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The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories

4.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  23,304 Ratings  ·  695 Reviews
A collection of stories from H.P. Lovecraft, the unrivaled master of early-twentieth-century horrorFrequently imitated and widely influential, H. P. Lovecraft reinvented the horror genre for the twentieth century. Discarding witches and ghosts, he envisaged mankind as an outpost of dwindling sanity in a chaotic and malevolent universe. S. T. Joshi makes his selection from ...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published 1938)
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October 2011

"Pfft, whatever. You're not so scary, Mr. Lovecraft. You're quaint and silly, is all. It's not like...wait. Wait. What? What's this? This is--it's--oh. Oh, god. Oh, dear god, no. No. NOOAAAAUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH--"

I live in a somewhat-old farmhouse in rural Wisconsin, and it's a great place to read Lovecraft now that we've taken care of the bat problem. Couldn't do anything about the coyotes out in the fields, but that was part of the charm.

It's been a few months since I read this collect
Mar 02, 2013 Josh rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I am largely underwhelmed by this “master of horror.” I find the writing simply dull, repetitive, anti-climactic, and that it uses the same tricks over and over and over again. I am not horrified by the stories, or at least not by any intended reasons. The narration, pacing, and lazy writing wreck whatever interest I had in the premises of the stories had, such as the twist to Arthur Jermyn and The Color Out of Space. (Such potential, OH WHY?!)

I admit my strong reaction to these stories is due t

Bill  Kerwin

This, the first of three volumes of Lovecraft tales edited by S.T. Joshi is--as are the other two--chronological, featuring a selection of tales from the earliest to the very last. (An odd organizational principle for a complete tales, but I suppose Joshi did this so all the best tales wouldn't be found in the last two volumes.) All in all, this is a fine collection, and I enjoyed encountering some new tales and re-reading many of my favorites.
Jan 04, 2009 Keith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My life sort of changed a little bit this year when, for no reason at all, I decided to give Lovecraft a go. I picked up the three Penguin editions of his work that (I believe) gather almost all the stories he published in his lifetime, and have not been disappointed. Which probably deserves a qualifier -- I went into his ouvre with a certain expectation of what I would find, and found exactly that and more so. His faults as a writer (and, okay, as a human being) are unavoidable, but seriously? ...more
Shivam Chaturvedi
And I'd be very interested to know what it was that Mr Lovecraft was in the habit of smoking while writing these stories. Very, very interested.

Lovecraft while writing this book - Yo, I got the best stuff in town! *Fistbump*

Me while reading this book - Should have never dropped this much acid at one go. Never..

Cthulhu in the meanwhile - Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn....Damn it bro, this stuff is strong; I dont even what I am talkin' about
Kee the Ekairidium
"Even death may die.."

American author H.P Lovecraft is such a prominent and prolific horror writer that a subgenre of horror was even named after him. Lovecraftian horror involves "the cosmic horror of the unknown and the unknowable more than gore or other elements of shock". With this mind, I was quite excited to read this anthology which collected his finest eighteen short stories throughout the years. This paperback edition I own even includes a great introductory essay to the life and ti
Nov 20, 2015 Juushika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: status-owned
As one of the three Penguin Classic Lovecraft anthologies, The Call of Cthulhu collects the stories that lead up to and include the Cthulhu Mythos, arranged in chronological order with introduction and explanatory notes for each story from the anthologizer, S.T. Joshi. Joshi does an exceptional job selecting stories that create a coherent narrative through Lovecraft's early work, developing themes, and final strong stories; his annotations are interesting and useful both to the casual and studio ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Lou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Call of Cthulhu
This novella is a work of sinister genius a writing prose so well done. These works of Lovecraft form a Genisis of Horror writing and supernatural which have inspired many writers Stephen King one of many.

"Octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings;"
"There were legends of a hidden lake unglimpsed by mortal sight, in which dwelt a huge, fo
Dan Henk
Feb 18, 2013 Dan Henk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Lovecraft often gets a bad rap. People read that he influenced the modern greats, everyone from authors like Stephen King and Clive Barker, to movie makers like John Carpenter and Wes Craven, and then dive into his books expecting the same fare. He wrote for a different era. His mind-bending, first person surrealistic approach to a creeping, nameless horror stunned and fascinated huge segments of early century America. The America that read, that is, which wasn't nearly what it is today. ...more
Daniel Ionson
Feb 27, 2016 Daniel Ionson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
HP Lovecraft's short stories show a masterful skill in setting mood with his dark prose. Unexpectedly, however, Call of C ended up being 'meh' compared to his other stories.
Lisa Dee
Feb 21, 2014 Lisa Dee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, reading through some of the reviews here, I'm astonished to see so much negative criticism. A lot of that criticism seems to focus on Lovecraft's use of arcane language. Should I be worried that I don't find it arcane at all?

