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bendk
08-19-2006, 12:10 AM
Although I had known about Lovecraft when I was a teenager - I used to play Dungeons and Dragons in the late 70s and early 80s and his mythos was featured in the book Dieties and Demigods - I didn't read HPL until I was around 20 years old. And then the only thing I read was the book The Best of H.P. Lovecraft and his novel At the Mountains of Madness. On my initial read, my favorite stories were "The Outsider," "The Music of Erich Zann" and "The Call of Cthulhu." Then, over the years, I read an occasional Lovecraft story in anthologies, but that's about it. One of the nice things about joining TLO was that some of the member's enthusiasm for HPL (and TL's, of course) made me want to find out more about Lovecraft. I have since read all of his stories that have been collected in the Del Rey/Ballantine series. I have also read H.P. Lovecraft: A Life by S.T. Joshi, plus a bunch of essays, etc. I think I have a fair grasp of his worldview and a much better appreciation of his stories. And HPL is a truly fascinating individual.
My favorite Lovecraft story differs from time to time. My favorite right now is "The Rats in the Walls." It is a great gothic tale, as most of you probably know. If you like this story you should check out Crypt of Cthulhu #72. The entire issue is dedicated to the story. It has an absolutely hilarious front cover by Gahan Wilson. His rats are almost as distinctive as Gary Larson's ducks. Also, the book The Roots of Horror in the Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft by Barton Levi St. Armand is mostly about "Rats."

Algernon Blackwood didn't care for HPL's "The Rats in the Walls." He had this to say:

"I have read Lovecraft with keen enjoyment but, while appreciating to the full his gorgeous imagination and feeling for atmosphere, the thrill of fear I demand in such stories did not come. He has the material in plenty, in more than plenty, but I am oppressed rather than thrilled by what I feel to be overloading. There is a piling up and up of detail that, for me, defeats its own end. He is never wholly what we call "master of his material," and the cumulative effect is a bit bludgeoning on the mind. I long for something to be left to the imagination suggested, insinuated, instead of forced upon me with an adjectival wealth that tends to weary. I also do not react sympathetically to his preoccupation with corpses and decay. It was all I could do to finish reading his "Rats in the Walls," a tale that stirred repulsion rather than woke horror. What we call "spiritual horror" stirs fear in me, while physical horror leaves me unresponsive, even antagonistic. I had never heard of Lovecraft until introduced to him by an American correspondent Allen McElfresh. Then, at just that same time, I was also asked about him by the very gracious August Derleth."


TL's favorite Lovecraft story is "The Music of Erich Zann." See TL's essay "The Dark Beauty of Unheard of Horrors" and Matt Cardin's essay "The Master's Eyes Shining with Secrets." (Speaking of Matt, I wonder if his story "Teeth" was influenced by "The Rats in the Walls"? I don't want to be more specific, because it might spoil the story. A very nice story it is too!)

At the end of the HPL documentary, The Eldritch Influence, they asked the interview subjects what their favorite Lovecraft story was. Here are their picks:

Ramsey Campbell - "The Colour Out of Space"
S.T. Joshi - "At the Mountains of Madness" with nods to "The Whisperer in Darkness" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"
Brian Lumley - "The Haunter of the Dark" and then "The Colour out of Space"
Neil Gaiman - "The Colour Out of Space" and "The Outsider"
Stuart Gordon - "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"


What is your favorite Lovecraft story?

G. S. Carnivals
08-19-2006, 07:32 PM
Among H. P. Lovecraft's finest creations are new religions and cults. I live in perpetual fear of personal contact with members of the Esoteric Order of Dagon and the various Cthulhu cults scattered around the world. "The Shadow over Innsmouth" and "The Call of Cthulhu" are my two very favorite HPL stories. "The Whisperer in Darkness" and "At the Mountains of Madness" are close behind. One can go on and on...

darrick
08-19-2006, 09:03 PM
great thread.

