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Tales

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4.34  ·  Rating details ·  2,805 ratings  ·  200 reviews
A twentieth-century successor to Edgar Allan Poe as the master of “weird fiction,” Howard Philips Lovecraft once wrote, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” In the novellas and stories he published in such pulp magazines as Weird Tales and Astounding Stories—and in the work that remained unpublished until ...more
Hardcover, 838 pages
Published February 3rd 2005 by Library of America
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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 ·  2,805 ratings  ·  200 reviews


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Chris
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Let's first acknowledge that Lovecraft is a master of hooking the reader with the first sentence. A few of the best:

"I repeat to you, gentlemen, that your inquisition is fruitless."
- The Statement of Randolph Carter

"Of Herbert West, who was my friend in college and in after life, I can speak only with extreme terror."
- Herbert West - Reanimator

"I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why."
- At the Mountain
...more
L.S. Popovich
I read this volume long ago. I have since replaced it with a more comprehensive collection of Lovecraft's works. This seems like a cash-grab by Library of America, rather than a proper treatment of this writer's stories. You can find a cheaper, larger complete tales edition by Chartwell classics. It's 1112 massive pages compared to the 800 here. It claims completeness but contains fewer than 60 works. If you're like me, and feel the need to really read all of this man's unsettling stories, you w ...more
Jason
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have little patience for schlock. I can't enjoy bad art ironically, and I can't seem to "turn my brain off" when I'm reading. The writer needs to intrigue me, and be doing something interesting. I try to read only "the good stuff," even within the bounds of "genre fiction" like science fiction and horror, and as such, I had always avoided Lovecraft. I had heard he was sub-par, a bad writer, a repetitive hack, and I had no reason to waste my time, when there are so many other great writers out ...more
Woolrich13
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
How odd a man was Howard Phillips Lovecraft? He was an atheist and Darwinist who insisted on marrying his Jewish wife at a high Anglican church service. Also, he gave a spoken abstract analytical review praising Hitler's "Mein Kampf" to same Jewish wife as well as Lovecraft's then literary agent (also Jewish), who proceeded to more or less ignore him and say, "Oh, that's Howard!" However, this was during Lovecraft's more sociable phase, such as it was, when he had a very, very unhappy stay in Ne ...more
Brittni
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It’s tough to give a rating to an anthology, but I have to give five stars for Lovecraft’s style and subject difference. My quote book is mostly filled with his horrifyingly beautiful words now. He’s truly a one-of-a-kind writer, although his stories share large similarities: a logical protagonist, not given to superstitions, encountering something to shake his beliefs; otherworldly entities; a certain book called The Necronomicon; the struggle against madness after learning too much...
...more
Kate
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
I took one of those quizzes online to see which famous author "I write like" (iwl.me) and it came back as H.P. Lovecraft. Having never read his works, I think now would be a good time to start.

Oh man, this book was excellent! H.P Lovecraft was way ahead of his time in his writing. He was bizarro before bizarro was even a genre and his horror is right on - creepy and kind of gorey, but excellently done. He kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next.

Even th
...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
This collection of 22 tales by Lovecraft was selected by Peter Straub.
1. 'The Statement of Randolph Carter': Carter's friend disappears in a cemetery while they are conducting an experiment and he is questioned by authorities. Short and eerie.
2. 'The Outsider': learns the truth in the mirror.
3. 'The Music of Erich Zann': "the ghoulish howling of that acc
...more
Sam
Apr 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shortfiction
Lovecraft! Burdened by poor word choice, clumsy with narrative, and hampered by psycho-sexual and racial issues by the bucketful, an asexual aristocrat from Providence wrote some of the most genuinely disturbing stories in American literature. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but even if one doesn't enjoy his eldritch horrors from beyond the wall of sleep, they can at least appreciate how his stories represent a certain kind of paranoia: one that could have only been penned by an exceedingly well ...more
Eric Farr
I think I've read enough Lovecraft for one life. I actually read several of Lovecraft's more well-known stories while in high school and college, so this collection allowed me to revisit many of those same stories with some distance and maturity. Some of the tales were new to me, including "At the Mountains of Madness," which I understand is supposed to be one of his better-regarded works.

