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HP Lovecraft and His Work

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  • #17
    Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
    I know what you mean about the right time. I have the books standing by for just that moment!
    As I said, I "plowed through them with relish". Until I...stopped ploughing suddenly. I have been enjoying them but the odd thing is - after years of buying into the cliched view of HP as the guy who "Cannot... no, WILL not describe the eldritch horrors I witnessed" etc. etc. in his fiction - I actually find him TOO explicit at times.

    When he's alluding to, say, a race of ancient beings so utterly alien that the merest glimpse into their home dimensions might drive a man insane, he's compelling. As soon as we get past that and into the meat of a story like "At The Mountains of Madness" we find his narrator learning so much of the "Old Ones" and everyday life in their Arctic city that it becomes first rather banal and then just plain funny.

    Stories like "Dreams in The Witch House" and "The Colour Out of Space" are, I think, pretty remarkable. "The Dunwich Horror" is, I suppose, pretty strong too but some of the other material becomes a bit of a plod!

    I'm having a break from HP at the moment but there are still plenty of unread stories to go so we'll see how things shape up!

    Comment


    • #18
      Funny, as it has been raining here rather often of late, and I pulled out my DEL REY edition of the Dream Cycle of HPL.

      IMO, his Dream-work is his best, and as usual, his short fiction is better than his lengthier pieces.

      The fragment, Azathoth begs for expansion into a longer piece; Polaris; The Quest of Iranon; etc. With all their 'flaws' they are still some of the most immersive pieces of fiction I have ever read.

      Don't try and read his novels before devouring his short fiction. They are the foundation that allows for 'attenuated' further reading.

      Did I mention the Doom that Came to Sarnath, or Through the Gates of the Silver Key?
      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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      • #19
        I’ve read a few bits and pieces of Lovecraft’s short story work (most recently, The Call of Cthulhu before watching the movie on DVD). I do like some of it - but I still consider Clark Ashton Smith to be a far superior writer to Lovecraft – and a lot of his Weird Tales work is very similar to Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle stuff (though like Lovecraft – for every 1 brilliant story there are at least 2 which are turgid guff).

        Originally posted by Kyrinn S. Eis View Post
        Funny, as it has been raining here rather often of late, and I pulled out my DEL REY edition of the Dream Cycle of HPL.

        IMO, his Dream-work is his best, and as usual, his short fiction is better than his lengthier pieces.

        The fragment, Azathoth begs for expansion into a longer piece; Polaris; The Quest of Iranon; etc. With all their 'flaws' they are still some of the most immersive pieces of fiction I have ever read.

        Don't try and read his novels before devouring his short fiction. They are the foundation that allows for 'attenuated' further reading.

        Did I mention the Doom that Came to Sarnath, or Through the Gates of the Silver Key?
        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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        • #20
          Was it Ashton Smith or Derleth that misinterpreted Lovecraft's work as being about a cosmic clash between forces of light and darkness when, in reality, the atheistic HP was writing about how the humans in his stories had incorporated the "Great Old Ones" into their own mythologies?

          The Elder Things of HP's fiction were, in fact, more or less indifferent to humanity.

          It is this existential bleakness, the sense of a universe that may be (mostly!) completely incurious concerning the well being of such tiny beings as ourselves but which is, all the same, bloody dangerous to us, that I find most appealing about HPL.

          The only time I ever felt anything similar to this in cinema, incidentally, was when watching "Alien". Is this "Cthulhu" movie worth seeking out, I wonder?

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          • #21
            It wasn't Clark Ashton Smith - Smith's mythos stories are pretty much in line with Lovecraft's ideas, though his focus is more on the fantasy aspects than the mostly contemporary settings Lovecraft employed. Worth checking out as a comparison to Lovecraft - his style (and vocabulary) are quite unique.

            Maybe Derleth, but I'm not overly familiar with his work to say one way or the other. Perhaps you mean Brian Lumley - he's done quite a few mythos-inspired stories which have had that criticism levelled against them - that he jettisons the amoral aspects of the elder gods and boils it down to the usual black and white battle between good and evil.

            I can definitely recommend the Call of Cthulhu movie if you've not seen it - it's a very good adaptation. If you have a netflix account - I believe they are now offering it for rent.
            Last edited by devilchicken; 09-25-2007, 07:23 PM.
            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


            • #22
              It was Derleth, yes, though numerous writers (Lumley among them) have followed the misinterpretation. Derleth wrote that:

              "As Lovecraft conceived the deities or forces of his mythos, there were, initially, the Elder Gods ... benign deities, representing the forces of good [and] the powers of evil … variously known as the Great Old Ones or the Ancient Ones...".

              Derleth's is an interpretation hard to justify on the evidence of Lovecraft's actual writing, but a great many of the writers who've contributed to the so-called mythos since then have taken their cue from Derleth's interpretation much more than from Lovecraft himself. I recently wrote a piece on this for issue 4 of (UK science fiction magazine) Death Ray, coincidentally enough.

              Matt

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              • #23
                I'll look out for that. Still in the shops?

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                • #24
                  I should be getting my copy when I get back to the US, unless the friend who gets it for me in the UK hasn't sent it yet and will send it to France. Looking forward to reading it, Matt.

                  Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                  The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                  Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                  Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                  The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                  Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                  Comment


                  • #25
                    As far as I know, the shops would be on to issue 5 or even 6 by now, in the UK at least. The publishers do offer back issues, though - a google on Blackfish Publishing should turn them up easily enough.

                    Comment


                    • #26
                      C-R, any idea when a review of Mike's forthcoming Metatemporal Detective might be likely to feature in Death Ray? (I know it's a US publication but a number of UK retailers, such as Amazon and Waterstones are able to get it in for UK readers.)
                      _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                      _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                      _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                      _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                      Comment


                      • #27
                        Actually, David, it's supposed to be published at the same time in the UK. Pyr will definitely be distributing it, but I have a feeling it will not be to the major chains (or at least not to all of them, depending on the buyer).
                        Forbidden Planet have ordered copies, too. You can certainly get it by asking for it. I wanted this to be a UKUS publication so that I could be sure of getting Pyr's production standards and a Picacio jacket!

                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                        Comment


                        • #28
                          I haven't seen it on any list of books coming up for review so far; I certainly haven't reviewed it personally. I'm freelance, so there's every chance it has been reviewed in-house rather than being sent out. Didn't the interview with Mike in issue 2(?) include a picture of the work-in-progress cover? That being so, they're certainly aware of it but, like all publications running reviews, Death Ray can only review what they actually have available. If the publisher for some reason neglected to furnish Death Ray with a review copy, perhaps Mike might want to point them in the right direction - I can be contacted off-forum for the contact details of the relevant folks at Death Ray, if need be, of course.

                          I shall enquire, though I'm away from home for a few days as of tomorrow, so unfortunately can't really guarantee an immediate reply...

                          Matt

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                          • #29
                            Hi Matt -- DeathRay should certainly be getting a copy. They'd already had the Picacio cover. There have been some reviews (mostly pretty good) online. People seem to have different favourite stories, but everything's been better than the first review from, I think, Publisher's Weekly! The web, of course, is much closer to telling you what the general reader thinks. And finally that's the important thing. So far reviews have been on proofs, I think. I don't think Pyr has sent out finished copies.

                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                            Comment


                            • #30
                              Publishers Weekly always gets a blurb at Amazon and they always have something bad to say about everthting I like!

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