1. The Call of Cthulhu - its epic yet small scale, great story in general, and centers around the Sleeping God.

2. The Statement of Randolph Carter - one of the first HPL stories i read. i love the ghoulish anticipation and indescribable payoff at the end.

3. The Hound - my best friend, New Nonsense, and i idolized those two guys in highschool. probably still do.

i like Rats, but wish it had more mythos in it.

I live in perpetual fear of personal contact with members of the Esoteric Order of Dagon and the various Cthulhu cults scattered around the world.
do not fear me, even though i am

Venger Satanis
Cult of Cthulhu High Priest

www.CultofCthulhu.net

Aetherwing
08-20-2006, 03:43 AM
This is always, shall I say, a trying question. It's no secret around these parts that I am now, and always be an HPL superfreak. I love so many of those stories, it is a real trial to choose. I'll just change my mind later, probably...

After approximately 24 years of reading and rereading the Old Gent's work, several stories stand out to even my surfeited mind as being the most thought-provoking and numinous. They are (in no particular order):

The Whisperer in Darkness
The Shadow out of Time
At the Mountains of Madness

I love the sheer aeons of Ago, administered in megadosage by those three. I also love that the concepts are more advanced and scientific than some other stories. Hey, I love a Giant Monster Rampage as the next guy, but to me, TCoC was a failure. Great buildup, classic opening and closing paragraphs, but the climax? The Big C should never have been described so clearly, or better yet, not seen at all. The more subtle horrors of advanced science beyond human ken, including its failures, that's what gets my mind reeling in wonder and awe.

Now, as for his best story, I'll go with The Colour Out Of Space. Many of the reasons cited above hold true here, as well. And the writing! It would be hard not to like this story.

I'll also mention two short-shorts. The Terrible Old Man and Nyarlathotep.
The former is a well-polished gem. The tone, word-choice, atmosphere, all done as well as one could hope. And, the damn yarn is actually side-splittingly funny! If you've not read it recently, give it a try. HP spun that one with tongue firmly in cheek.

Nyarlathotep....not the best written vignette. Even so, it has power. The Teslaesque nightmare and the apocalytic finale pretty much sum up Lovecraft's worldview. The last few lines hit like hammerblows if one reads them in the right state of mind.

That'll do for now.

Feeling the Ambien Kick In,
-Aether

waffles
08-20-2006, 05:58 PM
For what its worth,

1) At the Mountains of Madness - all that desolation and remoteness.

2) The Dreams in the Witch House - This is the story that made me want to study math in grad shool. If the math department knew they probably wouldn't have admitted me. I recently saw the Stuart Gordon adaptation on dvd. It really pissed me off.

Cheers!

ElHI
08-22-2006, 04:27 AM
As soon as I read the title of this thread, a story jumped to my mind : 'The Colour Out Of Space'. So I guess it means it qualifies it as my favourite.

I especially love his description of decaying and corrupted land.

Nemonymous
08-22-2006, 02:28 PM
I suppose it has to be 'The Outsider' as this is the first one I read (in 1964).

I also adore:
Dreams In The Witch House
The Hound
The Lurking Fear
Shadows Over Innsmouth
Rats In The Wall

A lot of these I read aloud to others during regular 'horror orgies' during the sixties.
des

darrick
08-24-2006, 12:33 AM
hey... waffles. why did you pick waffles?

anyway, my primary query is why didn't you like Stuart Gordon's "Dreams in the Witch-House" adaptation? i thought it was extremely well done. sure, it could have been longer and gone into more Lovecraftian detail... but damn, it might have been 100 times worse! and that Ezra Godden fellow makes a great doomed protagonist.

just my loose change of an opinion...

DDD

beakripped
08-24-2006, 03:57 PM
I can't name only one, so...

The Colour Out of Space
The Whisperer in the Darkness
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Shadow Out of Time

I still remember vividly the day I first read The Case of Charles Dexter Ward... an overcast, yet unusually dark day. Later I went on a date and the story was all I talked about. Later that night I reread it.