Lovecraftian cosmic horror is so relied-upon in various tabletop and video games that, I think,
...more
Dave Henry
Feb 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
While I have not read the vast majority of horror fiction available, I would still be willing to stake a claim that no other writer has written in the genre more effectively in the last hundred years than Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

He is almost definitely the most influential. Any modern horror author worth his salt would almost certainly cite Lovecraft as an enormous influence; his last name alone has entered the Lexicon as a descriptive; the adjective "Lovecraftian" calls to mind im
...more
Joe
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
H.P. Lovecraft: Xenophobic? Check. Clunky and awkward word choice? Check. Creator of freaky and bizarre worlds and one of my new favorite authors? Big check.

Man oh man, this was a feat! Over 800 pages of the craziest stuff i've ever read. I can see why this is the guy that gives Stephen King nightmares.

As far as I'm concerned there are three names in American horror: Poe, Lovecraft and King. Lovecraft was clearly damaged goods that had more hate and fear in his heart than
...more
Greg Heaney
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My acquaintance with Lovecraft felt much like one of his own stories, in retrospect. In reading what authors inspired my favorites, or lightly researching some famous novel, I occasionally heard his name come up. No one was ever specific about him, but he was always linked up with a foreboding sense of dread and terror. He remained a mystery to me.

That could not have kept up for long. After reading his stories, I realized that Lovecraftian influences have completely pervaded American
...more
Shaun
4.5 stars

Though not a complete works, at over 800 pages this Library of America collection edited by Peter Straub incorporates 22 of Lovecraft's tales and is a great way to explore his writings.

In addition to his Poe-esque stories, which often include some element of the occult, Lovecraft also created his own mythology, incorporating ancient and often alien beings into Earth's history. As a result, many of the stories have common and repeating themes and a similar structu
...more
Bill Tucker
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, oh-crap
Xenophobic? Check! Racist? Again, check! Lovecraft had these faults, and many more besides, and I would venture to say that I wouldn't have much liked meeting the man, much less spending time with him. Insofar as his fiction is concerned, however, these shortcomings don't stop me from enjoying every word, and enjoy I did....literally every word.

The thing is, no other fiction harnesses the fear of the unknown as well as Lovecraft's. As horrific as his elder abominations are, they rema
...more
R. C.
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
I read a quarter of the tales in the book and only one (not a Cthulhu tale) particularly sticks with me a week later. They were entertaining, the style light and strong, but all too much alike. By the fifth or sixth tale, they had become predictable, and predictable horror just isn't scary. Also, I understand and agree with Lovecraft that the unknown is what truly terrifies us, but I would have been more scared by his stories had he used descriptors more visceral than, "unfathomable," "ineffable ...more
Jorge Rodighiero
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like Lovecraft prose and stories... however I would recommend to read one a month and not the whole book from cover to cover, since there is a bit of boredom caused by the repetitive themes and style.
Carol Storm
I love Lovecraft, but these Library of America editions aren't really all they're cracked up to be. Where's "The Temple?" Where's "Dagon?"
Alan
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
In many ways, the writing of H.P. Lovecraft is autobiography.

I don't mean that he believed in Cthulhu, or Nyarlathotep, or the Great Race that steals your body and casts your mind back to a vast, ancient, Cyclopean prison that serves as a library of all the knowledge of the cosmos, past, present and future. There are people who believe Lovecraft really believe in what he wrote about, or at least say they do, but that's not what I'm talking about. The writing of H.P. Lovecraft is auto
...more
Monty Circus
I hadn't heard of Lovecraft in my life until a few years ago, when I learned he was a grandmaster of horror. So I was very eager to check him out. So eager in fact, that not only did I purchase this handsome hardcover edition, no, I also bought a Lovecraftian board game, a Lovecraftian book of art, and a fan-made silent film.

I was "all-in".

