Book Reviews
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories: H.P.Lovecraft
16th Mar 2010Posted in: Book Reviews Comments Off on The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories: H.P.Lovecraft
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories: H.P.Lovecraft

What I like about Lovecraft’s short stories is the way he created a whole mythology that not only links them together but pulls in strands from the stories of other horror writers of the era. A little Internet investigation will confirm this – whole dissertations have been written about it and The Necronomicon, that hideous and blasphemous text, supposedly written by the mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred, but in reality a fiction and construct of Lovecraft’s imagination. I read somewhere that he used to edit and improve the stories of other writers, giving him further opportunity to extend the web of his fiction until one almost begins to wonder where imagination begins.

These stories have become modern classics, although sometimes they feel overlong and dated in their formality. There are passages of marvellous writing and glimpses into the mind of the writer himself: somehow one feels the presence of Lovecraft in all his narrators, so it’s almost as though one knows the author (although some darkish mystery remains) by the end of the book.

I’m not sure how these stories would compare to the modern equivalent because I haven’t read any to speak of; all I can say is that the horror in Lovecraft’s work doesn’t rely on gore or explicit violence and there’s no sex. It’s more the creeping fear of the unseen, the presence in the darkness, that builds gradually to alien and unspeakable happenings, some of which seem almost to tap into primeval memories. Clever stuff!

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