G. S. Carnivals
08-24-2006, 09:00 PM
Hey, I love a Giant Monster Rampage as the next guy, but to me, TCoC was a failure. Great buildup, classic opening and closing paragraphs, but the climax? The Big C should never have been described so clearly, or better yet, not seen at all. The more subtle horrors of advanced science beyond human ken, including its failures, that's what gets my mind reeling in wonder and awe.
Aetherwing, I agree with you about "subtle horrors" in Lovecraft's fiction. What grabbed me (and has never let go) is the paranoia of the cult's relentless pursuit in "The Call of Cthulhu." Without the old gent's description of Cthulhu (HPL even amateurishly sketched Cthulhu himself), we would have neither Shahira's fantastic avatar (my favorite Cthulhu depiction) nor the Cthulhu plush doll...

A sucker for octopoid nonsense,

Phil

waffles
08-24-2006, 11:14 PM
my primary query is why didn't you like Stuart Gordon's "Dreams in the Witch-House" adaptation?


Hey Mr. Darrick,

Anger was my initial reaction (over-reaction?). I know I should be grateful that Stuart Gordon cared enough to adapt the story for film. I loved his Re-Animator and consider his From Beyond to almost be an improvement on the source. I don't know, I was just disappointed. Brown Jenkin was comical. I wasn't looking for campy fun. I wanted terror and set my expectations too high. I'll watch anything Stuart Gordon makes (and Brian Yuzna for that matter). I agree that Ezra Godden made a fine Walter Gilman.

Cheers!

Waff's

SwansSoilMe/SwansSaveMe
09-01-2006, 09:22 AM
I can't say quite yet because I'm rereading some, and some for the first time. Sometimes I can't remember if I've read a certain tale over the years...

But an early winner for mood and mystery: At the Mountains of Madness
I'm agreed with TL in very much liking "The Music of Erich Zann" as perhaps a perfect Lovecraft story.

Honorable mention: Is it an Innsmouth tale...? Whatever, but any story with the term "blasphemous fish-frogs" has something special going for it! Hahaha...my friends and I had fun with that one.

Mr. D.
09-01-2006, 09:14 PM
The element that I enjoy best in H. P. Lovecraft's work is his sense of strange and terrible things going on right under our noses. I always enjoyed Call of Cthulhu for its scope. It concerns a horror that trandscends time and space. Imagine a cult tha predates humanity. I think that's just great. Then, when someone stumbles upon evidence of the cult it means that their days are numbered. Though the protagonist is alive at the end of the story we know he has just days or weeks left. I loved that touch.

The one I like best of all is Pickman's model. I think that the premise, that under staid, middle-class Boston there lives a whole world of evil ghouls, is superb. The ghouls are never seen but they are brought to life through Pickman's paintings and by the sounds they make. Also, the ambiguity of Pickman's fate - was he eaten by the ghouls, or did he becoem one himself - is a master touch.

The music of Erich Zann is my second favorite. The story is great with its unseen horror coming out of the night sky, but the master touch is in the inability of the protagonist to ever find the street where he and Zann had lived. Whatever horror had overtaken Zann had changed the geography of the city (Paris?) without any other resident noticing the difference. Only the protagonist remembers. That was another great touch.

There are no bad Lovecraft stories. Even his earliest work is competent. There are a dozen or so core stories that really stand out. I reread some of his work every couple of years and have never gotten tired of him.

SwansSoilMe/SwansSaveMe
09-01-2006, 11:22 PM
Reading "The Whisperer in the Dark" right now.

SwansSoilMe/SwansSaveMe
09-01-2006, 11:33 PM
Correction: "The Whisperer in Darkness"

Now playing: "Passover," the most dread-sounding song on Joy Division's CLOSER. Love it, in other words. Great mood sustained til the end.

unknown
09-02-2006, 07:59 PM
my favorite HPL story is, without a doubt, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. I had never read anything as terrifying as that story. It's simply amazing.

