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The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  4,516 Ratings  ·  215 Reviews
Randolph Carter dreams three times of a majestic sunset city, but each time he is abruptly snatched away before he can see it up close. When he prays to the gods of dream to reveal the whereabouts of the phantasmal city, they do not answer, and his dreams of the city stop altogether. Undaunted, Carter resolves to go to Kadath, where the gods live, to beseech them in person ...more
Kindle Edition
Published April 20th 2010 by Joust Books (first published 1943)
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Bill  Kerwin

The Dream Quest may not be Lovecraft's best effort, but it is undeniably one of his most significant. It is a bridge—and a key—to his two greatest periods. Paradoxically, it is also both his most far-flung fantasy and his most revealing personal work.

Before The Dream Quest came the short stories influenced primarily by Poe and organized around a single effect (“The Ousider” to “Pickman's Model,” 1921–1926) and after came the Cthlulu-mythos novellas set in haunted, particularized landscapes (“The
Aug 25, 2016 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

I remember thinking Lovecraft is not really my cup-of-tea when I first tried to read some of his stories. To a twelve years old curious about science and about voyages of discovery, the mystical and obscure master of horror could not compete with the likes of Jules Verne, Karl May or Alexandre Dumas. So it took almost 40 years (and a homage novella written this year by Kij Johnson) to make me come back to these nightmares realms ruled by malefic gods.

At the start of the quest, Randolph Carter lo
Aug 05, 2015 Jay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Better on audiobook. Not an entry level volume. Dream-quest is a strange first choice since it was a Lovecraft first draft. This advanced mythos touches on several stories not present here. This volume would be better if it contained the, Cats of Ulthar and other tales. No doubt this has to do with some publishing brouhaha. A better collection can be had for free online. Beware, Dream-quest has subject matter repugnant to many.

The Silver Key and Through the Gates of the Silver Key, are my two fa
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Mar 04, 2015 ᴥ Irena ᴥ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror

The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath is a wonderfully creepy horror story of one man's quest to find and reach a forbidden place with an unexpected and great ending. The lack of dialogue shouldn't be a surprise to any Lovecraft lover, but the imaginative way this story is told and filled with unearthly creatures while the protagonist is searching for a way to get to his destination should be enough to overlook that.

The main character is Randolph Carter who meets many strange and terrifying being
Dan Henk
Dec 31, 2011 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 form 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
Apr 20, 2008 Dfordoom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
H. P. Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is one of his fantasy, rather than horror, stories. Lovecraft was very much influenced by the great British fantasist Lord Dunsany. It’s exactly what the title says it is – it’s a dream quest, wherein the great dreamer Randolph Carter dreams a dream to find the fabulous sunset city which he has so far never quite been able to reach in his dreams, because the gods (possibly the gods of Earth, or the more mysterious outer gods) have prevented him ...more
Nov 07, 2008 Maureen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, short-stories
the most boring lovecraft i have ever read. a lot of mythology here but not really much story. more of a travelogue -- it's back on the shelf. not sure when i will finish it.


i did go back and finish it but i must say it was excruciating. again, this is the disappointment i felt when i began to read lord dunsany who had been cited as influential by so many, and found that there really wasn't much of a story but rather a beautiful picture of strange places and people. so sadly, i will not
Oct 21, 2012 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love words and lush prose
Shelves: ebook
Synopsis: Three times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvelous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it. All golden and lovely it blazed in the sunset, with walls, temples, colonnades and arched bridges of veined marble, silver-basined fountains of prismatic spray in broad squares and perfumed gardens, and wide streets marching between delicate trees and blossom-laden urns and ivory statues in gleaming rows; while on steep northward slopes cli ...more
Nate D
Apr 14, 2011 Nate D rated it liked it
Back in college, I worked for a few semesters shelving books in the sub-basements of the library, which for some reason set it's 3 floor at ground level. Two floors below that was a largely-ignored fiction section, dimly lit by flickering lights that turned off automatically when no one was around. The farther corners never really got direct light, giving the whole space a perfect kind of eerie-cozy twilight feel, and in retrospect, it was a pretty amazing place to work. Not least because I usua ...more
Feb 14, 2014 Thiago rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First, this story, I think, is just for the hardcore Lovecraft fan. Something that one must keep in mind is that “The Dream-Quest to Unknown Kadath” is very much a first draft; Lovecraft wrote it, decided that it was bad and put it in a drawer (he was very critical with his own work). It was only some years after his death that it was published.

