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The Shadow over Innsmouth

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  12,789 ratings  ·  967 reviews
The Shadow over Innsmouth is a horror novella by H. P. Lovecraft. It forms part of the Cthulhu Mythos, using its motif of a malign undersea civilization. It references several shared elements of the Mythos, including place-names, mythical creatures and invocations.
Paperback, 158 pages
Published April 1936 by Visionary Publishing Company
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Katrina McCollough I think you have to go back in time to get the shivers from most of his works, we have so much more shock value now. I did read the entirety of his wo…moreI think you have to go back in time to get the shivers from most of his works, we have so much more shock value now. I did read the entirety of his work in a collection as opposed to spread apart stories so maybe I read more into each individual piece. To me Lovecraft is as much fantasy, but just an incredibly dark aspect of it, that really hasn't been replicated. Not scary, but for 90's babies that's not too surprising. If you put yourself in that town of fish people, without a cellphone or internet connection: most of todays humans would be scared enough without even a hint of the Old Gods. (less)

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Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gothic, horror
”One night I had a frightful dream in which I met my grandmother under the sea. She lived in a phosphorescent palace of many terraces, with gardens of strange leprous corals and grotesque brachiate efflorescences, and welcomed me with a warmth that may have been sardonic. She had changed--as those who take to the water change--and told me she had never died.”

It might have been the uncertain light from the flickering fire casting deceptive shadows across my friend’s face or maybe it was the way t
Bill Kerwin

After one false start, in the final months of 1931, Lovecraft completed it: the novella which embodies his two greatest fears. The most obvious of the two, the fear of immigration and miscegenation, was derived from his narrow cultural focus and his xenophobia, but the second—a microcosm of the first—the fear of individual mental and moral degeneration, resulted from a disturbing chapter of his family history. Both Lovecraft’s mother and father died confined to institutions for the insane, and h
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
One of the quintessential Lovecraft novellas! A first person narrator comes to visit a decayed fishing town named Innsmouth and is having an nightmarish time there. You'll hear about the cosmic horror, read about 'The Order of Dagon', meet Zadoc Allen and his gruesome tale what actually befell the town. Who are the queer people of Innsmouth? How are the 'fish devils' described? Our narrator flees the town by night chased by strange looking humans (are they still humans?). On his research of fami ...more
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Aleister Crowley, “The Mad Arab” Abdul Alhazred, Asmodeus, Ozzy Osbourne and John Denver sit in a pub in London, discussing HP Lovecraft’s Shadow Over Innsmouth.

Aleister: This was one of Lovecraft’s later works, first published in 1931, and I think, in my humble opinion, one of his finest.

Abdul: When were you ever humble, my friend?

Ozzy: Thoos twr, Alztr, wy njed dis stwi vry moos twu

John: Um, I think what Ozzy is trying to say is that he liked it too, what about you Asmodeus, um, or should I us
Leonard Gaya
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
After At the Mountain of Madness, HPL is back in New England with this novelette. Once more, as in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward or The Colour Out of Space, the protagonist investigates the strange events that have been taking place in a deserted town, seemingly afflicted with a curse. In the end, he discovers some unspeakable horror, once more related to the Cthulhu and other malign divinities from space and out of the underworld.

As in many other HLP stories, the descriptions of old architect
Sean Barrs
This is the dark heart of Lovecraft fiction at its finest: secret cults, secret cities under the sea and strange mutated people- what’s not to love?

The Shadow of Innsmouth depicts a fear, a fear of the unknown and a fear of the watering down of the human race. In the isolated town of Insmouth the people are degenerating into a sub-species of man. Their features are changing and their skin is becoming grey and watery: they are beginning to resemble the creatures of the deep.

“One night I had a f
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not what I was expecting


This novella is one of the most popular between H.P. Lovecraft's fans, however sadly I must say that I wasn't able to enjoy the reading experience as I'd expected initially.

This is part of the Cthulhu Mythos,...

...set in the fictional town of Innsmouth.

A man who is doing a personal research about the lore and architecture of New England’s towns ending at Innsmouth,...

...feeling it as a kind of calling to go there.

Soon enough he founds that the
The Shadow Over Innsmouth is one H.P. Lovecraft's later works - written in 1936 and published in 1936, the only of his works of fiction to be published during his lifetime - he died in 1937. Lovecraft himself disliked the story, thinking it poorly written and not suitable for publication. The first and only print run consisted of only 200 copies, filled with typographical errors, most of which were not sold.

