knig's Reviews > The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft

The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft
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May 19, 12

bookshelves: 2012, dream-like, disturbia
Read from May 15 to 19, 2012

A little daunted by the prolific proclivities of Lovecraft, I decided to cherry pick. General consensus pointed out the following five tales as being the cream of the crop:

1. The Dragon
2. The Outsider
3. The Lurking Fear
4. The call of Cthulu
5. The Colour of outerspace

And, from my GR friend Bennet I picked up on ‘The thing on the doorstep’ which otherwise gets few mentions but turned out to be my favourite of the bunch. Then I stopped, because GR Chris told me too. And, because Lovecraft simply can’t be read in one sitting. Or, in summer. The similar tone of his stories, the atmosphere he creates can get samey if consumed in one glut. Pacing must surely be the key here. The rest to be revisited piecemeal, in darkest winter, with mulled wine and bundled under goose-down. Fire crackling in an open hearth optional . OK I only say this because burning real fires where I live is forbidden. Our fireplaces are now only elaborate conversation pieces. (which is an actual new compound word I learned last weekend at a National Trust Property and have been dying to plug into use somewhere). (Ok, I may have actually used it 100 times this week. People around me tell me to shut up, in order to protect the public). What the hell, whilst I’m at it, here is a conversational piece:


The idea is that if you’re an 18c toff having dinner at the Manor, this cornucopia would hang in front. As every body has done the Grand Tour , this painting is your opening conversation gambit with the partner to your left, whom you haven’t met before. Just for the record, this has nothing to do with Lovecraft. Although, he might have liked it: he seems fond of travel.

The stories, then: verbose, vague, and full of people losing their minds over indescribable horrors. My personal preference was for an actual description of the object of horror, which Lovecraft only indulges sporadically. But when he does, it was definitely edge of the seat stuff. The Lurking Fear and The thing on the Doorstep particularly stand out, despite bringing dated concepts to the table. Its to Lovecraft’s credit that he kept me bated even though I knew what was coming: the horror genre has come a long way since 1920. The call of Cthulu was overlong and tedious, can’t see why it keeps getting voted up on the charts.

To be savoured intermittently for full effect.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Bennet (new)

Bennet Oh boy. I recently reviewed the commemorative edition of Necronomicon, a treasure.

knig From your review I picked up on 'The thing on the Doorstep' which turned out to be my favourite from the selection I read. Thanks

message 3: by Traveller (last edited May 19, 2012 06:40AM) (new)

Traveller Knig-o-lass wrote: "From your review I picked up on 'The thing on the Doorstep' which turned out to be my favourite from the selection I read. Thanks"

I liked that one too. And completely agree with you that the atmosphere becomes tedious after a while. They all seem to be set in the same universe, eh?

I think Chtulu is fun because the Chutulu monster/god whatever it is thing has become so embedded in pop culture.

EDIT: Oops, but I only remembered now my promise to look up Wolfe for you. Why don't you try out Barker's Book of Blood 5, btw?

..and the Ligotti? How's that been going?

message 4: by knig (last edited May 19, 2012 07:25AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

knig Thanks Traveller, but don't forget wolfe: I'll be looking to try the one book from him. Ligotti is not going at the moment, because I've been too busy with this

message 5: by mark (new)

mark monday is #1 actually supposed to be "Dagon"? i haven't heard of a story by Lovecraft called "The Dragon".

message 6: by Bennet (last edited May 21, 2012 06:29AM) (new)

Bennet Wonderful review, and To be savoured intermittently for full effect, so true.

I periodically experience word cravings. I’ll search the shelves for something to satisfy, and indulge in words with a pleasure akin to savoring champagne or chocolate, or champagne and chocolate. I’m a compulsive re-reader compelled by a lust for the language of favored authors, and sometimes only Lovecraft will do. And if it sounds like I lifted that from my Necronomicon review, I did.

And are you saying you live in a National Trust Property, possibly a manor? In any case, I'm picturing you there and it's a grand image so you might want to just go with it. :)

knig @Mark: good spot, it is Dagon. I must have made a subconscious analogy because it felt like the protagonist was inside a dragon.

message 8: by knig (last edited May 21, 2012 08:24AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

knig Thanks Bennet. I crave words too: many times I pick up poetry though for a quick fix

message 9: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten I have the Library of America collected works of Lovecraft. I really need to put it on the bedside table so I will read a story now and then. I will start with your suggestions. Thanks, great review.

message 10: by knig (new) - rated it 3 stars

knig Thanks Jeffrey. Next, for me, its Ligotti.

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