Here Lovecraft delves deep in his Dream World and in all craziness of dreams in general (or at least his dreams, which were certainly much crazier than m
Nov 30, 2016 Rose rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Well, that was painful!! At least I can say this book didn’t beat me - I read the whole damn thing *pats self on back*.

I used to think back in the first half of the last century that authors were paid by the word. If you read some of the old stuff you’ll see how they tend to ramble a lot. However, I think in this case he was paid by the adjective and adverb. Seriously, you couldn’t fit another one in this story if you were using size 8 font and a crowbar. Does everything have to be described so
Dana Campbell
Reading this was like slogging through quicksand. I wanted to enjoy it, I really did, but I just couldn't. I read at least 50 pages a day. This 101 page book took me the entire month to read. It's like Lovecraft sat down and said how many elaborate adjectives can I fit into each sentence. I have an expansive vocabulary so I only had to lookup a word every few pages but I can imagine most people would need a dictionary every few sentences. Also nothing happens. The book over there the most terrif ...more
Jul 18, 2013 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have read parts of Lovecraft's Dream Cycle before, not knowing that they tied together in any way. The prose in this novella is superb, in my opinion, and the quest is compelling. I expect to read this again in the future.
May 29, 2008 Tait rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, horror, dreams
When I was a kid I always found myself drawn to exploring the many drawers and cabinets that seemed to multiply through the floors of our home, in particular I was always attracted to one low drawer filled with paperback novels , many of them pulp romances and mysteries but including a boxed set of the tales of H. P. Lovecraft, the master of the so-called "cosmic horror" genre. While considered by many to be racist, pulp trash, so that some libraries are only now including him in their collectio ...more
Alan Smith
May 01, 2013 Alan Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
H P Lovecraft is best known as a writer of highly original, wordy and grotesque horror tales, based on the premise that a displaced pantheon of evil tentacled gods lurk just outside our own ordered, settled world, and are only a hairsbreadth away from breaking back in and tearing the universe apart. But many may not be aware that there is a gentler side to the Providence Dreamer.

Now, speaking of this particular author's "gentle side" might seem as weird as anything he ever wrote, but in the earl
Feb 27, 2013 Duane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was my introduction to the worlds of HP Lovecraft. I found it in the library, was enthralled for some reason by the title, and took it home to read it. Unfortunately, I took it back when I was done. It took me another eight years to find the Ballantine paperback, when a whole series of HPL was published. Because I remembered this book so fondly, I bought the whole series sight unseen, and have never had a second thought about that decision. tDQoUK is extremely accessible to readers of ...more
Oct 16, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovecraft fans, fantasy fans, horror fans
Recommended to Michael by: blame Gary Gygax
This was the first collection of dream-cycle stories collected by Lyn Carter before he prepared “The Doom That Came to Sarnath” from various leftovers. Accordingly, it is a better-conceived collection, and the stories work together to demonstrate Lovecraft’s work at world-building and character development. Three of the stories star Randolph Carter, who was the most frequently recurring narrator in Lovecraft’s stories, and together they tell the story of his life in this world, the dream world, ...more
Feb 15, 2015 lukk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to lukk by: baur
Лавкрафтов квест вступил в сговор с моим внутренним Февралем и глумливо похихикал над потугами осилить эту фантасмагорию на языке оригинала. Я вроде говорила, что «Квантовый вор» взрывает восприятие, выносит сознание за рамки воображения? Ну так вот: «Кадат», последовавший почти сразу после крышесносного «Вора», даст тому значительную фору. Хотя, конечно, он не раскидывает конфетти недосказанностей, а аккуратно берет за руку и погружает в омут сумрачной страны снов. Всего лишь невинное предложен ...more
There's two kinds of Lovecraft. One is surely Lovecraft bitterly selling out, mixing his beautiful description with an actual plot that moves at a readable rate and contains real elements of horror (see Herbert West, Reanimator). The other is Lovecraft defying even the fairly relaxed demands of literary pacing in the early 1900's and writing a story completely perpendicular to our narrative expectations, eschewing dialogue, glossing over events, penning pages of description for things mostly irr ...more
So, I learned a few things here. Lovecraft was fond of cats, very fond of England, and just fantastically in love with New England. He is also one for repetition. I feel like I should be calling him "august Lovecraft" or something like that, since unknown Kadath was mentioned in exactly that fashion about seven thousand times.

