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The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  40,625 ratings  ·  1,640 reviews
This collection spans Lovecraft’s literary career, and charts the development of his ‘cosmicist’ philosophy; the belief that behind the veil of our blinkered everyday lives lies another reality, too terrible for the human mind to comprehend. In stories written in the gothic tradition, narrators recount their descent into madness and despair. Through their investigations in ...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Penguin Classics (first published 1926)
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Danielle Cottrell Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.…morePh'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.(less)
Barkrow Definitively. If they could read "the black cat" they will like this too.

Definitively. If they could read "the black cat" they will like this too.


Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  40,625 ratings  ·  1,640 reviews

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Bill Kerwin
Jan 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing

This, the first of three volumes of Lovecraft tales edited by S.T. Joshi, is--as are the other two--chronological, featuring a selection of tales from the earliest to the very last. (An odd organizational principle for a complete tales, but I suppose Joshi did this so most of the best tales wouldn't be found in the last two volumes.)

Every Lovecraft fan should purchase all three volumes, but—if you must confine yourself to one only—I would suggest this one as the best to buy, since it contains m
Aug 26, 2011 rated it did not like it

I am largely underwhelmed by this “master of horror.” I find the writing simply dull, repetitive, anti-climactic, and that it uses the same tricks over and over and over again. I am not horrified by the stories, or at least not by any intended reasons. The narration, pacing, and lazy writing wreck whatever interest I had in the premises of the stories had, such as the twist to Arthur Jermyn and The Color Out of Space. (Such potential, OH WHY?!)

I admit my strong reaction to these stories is due t

October 2011

"Pfft, whatever. You're not so scary, Mr. Lovecraft. You're quaint and silly, is all. It's not like...wait. Wait. What? What's this? This is--it's--oh. Oh, god. Oh, dear god, no. No. NOOAAAAUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH--"

I live in a somewhat-old farmhouse in rural Wisconsin, and it's a great place to read Lovecraft now that we've taken care of the bat problem. Couldn't do anything about the coyotes out in the fields, but that was part of the charm.

It's been a few months since I read this collect
Aug 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My life sort of changed a little bit this year when, for no reason at all, I decided to give Lovecraft a go. I picked up the three Penguin editions of his work that (I believe) gather almost all the stories he published in his lifetime, and have not been disappointed. Which probably deserves a qualifier -- I went into his ouvre with a certain expectation of what I would find, and found exactly that and more so. His faults as a writer (and, okay, as a human being) are unavoidable, but seriously? ...more
Lovecraft Illustrated volume 7


ix - Introduction by S. T. Joshi (2015)
003 - "The Call of Cthulhu" by H. P. Lovecraft
051 - "Making Some Calls" by Pete Von Sholly (2015)
057 - "On the Emergence of "Cthulhu" "by Steven J. Mariconda (2015)
067 - "The Other Name of Azathoth" by Robert M. Price (2015)
079 - "Cthulhu Elsewhere in Lovecraft" by Robert M. Price (1982)
085 - "Heeding "The Call of Cthulhu" " by W. H. Pugmire (2015)
091 - "On Making "The Call of Cthulhu" " by Sean Branney (2015)
097 - "Ad
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
"Gentle reader - what I saw that night was so horrifyingly horrible, such a cavalcade of horrid, horrific horror, that I cannot describe its horrendousness to you. I pen these words whilst I foam at the mouth in a padded cell."

That is what almost all of The Call of Chthulu and Other Weird Stories felt like to me - a terrified narrator recounts a scarring encounter with an evil force as overwhelmingly powerful as it is vague. And I mean vague- trying to get a feel for the nature and appearance of
October spooky read #10!

Yup, the good old classic. And like most classics, it has quite a few flaws, mercifully balanced with enough imagination and silliness that one can still enjoy these short stories despite some truly off-putting elements.

I would lie if I pretended this book was easy to review, or to recommend. People usually either love or hate Lovecraft – I can see why, and his work is definitely not for everyone. If you can’t laugh at affected, excessively florid prose, don’t even bother
Timothy Urges
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
They had come from the stars, and had brought Their images with Them.

