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  1. #1
    Network Hub Hunchback's Avatar
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    So, H.P. Lovecraft?

    I am interested in this author, with all the Chtulhu cults and stuff...

    For someone who's never read any of his works, where should i start? I am a bit concerned to be dissappointed because of all the hype/cult/whatever, like i was when i tried to read The Hitchhiker's Guide - i found the humour to be kinda old and as such, childish.

    P.S. My favourite books are the Hyperion Cantos, if that helps.
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  2. #2
    Lesser Hivemind Node Harlander's Avatar
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    I'd recommend starting with The Colour Out of Space. It's pretty short, but gives a good feel for Lovecraft's brand of weird tale. A Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Call of Cthulhu are the ones that get most pop-culture reference, but I think my favourite is Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. It's kind of more fantasy than the stuff he's most famous for, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunchback View Post
    I found the humour to be kinda old and as such, childish.
    How's that work, then?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunchback View Post
    P.S. My favourite books are the Hyperion Cantos, if that helps.
    Ah, well if you enjoy interesting writing with the occasional burst of xenophobia seemingly out of nowhere, I think you'll find something to like in Lovecraft's ouvre.

  3. #3
    Network Hub Hunchback's Avatar
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    Thanks, i will have a look after i am done with the current SoI&F book. :)

    As for the Hitchhiker - well, it might just be me, but when i hear/read some very old humour, it usually feels "childish", as something simply "silly". Something you once upon a time found quite funny and smart, seen through your later experiences and current state of the world looks... childish, dunno how to explain it otherwise. I felt kinda the same thing with that book, i saw why it could have been funny, but maybe to me 15 years old self, not the 30 years old one. Or maybe not in the 2014th. Or maybe i just didn't get it :P
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  4. #4
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    Just grab some collections of his work. Lovecraft was writing mostly (only?) short pieces, like Poe.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Odd, Candide hardly seems childish to me.

    Pick up some Kafka and Ballard collections while you're at it.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harlander View Post
    I'd recommend starting with The Colour Out of Space. It's pretty short, but gives a good feel for Lovecraft's brand of weird tale. A Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Call of Cthulhu are the ones that get most pop-culture reference, but I think my favourite is Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. It's kind of more fantasy than the stuff he's most famous for, though.
    This is good. I'd also recommend reading The Shadow out of Time and then At the Mountains of madness.

    While most of Lovecraft's works is in short stories, Shadow and Mountains are novellas, with Mountains being a bit longer and also one of his best works.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    He's abit rubbish really, but my god the thematics are perfect memetic fodder.

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  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Squiz's Avatar
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    The Lurking Fear is also a good one, as is The Temple and The Horror in Clay. Oh and Dagon. And Pickman's Model. :)

  9. #9
    Lesser Hivemind Node Henke's Avatar
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    His stuff is so old that most of it is public domain by now, and you can download free audiobooks of his stories in places like these:

    https://archive.org/details/NearlyCo...raftCollection

    https://librivox.org/collected-publi...h-p-lovecraft/

    I suggest you download and slap some of that on your phone/mp3-player and listen to it while walking in some dark woods! That's how I first listened to his stuff. Very effective. "At The Mountains Of Madness" and "Shadow Over Innsmouth"* are probably his best and most well-known works, so start with one of those, and then delve into the more obscure stuff if you develop a taste for it.

    * the Dark Corners Of The Earth game was based mostly on this one, iirc.
    Last edited by Henke; 23-01-2014 at 02:22 PM.

  10. #10
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    If you're English you might get a particular kick out of The Rats In The Walls. It's one of his few stories set in England I believe.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Screwie's Avatar
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    If you're in a podcast mood, I found the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast to be a great overview of his work.

    They're now mainly a subscriber-only podcast, sadly, but their first run of episodes - in which they go through Lovecraft's entire work chonologically - is rather interesting and completely free. Every episode has analysis, passage readings, great mood music and the occasionaly special guest. The production level is really high. There are some complete story readings too, also free.

  12. #12
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    I first got into Lovecraft a couple years back. I went out and bought a Lovecraft collection, and literally the following day a hurricane came through and we lost power for 3 days. All I had to do was read that book. I would read it all day, and then lie awake at night in the pitch blackness and total silence, imagining all kinds of spooky shit lingering by the bed. Anyhow, the ones I enjoyed the most, in no particular order:

    The Shadow over Innsmouth
    The Colour Out of Space
    The Whisperer in Darkness

    One thing I found is that his stories were hit or miss for me. I either absolutely loved them, or thought they were awful. There was no middle ground. If you start one and don't care for it, don't give up so easily. Give another one a go.
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  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henke View Post
    I suggest you download and slap some of that on your phone/mp3-player and listen to it while walking in some dark woods! That's how I first listened to his stuff. Very effective. "At The Mountains Of Madness" and "Shadow Over Innsmouth"* are probably his best and most well-known works, so start with one of those, and then delve into the more obscure stuff if you develop a taste for it.

    * the Dark Corners Of The Earth game was based mostly on this one, iirc.
    I do not recommend reading At The Mountains first. It's a much better read with some knowledge of the mythos.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Someone should probably point out and warn you about Lovecraft's horrible, rampant racism. And his virulent anti-semitism. And support for eugenics. All of which make it through, in various degrees, to his work.

    A lot of his horror is based on the fear of, and the repulsion towards, miscegenation... the interbreeding of the races. White, English (or English descended), English speaking Aryans are the only ones who are "fully human". All the rest, through shades of white, brown, red, yellow, and black, are seen as mixed blooded, mentally abhorrent mongrels, whose blood has been tainted by interbreeding between races, be they "human" or "whatever". Birth, blood, and purity are praised and admired, anything else is considered inferior, villainous, or downright evil.

    So long as you're aware of the pretty deplorable basis for a lot of his writing.

    Also, don't read his poetry. Not only is it an abomination against language, it's also where his racism really comes to the fore.
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  15. #15
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    Oh yeah, the cat that features prominently in The Rats in the Walls is called Nigger-Man. I remember because I once had to read the story aloud.
    Last edited by Lethe; 23-01-2014 at 04:44 PM.

  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node Harlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    Someone should probably point out and warn you about Lovecraft's horrible, rampant racism. And his virulent anti-semitism. And support for eugenics. All of which make it through, in various degrees, to his work.
    A lot of people attempt to excuse Lovecraft's more unreconstructed views based on the prevailing attitudes at the time - but even by the attitudes of his time, Howard was a nutter on these issues.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harlander View Post
    Howard was a nutter on these issues.
    Complete agreement, racism has always been variant among society, even a few hundred years earlier many would have cocked their heads to his apparent ideals,
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  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    As an aside to Lovecraft it might be worth looking at Robert W. Chambers who wrote 'The King in Yellow' which was apparently a big influence upon him.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King_in_Yellow

    The book is actually in the public domain now, and quite interesting. It's essentially a series of short stories that reference back to a play (the king in Yellow) which has a noticeable impact upon any who read it.
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  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Screwie's Avatar
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    Arthur Machen was another author who influenced Lovecraft. You can see a bit of Machen's, "The Great God Pan" in Lovecraft's, "The Dunwich Horror". It's pretty good and public domain too, I think.

    Also, Lovecraft really liked Poe.
    Last edited by Screwie; 23-01-2014 at 06:23 PM.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Its surprising I actually think Call of Chthulhu is one of his weaker ones but I agree with a lot of the rest of the suggestions. Me personally I loved The case of Charles Dexter Ward and the dream series he did and obviously at the mountains of madness.

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