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Dreams of Terror and Death

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  4,998 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
" Lovecraft's] dream fantasy works are as terrifying and haunting as his tales of horror and the macabre. A master craftsman, Lovecraft brings compelling visions of nightmarish fear, invisible worlds andthe demons of the unconscious. If one author truly represents the very best in American literary horror, it is H. P. Lovecraft."
--John Carpenter, Director of At the Mouth o
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Published February 25th 2003 by Random House Publishing Group (first published September 11th 1995)
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Sep 02, 2008 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's be frank -- I love Lovecraft. The "Necronomicon" that you've heard referenced a zillion times is a fictional tome of his invention. He was writing in the 1930's, and his work is dated by its slow pacing, Poe-like vocabulary, and predictability (now that he's fathered the entire horror genre -- nearly every successful writer from Neil Gaiman to Stephen King cites him as an influence -- and its tropes are so recognizable to us). But Lovecraft's style is entirely singular, so much so that the ...more
Oct 05, 2016 Quirkyreader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection had some good stories, bad stories, and weird Lord Dunsayian stories. Then again everyone's perceptions of the stories will be different. And that is a good thing.
Mar 18, 2016 Leothefox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody
Shelves: favorites
Twice I set out to read Randolph Carter's dream quest and twice I was snatched away... I first purchased this book way back in 2003, when I wasn't much of a reader. Fast forward to now and the third time was the charm.

This one took me a while, mostly because I had a lot of stress, had to move and such, but it was well worth it. Lovecraft's dream quest has some of his best stuff. In this collection there's loads of great shorts like “The Nameless City” and “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” some novel-l
Dec 07, 2013 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you think Lovecraft is all doom and madness, this compilation of stories is here to teach an important lesson: sometimes he's also writing about how cats can save someone from moon monsters. This collection of short stories is a well-selected look into the stories Lovecraft wrote set in and around the world of dreams. Only brushing the Cthulhu mythos, I found these other works to offer a more rounded view of the author and the universe he created. Included among the shorter stories are two ...more
I need to get a couple of things up front, right off the bat.

(1) I have a great and abiding fondness for many of Lovecraft's stories; "Pickman's Model" is a longtime favourite, and "The Dunwich Horror" and "The Colour out of Space" and "The Cats of Ulthar" are part of my very early memories of horror fiction.

(2) Oh dear god the man was racist. The man was horrendously racist, and it's not all just the time period he was living in. The first story (as opposed to fragment) in this book is "oh dear
David Stephens
May 12, 2013 David Stephens rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
As should be obvious from the title, this collection of Lovecraft stories focuses on dreams. In many of these tales, Lovecraft suggests that dreams are where truth actually lies as opposed to reality where it is often thought to be. He believes dreams are things "whose vaguely exciting and disquieting effect suggests possible minute glimpses into a sphere of mental existence no less important than physical life yet separated from that life by an all but impassable barrier." And most of the ...more
Sep 23, 2012 Marissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lovecraft
As a collection of HPL dream stories, this kind of baffles me. Many of the "Dunsanian" and other dream-world stories are here, but why in the name of Azathoth is "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" here?! Randolph Carter is mentioned offhandedly once in the story, but there's really no reason to include it here, especially since it's quite long and takes up space that could have been filled with the rest of HPL's actual dream stories. Once again, since there are corrected texts and annotated ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Kinksrock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: I have not read this entire collection. I previously read "The Dreams in the Witch-House", and I picked it up again to read "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward". This is horror in the tradition -- I'd say -- of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein": Science-driven, and written in a very 'literary' style that may challenge readers used to modern horror. Not an easy read, but very rewarding.
May 26, 2011 Lara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I'm jaded, but I just couldn't get into it. I liked Pickman's Model, and then I kind of bounced around, trying to find a story I could enjoy or be scared by. I got partway through the Dream Quest of Unknown Kadeth and just got bored to tears. I kept falling asleep. I just find other people's dreams really uninteresting. And I got distracted by the way he writes: every single noun has to have a hyperbolic adjective attached to it. Drove me nuts.