Also, I'm a huge fan of the Randolph Carter/Dream Cycle.

last, but certainly not least, At The Mountains of Madness

Cyril Tourneur
09-21-2007, 04:49 PM
Definitely the dioscurs Colour out of Space and Music of Erich Zann, while the first one has some kind of visual approach to the atmosphere the latter one arouses in a more acoustic manner.
When reading the so- called great stories like Mountains of Madness or Shadow out of Time I still have Houllebecq in my mind who argues that they were written as some kind of response to his New York experience and out of fascination for the rise of Mussolini and Hitler. After I read Joshi's HPL:A Life, I clearly understood that he would have left the field of the classical horror and would have written some kind of genealogy of a New England family.

Renoroc
09-22-2007, 05:00 PM
:eek:My favorite HPL story is The Shadow Over Innsmouth. The multigenerational degeneration and the twist ending make it a perfect story.

Icicle Kite
10-25-2007, 10:20 PM
The stories that stick out in my mind from way back are the Shadow Out of Time, the Music Of Eirch Zann, the Picture in the house, He, and the Whisperer in the Darkness.
I purposefuly neglected reading The Dream in the Whitch-House when I was Younger, and Still haven't read it. Why? I guess I've always had the fear of running out of new Lovecraft to Read. I've been thinking of picking up his stuff again, and this Unread gem will no doubt be a treat. I haven't read the Bulk of work in Ancient Track: the Complete Poems, andWith Dreams... this Mound Should give me a good nights read in the Near future.

How would Most of your rate the Dream in the Which-House? What Em I Likely to expect? Is it the Lost Gem I've built it up in my Mind As being?

Cyril Tourneur
10-26-2007, 03:35 PM
I've got some illustrations of it, so that without mentioning any spoilers you can grasp the tone of the story, just PM me your address

waffles
10-26-2007, 06:49 PM
How would Most of your rate the Dream in the Which-House? What Em I Likely to expect? Is it the Lost Gem I've built it up in my Mind As being?

This is my favorite HPL story (after At the Mountains of Madness). While I was a grad student (studying math) I used to reread this story at least once a year, just to remind myself why I chose math. What are you waiting for? Suppose a ten ton safe fell on top of you? Then you would be splattered all over the sidewalk and you wouldn't have read Dreams in the Witch-House. then you'd feel very silly.:eek:

G. S. Carnivals
10-26-2007, 07:56 PM
Icicle Kite, I echo waffles' urgency concerning breaking down and finally reading "The Dreams in the Witch-House." Consider other random hazards such as lightning strikes, alien abduction, and spontaneous combustion. Now is the time to get familiar with this story. You wouldn't want to bumble through life thinking that Brown Jenkin is a darker shade of Burnt Sienna would you?

Color me gone,
Phil

starrysothoth
10-28-2007, 05:32 PM
My favorites are "The Whisperer in Darkness," "The Festival," "The Rats in the Walls," and "The Music of Erich Zann." Personally, I feel these particular tales capture Lovecraft at his best in weaving great places of the brooding and the weird. I enjoy just about all of Lovecraft, including the mythos, but there's something about "The Music of Erich Zann" that's especially appealing. I think it's how the final horror is left vaguely defined and left mostly to the imagination. The darker hints and suggestions dropped by HPL always impressed me a great deal.

Odalisque
05-16-2008, 01:54 PM
;) My favourite is still The Hound. Elsewhere on this site is my Who Killed St John? article about that story. :p

Nemonymous
05-16-2008, 02:11 PM
Welcome to TLO, Odalisque.
I've been here since August 2005. What's your excuse? ;-)

Odalisque
05-16-2008, 02:37 PM
Welcome to TLO, Odalisque.
I've been here since August 2005. What's your excuse? ;-)

:rolleyes: I don't know about excuse - but I first heard of this site today, when someone sent me a link in an email. :confused:

Nemonymous
05-16-2008, 02:42 PM
Thanks. Seriously great to see The Red Brain from 'Dagon' here at last
des

Steve Dekorte
05-21-2008, 05:27 PM
"The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath"

Nemonymous
05-22-2008, 04:04 AM
If there is a single genuine 'one-off' in literature then it is HPL's KADATH novella. Not a story as such. But a work that probaby deserves, in hindsight, the highest regard. (I tended to mock it in the sixties!)

