Earl Grey Tea's Reviews > The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre

The Best of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft
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Dec 09, 2011

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bookshelves: horror, science-fiction, short-stories
Read from November 19 to December 09, 2011

Hooray for xenophobia! Lovecraft's prejudice is not just against those nasty extraterrestrial monsters that drive average human's psyche to the point of oblivion; it also includes oversea immigrants that are from a non-Anglo background. It is interesting to see the mentality of a person from almost a hundred years ago, but it is a bit disappointing that this discrimination in the writing is not just the character reflecting the times, but also is reflecting the author's own mentality.

Beyond the bigotry and lack of political correctness, it is good to finally see exactly what exactly is the inspiration for the Arkham Horror board game that I used to play into the wee hours of the night during college. Hats off to Richard Launius for developing Lovecraft's world into a board game assessable to the modern day geek.

As for the text itself, this is no light read. Be prepared to sit down and really focus to decently understand what is going on. Drowsy commutes home on the subway Friday evening are probably not the best place to read this book. The writing style could probably be compared to Edgar Allen Poe; much of the story seems a bit obtuse to me and many of the endings seemed quite anticlimactic. For all of the stories in this collection, Lovecraft used the same style of writing for almost all of the stories. Basically, the (male) narrator starts the story exclaiming that his wits are gone and then proceeds to start from the beginning of the story. For me, this takes the fear out of the story since I know that the protagonist will be alive by the end of the story.

Despite that, there were a few scenes here and there that frightened me to an extent. One notably was from "The Shadow of Innsmouth" which is akin to most of modern day horror of some unknown entity outside your room trying to enter. Another story that I really enjoyed was "The Colour Out of Space." After a tiny bit of research, it turns out to be not only one of his most popular works, but also Lovercraft's favourite (a small tribute to H.P.'s anglophilia) stories. I am not sure if there was an "evolution" or "development" in writing styles from his time period, but as a twenty first century reader, I could really get into this story and flow of the writing made it easy to follow.

Overall, while there were some interesting ideas, concepts and story lines, this book felt more like something I would have to read for an English Literature class and not something I would sit down and just enjoy.
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11/26/2011 page 152
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Nick Almand Okay, I have to comment because while reading your review, the first thought that came to me was, "Oh, you got into Lovecraft through Arkham Horror? Ew, how roundabout--" only to stop myself. I actually took a moment to think about it, and realized that Arkham Horror is exactly how *I* came to hear of H.P. Lovecraft in the first place!! xD Minor lit snobbery sure messes with the memory at times, I tell ya!

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