The books each contain nine woodcut plates, but with cryptic variations; it is Corso's job to discover the nature of these variations, which are supposedly a key for summoning the granddaddy of evil, Satan himself. The plot proceeds as a wild conundrum of literary associations: sinister characters appear, as if summoned from the pages of Dumas's masterpiece, as Corso proceeds to decipher differences among the existing copies of The Nine Doors.
Popping up like a deus ex machina is a beautiful young girl named after a Conan Doyle heroine who pauses just long enough from reading the classics to rescue Corso from several perilous encounters. There are also entertaining diversions into the world of truly rare book collecting, including a terrific set piece involving the impish Ceniza Brothers, who work to restore, repair, and sometimes forge valuable volumes.
Meanwhile, Corso finds himself investigating an ever-deepening series of puzzle-like coincidences linking the occult-obsessed author Dumas with the ultimate mystery of The Nine Doors …. Perez-Reverte isn't so much concerned with solving any mystery as he is with the structure of the puzzle itself, in this case how texts and characters and storylines, even seemingly simple ones, are interpreted and bestowed with independent vitality by readers. When Corso is finally initiated into the Club Dumas, the detective-novel machinations evaporate to reveal a larger force of operation: There are characters in literature who have a life of their own, familiar to millions of people who haven't even read the books in which they appear.
This notion of literature existing outside the boundaries of the printed page and within the minds and lives of readers -- thus being capable of effecting events in our Real World -- is realized fully as the novel moves toward an unexpected and unsettling set of closing moments. I won't be terribly surprised if at some future point, engaged in a search for some obscure book, I stumble across a catalog listing for a "facsimile reprint" of the Torchia edition of The Nine Doors. Perhaps, out of a perverse curiosity, I'll buy it. Or perhaps more likely I'll leave it for the next hungry scout, someone who just might believe he's buying the Real Thing.
Readers who love fiction -- the characters, the plots, the romance and the intrigue -- inevitably carry that passion with them into the physical world. The Lurking Fear is a direct representation of his earliest efforts in the macabre, where the main character again nameless leads a team of men to investigate a series of rumors on Tempest Mountain.
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It would belittle the writing to say it is gruesome at best, implying some facet of humanity as the darkened, stormy skies and claps of thunder and lightning causes his group to disappear or become murdered. And upon his discovery of a nest of underground tunnels, it only worsens. Chosen as number six, it is important to remember that this is one of his earlier works published in and nothing but monstrous.
Still, it is highly valued, having a film adaptation of the same name. This story fully embeds us in the Cthulu Mythos, centering on the Professor of Geology at Miskatonic University, William Dyer, who has returned from a horrifying expedition to the Antarctic. His only goal now is to prevent others from returning to that deadly place.
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At The Mountains of Madness is vividly descriptive of the icy-wastes, dark artifacts, and fear-inspiring remnants of a lost civilization that rose before the coming of man. It also introduces the Shuggoth, a creature of some infamy to Lovecraftians. Throughout, though, there is something unspoken on the Professor's mind, something he cannot mouth, which lies beyond the ruins.
After the first paragraph, this story puts an Indiana Jones meets Hellboy twist on the reader, making it worthy of number five for Lovecraft. Published in Astounding Stories , this piece involves an alien race known as the Yith and their ability to take over or switch with host bodies. Lovecraft biographer, S. Joshi, suggests this came at the viewing of the movie "Berkeley Square" and a series of horror stories that implied the transfer of consciousness. The main character is Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee, who believes he is on the verge of losing his mind.
There are many Cthulu Mythos elements throughout—he references Miskatonic University, Nyarlathotep, and even Professor William Dyer—but the greatest achievement of this work is his level of detail to archeology, research, and investigation. The reader takes a dismal position finding the revelations as unbecoming as the protagonist. Each step staggers closer to the truth: learning of the Yithians, their purpose, and what awaits those they choose.
Lovecraft at his finest, The Shadow Out of Time is number four. Set in the village of Innsmouth, Massachusetts, Robert Olmstead was only revealed later to be the narrator and main character of the story through notes presented by the authorized publisher Arkham House. Through his travels as a scholar of genealogy, he encounters the city and its abnormal resident, with traits that cause him concern. Later, he learns many nefarious rumors and gains insight from, perhaps, the only human inhabitant, a town drunk named Zadok Allen.
This is an excellent primer to the deity Cthulu and a masterpiece recognized by the Lovecraft-reading community. The architectural descriptives are a fascinating assemblage of images as well as the concept of an amphibious race, corrupting the human stock. This Is Your Brain on Lovecraft. Any Questions? Picking The Whisperer in Darkness as number two was a really hard sell.
First off all, there are numerous others stories with greater mention and accolades when referring to the author. Furthermore, this is a transition period for Lovecraft published in , moving more towards science fiction and less towards horror. But this story has it all. The reader is introduced to the Mi-go, and alien race of "large, pinkish, fungoid, crustacean-like entities the size of a man," gory embellishments, and yes, a near complete compendium of Cthulu Mythos references. In one sentence, the attributions are numerous:. Aside from its contents, the plot finishes the recipe.
Suffice it to say, Albert N. Wilmarth, an instructor at Miskatonic University investigates a disturbing letter, only to learn the truth of an alien race with malevolent morals and intentions towards humankind. Every reader of Lovecraft pays tribute to this story, and therefore, it is number one. It has an instrumental by famed band, Metallica , numerous cartoons, comics, T-shirts, crossword puzzles—you name it. The main objects of the story are a series of manuscripts: a bas-relief depicting the creature created from the dreams of a student artist, and the ancient, esoteric being who came to earth millions of years ago.
