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3.42  ·  Rating details ·  767 ratings  ·  53 reviews
"Hypnos" is a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, penned in March 1922 and first published in the May 1923 issue of National Amateur.

Hypnos is a first-person narrative written from the perspective of an unnamed character living in Kent, England. The narrator writes that he fears sleep, and is resolved to write his story down lest it drive him further mad, regardless of what peo
Kindle Edition, 19 pages
Published (first published May 1923)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
Rating details
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Bill Kerwin
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it

In this short tale first published in The National Amateur (May, 1923), Lovecraft experimented with an unreliable, nearly hysterical narrator (similar to Poe's homicidal tenant in the "Tell Tale Heart") who tells us a suspiciously fragmentary tale in rhet0ric that (even for H.P.) is extravagant and emotionally charged. The ending, when it comes, is unexpected, yet not really surprising, considering the voice of the man who embodies the story.

The narrator is a English sculptor who tells us how he
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
The first person narrator and a friend indulge in drugs and dreams. But at some point the friend is looking much older, his beard is getting white and more wrinkles are to be seen upon his face. What is going on? Why do they flee sleep and are afraid of Hypnos? Fantastic Lovecraft full of dreams, decadence and death. Recommended!
Emm C²
"Death is merciful, for there is no return therefrom, but with him who has come back out of the nethermost chambers of night, haggard and knowing, peace rests nevermore."

Is it dream that dictates the grey boundary between real and false, blurring and steeling the line at will? Is reality so murky, so mutable that it all might as well be delusion?
Hypnos, if you'll recall, was the brother of Thanatos, after all. Dream, always so close to death.

This short is about a man who has an encounter with th
Baal Of
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird
What better time to read a short story about the undefined horrors discovered in the realms of drug-induced dreaming, then after waking in the middle of the night from an unfocused, mildly distressing dream of my own. Lovecraft captures the amorphous qualities of nightmares, without rendering them utterly drab and boring like most people do when describing their own dreams. How many times have you heard something like "I dreamed I was in my kitchen, and... it was really weird", followed by a str ...more
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
As in most Lovecraft's dream stories, you are introduced to an (usually) unknown character, a sculptor, who suspects there is something more beyond dreams. Only few dare to try to find out more about that world.
Then he meets a beautiful stranger and recognizes his own wishes in the man. They start living together, travelling through dreams until one day his friend manages to go further than the narrator. Hypnos gets pretty close to a romantic story.
That brings the fear of dreaming, fear of sk
Amy (Other Amy)
The knowing dreamer theme meets the terrible beings of space/beyond theme with a splash of the perceptive artist theme and the forbidden knowledge theme. One thing I appreciate about Lovecraft: his yearning for the extraordinary comes through clearly, but he consistently portrays his narrators as corrupted either by power or madness due to their dabbling in the forbidden realms. He has a clear grasp of the ease with which the human heart is twisted. (I would say this is another unknowable terror ...more
Love of Hopeless Causes
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
High art. Great pacing and subject matter.
Alex O'Connor
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very freaky tale- Lovecraft has an amazing talent for scaring the crap out of me in like, 5 pages. His character work and descriptions are unmatched.
You're walking in the rail station one day and encounter a man, unconscious on the ground, surrounded by a crowd of onlookers. He opens his luminous black eyes and stares at you. You feel an instant kindred, an understanding that this man has seen unspeakable things which you have sought but never attained.

What do you do?

Well, if you're H.P.'s nameless narrator, you take your new best friend home and begin a two-year-long frenzy of drug and sleep experiments, ever searching for that pinnacle th
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, 2012, kindle
Lovecraft takes an everyday activity and injects it with a huge dose of fear and terror.

The characters and story are wonderfully painted and drawn. The tension builds slowly and inexorably.

The story is cleverly woven around the basic premise, and the source of madness is never clearly defined, leaving the reader with genuine tension and unease.

