating how much suspense can be put into a 10 page story.

Yes, I had nightmares of tentacle-things after I finished. Don't make fun of me.
May 26, 2008 Werner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of "horror" and of horrific science fiction
Not well-appreciated in his own time, reclusive and eccentric New England writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft became a household word in the world of weird fiction after his death. His prose style was greatly influenced by Poe, and like Poe, he preferred natural causes for his horror ("supernatural," in one of the alternate titles listed above for this collection, means "uncanny" or "unearthly," not supernatural per se). While his genre was science fiction, he was wholly outside the optimistic and ...more
Nov 03, 2015 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not having read him before, I was surprised to find these rather enjoyable. Not remotely disturbing or frightening to the modern mind, of course, but it is interesting to see the fears engendered by the scientific revolutions at the start of the 20thc. Also interesting to see how much of contemporary sci-fi/horror is simply a regurgitation of his ideas.
J.G. Keely
"There are my 'Poe' pieces and my 'Dunsany pieces' – but alas – where are any Lovecraft pieces?"

-H.P. Lovecraft, 1929

What really makes Lovecraft interesting is the degree to which he was a student of the Horror genre. As his influential essay Supernatural Horror in Literature shows, Lovecraft was a voracious reader who went far afield in his search for interesting Horror authors. If Lovecraft hadn't been such an odd recluse, and instead pursued an academic career, we might not have had to wait
Ruthie Jones
Oct 05, 2010 Ruthie Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
I love these classic horror stories. Lovecraft was a very odd man, and that oddness shines through in his work. In other words, he battled a lot of issues such as immigrants "invading" his territory, and he pretty much lacked social skills on all levels. I learned his bio after reading the tales in this book, and that information illuminated many aspects of his stories such as race, gender, madness, etc. While many tales are reminiscent of Poe and Hawthorne, many are pure Lovecraft. I like all t ...more
Lee Foust
May 15, 2016 Lee Foust rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Pickman's Model," like E. A. Poe's "The Oval Portrait," implies that art, in order to be safe, must be imaginative. It's too much reality that scares us, that drains the life from life and makes art a kind of repository of a life taken, like a ghost or zombie. Also interesting question and answer format--just like the Lydia Davis story I also read yesterday, "Jury Duty." I might try a form like it for my current book of tales connected by a frame-narrative. Love me some experiments in form.

Mar 01, 2015 Cora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only read about four stories and I think I'll check it out more in summer. Just not the right time right now.
Jul 16, 2015 Luiz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection of the master of horror! I had read this already back in high school, but I didn’t remember much of it. I decided that since there are so many references to Lovecraft’s work all over the place (books, movies, games, comics, etc…), I should give it a re-read. One of the things I do remember was that it was scary. It’s not easy for a book to be scary - movies can easily make you jump, but without the benefit of graphic scenes and loud noises, a book has to do a lot more work t ...more
J.M. Hushour
My sole previous experience with Lovecraft is his fine short novel "At the Mountains of Madness". Well-crafted and well-plotted, the freakish and disturbing nature of his meticulously thought-out lore comes to the fore in that and numerous other stories from his work.
Herein lies the problem: Lovecraft is a fine writer, a composer that can't help but remind one of a latter-day, emotionally disturbed Dickens. His turn-of-the-word is outstanding, but highly derivative in and of itself. What I mean
Jun 21, 2014 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
For an author, creating something that is frightening can be a challenging thing, given that the subject matter is neither seen, nor heard by the reader. Rather it takes place solely in the mind, leaving it up to the reader to decide if what they're experiencing is scary or horrifying. It's almost pretentious, when you think about it. Selling a story as a horror is telling the reader how they're going to feel while reading it. Of course, the same could be said for comedy and many other genres, b ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror
Lovecraft is one of the writers people tend to either obsess about or dismiss without a second glance. His writings vary tremendously, in terms of quality. Some of it is really horrible, actually, with absurdly "purple" prose and overwrought hysteria. But there are also really incredible stories among his work too, which conjure up fascinating mythology and alien races, as well leaving utterly disturbing images in the reader's imagination. "The Dreams in the Witch House" is an example of this se ...more
Oct 25, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to believe that I went so long without having read H.P. Lovecraft, considering that I love horror and most of my favorite horror authors are influenced by his work. For some reason I thought his stories would be hard to connect with - probably because of the whole "Cthulhu" / made up word thing. I found three of his short story collections at the library and chose to begin with this one largely because it contained the story "The Call of Cthulhu."

The first few short stories reminded me
May 18, 2008 Phil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I read some selections after I verbally assaulted Lovecraft at a gaming session of Dungeons and Dragons. It was pointed out that Lovecraft is one of the intellectual parents of D&D and I had not read any Lovecraft. I was told diplomatically that I needed, "Know your facts before you go shooting your mouth off."