What Lovecraft does so brilliantly is to attempt to describe a truly alien horror - not like Star Trek aliens who are only men with knobby foreheads, but forces which do not reference the human at all. That's not a easy task, but Lovecraft, along with Blackwood ("The Wi
As I write this, the hour draws later, every minute, every second casting my life further into the black, frozen abyss of the Past and bringing me one more step closer to the illimitable void that is my inevitable death. I can only pray that the sweet oblivion of sleep is able to scour away the memory of the horrors I have endured, of the horrors that I have perpetrated. And if there is a God, and if He is merciful, he will allow me the privilege of perishing before I wake so that I may not see ...more
Caro M.
While I thoroughly enjoyed these scary tales Lovecraft built on the foundation of his own nightmares and neuroses, I couldn’t not notice and not get seriously annoyed with obvious racism, xenophobia and misogyny of his views. It puts his works on a bit lower level among other classics of horror than they could be to me. And 'tis a great pity, because these are extremely powerful and fascinating visions and ideas, fathering too many works of literature and cinema to this day and I am sure future ...more
Tony DiTerlizzi
Jul 17, 2010 Tony DiTerlizzi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm never going to Antarctica. Ever.
Apr 24, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Говард Лавкрафт - открытие месяца (дальнейшие чтения покажут, может и года). Вот честно, я довольна предвзято отношусь к жанру "ужасов", ибо кажется, что ничем особым они не отличаются от Кинга или детских подостковых ужастиков. Зря я так думала.
Совершенно неожиданно, без предупреждения, мне принесли маленькую книжечку в мягкой обложке уже названного автора. И возвращаясь домой (а ехать долго), решилась хотя бы одну повесть попробовать на вкус. В итоге, подъезжая к дому, дочитывала "Зов Ктулху
May 26, 2013 Andy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, 2013
I picked this up after enjoying Mountains of Madness and feeling there was an H.P shaped hole in my shelves. Hmmm. Maybe not.

I enjoyed aspects of the stories collected but it's a pretty long slog if read without a break. I started last year, put it aside for almost as long and recently finished it so I can put it to bed.

He certainly has vision, the sheer imagination and depth of his colliding worlds and creatures, the cultures and civilisations, the depictions; it's impressive and unlike most ot
Brad Hodson
Sep 05, 2012 Brad Hodson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror fans
Any horror fan worth his salt should read Lovecraft. "The Call of Cthulhu" is a cornerstone of weird fiction and cosmic horror alike.

However, if you're only a casual horror fan, I'd skip Lovecraft. While his ideas were groundbreaking and the horrors presented in his fiction will truly give you nightmares, Lovecraft was not a great writer. His stories are stilted and repetitive, his dialogue is weak and unnatural, and his characters are two-dimensional products of the xenophobia he was renowned
Oct 10, 2011 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-fi and horror fans
This review is solely on 'The Call of Cthulu', the only story I've read in the collection so far.

When I saw the South Park Coon and Friends trilogy last year, which heavily featured Cthulu, I knew it was time for me to read the source material behind this cultural phenomenon. I was first shocked that H.P. Lovecraft's masterwork, which has made him such a legend, was so short. And considering it was from 1928, it didn't seem very dated, which was also a surprise.

The story is presented as a manus
As I read through the stories, I find myself profoundly torn. Undoubtedly Lovecraft is a master of his art, and these stories, though written for a different time, are a chronicle of his greatness, I find the overt racism jarring. I can appreciate the value of reprinting the stories exactly as written and by no means advocate the covering-up of a dark stain such as this, nevertheless the creeping horror of The Rats in the Walls, for example, is utterly ruined for me by the casual throwing-about ...more
Lovecraft can be silly, racist, and extremely purple, but he has this terrifically unique imagination: his stories feel like nothing else. And they're very enticing. There's a certain feel to his stories - a pallid green glow - a whole collection of words like "eldritch", phrases like "foetid green ichor" - that feel forcefully Lovecraftian. "The foulest nightmares of secret myth" is what he's about. He's a true individual. I dig him.

Full (if growing) list of things to make sure not to miss:
Oct 21, 2012 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While it's not a full collection of all of Lovecraft's best work, this book does provide a career-spanning survey of this master of horror. The footnotes and commentary provide considerable context-- bordering on too much for the casual reader, but valuable for the more scholarly approach. For instance, reading on my own, I would not have recognized the shift in Lovecraft's early writing, where the weird elements are unexplained and pre-pre-historic, to the later stories where they arrive from o ...more
Kat  Hooper
"In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."

