Monday, February 05, 2007

By H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft is undoubtedly the most significant writer of horror fiction to come out of the pulps, if not the most significant horror writer of his generation. Even so, the magazines he wrote for rejected many of his best stories. Although he is often imitated, few have been able to create the cosmic fear his literary theory called for.

The Best of H.P. Lovecraft brings together his most developed stories of what is often called “the Mythos”. They range from the very simple and effective “Pickman’s Model” (a story about just where a certain artist derives his inspiration) to the complex and far-reaching implications of “The Call of Cthulhu” where all of the history of life on this planet is called into question.

“The Dunwich Horror” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” bring the nightmare of miscegenation with non-human entities home to the tidy New England countryside with chilling effect. “The Shadow Out of Time” is in some ways less a horror story than a science fiction “secret history” that reaches deep into pre-history to relate the rise and fall of undreamed of star-travelling races. “The Colour Out of Space” is also science fiction, but in a more truly horrific vein. It relates the strange doom that overtakes an isolated farm family when a meteor strikes their farm.

The title is a bit of a misnomer, not that any of these tales are a bit less than the best, it is simly that I think a few of his best works were left out. Only “The Silver Key” represents his Dreamlands tales. I’d put my money of “The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath” as not just one of Lovecraft’s best stories, but as one of the best fantasy short stories of all-time.

If you want to see just why Lovecraft is still remembered nearly seventy years after his passing, then read The Best of H.P. Lovecraft.
-Dave Hardy

No comments: