Monday, August 31, 2015

Short Notes: The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft

Though I am sure that I must have read (at least one of) his works, sometime or the other, the first time, H.P. Lovecraft's name really registered with me was when I saw a review of a book  called The Call of Cthulhu @ Manybooks. The reviewer was all praise for the book and made me all eager to read it. Then came a rewatching of the Star Trek episode Cat's Paw where Robert Bloch (who had written the story/ screenplay) mentions The Old Ones which was (as reviewers on the Net informed me) a referencing back to the Old Ones of Lovecraft's imagination. The long and short of it was that I was keen to read Lovecraft and when I saw this book on the library shelf, I simply had to pick it up.

Can anyone resist such a cover?


And I did encounter the Old Ones in The Mountains of Madness in which an expedition to Antarctica encounters an earlier alien civilization. But I also met many others like Charles Dexter Ward whose experiments lead him to things that should best remain buried; Pickman whose paintings have a strange model; Iranon who keeps on searching for a lost city, Henry Houdini who discovers the fabled fourth dimension under the Egyptian pyramids; Eric Zann who plays such music that brings forth something not of this world; and then, of course, there is that thing on the doorstep....

Edited by S.T. Joshi, this collection contains a brief introduction to all the twelve stories, suggestions for further readings (and going by it, Lovecraft seems to be quite a favourite of the Academia), and notes....copious amounts of notes. I wish these notes had been footnotes rather than endnotes because it became quite an exercise to keep on turning the pages to where the notes were at the end of the book. And sometimes the notes were completely  and utterly superfluous. At a tense moment in
The Dunwich Horror, while a character watches the proceedings from a telescope, there was that not-to-be-ignored note. Cursing, I left the narrative to go to the note only to be told that Lovecraft owned a telescope himself. GREAT! But how does it matter???????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Recommended strongly but for some days you might not want to be all alone in your house.

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First Line: IN RELATING THE CIRCUMSTANCES which have led to my confinement within this refuge for the demented, I am aware that my present position will create a natural doubt of the authenticity of my narrative.

Publication Details: NY: Penguin,2001 (Ed. with an Introduction by S.T. Joshi)
First Published: between 1917-1933
Pages: 443
Source: MCL [813.52 L941T]

Other books read of the same author: None

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Updated  - 18/9/2015: Submitted for Friday's Forgotten Books, today @ Todd Mason's blog
 Sweet Freedom

4 comments:

  1. I love H.P. Lovecraft. He is a master storyteller! Great review!

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    1. Thanks Freda. Lovecraft is indeed great. I want to read more of him too.

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  2. Always been afraid to read Lovecraft. Not sure why, either. Maybe I'm afraid to find out! You've piqued my interest. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks Mathew for the visit and the kind words. Lovecraft is really good but yes quite scary too at times. I'd love to read your views on him.

      Do visit again.

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