In setting, it moves from Rhode Island to St. Perhaps you will note the similarities between the ending of this story and the story Dagon. Ironically, Lovecraft thought this writing was only fair among his efforts; it was rejected originally by Weird Tales, but later published with Robert E. Howard author of Conan stories praising it. And ultimately, while the debate will continue among his fans, Call of Cthulu will forever be the single piece of literature that defines H. And so, you have been indoctrinated: educated in the reality that the author imparted nearly 80 years ago.
Lovecraft is a very profound read to those of us who love horror; his stories exist on a terrifying level, beyond the scope of many other writers. With that satisfaction, it's always of interest to learn which story stands out from the rest. And, in this poll, here's your chance. Thanks for dropping by. If you have any comments or experiences and would like to share them, I'd be glad to read them. Also, feel free to list your favorite H. Lovecraft book. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.
Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. I am shocked that The Shadow Out of Time got minimal love. In my view, this is by far the finest of his stories. My favorite was actually Herbert West - Reanimator, It introduced a character with good intentions slowly becoming more curious and therefore more desperate for answers. I also really liked how everything really tied into the ending, because it was all connected. It's a slow and creepy build up..
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My favorite H. Lovecraft story is cool air.
I really connected with the characters and their relationship, and the ending gave me chills. Pun intended. Rats in the Walls. I don't think, even in the modern day, that there's anything quite as depraved as that story. I know a lot of Lovecraft fans dislike this one, but it is so packed with Lovecraft's incredible imagination, and hot damn it if I don't love the ending. It's a rare story I can read over and over and never get sick of. The Colour Out of Space would be my second choice, a truly brilliant and imaginative piece of fiction.
So many great stories to choose from. Love it. Making a song in honour of H. P for a free downloadable compilation. Enjoy my offering, "The Birth of Cthulhu"!
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Invocation included!!! While it is a parody of such horror stories, its very entertaining and actually introduced Miskatonic University and Arkham. Its cosmic. Its cool. It has shoggoths and Elder Things and human dissections and madness and Poe and a bleary setting and all you could want from Lovecraft. My personal favorite is the unfairly scathed "The Dreams in the Witch House. Please support us! I've only read a few of Lovecraft's stories, but where does "Pickman's Model" stand among his stories?
That's the story that really gave me the chills. Some well thought out choices here. Though this may be perceived as blasphemy, I actually found "The Call of Cthulu" to be one of Lovecraft's lesser works; possibly because the protagonist was so removed from the action, which didn't exactly make for gripping reading. The idea of a person alone in a mysteriously degenerative community is fascinating, and you can certainly see echoes of this concept in such modern works as the light-hearted films of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, which only goes to reinforce the influence of Lovecraft in modern popular culture.
Other stories worthy of inclusion would be "The Rats in the Walls" his best short story and "The Curious Case of Dexter Ward", which while arguably his most conventional long story was certainly one of the most well crafted. Nonetheless, a fine list. Lovecraft was indeed an amazing writer. Although this may perhaps sound treasonous, I thought "The Call of Cthulu" to be one of his weaker efforts, perhaps because the protagonist was so removed from the action.
By contrast, I found "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" to be his most immensely readable, with the focus on a whole secretive and degenerative community being fascinating. You can certainly see the influence of this idea in modern novels and films, particularly the light-hearted efforts of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Others I would add to the list would include "Rats in the Wall" the best of his short stories and "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", which while arguably being his most conventional work was one of the most riveting as well.
Regardless, an excellent list. Wow, a tough list to make, thanks for putting it together and not spoiling the plot to any of the stories.
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I thought that was the best until I read The Lurking Fear. I haven't read the Whisperer or the Outsider Great lens. Call of Cthulu being my all time favourite Lovecraft work, though all are good if you're looking for how to write atmosphere and mood. The only downside to any of the great man's work is the dialogue, which ranges from bad to awful. That aside, he deserves to be at the top of any horror fan's reading list.
Now this is a great lens!! I love this author and I even got into trouble in high school for finding and reading an old tattered copy I found in the basement of my hometown library. Our librarian put books in the basement that she felt were dangerous. LOL Oh it was a perfect place to get introduced to Lovecraft. It was terrifying reading about his monsters by an overhead bare bulb, alone in the basement with the dust of the ages stinging my nose with every breath.
Chills were constant but worth it. I'm glad to have found this lens because now I want to. I need to his works again. Thank you for a great lens and for bring up great childhood memories. Good list.
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I've always had a fondness for The Haunter of the Dark. The atmosphere and visuals of that story are incredibly chilling and rich. I noticed when reading Lovecraft's works that he was a total fanboy for Poe's works. I like the list you had created although one story deserves to be on the list "The Shunned House". Lovecraft leaves you on the edge of your seat till the very end in that one. Must say a good list The Outsider is my favorite Lovecraft story.
It has an excellent atmosphere but i guess that's not saying much every Lovecraft story has a lovely dark and twisted atmosphere. What really drew me in on this work was the sadness, I really felt for the main character. His loneliness at the beginning, his struggle to leave his loneliness and go among others, and then rejection Just sad and beautiful if you have never read it you really should No reading order for Lovecraft, but fortunately, it's unnecessary.
The stories are all self-contained and won't infringe upon each other. Hope you enjoy them! Is there a reading order to these stories? I have the books but I haven't read any yet just a page of At the Mountains of Madness.