A nice twist at the end leaves you even more unsettled.
JL Shioshita
Lovecraft's Dream Cycle and fantasy oriented stuff has never been my favorite. That being said, the concept of taking drugs or practicing certain techniques to pierce through your dreams and access unknown states of consciousness is cool. Who knows what you'll find, and as these dudes discover, it ain't pretty. It's like Carlos Castaneda on a bad trip. Wasn't as keen on the sort of ambiguous ending though, but it worked. ...more
Gregory Rothbard
This book is a great example of how Lovecraft was the master of horror from the far realms. He gets us so close yet safely away from the evil we know is there but we can not find. He reveals the tapestry that our paranoid minds explain is there, and our sain neighbor says, "No it is not there."
Lovecraft, with Hitchcock were masters in great use of tension and conflict that scares one silly.
Amy Mills
Another drug-addled dream tale, that is oddly (and probably unintentionally) homo-erotic in places. Utilizes "hiding from scary stars" and "afraid to sleep lest we dream" and "was this person ever real or only a hallucination?" and "indescribable horrors". Mildly interesting, but Lovecraft's visited similar themes, and done them better, in other stories. ...more
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
breathtaking story!
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
The narrator, a sculptor, meets a mysterious man in a railway station. The moment the man opens his "immense, sunken and widely luminous eyes", the narrator knows that the stranger would become his friend, "the only friend of one who had never possessed a friend before". In the eyes of the stranger he sees the knowledge of the mysteries he always sought to learn. He will soon learn that those secrets are better to be left unknown.
This early story is quite dull, and the only interesting element i
The story is ambiguous from the start and maintains that status quo till the end. The main character, a sculptor, starts conversing with a sculpture as a stand-in for a friend and they "travel" to different places. The title is less allegorical and more literal in the sense the character seems to lose chunks of time every time he realizes he is awake which is an insinuation to relativity.
I wasn't able to figure out if all of the experiences were real or the character was writing about it while
John Yelverton
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a typical H.P. Lovecraft tale which contains an insider knowledge which the narrator and therefore the reader have, but not the other characters, which is what leads to the drama of the story.
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Short story hearkening back to a few other earlier stories by Lovecraft, with an interesting twist ending.
Justin Thickston
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My favorite of his dream cycle. I can close my eyes and almost see it.
Nur Khadijah
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
intricate but elegant descriptive story. compelling.
Joselyn  Moreno Burke
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
very interesting but leaved some questions o.o enjoyable
Norman Howe
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This story evokes a sensation of melancholy, rather than of horror.
Jason Ardito
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Extremely efficient horror.
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very good short story of Lovecraft, read it guys.
C.E. Case
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing

That was pretty gay.
Ryan McKenzie
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good example of Lovecraft's characteristic style. ...more
Austin Wright
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lovecraft dedicated this story to his longtime friend Samuel Loveman, who featured in the dreams that inspired Lovecraft's "The Statement of Randolph Carter" and "Nyarlathotep". Loveman suggested it was the best thing Lovecraft had ever written up to that point in time, as mentioned by Lovecraft in a letter.

The plot-germ of the story is found in Lovecraft's commonplace book, in an early entry (#23) reading, "The man who would not sleep--dares not sleep--takes drugs to keep himself awake. Finally

The Baudelaire quote is from Baudelaire: His Prose and Poetry by Thomas Robert Smith; Intimate Papers from the Unpublished Works of Baudelaire - Rockets, IX:
Apropos of sleep, that sinister adventure of all our nights, we may say that men go to bed daily with an audacity that would be incomprehensible if we did not know that it is the result of ignorance of the danger.

Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Hypnos - this story, well . . . it reads at first like a science project gone wrong with all the stalwart formulations, or fancy words. Yes, you’re educated. We get it. I then realized the whole story is about a drug trip gone wrong and I just didn’t know what to think. I was a bit devastated that I didn’t have the physical copy and a red pen in front of me so I couldn’t nit-pick, but maybe having it read to me (audiobook) was the better choice. I’m not sure I’m comfortable reading something whe ...more
Chris Hall
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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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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