This is yet another one of those books I've picked up solely because of the awesome cover, but I've been wanting to read Lovecraft for a long time now so that may pardon my shallow decision-making process. As far as anthologies go, it's fairly light on extra material -- I would have appreciated essays critiquing the films and shorts that each of the stories inspired, but I was otherwise satisfied enough with my first foray into the world of HP Lovecraft.The Shadow over Innsmouth
was by far my favorite of the stories. Lovecraft is a master at creating a tense and subtly terrifying atmosphere, but he outdid himself with the quietly ominous town of Innsmouth and its bizarre and hostile citizens. The climax of the story was heart-pounding and even though it was written in a first-person narrative and therefore one could conclude that the protagonist makes it out alive, I did have moments of doubt and fear for him. I can see how this and Dagon
are easily translated into film. The Call of Cthulu
, though, was a bit of a disappointment, considering how it's easily the most popular of his stories.
It's funny and an amazing testament to his skill -- how Lovecraft can make a geometric angle or even a color terrifying. He's a bit of a tease, with his constantly retreating behind the indescribable quality of many of the more harrowing elements of his stories, but leaving us to imagine the unimaginable actually works. His tales open up the imagination to alien landscapes of impossible and horrible grandeur and creatures that only a very active and awful mind could create.
So as far as anthologies go, this is not at all a very informative one, but its story selection is perfect for someone starting out in the weird and wonderful world of HP Lovecraft.