Ask any writer of horror, fantasy, or weird fiction who their influences were and H.P. Lovecraft’s name is almost sure to come up, especially if they’re over the age of 50. For this reason alone, all true fans of these genres must experience H.P. Lovecraft’s work for themselves. Think of it as “required reading.” Even if you don’t read horror or weird tales, Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos pops up regularly in fantasy literature, games, television
Jun 21, 2015 Jamie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The worst.

Purple prose. Necronomicon. OMG there's is something weird and I don't know what it is but I'm going to write a letter and then die/go insane.

Repeat ad infinitum.

Maybe if I were a high school kid with an unlimited supply of weed. But I doubt it.
I really wanted to love you Lovecraft, I really did. But I couldn't, so you get three stars.

The first negative part was the blatant racism, which bothered me more and more, but was only pronounced in the first third or so of the stories. When it got to the part where the narrator had named his pet cat N* Man, I was just like nope, done. I know that people have said that "he's a product of the times" and yea, I get that, but I don't have to agree with it or like it. He was blatantly, offensively
Feb 02, 2014 Carly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
**edited 02/02/14

Lovecraft has had a tremendous influence on the modern fantasy, especially urban and comic fantasy. Terry Pratchett, Charles Stross, Jim Butcher, and several other major authors utilize Lovecraftian critters from the dungeon dimensions and the deepest depths as primary antagonists in their mythologies. I don't know if it's because I read the stories when I was too young, or if perhaps I encountered spoofs of his creatures before I read the real thing, but somehow, half-and-half
Robert Wood
Jan 10, 2016 Robert Wood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I had visited these stories, but it was enjoyable to return to them. The earlier stories in the book, largely written in the early 1920's, aren't quite as strong as the later texts, notably "The Call of Cthulhu" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth". However, through that process you can see Lovecraft develop his own particular take on the fantastic, drawing from the gothic tradition and a variety of other fantastic traditions. He combines that historical interest in the genre ...more
Dec 08, 2015 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-horror
Howard Phillips (“H. P.”) Lovecraft was a Poe-like author who lived his short life (1890-1937) in Rhode Island, first with parents until the father died in a mental institution when Lovecraft was five, then with his mother until her death in a mental institution, and then alone. He died unrecognized and in poverty, leaving behind a long list of short stories published in pulp fiction magazines like Weird Tales, stories that helped lay the foundation for the horror genre. Only after his death was ...more
[Name Redacted]

Dagon (1919) (Brief, but glorious!)
Nyarlathotep (1920) (A wonderful poem, playing with Egyptian themes)
The Picture in the House (1924)
The Outsider (1921)
The Rats in the Walls (1924)
The Colour Out of Space (1927)
The Whisperer in Darkness (1931)
The Shadow over Innsmouth (1936) (My all time favorite!)
The Haunter of the Dark (1936)
Rachel Stevenson
Lovecraft was both ancient and modern, ahead of his time with his sci-fi horror stories in an era before SF had really begin, yet old-fashioned in his style, which ignored all of the new forms of the interwar years, and kept a heavy Victorian feel to it, insisting on telling not showing. This is the first paragraph of The Call of Cthulhu:

"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
Murray Ewing
“The Call of Cthulhu” is rightfully Lovecraft’s most famous tale, and it would be his best, if he hadn’t continued to get better, having written it. Lovecraft’s development as a writer is, on average, an upward slope. “The Colour Out of Space” (also in this volume) is his best short tale, touching on genuine human pathos (a rare thing for Lovecraft) when the ailing Nahum Gardner, modestly proud of the brief attention the strange meteorite that landed near his house earns him, complains that work ...more
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  • Shadows over Innsmouth
  • Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories
  • The White People and Other Weird Stories
  • The Book of Cthulhu
  • H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life
  • Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror
  • The Willows
  • Call of Cthulhu: Horror Roleplaying in the Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft (call of cthulhu)
  • My Work is Not Yet Done: Three Tales of Corporate Horror
  • Duel: Terror Stories
  • Books of Blood, Volumes 4-6
  • The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies
  • The Imago Sequence and Other Stories
  • New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos
  • Cthulhu: The Mythos and Kindred Horrors
  • Lovecraft Unbound
  • In the Land of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales
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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“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 the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.” 532 likes
“In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulu waits dreaming” 122 likes
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