I also admit I was more than lost with the variety of place names for which I had almost no reference. Like, I've played a board game with some of the places and such, but
Dec 11, 2008 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The main story has a surprisingly rousing fantasy plot - not actually horror like you'd usually expect from Lovecraft. Another story in the collection Beyond the Gates of the Silver Key features the most imagination I've ever seen from Lovecraft. Definitely a must read collection for any Lovecraft fan.
Baal Of
Sep 12, 2016 Baal Of rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, weird
This lengthy story reads more like historical background for a mythology blended with a travelogue, than an actual story, and the matter-of-fact presentation of the dream world kept me from feeling emotionally invested. However, this story did provide some of the building blocks for the mythos that I do love, even if it appears that Lovecraft wasn't intentionally doing so at the the time. The book does measure up to its title, having a dreamlike quality with an amorphous narrative, repetition, a ...more
José Monico
Aug 12, 2014 José Monico rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this novella as a stand-alone in an anthology; so there were no breaks in the story like what you might expect in a book solely dedicated to it, or in a grouping. Dream-Quest is a lengthy - perhaps the longest - Lovecraft short. It is a continuation to "The Silver Key". Here, our favorite dreamer Randolph Carter, continues his fantastical journey through Dreamland; a perilous mission to plead with the Gods to allow him entrance into his great lost childhood city, Sunset City.

The body of w
Tobin Elliott
I got about a third of the way through the walls of text Lovecraft threw up at me, and I simply didn't have the heart to go on.

This is one of the unreadable Lovecraft stories, in my opinion. In it, there's no real discernable plot, just Randolph Carter moving from one location to the next, wildly observing things. Meanwhile, Lovecraft's imagination is in overdrive, and he's slinging names and locations and infernal beasts three, four, or five to a page. Unfortunately, while the imagination was f
Aug 18, 2016 Mila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
Reading Lovecraft is for me like lingering in some fractal universe. The evocative power of those hyperadjectivized descriptions echoes with the power of the imagination of the good dreamer.
Every form, every landscape are sharply outlined and take on a manifest density, even though their shapes don’t seem to recreate any kind of existing pattern.

Lovecraft’s powerful and unique imagery seems to arise from the sheer musicality of the carefully-chosen words, of the antique toponymy of the world he
Phil Slattery
I am a Lovecraft fan, but I find "The Dream-Quest..." very tough reading. Though I want to finish it, it is very tough going. The language is cumbersome and the plot is just Randolph Carter escaping one bad situation after another by luck. Still, I am only about half-way through, and the optimistic side of me keeps hoping it gets better. I don't have much hope though, particularly after reading part of the Wikipedia article on it, which gives Lovecraft's own views, which echo my own:

"Lovecraft h
Casey Hampton
We all love the quest story. Without some sort of a quest, the story falls into introspective navel gazing, and becomes as interesting as reading about someone's cup of tea growing cold near a rain-soaked window overlooking a drab landscape of bent grass fading in the waning light of gloaming. Quests are good, in literature, games, and life. H.P. Lovecraft gives us a quest, and I liked it, for the most part. Those of you familiar with Lovecraft will undoubtedly nod your chin when I suggest that ...more
Randolph Carter
Of the "stories" in this book I would only call The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath a classic. Even so, Kadath itself meanders all over the place and parts of it vary greatly in quality. I admittedly am not a big fan of Lovecraft's "prose poem" dream-cycle stuff, preferring his horror and scifi stuff (yes, The Whisperer in Darkness is a scifi story, not a horror story). It's better than his poetry, but... Writers like Dunsany and Eddison and Machen did this sort of thing much better than Lovecraft ...more
Apr 14, 2014 Myriad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
~The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is like "reading a painting", so vivid, yet so unreal.~

There is something odd about this book, making it almost impossible to categorize it as "good" or "bad", since it defies so much the common way fantasy literature is perceived. It is of short volume, but of perfect size for the story it is to portray.

The main character is on a quest which purpose is difficult to fully understand, of background that is not fully apparent and of determination which drive is
Ebster Davis
Jun 23, 2015 Ebster Davis marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-finished
The dream quest is only one story in this edition, unfortunately I can't find the stand-alone version on goodreads :(

I'm so glad I read Pickman's Model and that other dream one with Randolph Carter in it, because without those this book makes absolutely no sense. It combines the worst elements of the sci-fi/fantasy genre and uses a lot of gobbly-gook terms as pronouns.

The description at the beginning said, "if you don't like lovecraft, you mighy still like this." I can totally see what they mea
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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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“No death, no doom, no anguish can arouse the surpassing despair which flows from a loss of identity.
- Through the Gates of the Silver Key
“But the ship swept on, and the dusk hushed the hum of the day, and the first stars above blinked answers to the early fireflies on the banks as that jungle fell far behind, leaving only its fragrance as a memory that it had been.” 12 likes
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