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The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  33,521 ratings  ·  1,259 reviews
Part of the Penguin Orange Collection, a limited-run series of twelve influential and beloved American classics in a bold series design offering a modern take on the iconic Penguin paperback

For the seventieth anniversary of Penguin Classics, the Penguin Orange Collection celebrates the heritage of Penguin’s iconic book design with twelve influential American literary class
Paperback, Penguin Orange Collection, 368 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Penguin Classics (first published 1926)
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4.22  · 
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 ·  33,521 ratings  ·  1,259 reviews

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Bill  Kerwin

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  ·  review of another edition

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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Shivam Chaturvedi
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
Lᴀʏᴀ Rᴀɴɪ #BookDiet2019
"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 life and ti
Anthony Vacca
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dan Henk
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, fo
Brenda Bauer
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
WrensReads Review:

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, rom
Daniel Ionson
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Tony DiTerlizzi
Jul 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm never going to Antarctica. Ever.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I just really didn't love this. Honestly, I was a bit bored. I am not sure if it was the text of the stories, or if perhaps the narration just made me want to tune it out. I had planned to write a more useful review, but honestly can't find the energy to devote more time to it.
You may not know it, but the writings of H.P. Lovecraft influenced much of the modern horror and science fiction you enjoy today. In fact, the other day I read a New Yorker review of Netflix’s series Stranger Things (if you have Netflix, or have a friend with Netflix, watch this show. It’s so freaking good) and what author was mentioned as having influenced Stranger Things? Why, H.P. Lovecraft, of course; specifically his story “The Colour Out of Space.” I read The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weir ...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 ev
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
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.
Cat  (cat-thecatlady)
as a big old timey horror fan, I can appreciate the new things Lovecraft brought to the table. and they're great. the prose-poetry writing is beautiful, the stories are scary and the backstories of the monsters are amazing.

but it's 2016 and I can't ignore the racism... and it's too much and literally towards everyone that isn't white... I couldn't tune that out.

so, as much as I loved some of the spooky stuff, I can't really appreciate them as much as I want to

full review here: https://catshelf.w
David M
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every Lovecraft story only gets so far before dissolving in a bout of hysterical shrieking. Typically it's a fear of madness rather than actual physical danger. To be so terrified of losing one's mind is perhaps to have already lost it. Would it be possible for the existence of a race of indescribable monsters not to be an occasion for extreme horror, but rather something to be lived with and perhaps even celebrated under certain circumstances? This question almost seems like the starting point ...more
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While it's not a full collection of all of Lovecraft's best work, this book does provide a career-spanning survey of this master of horror. The footnotes and commentary provide considerable context-- bordering on too much for the casual reader, but valuable for the more scholarly approach. For instance, reading on my own, I would not have recognized the shift in Lovecraft's early writing, where the weird elements are unexplained and pre-pre-historic, to the later stories where they arrive from o ...more
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-fi and horror fans
This review is solely on 'The Call of Cthulu', the only story I've read in the collection so far.

When I saw the South Park Coon and Friends trilogy last year, which heavily featured Cthulu, I knew it was time for me to read the source material behind this cultural phenomenon. I was first shocked that H.P. Lovecraft's masterwork, which has made him such a legend, was so short. And considering it was from 1928, it didn't seem very dated, which was also a surprise.

The story is presented as a manus
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The worst.

Purple prose. Necronomicon. OMG there's is something weird and I don't know what it is but I'm going to write a letter and then die/go insane.

Repeat ad infinitum.

Maybe if I were a high school kid with an unlimited supply of weed. But I doubt it.
Book Pairings (Laci Long)
Full review coming soon.
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
I liked it - but did not go into the basement for a couple of days until laundry demanded it of me - then i was very aware...
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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
“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.” 708 likes
“In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulu waits dreaming” 140 likes
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