Turns out I didn't like the stories, the game, or the film. The art is okay, but since I didn't like the writings...it kind of popped
...more
Steven
Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually still had a few more stories to go when I abandoned this book as some of the stories were seeming repetitive. If you like scary/creepy stuff this is classic goose-bump material. However, be forewarned that along with the chills and thrills you will get a good dose of scientific detail, sleuth detection, and mythological references to the point where at times I found myself thinking "oh, get on with it!"
Lovecraft's formula, if there was one, seemed to have been: 1. something weird or
...more
Susanne
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who like Poe, Twilight Zone, X-Files, and citizens of Arkham
I learned that Cthulhu is pronounced Khlul-hloo .
Two syllables. The u in the first syllable sounding like the u in full.

I've been pronouncing it K-thoo-loo (three syllables). Oops.

Also, knowing that Lovecraft's paranoid, delusional mother kept him isolated for years and convinced him he was ugly makes The Outsider truly poignant.

My favorite story in this book is The Thing On The Doorstep. Waaay creepy.

Lovecraft's favorite was The Colour Out Of Space.
Also very creepy.

In fact, if y
...more
Trenton Hayes
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It pleases me that this edition exists. Poor Howard, who was poor and near destitute and who's entire life was the horrified contemplation of beauty and affluence slowly receding like a block of ice melting on a warm day, and whose literary career was characterized by little recognition and much hardship...and here he is joining the western canon, the heir to Poe. And much deserved.

This book has much of his best. The Mountains of Madness, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Shadow o
...more
Briana
Jun 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Actually, I didn't finish this. But I've read as much of it as I'm going to...YES, Alex, I read "The Call of Cthulhu"...It was okay. I like Lovecraft's style. The only story that really jumped out at me was the first one in this collection...I forget the title...but it actually sent a shiver down my spine when I finished it. And that's never happened before, not with Edgar Allen Poe or Frank Peretti or Charles Williams...of course, I read it really late at night while everyone was asleep. HOWEVER, I a ...more
Jesse Lehrer
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
*note: this review is for the 838 page hardcover edition which features MANY more stories

This was the first time I read Lovecraft and holy shit, he is as amazingly unique, brilliant, and terrifying as people say. I must, however, note that several of the stories in this book are mediocre and that it has a 5 star rating simply because virtually all Lovecraft publications are released in collections and not as stand alones and those stories that are amazing deserve 10 stars, let alone
...more
B. Jay
Jul 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Love it! I can see why so many avent-gardes in the horror genre list Lovecraft as a huge influence. Although the formality of his writing and the consistancy of most stories being told in flashback form prohibit readers from diving in as deeply as one might like, Lovecraft's visions are genuinly terrifying. He was light years ahead of his time in terms of how he treated the subject material with deep seriousness, and created a whole world history (and future) in loving bits and pieces. Certain s ...more
Bre
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Definately not for everyone but if you dig just plain weirdness and good old horror stories, this might be for you. I love Herbert West, which is partly the inspiration for King's Pet Semetary. Only thing I have to complain about this book is the cover. It's just...dull! Really, Lovecraft has such an epic imagination, so slap a picture of one of the "Old Ones" on the cover or something. If you read this book, you may never think of an octopus the same way again. (Shudders) Not to spoil anything, ...more
Dan Giaquinta
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished the entire collection. Most (all?) of the Cthulhu mythos included + many but not all of the other favorites. Lovecraft remains my preferred master of the power of suggestion. very little overt horror is ever present in any of his writing, only the possibility of, only the suggestion of something so great and so terrible that the mind flees from or crumbles before even the idea. Of course the same can be said of his racist sensibilities in many of these works. It's easy to subscr ...more
Anna
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
There were elements I enjoyed, but I'm less enamored with Lovecraft's writing than with his derivatives. He's certainly influential, and he has an important place in genre fiction, but his writing is repetitive and lazy. I think I'd have enjoyed this volume more if I picked it up occasionally to read one story at a time, but the volume together amounts to something less than the sum of its parts.

Not going to rehash the argument about Lovecraft's racism here, suffice it to say I found
...more
Michael Shilling
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Laugh-out loud funny until you try to go to sleep. The mad protestant in the loamy gloaming pagan wilderness. An indictment and love letter to New England and its witchy tombstone supulchre bling. And a monster named Yog-Sogoth. The only author I've read where I thought, "I wonder if he's a good dancer."
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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 Cthulh
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