So, I read some Lovecraft. It was kind of what I expected. Dark and gothic with with wet slimy gore rather than dry dusty gore. Lovecraft has a strong if morbid understanding of the u
Jan 21, 2008 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Time traveling hoity toits!
I just cannot get into this book! I know some consider him a master of terror and such but the language is so fluffy there's nothing to be really terrified of. It has to be the generation gap because it cannot be argued he is a great writer but, snoozers, it would put me to sleep quicker than a PM with a Diazipam. I know I sound like a complete philistine here but whatever, give me Steven King and Anne Rice any day. I don't what to have a thesaurus handy when I'm trying to scare myself with a go ...more
Nov 21, 2008 Jeb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, anthology
This is perhaps the best starting point for all those interested in finding just what this Lovecraft cat was all about. All of his key stories are here; The Outsider, The Rats In The Walls, The Dunwich Horror, The Colour Out Of Space (Lovecraft's own personal favorite, and more. This may not be the definitive collections like those edited by S.T. Joshi or the uber-classy Library of America volume, but this is the best introduction one can get to H.P. Lovecraft. It's the book that got me hooked.
Doucha Bouhalla
i tried to read as much lovecraft as i could but i couldn't become a fan.. his stories are repetitive with almost the same theme and there is just too much racism in his writing for me to appreciate it.. there are though some stories like the picture in the house which i liked very much
Most stories were chilling and kept me on edge. Others I could barely pay attention to.
May 23, 2016 Leothefox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this collection is wrong in that it does not, in truth, contain the best of Lovecraft's stories, at least not exclusively. This is, however, a delightfully well edited cross-section of Lovecraft's work, that ends on a high note and contains an introduction by Lovecraft's own disciple: Robert Bloch.

“The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Colour Out of Space”, and “The Dunwich Horror” are all well-known classics and reliably reprinted in a lot of other places. For my part, it was “The Shadow Ou
Well, there are certainly some of his best stuff in this collection but these are not necessarily the selections I would have chosen. That being said, this is an excellent anthology of some of the creepiest stuff from one of the masters of horror and who Stephen King noted as "yet to be surpassed as the Twentieth Century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." Lovecraft himself stated in the opening of his long essay, Supernatural Horror in Literature (sadly not included in this par ...more
John Millard
Jun 30, 2016 John Millard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I only ever read Christine by Stephen King but trust his judgement on this book as being written by the master. The writing is masterly done and the stories are imaginative and some show that the author kept up with the times concerning developments in science and other aspects of his current age of reason. I found the stories slow and difficult to get through and I was rarely if ever frightened. Maybe the fear of such stories lies in a world around a fire in the woods in a remote area with list ...more
Nov 13, 2015 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was looking for a spooky book to read for Halloween. I found it.

This collection of stories is a bit uneven but all of them creeped me out. And they were spooky and atmospheric without being gory or resorting to cheap thrills. No ghost jumps out of a cupboard and shrieks. Instead an atmosphere is carefully built, with enough clues dropped so that the reader comes to the horrifying conclusion before the narrator. I'm not in the habit of talking to my books, but there were times I found myself ta
Apr 17, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps one of the most curious things about H P Lovecraft is his association with Cthulhu, a fictional creation that is perhaps more well-known than the man who created this malign god-like being. Indeed, many of his stories are classified as part of the Cthulhu Mythos.

What makes this curious is that Cthulhu only actually appears in one Lovecraft story, and by no means his longest story. True there are allusions to Cthulhu elsewhere, but no more than to any of the other peculiar alien horrors
Ventsi Dimitrov
First of all, I'm not a horror fiction fan, at least not until now. I have tried to read some Stephen King, but I couldn't get into his stuff, really. Yes, I know he considers H.P. Lovecraft to be his inspiration and so on, but... well...

This here collection of short stories was given to me by a friend of mine, who keeps telling me that Lovecraft is THE master of horror and the macabre and that I would definitely like it. So... I did! Thank you, Emo!

There is not a single story here that I didn't
Jun 24, 2014 Bradley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
There are so many different anthologies out there that collect H.P. Lovecraft's greatest work. This is one of them, and just so happens to be the one that I stumbled upon first. The stories and novellas collected in this book are insanely good--very much ahead of their time, which is part of what, I think, accounts for Lovecraft's cult following and lasting appeal. Once you read these stories, genre fans will instantly recognize just how much this one author influenced the worlds of horror and f ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Shadows over Innsmouth
  • The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard
  • Call of Cthulhu: Horror Roleplaying in the Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft
  • Cthulhu 2000
  • Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood
  • The Book of Cthulhu
  • Ghost and Horror Stories
  • The Hastur Cycle
  • Lovecraft Unbound
  • The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana: A Guide to Lovecraftian Horror
  • Grimscribe: His Lives and Works
  • The Taint and Other Novellas (Cthulhu Collection)
  • The Children of Cthulhu: Chilling New Tales Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft
  • A Rendezvous in Averoigne
  • The White People and Other Weird Stories
  • Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror
  • The October Country
  • The Yellow Sign & Other Stories
Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a
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“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.” 4 likes
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