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Thread: Just began reading some HP Lovecraft...

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    Default Just began reading some HP Lovecraft...

    So I decided to take a break from The Stand this weekend, and read some short stories by HP Lovecraft. I had a Barnes and Noble giftcard, and I found a collection of Lovecraft stories there, so I decided, on a whim to get it. I had never read Lovecraft before, but I know that SK thinks pretty highly of him, and has mentioned his name in his novels before (namely, the Stand... when Larry Underwood is walking away from Harold Lauder's house). Also, as a hobby writer myself, I thought it wise to check him out.

    I read "The Outsider" and "The Music of Erich Zann" last night. His style of writing took a moment to get used to (I had to remember, these stories are almost 80 and 90 years old) . The language and even the pacing is a bit hard to get used to (not as reader friendly as SK, that Lovecraft fella). I'm hoping to get more into his stuff in time. Are any of you fans of Lovecraft? Ive not met many people who are familiar with his work. Only an ex gf in college who used to call him "Lovercraft". I doubt she'd actually ever read his work.. she was a bit... pretentious..

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    Default Re: Just began reading some HP Lovecraft...

    Lovecraft was a bit of an oddity. Yes, his stories were mostly written in the 20s and 30s, but his style harkens back to an even older time, that Dunsany and Poe. Lovecraft retained many of the gothic horror elements of those older writers while introducing many of his own. Simply put: Lovecraft was a nerd. Most of his stories are better viewed through the lens of science fiction than through one of horror--we live in one tiny part of a vast cosmos which is home to myriad beings far older than we are; we are unimportant, and the older creatures are both alien and horrific to our barely evolved minds.

    If you're just starting out, "The Outsider" and "The Music of Erich Zann" are good choices for wetting your feet. You can dip another toe in the water with "Pickman's Model", "The Cats of Ulthar", "Nyarlathotep", and "The Unnamable". If you still like what you're reading, delve into "The Colour out of Space", "The Statement of Randolph Carter", "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", and "The Rats in the Walls".

    From there, some of the longer works might be good: "The Dunwich Horror", "The Shadow over Innsmouth", and (finally) "The Call of Cthulhu".

    If you don't have all of those (at the least!) in your book, you can find them all here.

    In Robert Bloch's (author of "Psycho") story, "The Shambler from the Stars", a thinly disguised Lovecraft is killed. Lovecraft responded with a story dedicated to Bloch called "The Haunter of the Dark", wherein a thinly disguised Bloch is killed. Thirteen years after Lovecraft's death, Bloch finished out the trilogy with "The Shadow from the Steeple". If you can find the two Bloch stories, you should read the three in order.

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    Default Re: Just began reading some HP Lovecraft...

    I think I have the same collection as unclelouie does since those are the first stories in the book. My husband insists I can't be a true horror fan unless I have read some H.P. Lovecraft.

    Thanks Sepia, for the advice on which stories to read first. I will definitely be following it.

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    Default Re: Just began reading some HP Lovecraft...

    Quote Originally Posted by mstay View Post
    I think I have the same collection as unclelouie does since those are the first stories in the book. My husband insists I can't be a true horror fan unless I have read some H.P. Lovecraft.

    Thanks Sepia, for the advice on which stories to read first. I will definitely be following it.
    Im not sure which anthology book I have... it has a quote by SK on the front of it though!

    And yes, I suppose your husband is right about HP Lovecraft! My main inspiration behind picking up Lovecraft was that if my favorite author of all time (SK, of course) was influenced and inspired by this man so much, then I will be missing out if I do not read his work. And so far Im glad I have.

    Lovecraft's work is challenging me. It reminds me of English 102 in college.... they require a degree of analysis, and attention to style/wording/pacing, etc. One thing Ive enjoyed, and you may too, is after you are done with a Lovecraft short story, read some of the analytical essays that others have done online, to see what they got out of it. Too bad college and high school kids arent required to read Lovecraft.... it would be SO much better than Ethan Frome!

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    Default Re: Just began reading some HP Lovecraft...

    ...old H.P. might be a "nerd" as S&D terms him, but he remains a touchstone writer for many scribblers and readers to this day...he and Ambrose Bierce introduced me to gothic horror, lo those many moons(bog)ago...


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    Default Re: Just began reading some HP Lovecraft...

    Oh, he was such a nerd--constantly reading about gadgets and outer space and all that science-y stuff.

    A few compilations of his private letters to his friends have been published. Anyone who's interested in the man behind all those weird tales might do well to look into them. One, in particular, I'd recommend--Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Dreamer on the Night Side by Frank Belknap Long, one of Lovecraft's longtime friends and a teller of weird tales in his own right. If I recall correctly, the photos section contains black-and-white pictures of Long and Lovecraft fake-punching each other in the jaw. It should be available through an inter-library loan (that's how I got to read it, anyway).

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    Default Re: Just began reading some HP Lovecraft...

    I've read only a very few of Lovecraft's, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Colour Out of Space, The Whisperer in Darkness, The Call of Cthulhu, and my favorite, The Shadow Out of Time. I intend to read a lot more. I just read Wikipedia's page on The Colour Out of Space which claims part of the story was influenced by Charles H Fort's The Book of the Damned, one of my all-time favorites.


    Wikipedia reference-linkThe Book of the Damned

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    Default Re: Just began reading some HP Lovecraft...

    I've never read any of Lovecraft's work, but I understand what many of his monsters are. Things very similar to what one would find in Stephen King's The Mist. I want to read some Lovecraft in the future. I watched a film about him and it was quite good. Got me interested even more than I already was.

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    Default Re: Just began reading some HP Lovecraft...

    BTW, Sepia and Dust, great link. Thanks a bunch.

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    Default Re: Just began reading some HP Lovecraft...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuggs View Post
    I've never read any of Lovecraft's work, but I understand what many of his monsters are. Things very similar to what one would find in Stephen King's The Mist. I want to read some Lovecraft in the future. I watched a film about him and it was quite good. Got me interested even more than I already was.
    It wouldn't surprise me to find out that Mr. King fully intended The Mist creatures to be Lovecraftian abominations from the illimitable chasms of the cosmos.

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