Go to for big laffs!
Sep 08, 2007 Davey-d rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it's Lovecraft and all the surmise on his personal life and beliefs aside, this guy is twisted, dark, macabre(and you really don't get to use this word very often), and writes like no other and I love it. To all that have that streak of Cure listening, black wearing(and who doesn't in PDX), ruminations on a bleak death this is for you. I respectfully, religiously give this tome a read during the first storms of fall around Halloween. Not for the faint of heart.
Oct 20, 2007 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first real foray into Lovecraft. While some of the stories are disposable, many are quite good and some are excellent (Pickman's Model, The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward stand out). I feel, after reading this, that my plans of living a hermetic life and indulging in strange pursuits are justified.
Apr 05, 2015 Luke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, I am a long-time Lovecraft fan. For years I've dug his ability - despite his Poe-aping turgid prose - to convey something unique, the ripples of which are still felt in horror. The nameless, strange terrors that became his stock-in-trade are certainly unique, and forgive a lot of his faults. (Overlong work, repetitive pieces, and a lack of proper description - though this last is understandable as he was largely cribbing from nightmares.)


Ole HPL is racist.

And not just mildly.

He's a
The more I read of Lovecraft, the more I like his work. I started out with a sort of "best hits" compilation book, which I reviewed on here, and if I weren't so blasted tired I would link to it, but basically, at the time, I didn't really get it. There was all this hype about how terrifying Lovecraft is, and Cthulhu kept popping up (not literally, thank goodness) in books I was reading, and I guess I was expecting something a bit more explicitly scary. I also suggested that the man get a ...more
East Bay J
To my mind, H. P. Lovecraft stands as one of the most singular and interesting writers of the 20th century. Just as interesting as his stories and writing style are his unusual life, voluminous letter writing and his circle of friends (Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, etc.). Most interesting, perhaps, was the pantheon of gods he created and the concept he wrote around that humanity are pawns, specks of dust in an unfeeling universe.

The Dream Cycle Of H. P. Lovecraft collects twenty five of
Geert Daelemans
Sep 01, 2013 Geert Daelemans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, classics
An excellent collection of stories of the macabre

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula and Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are commonly seen as the cornerstones of modern horror. In my opinion Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937) must to be added to this list, because horror wouldn't be the same without the influence of this phenomenal writer. One can say that Lovecraft brought the "Dark Monsters" into the genre, take for example the H.R.Gigger creature used in the
I love how Lovecraft wrote. Really. His word choice, his style, his rampant anglophilia, his imitable style that inspired so many of horror and fantasy's modern-day kings. You can tell the man's got serious talent -- and a truly terrifying imagination, my God -- and it's a right shame that he didn't get the recognition he deserved in his lifetime.

A collection of short stories just wasn't the best introduction to him for me. And it doesn't help that I read this in 30-page chunks spanning more th
Jun 10, 2009 arianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror
This book was definitely amazing. Lovecraft was able to weave very frightening and amazing worlds, and the way the editor put them all together was indeed perfect. In some stories then end was rather predictable (because everyone wants to be like Lovecraft) but i still found myself excited to read them. I couldn't give this book 5 stars though because sometimes the difference in ages of writing was hard to grasp. It just seemed t draw on and on during some stories, and others went so fast i ...more
Zachary Moore
Nov 02, 2011 Zachary Moore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovecraft's dream cycle is part fantasy and part horror, some of the more Dunsanian stories surprised me quite a bit when I first read them as I was expecting a non-stop diet of monsters from Lovecraft. This collection contains the enormously imaginative "Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" as well as one of favorite Lovecraft stories, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" which to my mind was Lovecraft's most successful exploration of the theme of intelligences reaching back through time to claim a ...more
May 07, 2012 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovecraft is best known as a master of horror, and while this collection contains a few stories of that sort, it's main focus is on his works of fantasy. While they can still be pretty creepy, Lovecraft's fantasy stories are often beautiful and moving as well. "Celephais" is a great example of this. It's a story about a man who has fallen on hard times and retreats into a world spun in his childhood dreams, where he is the king of a great and beautiful land called Ooth-Nargai. There are many ...more
Danielle Langlois
I will be honest to say that I didn't finish the book. I only got about a quarter way through it. I enjoyed maybe 3 stories out of the 8 or so that I read. Just found it really hard to get into and that I would have to re-read paragraphs over and over until I felt like "heard" What the author intended his audience to; Possibly because I found it hard to connect it with any area of my life. Maybe I will try it again another time but for now I am putting it to rest.
Michael Brooks
Feb 16, 2016 Michael Brooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Dream Cycle remains one of my favorite stories of all time, (by Lovecraft or otherwise). The adventure and way it ties in other stories really makes it feel like a backbone of sorts within the Lovecraft mythos.
Sep 18, 2015 Jefferson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror
Songfully or Horrifically Transcending the Mundane

