Ryan's Reviews > Tales

Tales by H.P. Lovecraft
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's review
Feb 22, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: classics
Read in July, 2011

I think it took me a couple of years to finish this book because I was trying to not read the stories back to back. When I have had the opportunity to read them I just put it off because Lovecraft's work almost demands that you be in a certain frame of mind.

Now that I have read the read the majority of Lovecraft's work, I can sum up what I think are trends running through most of his stories. The following things happen in most:

1. the main character is very curious (occasionally to the point of obsession) about the occult or antiquated things
2. the things that the main character observers are very, very "scary" (the author spends between 20 and 120 pages describing just how scary those things are
3. the word "Cyclopean is used at least once to describe the things that the character is already trying to get across to the reader as "scary"
4. the main character is either killed or forever scarred by the "scariness"

While I could make fun of Lovecraft's tendency to re-explore familiar tropes or lapses into familiarity, it is difficult to deny how much of a genius he was. I think he was a genius because he created this little world and occasionally crossed paths with characters from other stories. Best example of the same trend would be in many of Faulkner's stories. However, Faulkner didn't create his own fictional mythological set and basically use his fictional "Necronomicon" as a crib sheet for his plot devices. Ingenious. Genre writers and filmmakers have been inspired for decades and I can't think of another writer who has created as much of a legacy. But don't take my word for it, just slog through the 800 pages that I have experienced for proof.

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