Sarky
05-23-2008, 04:36 AM
I tend to rate "The Picture in the House." It's the story that got me hooked on Lovecraft. And Lovecraft uses elements that would become silly cliches later on (killer rednecks, cannibalism) but does it in a way where they stay fresh.

I also rate "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and "The Colour Out of Space" really highly. The former because Lovecraft really succeeds (or comes close) to giving us a horror story from the point of view of the monster. (And there's something unsentimentally human about the way the narrator declares "I cannot be made to kill myself.")

"Colour" is just a brilliant work of horror/sci-fi.

And I can completely understand wanting to have some reserve Lovecraft. Even though I discovered HPL when I was 23, which is probably somewhat late, I was hooked. I reached a point where I realized that I was about to run out of new HPL stories to read, which made me somewhat sad.

Odalisque
05-23-2008, 12:43 PM
If there is a single genuine 'one-off' in literature then it is HPL's KADATH novella. Not a story as such. But a work that probaby deserves, in hindsight, the highest regard. (I tended to mock it in the sixties!)

I, too, mocked it in the 60s - but, on re-reading it since, have considered it to be a fine piece of work.

Archangelofruin
05-26-2008, 05:28 PM
The Outsider

So many amazing poetic lines flow throughout it. It was the first Lovecraft story I ever read, and I've found myself with the need to re-read it many more times.

"...it were better to glimpse the sky and perish, than to live without ever beholding day."

"...that I might look for the first time upon the sky, and the moon and stars of which I had read."

"...and down a short stone passageway of steps that ascended from the newly found doorway, was the radiant full moon, which I had never before seen save in dreams and in vague visions I dared not call memories."


Also, Azathoth could be considered in a tie with The Outsider. Once again for the beautifully written poetic prose.

Bleak&Icy
05-26-2008, 07:41 PM
I love "The Music of Erich Zann." Who else but TL has managed to conjure "the blackness of space illimitable" quite like this:

"Then I remembered my old wish to gaze from this window, the only window in the Rue d'Auseil from which one might see the slope beyond the wall, and the city outspread beneath. It was very dark, but the city's lights always burned, and I expected to see them there amidst the rain and wind. Yet when I looked from that highest of all gable windows, looked while the candles sputtered and the insane viol howled with the night-wind, I saw no city spread below, and no friendly lights gleamed from remembered streets, but only the blackness of space illimitable; unimagined space alive with motion and music, and having no semblance of anything on earth. And as I stood there looking in terror, the wind blew out both the candles in that ancient peaked garret, leaving me in savage and impenetrable darkness with chaos and pandemonium before me, and the demon madness of that night-baying viol behind me."

hopfrog
01-18-2009, 06:34 PM
[quote=Archangelofruin;9562]The Outsider

So many amazing poetic lines flow throughout it. It was the first Lovecraft story I ever read, and I've found myself with the need to re-read it many more times.

When Ramsey Campbell was a guest at ye Lovecraft Film Festival, he chose as his reading the first portion of "The Outsider," ending at the point where the narrator reaches the top of his ascent, only to find the solid floor of a burial crypt. According to Barlow, this was where HPL had initially meant the tale to end; but then Lovecraft ponder'd on what ye Outsider wou'd find if he proceeded forth from ye place of internment -- and then he imagined the final climax. Ramsey's reading was quite wonderful. He's a fascinating fellow -- so jovial and comical, full of wit & humour; yet when it comes to weird literature, dead serious.

hopfrog
01-18-2009, 06:40 PM
If there is a single genuine 'one-off' in literature then it is HPL's KADATH novella. Not a story as such. But a work that probaby deserves, in hindsight, the highest regard. (I tended to mock it in the sixties!)

I, too, mocked it in the 60s - but, on re-reading it since, have considered it to be a fine piece of work.

It's all the more amazing when one remembers that it -- and Charles Dexter Ward -- are unpolish'd first draughts that were never meant for publication. This has always haunted me, especially in ye case of Ward -- whut wou'd it have been, this splendid short novel, had HPL been wise and harken'd to yem publishers who ask'd him for something of novel length and actually prepared Ward for publication. I am grateful for all that we have of Lovecraft's works of fiction -- yet I cannot help but sigh and groan at ye idea of whut else there might have been, if only.....

hopfrog
01-18-2009, 06:59 PM
And I can completely understand wanting to have some reserve Lovecraft. Even though I discovered HPL when I was 23, which is probably somewhat late, I was hooked. I reached a point where I realized that I was about to run out of new HPL stories to read, which made me somewhat sad.

Lovecraft is eternal. As we mature as readers, we return to his fiction and find it more remarkable, more original & powerful. That is not dead which re-news itself upon re-reading, and Lovecraft does this consistently. Another way in which to experience Lovecraft anew is to listen to audio readings of the work. Two days ago I purchas'd a four-disc audio edition of "At the Mountains of Madness," the recorded reading of which takes four hours & 45 minutes!! I find such audio discs wonderful. There are times when, exhausted or bored, I simply cannot sit holding a book and trying to concentrate; and thus to be able to put on a cd and listen to the magic of HPL's prose -- it's amazing. And it helps to instill within me a deeper appreciation for the magic of his poetic prose, for his magnificent talents as a prose stylist. He was so concern'd to create weird fiction that was high literary art, and he accomplish'd this beautifully in his dead-ambitious works.

hopfrog
01-18-2009, 07:48 PM
I tend to rate "The Picture in the House." It's the story that got me hooked on Lovecraft.

It intrigues & mystifies me that, for so many of us, the first story of Lovecraft's that we read, or the first that clutches our imagination, remains our favourite. Why is this? You are unique in having "Picture" as your favourite. It's been a while since I've read it -- but I'm slowly re-reading all of the stories in chronological order in the Barnes & Noble hardcover edition. So often, "The Outsider" is the first tale of HPL's that one is lured to read -- another mystery. I'm interested to know in what edition all of you encountered Lovecraft's fiction, in what year. I first began to read him in 1972, as a twenty-one year old Mormon missionary in Northern Ireland. I was pen-pals with Robert Bloch, and my Mormon superiors wouldn't allow me to go see Hammer horror films at ye Irish cinemas (either because cinemas were a dangerous place in Northern Ireland in that bloodiest of years of the troubles, or because horror would corrupt my soul), and so I began to collect British pb anthologies in which Bloch had a story, which introduced me to other weird writers. My first HPL tale was "The Colour out of Space," and the reading of it so oppress'd me that I didn't read another Lovecraft tale for some time -- they were too powerful for my wee wholesome Latter-day Saint brain to handle. When, for health reason, I was transformed from Ireland to the American deserts of Arizona and Nevada, I found, while preaching the gospel in Las Vegas, the pb volumes of Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, and then when I came home I discover'd Arkham House and the Selected Letters (the two finest volumes of which, III and V, are still available from Arkham House!), and that was it, I became an obsess'd Lovecraft fanatic and haven't look'd back. My obsession with him grows to this very day, in this rich age in which we have so much of HPL into which we can delve. :cool:

hopfrog
01-18-2009, 08:13 PM
How would Most of your rate the Dream in the Which-House? What Em I Likely to expect? Is it the Lost Gem I've built it up in my Mind As being?[/quote]