Despite Lovecraft's social and xenophobic failings, his intellectual imagination is deserving of merit. You cannot help but be inspired and desire to crawl into the void of his seething mindscapes. I want to believe in the eldritch manifestations he brings into light.

My favorites in this collection: "Dagon," "The Festival," "The Call of Cthulhu," "The Colour Out of Space," and "The Whisperer in Darkness."

"I choose weird storie
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
H.P. Lovecraft lived in poverty most of his life, died a painful death at a young age, and only lived to see one of his novels published during his lifetime (The Shadow Over Innsmouth). His short stories were also only published in pulp fiction magazines (mainly Weird Tales) during his lifetime, and were largely unappreciated. In my opinion it is one of the great tragedies in the history of literature that Lovecraft was not celebrated during his lifetime for his incredible works.

Today, Lovecraft
Shivam Chaturvedi
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
And I'd be very interested to know what it was that Mr Lovecraft was in the habit of smoking while writing these stories. Very, very interested.

Lovecraft while writing this book - Yo, I got the best stuff in town! *Fistbump*

Me while reading this book - Should have never dropped this much acid at one go. Never..

Cthulhu in the meanwhile - Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn....Damn it bro, this stuff is strong; I dont even what I am talkin' about
Johann (jobis89)
Obviously 5 stars. Thoroughly enjoyed revisiting Lovecraft!!
"Even death may die.."

American author H.P Lovecraft is such a prominent and prolific horror writer that a subgenre of horror was even named after him. Lovecraftian horror involves "the cosmic horror of the unknown and the unknowable more than gore or other elements of shock". With this mind, I was quite excited to read this anthology which collected his finest eighteen short stories throughout the years. This paperback edition I own even includes a great introductory essay to the lif
Anthony Vacca
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book of Lovecraft’s fiction, the first of three nearly definitive collections published by Penguin, offers a career-spanning selection of short and long stories that wades new readers through the shallow waters of his early weird fiction before abandoning them in the deeps of his later tales of cosmic chaos and flesh turned traitorous. It’s all here: undead entities and invasive alien civilizations with a profound indifference toward the human condition; prissy narrators who fancy themselve ...more
Michelle Curie
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far."

For a long time, Lovecraft himself seemed to be a bit of a myth to me. Until recently, I have never read anything written by him and yet a disconcerting amount of pop culture I've consumed in my life (may that be a TV show such as Stranger Things or
Dan Henk
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I think Lovecraft often gets a bad rap. People read that he influenced the modern greats, everyone from 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
Maliha Tabassum Tisha
Stories I liked most:
- The Call of Cthulhu (4 stars)
- Celephaïs (5 stars)
- The Outsider (5 stars)
- The Rats in the Walls (4 stars)
- The Shadow Over Innsmouth (4 stars)
- The Color out of Space (3.5 stars)
- The Haunter of the Dark (3.5 stars)
Michael Sorbello
Dagon - 4/5

Despite being one of Lovecraft's early stories, it's on par with his later masterpieces such as The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Call of Cthulhu. A very short yet classic tale that touches on one of my greatest fears; the unknown horrors of the sea and the infinite secrets that it holds within itself. Discovering dark secrets and higher beings never meant to be witnessed by human eyes, being driven to madness and suicidal tendencies, hallucinatory encounters with unfathomable horrors, al
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Back in 2014, I reviewed an HPL anthology called The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre. At the time it was the top HPL title on Goodreads, but I did notice that a few of his more popular stories are not included in that volume. Having just reread some HPL stories I thought now may be a good time to review this book which has supplanted the aforementioned “Best of”.
If you have read or are interested to read HPL you probably enjoy horror fiction, HPL is differen
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: status-owned
As one of the three Penguin Classic Lovecraft anthologies, The Call of Cthulhu collects the stories that lead up to and include the Cthulhu Mythos, arranged in chronological order with introduction and explanatory notes for each story from the anthologizer, S.T. Joshi. Joshi does an exceptional job selecting stories that create a coherent narrative through Lovecraft's early work, developing themes, and final strong stories; his annotations are interesting and useful both to the casual and studio ...more
Wren (fablesandwren)
I love the creeps, gore and the all-around horror in books. I watch American Horror Story religiously, I live by the code of The Slayers that Joss Whedon laid out for us in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I research serial killers and studies of their psychological states and look forward to the month of October all year round. So as someone who would rather watch a scary movie or go through a museum filled to the tip of mass murder and corruption than go on some overly-dramatic, romantic date filled ...more
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Call of Cthulhu
This novella is a work of sinister genius a writing prose so well done. These works of Lovecraft form a Genisis of Horror writing and supernatural which have inspired many writers Stephen King one of many.

"Octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings;"
"There were legends of a hidden lake unglimpsed by mortal sight, in which dwelt a huge,
Daniel Ionson
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
HP Lovecraft's short stories show a masterful skill in setting mood with his dark prose. Unexpectedly, however, Call of C ended up being 'meh' compared to his other stories. ...more
As I write this, the hour draws later, every minute, every second casting my life further into the black, frozen abyss of the Past and bringing me one more step closer to the illimitable void that is my inevitable death. I can only pray that the sweet oblivion of sleep is able to scour away the memory of the horrors I have endured, of the horrors that I have perpetrated. And if there is a God, and if He is merciful, he will allow me the privilege of perishing before I wake so that I may not see ...more
Brenda Bauer
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow, reading through some of the reviews here, I'm astonished to see so much negative criticism. A lot of that criticism seems to focus on Lovecraft's use of arcane language. Should I be worried that I don't find it arcane at all?

What Lovecraft does so brilliantly is to attempt to describe a truly alien horror - not like Star Trek aliens who are only men with knobby foreheads, but forces which do not reference the human at all. That's not a easy task, but Lovecraft, along with Blackwood ("The Wi
Francesca Calarco
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
It is pretty hard to read something within the horror genre that has not been influenced by H. P. Lovecraft in some way, shape, or form. I’ve long struggled with how to go about reading his most influential stories, and ultimately settled on S. T. Joshi’s edition of Lovecraft’s early work originally published 1919–36, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories.

Given the gift of hindsight, I probably should not have read these stories right before going to bed, I had some admittedly warped and
☙ nemo ❧ (pagesandprozac)
individual ratings:

Dagon - 5 stars
The Statement of Randolph Carter - 4 stars
Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family - 2 stars
Celephais - 5 stars
Nyarlathotep - 4 stars
The Picture in the House - 2 stars
The Outsider - 5 stars
Herbert West - Reanimator - 3 stars
The Hound - 4 stars
The Rats in the Walls - 4 stars
The Festival - 5 stars
He - 4 stars
Cool Air - 5 stars
The Call of Cthulhu - 4 stars
The Colour out of Space - 5 stars
The Whisperer in Darkness - 5 stars
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
Hi! Just reread The Colour Out of Space tonight and was it a blast! How closely woven is the atmospheric horror in this story! You can't help but feel awry when being told the scourge befalling the blighted inhabitants...

Feels like Lovecraft is the great old one :)

Also : this edition is as good an introduction as you could hope to Lovecraft!

Matching Soundtrack :
Ambient Music for Sleep - Cryo Chamber
Steven Yenzer
Although I enjoyed this collection, I wasn't blown away by it. I think reading so much Lovecraft in quick succession reveals how repetitive and formulaic many of his stories are.

The standard Lovecraft tale goes like this: "Have you heard about that crazy shit that happened in [New England town]? Well I was there. And I'll tell you, it's even crazier than you think. When I went there, at first I didn't think there was any crazy shit going on. And then I heard from this guy everyone thinks is craz
Caro the Helmet Lady
While I really enjoyed these scary tales Lovecraft built on the foundation of his own nightmares and neuroses, I couldn’t not notice and not get seriously annoyed with obvious racism, xenophobia and misogyny of his views. Because of this it puts his works on a much lower level among other classics of horror. And 'tis a great pity, because these are some fascinating visions and ideas, fathering too many works of literature and cinema to this day and I am sure future ones as well. ...more
Tony DiTerlizzi
Jul 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm never going to Antarctica. Ever. ...more
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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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