23 March 2008

Lovecraft

Finally completed an anthology by H.P. Lovecraft, The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft. Since it contained the short novel At the Mountains of Madness it takes one more off my 1001 books list. I also got to read "The Rats in the Walls", "The Dunwich Horror", and "The Colour Out of Space". It also has a shitload of extremely irritating footnotes. I had heard Lovecraft was dense, self-referential, obscure, so I thought an annotated grouping of stories would be a good way to understand what I read. I mean, I don't need to know what the Salem Witch trials were, or that glass is made of silicon, or what a chemical spectrum is. I don't need to be given the definition of every slightly archaic word. I am so happy that my vocabulary is as extensive as it is and equally glad that all the books i read as a child didn't have these definitions littering most pages. I mean, one of the footnotes said literally "physiographers study physiography". That is not the kind of annotation i needed. I give the edition a 2.

However, weirdness of my edition aside, I really liked the stories. I can completely see why these have been touchstones for every person interested in weird fiction in the last 80 years. I actually think i liked "The Colour Out of Space" the best. It actually reminded me a bit of one of the stories in the original Creepshow, the one where Stephen King plays a country yokel who ends up covered in green moss from outer space. "Rats in the Walls" was also creepy weird. The stories get a 6 from me!

2 comments:

  1. I sampled my first Lovecraft this past year and fell in...er....love. His stories are so amazing and gothic and interesting. I bought two editions from Penguin, I believe, that had notes in the back on aspects of each story: when they were written and published, brief notes about the stories, etc. I loved those, it was like extras on a DVD. I would not be thrilled with the annotations you describe. If you ever read more I encourage trying the Penguin versions.

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  2. I'll have to give them a look. I do want to read more of him because i really enjoyed the stories and also liked realizing how much later scifi and horror owe to Lovecraft. Monsters from Outer Space! Ancient Aliens! very cool stuff.

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