S. T. and others declare the story is one of Lovecraft's noble failures, probably because of some of the religious stuff that, very oddly, Lovecraft introduced into the tale. I remember when I read Alan Rodgers' magnificent sequel, "Her Misbegotten Son," in the pb anthology Miskatonic University (it was reprinted in Jim Turner's excellent book, Eternal Lovecraft, which may have been recently reprinted by Del Rey for their Lovecraft Library series -- can't quite recall if they did reprint it), and I love "Her Misbegotten Son," it's simply one of the coolest Lovecraftian tales ever written; but I was appall'd at his introduction of the holy cross with which to ward off Keziah. I shouted, "Great Yuggoth -- how unLovecraftian!! A flipping cross!!" & then I re-read HPL's original story and nearly fainted when I saw that he was responsible for introducing the cross and its power to ward off evil in "The Dreams in the Witch House." Derleth was one of the first to read the story, when Lovecraft was sending around the Ms., and he told HPL quite bluntly that the story sucked. HPL was so depressed about this that he refused to submit the tale to any magazine; but Derleth redeemed himself by asking to borrow the story so that he could type up his own copy of it, and then he submitted the story to Wright without HPL's knowing, and the story was bought for Weird Tales. Fritz Leiber has championed the tale, which is certainly unique, and S. T. (after claiming the story one of Lovecraft's failures) has it as the title story for his third Penguin Classics edition of HPL's fiction, The Dreams in the Witch House and Other Weird Stories, in which edition the tale is fully annotated by S. T.

hopfrog
01-18-2009, 08:23 PM
:eek:My favorite HPL story is The Shadow Over Innsmouth. The multigenerational degeneration and the twist ending make it a perfect story.

The ending is indeed remarkable, because some scholars have said that the story reflects HPL's racism -- & yet at its climax the narrator celebrates his non-Teutonic heritage. I love it as a wonderful story in which the degeneracy of the seaport town is vividly portrayed (and this was the best thing in the film Dagon, the evocation of the diseased aura of a degenerate town). And I love how, like the ending in "The Outsider," the narrator embraces his inhumanity and celebrates it! This had a deep effect on my own approach to Lovecraftian horror, and I think one of the key inspirations for Sesqua Valey was that I wanted a place wherein to be inhuman was dead cool.;)

hopfrog
01-18-2009, 08:38 PM
After I read Joshi's HPL:A Life, I clearly understood that he would have left the field of the classical horror and would have written some kind of genealogy of a New England family.[/quote]

It is unclear what this last great novel or novelette was planned as being. I do not think we have any actual writing by Lovecraft on this matter, but merely the letter of Ernest A. Edkins (whose correspondence with HPL has not come to light) in which Edkins tells that Lovecraft planned to write such a thing. S. T. seems, in his biography, to dismiss the idea of this work because it is a move away from the sf-oriented non-supernatural work that Lovecraft wrote at the end of his life. There was a Lovecraft panel at WFC in Saratoga that contemplated Lovecraft's move away from supernatural horror -- and when S. T. told me of this I made a face, which confused him. "I don't accept the idea that Lovecraft abandoned supernatural horror at the end of his career" I boldly stated, expecting to be refuted; & thus I was surprise'd when S. T. answered that he completed agreed with my suposition. Lovecraft was odd in that he continued to declaim his move away from supernatural horror to more cosmic-oriented fiction -- and then he'd write things such as "The Thing on the Doorstep" and "The Haunter of the Dark," tales that were indeed supernatural, although "Haunter" has touches of ye cosmic.

hopfrog
01-18-2009, 08:48 PM
I always enjoyed Call of Cthulhu for its scope. It concerns a horror that trandscends time and space.

This is such an important point. Too often the Old Ones are said to be mere aliens from outer space, to counter the idea that they are "gods"; but Cthulhu, although certainly an alien from outer space, is of such a composition as to transcend materialism. Of what can this creature be composed, that a boat can sail through its form? And Yog-Sothoth is most certainly a supernatural entity, one that transcends time and space and exists within a realm of unimaginable properties between the stars, outside of "reality," a Daemon that one can summon forth with spells and chants and rituals and murder. This is another reason why some scholars see "The Dunwich Horror" as "bad" Lovecraft, because HPL stated that he wrote tales in which humanity means nothing, and then he wrote this story in which humanity is (for a wee while) "victorious." The Old Ones defy classification -- they are utterly unique.

hopfrog
01-18-2009, 09:17 PM
Hey, I love a Giant Monster Rampage as the next guy, but to me, TCoC was a failure.

