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HP Lovecraft and His Work

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  • HP Lovecraft and His Work

    Mike,

    I am a newcomer to these boards and I have a question for you. What is your opinion of HP Lovecraft and the whole "Cthulhu Mythos" school of horror?

  • #2
    I can't read it. Try hard to, since so many of my friends like it, but so far haven't been able to read anything of Lovecraft's, for instance, apart from Mountains of Madness and Unknown Kadath, which I understand aren't typical. I get too scared reading M.R.James, too...

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    • #3
      Mike,

      I just finished reading your essay "Starship Stormtroopers" and I really enjoyed it. I agree with you about Lovecraft's work in general but I still like him not so much as an author per se but rather for the concepts in his work. To me, his work was the voice of alienation and xenophobia even if it was poorly expressed. Some of the best Cthulhu mythos material that I've read has been the gaming material that has been published.

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      • #4
        I know what people mean about HPL being a "non user friendly" writer, but I think "Shadow Over Innsmouth" is one of th emost "ontologicaly" terrorfying books I have ever read, great stuf imo

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        • #5
          I read Call of Cthulhu recently before I picked up the (very good) DVD movie. I liked it more or less - but I think it shows its age and the prose isn't all that polished.

          At the Mountains of Madness and Shadow over Innsmouth are my favourites of his - Lovecraft does paranoia pretty well, which compensates for his shortcomings in other areas. His stories rely more on creating mood than anything else. Of course - Lovecraft was also pretty clued up on his esoteric/occult knowledge, which is I think where a lot of his imitators fall flat.

          For some reason I find Clark Ashton Smith a lot more readable than Lovecraft - not so much for his unique literary style but because I think he had more ideas than Lovecraft. In that respect Lovecraft did the ground work for a lot of better writers.
          Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

          Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by devilchicken View Post
            Of course - Lovecraft was also pretty clued up on his esoteric/occult knowledge
            No he wasn't! The closest that HPL got to esoteric/occult knowledge was The Arabian Nights. He was heavily into horror and fantasy (especially Poe), but all the 'occult' stuff in his fiction came out of his imagination which was apparently fed by his nightmares.

            I like HPL. I think a lot of the time he writes very badly: his stories tend to tail off at the end into sepulchral voices shouting 'HE'S DEAD, FOOL!!!!!!!' or 'as I write this, I can hear the inhuman footsteps coming up the stairs...' However the ideas in some of them are just brilliant.
            Last edited by johneffay; 08-22-2007, 10:01 AM. Reason: even worse punctuation than usual

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            • #7
              I used to play the Call of Cthulhu RPG, and that was pretty cool... very creepy, of course, and I'm not normally a big fan of horror. I spook rather easily. It's one of the only games I know of where at the end of the adventure, you're informed how your character's performance has effected the global suicide rate!
              "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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              • #8
                Originally posted by johneffay View Post
                No he wasn't! The closest that HPL got to esoteric/occult knowledge was The Arabian Nights. He was heavily into horror and fantasy (especially Poe), but all the 'occult' stuff in his fiction came out of his imagination which was apparently fed by his nightmares.

                I like HPL. I think a lot of the time he writes very badly: his stories tend to tail off at the end into sepulchral voices shouting 'HE'S DEAD, FOOL!!!!!!!' or 'as I write this, I can hear the inhuman footsteps coming up the stairs...' However the ideas in some of them are just brilliant.
                I believe Lovecraft cites a number of real books alongside the fictional ones he created to to give his stories the added depth of arcane scholarship. Offhand - The Witch Cult in Western Europe is cited in several of his stories including The Call of Cthulhu, as is an 1896 book - The Story of Atlantis and Lost Lemuria by W. Scott Elliot.

                Also apparently had an interest in cryptology and symbology.
                Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer View Post
                  I used to play the Call of Cthulhu RPG, and that was pretty cool... very creepy, of course, and I'm not normally a big fan of horror. I spook rather easily. It's one of the only games I know of where at the end of the adventure, you're informed how your character's performance has effected the global suicide rate!
                  Was that the Xbox game Dark Corners of the Earth? Loosely based on The Shadow Over Innsmouth - there's a scene in there very faithful to the book where the Fish People attacking your character in his hotel room, and you have to run through the building locking doors and pulling wardrobes over them to aid in your escape.

                  Apparently there's a Shoggoth in the game somewhere - was curious to see how they realised that in 3D, but I didn't play to the end.
                  Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                  Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by devilchicken View Post
                    Was that the Xbox game Dark Corners of the Earth?
                    No, it was a paper and pen RPG... with geeks and dice!

                    Computer games like Silent Hill and the like scare the bejeezus out of me... far too spooky. All those sinister noises, and creeping, slithering things... and ghost babies! [shudder]
                    "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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                    • #11
                      When Dagon attacks...

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uw7A7tJcrE

                      When Fish Men attack...

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-CyUOVtImc
                      Last edited by devilchicken; 08-23-2007, 07:50 AM.
                      Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                      Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Cool. Thanks.
                        Ani Maamin B'emunah Sh'leimah B'viyat Hamashiach. V'af al pi sheyitmahmehah im kol zeh achake lo b'chol yom sheyavo.

                        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Phillip K. Dick

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                        • #13
                          Mike says...
                          I can't read it. Try hard to, since so many of my friends like it, but so far haven't been able to read anything of Lovecraft's, for instance, apart from Mountains of Madness and Unknown Kadath, which I understand aren't typical. I get too scared reading M.R.James, too...

                          Same here until this year. I picked up the Pengy Mod Classic editions and ploughed through them with relish. Nor sure why... Just seemed to be the right time for me!

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            I find that Lovecraft is one of those writers who is best enjoyed on rainy day.
                            Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                            Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                            Comment

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