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  1. #1
    Returned recently treden's Avatar
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    Default Somewhat off topic: Lovecraft and Pulps

    I am looking for some advice about the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. Considering that I love Mignola's Hellboy and enjoy the pulp fiction genre (Doc Savage, The Shadow, etc.), I should be familiar with Lovecraft's stories. I am not sure that I have ever read one.

    Where should I start?

    I recently finished "The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril." It was good but it made me want to read the originals. I am currently reading "The Arcanum." IT was really interesting to note that both books were fictional accounts of authors and other historical figures gathering to solve mysteries. Both take place in New York and both have scenes set in Chinatown's historic opera house. Anyone else read these two?

    I recently discovered http://www.vintagelibrary.com/index.php I haven't ordered from them yet. They appear to publish facsimiles of the origianl pulp stories, in magazine format. Anyone ordered from them yet?

    Thanks in advance for the advice.

    Treden

  2. #2
    OMG!!! INTERNET! Agent Helix's Avatar
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    There's a couple of really good collections of Lovecraft's stories that I'd recommend:

    Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre - The Best of H.P. Lovecraft


    and

    The Road to Madness

    They're both pretty hefty collections of his work, and feature some of the most famous novellas.

    A word of warning, though. Lovecraft is VERY hard to read. While he was a great storyteller, as an actual writer, he was fairly poor. Some of the stories are really a chore to actually get through, and that's not even taking the occasionally vicious racism into account.

  3. #3
    Not a good monkey Poe Ghostal's Avatar
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    For Lovecraft, I recommend the Penguin editions. They're cheap, they contain the cleanest texts and are completely annotated by S.T. Joshi.

    The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories

    The Thing On the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories

    The Dreams in the Witch-House and Other Weird Stories

  4. #4
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    One of my faves is At the Mountains of Madness and there's a really nice edition (whose cover I actually like a lot more and find more evocative than the normal impaled-heads/twisted-corpses kind of illustrations one finds on the cover of Lovecraft collections, fyi this is just one novella):

    http://www.amazon.com/At-Mountains-M...e=UTF8&s=books

    I think the fact that some find his prose a bit of a slog at times is not unwarranted, but in my opinion this is very much a part of the why the stories are successful (i.e. the plodding anticipation, people who believe themselves to be educated and erudite confronted with the mounting possibility of unseen horrors being revealed and becoming over-wordy to deal with things their brains have dificulty comprehending). For me, it's part of why it works.

  5. #5
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    One of my faves is At the Mountains of Madness and there's a really nice edition (whose cover I actually like a lot more and find more evocative than the normal impaled-heads/twisted-corpses kind of illustrations one finds on the cover of Lovecraft collections, fyi this is just one novella):

    http://www.amazon.com/At-Mountains-M...e=UTF8&s=books

    I think the fact that some find his prose a bit of a slog at times is not unwarranted, but in my opinion this is very much a part of the why the stories are successful (i.e. the plodding anticipation, people who believe themselves to be educated and erudite confronted with the mounting possibility of unseen horrors being revealed and becoming over-wordy to deal with things their brains have dificulty comprehending). For me, it's part of why it works.

    for times like these, there needs to be a cthulu emoticon

  6. #6
    Lost in the Woods shonokin's Avatar
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    I've read both the books you mention. China Town is very fun to read and is definately a bow to the pulps in more ways than one, though quite inaccurate about a lot of the history of Walter Gibson and Lester Dent. Not that it really matters as it IS fiction and the forward reminds the reader of that from the start. The rendition of L. Ron Hubbard is pretty funny.

    The Arcanum I read a while back. You can tell it was written originally as a screenplay and then translated into a book. It is fairly entertaining but more glib and full of Hollywood type action. As such, it was so unengaging that after the climax there were a couple of pages of story left and I just never finished it.

    Both authors present HPL as a nutter on the edge, or already over the edge and both suppose HPL as knowing more about the "true arcane horrors" of the world than anyone else.

    Another book in this vein is Shadows Bend, which has Lovecraft and Robert E Howard on a roadtrip to Clark Ashton Smith in California, all the while being chased by a Shoggoth shaped like a car and two "men in black". I wouldn't recommend it, unless you're really into alternate reality, fiction writers in the stories type books.

    My suggestion would also be for the Penguin classics collections of Lovecraft. As for a story to start with? I'd say something short and later period in HPLs life, such as The Whisperer in Darkness, The Dreams in the Witch House, The Thing on the Doorstep or The Shadow Out of Time (widely considered to be one of his superior works).

    Other recommendations would be one of my favorites, The Rats in the Walls, The Shunned House and The Hound.

    Longer works I'd suggest of course, The Call of Cthulhu, The Shadow Over Innsmouth and At the Mountains of Madness.

    If you want to listen to some of this from a text to speech generator (it's better than the ol' Stephen Hawking one, it almost sounds human sometimes) I have a blog with a lot of pulp and lovecraft in audiobook form. http://thepulpreader.blogspot.com

  7. #7
    Returned recently treden's Avatar
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    Default Thanks for the tips

    I am glad to read that I am not the only one who has had trouble with Lovecraft's writing. I will take your suggestions to mind. I am taking the list of anthologies to the library tonight.

    Thanks to for the link to pulpreader. I will give that a try.

    Treden

  8. #8
    Blue Captain bluetyson's Avatar
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    You will also find a bunch of Lovecraft here :-

    http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600031.txt

    and at Wikisource, if you just want to check it out.

    It is nothing like Doc Savage or The Shadow, really. :)

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