In his interview on The Eldritch Influence DVD Neil Gaimon called the tale "a crap story" (this is the same interview in which he explained that HPL's continued fame is due to the fact that "Lovecraft is rock and roll," which convinces me that Neil has crap for brains). :p I find the tale a complete & satisfying success, and I was pleased when S. T. included it in his Penguin anthology, American Supernatural Tales, as representation of Lovecraft in fine form. In fact, Cthulhu isn't a giant rampaging monster -- yet; and that "yet" is one of the terrifying prophecies of the tale. The Old One's appearance was, I thought, deftly handled. It is built up to be the climatic horror, and succeeds for me in being such -- and yet it's a wee appearance, just a moment in ye dreadful eternity of Time. Cthulhu is one of HPL's attempts to describe alien horror as authentically alien, and perhaps here he failed, for all of the daemon's physical components are made up of terrestrial traits -- ye octopus or squid, the humanesque body, &c. The silent film version superbly depicts the utter horror of the scene in which Cthulhu appears -- and although the general approach of a gigantic thing chasing humanity may indeed be comical, I thought the film did a great job of shewing every awesome aspect of this daemon from dark cosmic chaos.

hopfrog
01-18-2009, 09:26 PM
What is your favorite Lovecraft story?

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

Viva June
01-19-2009, 05:57 AM
"The Music of Erich Zann" was all the Lovecraft I never needed. If I want to read some turgid, stifled, pseudo-archaic prose, I can just write a vignette myself.

hopfrog
01-19-2009, 07:09 AM
"The Music of Erich Zann" was all the Lovecraft I never needed. If I want to read some turgid, stifled, pseudo-archaic prose, I can just write a vignette myself.

Lovecraft consider'd it one of his best stories, although in later life he found that he admir'd it for whut it lacked, overexplicitness and an over-done prose style. For such an early story (1921) the writing is so accomplished -- it flows, like music. It's a great tale to read aloud, to darkness, for the language is so beautiful and the imagery so weird. That the horror is never actually seen or described is one of the finest aspects, and is something he rather lost in his concern to create aliens that were truly unearthly, and thus he explicitely described them. I love his overexpliciteness as much as I love his subtlety. I get a perverse pleasure from the description of Wilbur's death, when we are shewn the horrors beneath his pants.

There have been some okay film adaptations of the tale, one of which is available on DVD from Lurker Films (which is good except for the climax, in which a silhouette of a dancing nymph is the horror behind the curtain's window -- oy...).

S. T. succinctly writes of the story's brilliance: "'The Music of Erich Zann' justifiably remained one of Lovecraft's own favourite stories, for it reveals a restraint in its supernatural manifestations (bordering, for one of the few times in his entire work, on obscurity), a pathos in its dipiction of its protagonist, and a general polish in its language that Lovecraft rarely achieved in later years." The story is a vivid example of how Lovecraft could create a personage who vibrates within the reader's imagination, a figure of haunting dimension despite so little being reveal'd about him. We see Zann and feel his terror. Critics say that HPL couldn't write character, which is absurd nonsense. Although the focus is always the weird or cosmic or supernatural element, his mortals are unique and fascinating. They act precisely their roles in his fiction.

Nemonymous
01-19-2009, 07:43 AM
... it flows, like music. It's a great tale to read aloud, to darkness, for the language is so beautiful and the imagery so weird. .

Indeed. As well as Erich Zann, I enjoy readinga aloud The Hound, The Outsider, The Festival - and I think I've also read aloud The Lurking Fear (and some others?).

The Outsider was also, for me, the first HPL I ever read, after Michel Parry recommended to me the Panther paperback of The Haunter of The Dark in WH Smiths in Colchester (in 1964?).

My favourite HPL, only decided in recent years and other than The Hound (of course), is The Horror at Red Hook. Dreams In The WitchHouse a close second (or third).

theshaunz
02-12-2009, 08:29 PM
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