‘Between these pages you will find things that lurk, things that scurry in the walls, things that slither unseen, things that have learnt to walk that ought to crawl, unfathomable blackness, unconquerable evil, inhuman impulses, abnormal bodies, ancient rites, nameless lands best left undiscovered, thoughts best left unspoken, doors best left closed, names best forgotten. You have been warned.’
As someone who is new to the horror genre, H.P. Lovecraft was recommended to me as a good starting place. I’d heard of Lovecraft before and the word Cthulhu but I honestly had no idea what I was getting into. The volume I read is a compilation of a number of his short stories that served as the perfect introduction to the genre and as a way to encourage me to read more short stories.
First of all I have to say that I absolutely adored reading this book. It’s rare for me to get so into a book that I can happily read over 200 pages in a single sitting because I get distracted very easily and don’t really find it comfortable to sit in the same position for extended periods of time. But reading this book was a completely new experience and I loved every second of every single story. I found it fascinating how Lovecraft crafted his stories so that it felt like they were all in the same universe, happening simultaneously.
Even though I’m not usually a big fan of horror, I did really enjoy the scarier aspects of these stories. I think this is mostly because Lovecraft’s use of first person narration made it really seem like I was reading someone’s actual account of their experiences which allowed me to distance myself from the story. Throughout the process of reading I couldn’t help but imagine how amazing a tv show version of the Weird Tales would be, if done properly.
That’s the thing about Lovecraft’s storytelling, it transcends boundaries of genre and form. His characters have such a clear sense of self that it’s almost impossible not to care about them and find their adventures compelling and immersing. The otherworldly and yet incredibly familiar world of the East Coast of America and Antarctica that Lovecraft paints creates the perfect backdrop for his hauntingly eerie stories that complement the plots perfectly. The stories themselves all have a very fast pace and use original and interesting twists that allow the reader to feel as though they’re watching a well told sci-fi/horror film while still maintaining a sheen of novelty that only Lovecraft could maintain.
I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed reading short stories this much and I can guarantee I will be returning to this volume again. Lovecraft is definitely an author I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys an intriguing tale well told.