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I'm enjoying my trek through the works of Lovecraft, but The Call of Cthulhu is going to get a low rating from me.
This isn't the first time I've triedI'm enjoying my trek through the works of Lovecraft, but The Call of Cthulhu is going to get a low rating from me.
This isn't the first time I've tried to read The Call of Cthulhu so I knew what to expect. I was going into it with a fresh perspective and a fresh love for Lovecraft this time, though.
The Call of Cthulhu is where we get to briefly meet the Great Old One Cthulhu. As the seminal work that an entire mythos is named after, The Call of Cthulhu is underwhelming. The actual entity Cthulhu, however, is a huge human form that is part octopus and part dragon. That's awesome.
I'm continuing to enjoy the atmosphere in these stories. I may not be a fan of Lovecraft's use of language, but atmosphere is something he does very well.
"It was voodoo, apparently, but voodoo of a more terrible sort than they had ever known; and some of their women and children had disappeared since the malevolent tom-tom had begun its incessant beating far within the black haunted woods where no dweller ventured. There were insane shouts and harrowing screams, soul-chilling chants and dancing devil-flames; and, the frightened messenger added, the people could stand it no more."
Even though this story is not going to be on my list of favorites, it's one I will probably revisit. Lovecraft's writing is so complex, there is bound to be more to discover and it can only get easier with each read.
I feel like The Call of Cthulhu is where a lot of people start reading Lovecraft. I've seen it suggested as an appropriate place to start. I'm obviously not a Lovecraft expert, but I wouldn't start with this one simply because the writing is unbearable at times. Hopefully in the near future I can provide an alternate suggestion....more
I've probably read more things derived from Lovecraft than actual Lovecraft tales, but I've been making an effort to read Lovecraft more the last fewI've probably read more things derived from Lovecraft than actual Lovecraft tales, but I've been making an effort to read Lovecraft more the last few years.
I was a little leery heading into reading The Thing on the Doorstep simply because it is part of the Cthulhu mythos. While I have enjoyed many of the derivative works, I haven't had success with the original Cthulhu stories. I'm much more drawn to stories like The Shunned House and The Horror at Red Hook. I love hauntings and atmosphere and let's not forget the phosphorescence.
I have a whole new love for Lovecraft after reading The Thing on the Doorstep, though.
The Thing on the Doorstep was not an easy story to get into. Lovecraft's writing is probably why I have abandoned many Lovecraft stories over the years. It took me three tries of picking up The Thing on the Doorstep and starting over from the beginning to finally connect with it. I had to slow down and keep rereading to grasp what Lovecraft was saying through his complex and excessive writing style. Once the story got underway, though, his writing was much more accessible.
I say that as a warning to stick with it and not a warning to stay away from it. In the end, I absolutely loved The Thing on the Doorstep. I don't want to give any spoilers so I will just give you the opening sentence:
"It is true that I have sent six bullets through the head of my best friend, and yet I hope to show by this statement that I am not his murderer."
It's only 40 pages long so I'm not going to divulge what is happening.
There was so much I loved about The Thing on the Doorstep - the characters, the atmosphere, the suspense. I really enjoyed the storytelling despite the bloated writing.
I'm in the mood to spend my October reading short horror so you will probably hear more about Lovecraft before the month has ended. I'm looking forward to revisiting and persevering through some of the Lovecraft tales that didn't work for me in the past.
As for The Thing on the Doorstep, it is currently my favorite Lovecraft tale.