If you'd judge the book by the ineptitude of its publisher and the unrelenting negativit
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, lovecrafty
I am more or less a Lovecraft-come-lately and read Ruthanna Emrys' excellent Winter Tide without reading this first. Although I was familiar in a general way with the mythos, I had assumed that the backstory about the Innsmouth folk being interned by the US government was Emrys' interpolation -- but no, HPL says they were taken to "concentration camps," which surprised me a bit for 1927. <--not a spoiler. 1st paragraph

Here is a sorta-spoiler, though; it's a question for my friends who read a lot
Warning: When you read H P. Lovecraft's stories, be alerted that Lovecraft can be such a racist sometime in such a manner:

You are ugly-looking then you must be EVIL!

You are old then you must be EVIL!

You are deformed then you must be EVIL!

You have mixed blood in you then you must be EVIL!

You worship pagan gods then you must be EVIL!

You befriend Indians, black people or other people of colors, then you must be EVIL!

These might sound like a joke, but all of these things I mentioned above really
Lovecraft Illustrated Volume 5


ix - Introduction by S. T. Joshi
xiii - Foreword by Brian Yuzna
003 - "The Shadow over Innsmouth" by H. P. Lovecraft
091 - "The Shadow over the Shadow" by Pete Von Sholly
093 - "The Harbor-Master" by Robert W. Chambers
123 - "Fishhead" by Irvin S. Cobb
135 - "Fish Schticks" by Robert M. Price
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
I remember a survival horror game Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth a couple of years ago. Only a part of the game is similar to The Shadow Over Innsmouth and it is a combination of more Lovecraft's stories, so it's not exactly the same, but I still remember how the arrival of the main character to Innsmouth, that filthy old hotel, and what happens later made me feel.

Needless to say, I loved this story. I think it is one of those you could recommend to anyone who wants to try Lovecraft
John Hatley
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a remarkable, brilliant horror story. It’s the first thing I’ve ever read by H. P. Lovecraft but I’ve already promised myself that it won’t be the last. I cannot understand why he never became more well-known. Or maybe he did and I was just ignorant of it!
Joey Woolfardis
It was bound to happen at some point. An intense, life-long dislike for short stories and first person narrative meant that the intrigue of Lovecraft couldn't quite get me to enjoy this one.

We follow an intrepid traveller, standard Lovecraft, who seemingly at random falls head first in to a weird and wonderful world full of eldritch cults, esoteric goings on and horrors (literally) too horrific to put in to writing (convenient much). He visits a town that is shunned full of weird people etc etc

Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Classic Lovecraft horror, perhaps the classic Lovecraft horror.

Despite reading many pastiches of his work this is actually my first Lovecraft. He seems like a distasteful enough character that I haven't been rushing to read his stuff. However, I'm just about the read Winter Tide which is a sequel of sorts to this one so I thought I'd knock it off quickly.

Our narrator comes to the town of Innsmouth to investigate a town in decay as well as the strange stories that he's heard about it from neighbo
Caro the Helmet Lady
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, 2018-reads
So this was my Halloween read. I listened to this on audio, in translation, and the next day I had to check the original of course. And I must say... I really enjoyed it! I even think that if you have to pick the only thing from Lovecraft to ever read it should be this one. But then probably you will be very much mistaken with your impression, because you might actually start believing that he was a very good writer... Well, whatever you think of H.P.L. this one was a good one and even his usual ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Overall - 4.5 stars
Narration - 4.5 stars
Story - 4.5 stars
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Legend has it that if you look into broken mirror and say Cthulhu fhtagn out loud three times in a row first your tongue will fall out and then you'll turn into a fish or a frog and you'll dive into the depths of the ocean to dwell there forevermore. Cool, or what?
Devoted fans of H.P.Lovecraft most likely know this already, but it was new to me. Perhaps I'll try it one time, perhaps not.

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May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-read, novella
This was my first Lovecraft, and I read it in preparation for reading Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys.

I'm not a huge fan of "classic" speculative fiction, and so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. The tension in this 1931 horror novella builds up slowly but surely, and makes for an entertaining read.
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Arguably Lovecraft's best story.

Mood, urban decay and Lovecraftian horror dominate this tale.

Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-reads
Rambling and descriptive passages. Foreboding Atmosphere. Mysterious backdrop. Ahh, this is my first Lovecraft, and despite the xenophobic undertones, the storytelling and the famed mythos gripped me until the end. There will be more. I will come back. I am doomed.

