Sunday, July 03, 2005

Book Number 23

The Dreams in the Witch House And Other Weird Stories (2004) by H. P. Lovecraft


I have read very little Lovecraft and have wanted to read The Call of Cthulhu for a long time. I picked up this book of short stories as a little precursor to whet my appetite. It is astounding to think that many of these stories were written nearly 100 years ago. Although they were published primarily in pulp magazines like Weird Tales there is nothing lightweight about them. Lovecraft develops intricately detailed and rich stories sometimes in as little as 4 0r 5 pages. What a fantastic imagination.

His skill at creating a mood of dread or intrigue with a few sentences is unsurpassed:

These folk say that on a table in a bare room on the ground floor are many peculiar bottles, in each a small piece of lead suspended pendulum-wise from a string. And they say that the Terrible Old Man talks to these bottles, addressing them by such names as Jack, Scar-Face, Long Tom, Spanish Joe, Peters, and Mate Ellis, and that whenever he speaks to a bottle the little lead pendulum within makes certain definite vibrations as if in answer. Those who have watched the tall, lean, Terrible Old Man in these peculiar conversations, do not watch him again.

"The Terrible Old Man"

I am envious of the people who lived in the early part of the last century. It would be incredible to have a magazine today who published stories of high calibre from authors like Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard or Robert Bloch.

Definitely take a chance on some Lovecraft.

No comments: