Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You too can be a Lovecraftian scholar...

Any of you who have been reading this blog for any length of time will know that I am a huge fan of horror writer, H.P. Lovecraft, pictured at right.

A lot of people are unfamiliar with Lovecraft and his stories, but he is generally considered to be one of the most influential horror writers of all time, right up there with Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King.

Lovecraft died in 1937 at the age of 47 and wrote mostly short stories for pulp magazines like “Weird Tales.” His works would have likely fallen into obscurity if they hadn’t been collected and republished by his friend, August Derleth, who was also a well known pulp writer of that time.

I say all this to say that I recently finished reading another Lovecraft story collection, “Shadows of Death: Terrifying Tales of H.P. Lovecraft,” which was published by Del Rey in 2005.

This 324-page book included an introduction by speculative fiction writer, Harlan Ellison, and 16 of Lovecraft’s stories as well as four seldom published Lovecraft story fragments.

Stories in the book included:
- The Shadow Out of Time (1935)
- The Festival (1923)
- Celephais (1920)
- The Tomb (1917)
- The Shunned House (1924)
- Polaris (1918)
- The Other Gods (1921)
- The Strange High House in the Mist (1926)
- What the Moon Brings (1922)
- The Doom That Came to Sarnath (1919)
- The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (1927)
- The Beast in the Cave (1905)
- The Alchemist (1908)
- Poetry and the Gods (1920)
- The Street (1920)
- The Transition of Juan Romero (1919)

Story fragments in the book included:
- Azathoth (1922)
- The Descendant (1926)
- The Book (1933)
- The Thing in the Moonlight (undated)

From a personal standpoint, I enjoyed this book because it contained a number of Lovecraft stories that I had never read before, even though I have a bookshelf at home nearly overflowing with Lovecraft story collections. Stories in the book that I haven’t found anywhere else included “The Beast in the Cave,” “The Alchemist,” “Poetry and the Gods,” “The Street,” “The Transition of Juan Romero” and the fragment, “The Book.”

In the end, if you like Lovecraft, you’ll likely enjoy this book because it includes a number of obscure stories that you’ll have a hard time finding anywhere else.

How many Lovecraft fans do we have out there? What’s your favorite Lovecraft story? What’s your least favorite? Let us know in the comments section below.

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