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At the Mountains of Madness
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Monthly Read: Themed > May Themed Read: Sci Fi Horror: At the Mountains of Madness

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message 1: by mark, personal space invader (last edited May 03, 2015 07:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

mark monday (majestic-plural) | 1275 comments Mod
hi everyone and welcome to May's themed read: Science Fiction Horror!

the book chosen is H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness. it was originally serialized between the pages of Astounding Stories in 1936 and is set in cheerful Antarctica. according to my best pal Wikipedia, it popularized the concept of the "ancient astronaut".

I love this novella, it's one of my favorites. I'm looking forward to reading it a third time.


message 2: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) HP Lovecraft is my mother's favorite author. I love him too. I just recently finished reading The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft.

One of the things I remember about this story is how (view spoiler)


Oscar | 35 comments I've read this at least once. I decided to use this month's selection as a good reason to get y Modern Library edition since I wanted to read the China Mieville introduction.

I've read the intro, and while it's not completely exhaustive, it does provide some really thoughts and ideas about the story and Lovecraft's focus on building atmosphere and dread.

I really look forward to start on the story soon.


Mike W (nyhc99) | 42 comments I enjoyed this one. HP Lovecraft's writing style is just incredible.

What I didn't like was how much detail he went into about the things they discovered. It killed the aura of mystery to have the life and times of the elder ones sketched out so plainly.

I think I liked The Case of Charles Dexter Ward better because of how much was left out and left to the imagination.

Also, it's tough reading Lovecraft because I have horrifying nightmares while I read his books. I guess that speaks to the power of his writing. Either that, or Cthulhu knows what I'm doing and takes an unwholesome interest in me.


message 5: by Craig (new)

Craig Herbertson | 11 comments I reviewed this a while ago after rereading. Impressed me very much as a teenager - then again as an adult: Amazing how you forget exactly how great an author is after time but instantly recognize it when rereading the first few lines. Lovecraft is simply the master at this kind of stuff - bleak horror embedded in solid realism. Convinces you to look often over your shoulder.


message 6: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I didn't read Lovecraft until I was an adult. My mom, however, picked him up when she was in junior high -- during the Eisenhower Administration!

I love how the story is based on actual science and fact but he then injects the supernatural. What makes it so effective is the language and that he leaves a lot up to the imagination.

Like in The X-Files, I've been more frightened at Scully opening a drawer in that show than in most horror movies.


Oscar | 35 comments I finished reading the story and really enjoyed it. I've read a good amount of Lovecraft's work and have become accustomed to his style, but sometimes, such as in this tale, it's a bit exhausting because of the level of detail and types of words that he uses. With that being said, he really makes the style work in stories such as in At the Mountains of Madness since it gives the story a cold scientific feel that attempts to make sense of such bizarre surroundings and events, ultimately creating a sense of both curiosity and dread.

This edition has Lovecraft's "Supernatural Horror in Literature" essay, which I have in another book, but have never read until now. It's quite an informative essay and his language stands out, often coming across as poetic and insightful.


message 8: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 1 comments Just saw that this was this month's read. Starting the book today. Looking forward to it, this is one of the Lovecraft stories I've never actually read in full.


message 9: by Guy (last edited May 20, 2015 06:42PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Guy VanHorn (gvhatl) | 10 comments I'm a few chapters into the story. This is my first exposure to this writer and enjoy his writing. Nice to read an author with a good command of verbs and vocabulary (and no jargon). However, I too feel that his discussion of details is too extensive. The pace of the story would pick up if less time was spent discussing architecture. I do enjoy how he creates the feeling of the majesty of Antarctica.


message 10: by E.J. (new)

E.J. Randolph (canyonelf) | 151 comments Still reading. I agree with Kirsten about the dogs.


message 11: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 5 stars

mark monday (majestic-plural) | 1275 comments Mod
I just finished re-reading this yesterday. still love it and it's still my favorite by the author. one of the things that really stood out for me was the parallel narrative of the Elder Ones that can be pieced together from the story - their rewakening and journey back to the city and eventual deaths. for some reason I found that story particularly sad and moving this time around. poor Elder Ones!


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 260 comments I agree with Guy about the extensive discussion of details. And I so wanted to see pictures. I can usually see images based on an author's description, but my imagination failed me completely with this story. I never felt the suspension or dread that I had expected. Luckily, Mark's review of the book provided and made me better appreciate the story.


message 13: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 5 stars

mark monday (majestic-plural) | 1275 comments Mod
glad you enjoyed the review, Linda!


message 14: by E.J. (new)

E.J. Randolph (canyonelf) | 151 comments I liked the story and I am convinced the exhaustive detail of the elder ones is important to the plot. (view spoiler) I also like the descriptions bringing out the majesty of the Antarctica. I wish we could have such a historical record of past eons.


message 15: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 5 stars

mark monday (majestic-plural) | 1275 comments Mod
I love your analysis within your spoiler and totally agree.


message 16: by E.J. (new)

E.J. Randolph (canyonelf) | 151 comments Thanks


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 260 comments June wrote: "I liked the story and I am convinced the exhaustive detail of the elder ones is important to the plot. [spoilers removed] I also like the descriptions bringing out the majesty of the Antarctica. I ..."

Good point. I liked how he moved the "ancients" from being the hunters to being the hunted (by even scarier creatures). I just was never scared! That, of course, is not Lovecraft's fault. I don't like to be scared, so I expect I did not allow myself to get caught up by the narrative.


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