"It was as if the bus were about to keep on its ascent, leaving the sane earth altogether and merging with the unknown arcana of upper air and cryptical sky."

"All in the band of the faithful - Order O' Dagon - an' the children shud nev
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it!!!

A stranger comes to Innsmouth, a lonely, isolated and secluded sea town with a bad reputation!!!
Then nights he begings to see and to hear strange shapes, voices and things..
And soon after, his life is forfeited. and a relentless, murderous and unmerciful hunt begings..

Wonderful eerie gloomy and sinister descriptions of the people and town by Lovecraft!!

You can taste the gloomy night, smell the rotten facades of the ruined buildings, and feel the coppery flavor of dread and terror in
Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~
So Teal and I decided to try to hunt down some of the stories that inspired Jordan L. Hawk's Whyborne & Griffin series, which is set in Lovecraft's world - a fact I didn't know until a few months ago. I was assigned this one, and Teal, bless their heart, tried a few other ones. Unfortunately, neither of us got very far.

I'll stick with Whyborne & Griffin. :D
Fusty, stuffiness alternating with florid, overblown wordiness. Not particularly scary, and several story moments were clunky. And the last element of the story felt like it came out of nowhere(view spoiler). My first and probably last Lovecraft for a while. ...more
Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜
This is probably one of my favorite stories written by Lovecraft. I’ve always taken an interest in marine biology and ichthyology, so reading these subjects in a fantastical yet quasi-realistic narrative in a horror story is an A+ in my book.

Innsmouth is a dreary little town that I have seen multiple times on my sojourns along the Oregon coast: decrepit homes, abject poverty, desolate roads, foggy sidewalks, and of course the pungent, odiferous stench of salty air and sea foam mingling with the
my favorite HPL story. Mike Bennett does a fantastic job reading this great story.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is part of The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft , which can be found formatted for Nook or Kindle at

Synopsis: "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" is a short novel about a weird hybrid race of humans and creatures resembling a cross between a fish and a frog, which lives in the seaside village of Innsmouth.

My Thoughts: There is a fairly decent video adaptation of this story on YouTube. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. It's not exact, of course, but it gives the basic gist. I really enjoy
Amy Mills
I mostly read this because it was one of the foundational influences for Ruthanna Emrys' Winter Tide. Read with that outlook, it was quite enjoyable. I suspect I would not have enjoyed it nearly as much without that as a background.

It's better written than Lovecraft's earliest work (which is most of what I've read), less prone to word salad. Lovecraft's utter horror at anyone "different" comes through loud and clear here. The people of Innsmouth are variously described as fishlike, froglike, an
Ebony Eldritch
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
As though one already had not enough reasons to despise fish, I now want never to eat fish again!

In this creepy tale of strange family histories, demonic underwater tribes and dark cults of the supernatural, we see one of Lovecraft's greatest phobias of all; the ocean and all that is held within its dark expanse. While Cthulhu and the other Elder gods resemble a dark, ominous threat upon the horizon which threatens us in such a way few can fully comprehend, this fishy tale is on a scale one can
Michael Gardner
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lovecraft does cosmic horror in small town America. It makes stories like Deliverance look like a tea party at Grandma's place. ...more
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Around the Year i...: The Shadow Over Innsmouth, by H.P. Lovecraft 2 22 Oct 04, 2016 03:45AM  

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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

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“Certainly, the terror of a deserted house swells in geometrical rather than arithmetical progression as houses multiply to form a city of stark desolation. The sight of such endless avenues of fishy-eyed vacancy and death, and the thought of such linked infinities of black, brooding compartments given over to cob-webs and memories and the conqueror worm, start up vestigial fears and aversions that not even the stoutest philosophy can disperse.” 14 likes
“One night I had a frightful dream in which I met my grandmother under the sea. She lived in a phosphorescent palace of many terraces, with gardens of strange leprous corals and grotesque brachiate efflorescences, and welcomed me with a warmth that may have been sardonic. She had changed - as those who take to the water change - and told me she had never died. Instead, she had gone to a spot her dead son had learned about, and had leaped to a realm whose wonders - destined for him as well - he had spurned with a smoking pistol. This was to be my realm, too - I could not escape it. I would never die, but would live with those who had lived since before man ever walked the earth.” 8 likes
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