Dreams of Terror and Death: The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft (1995) is a collection of three "dream fragments," 19 short stories, two novellas, and one collaboration story. Most of the works have thematic and or dramatic connections to dreams, and many take place in Lovecraft's "dreamlands." Most of the characters either pursue the ineffable too avidly ("with unsanctioned phrensy"), or dream beyond the toil and torpor of the "real" world. Eithe
Nov 10, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the selections were a bit odd to include here.
The readings were good.
I found the sections with cats in Dream Quest... truly pulled me out of the story as it seemed more Beatrix Potter than Lord Dunsany.
Jack Stovold
Mar 28, 2013 Jack Stovold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first experience with Lovecraft. I've long wanted to try him out, and after doing some research, I decided to start with this volume before delving into the Cthulhu mythos (my philosophy, being as always to save the best for last). I plan to follow up with "Tales", which when combined with this apparently contains all the Lovecraft tales of any importance, and read the remainder on the Internet.
At first, I was frankly disappointed. A number of the stories near the beginning were very
Bob Zyla
Sep 23, 2016 Bob Zyla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovecraft's Dream Cycle is certainly more fantasy than horror, having a loosely connected world around The Lands of Dream and HPL's alter ego Randolf Carter. It all coalesces in the brilliant novella The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. Also included is the sinister and macabre Case of Charles Dexter Ward, his only full length novel. Favorites include The Dreams in the Witch House, the Dream Quest, CDW, and the Silver Key stories. No fan of 20th century horror/fantasy should ignore the eldritch ...more
Aug 19, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread-books, 2000, 2010
First Recorded Reading: October 4, 2000

Of these three short story collections of H. P. Lovecraft published by Del Rey (this one, The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre by H. P. Lovecraft, Introduction by Robert Bloch, and The Transition of H. P. Lovecraft: The Road to Madness by H. P. Lovecraft, Introduction by Barbara Hambly), I like this one the best, as the dream fiction always makes me wish that my dream world was more exciting than it is. So, it goes with
Dec 15, 2015 AndrewP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was a bitter sweet experience for me. The prose and style was everything I expect from a Lovecraft story and it's good to read something a little different to the usual Cthulhu tales. The bad part of this for me is that I really wish I had read this years ago. One of my best friends ran a role playing campaign set in the Dreamlands, on and off, for about a decade. During all that time I never thought to read these stories. Sadly, Mac passed away a few years ago, leaving a gap ...more
J.M. Hushour
I seem to have developed a strange, nay cyclopean relationship with HP Lovecraft. Reading his stuff, I either love it or I hate. It's either "Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" fucking brilliant (with an uncharacteristically good ending?!) or it's phenomenally bad (most of the rest of this collection). I get it. Really, I do. Lovey (Mrs. Howell?!) is really good at mythos-building, in fact the term is nigh undivorceable from his name. Yeah, all that Cthulhu stuff is fun and the weird creatures and ...more
Apr 29, 2013 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is easy to see how Lovecraft blazed a trail for both fantasy and horror writers with his creativity and style. This compilation of short stories showcases both his strengths and shortcomings. He expands on themes and characters over multiple stories, which makes his work seem more whole and thought-out. He is quite imaginative for his day. However, he has a tendency to prevaricate when it comes to the actual horror or violence. The more explicit his stories are, the more successful they are, ...more
Julian Meynell
This is absolutely not the place to start reading Lovecraft and is only for Lovecraft aficionados. Half the space of the collection is given over to two novellas: The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath and the Case of Charles Dexter Ward. The Dreamquest is a grand tour through the Lovecraftian mythos and points back and ahead to all sorts of stories. It is not exactly good though and is told far too fast to work. It's amongst the weakest of Lovecraft's stories, but is fascinating to anyone who is ...more
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  • H.P. Lovecraft's Book of Horror
  • The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana: A Guide to Lovecraftian Horror
  • The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard
  • The Hastur Cycle
  • The Taint and Other Novellas
  • The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies
  • The Yellow Sign & Other Stories
  • Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories
  • Cthulhu 2000
  • The Three Impostors and Other Stories
  • Grimscribe: His Lives and Works
  • Call of Cthulhu: Horror Roleplaying in the Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft
  • Lovecraft Unbound
  • The Children of Cthulhu: Chilling New Tales Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft
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
More about H.P. Lovecraft...

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“Next year I may be dwelling in the Egypt which you call ancient, or in the cruel empire of Tsan Chan which is to come three thousand years hence. You and I have drifted to the worlds that reel about the red Arcturus, and dwelt in the bodies of the insect-philosophers that crawl proudly over the fourth moon of Jupiter. How little does the earth self know life and its extent! How little, indeed, ought it to know for its own tranquility!” 1 likes
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