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Book Title: The Lurking Fear and Other Stories|
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Reader ratings: 4.1
The author of the book: H.P. Lovecraft
Edition: Panther Books
Date of issue: 1973
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 27.93 MB
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Every year at this time, I return to HPL. It always gives me pleasure, although at this many re-readings, there isn't the same thrill of newness and discovery, nor does the imagery fire my dreams as much as it once did.
This collection is solid, although not necessarily cohesive. Most of the stories are straight-forward horror, and mostly outside of the mythos cycle, although there is one Dreamworld story ("The White Ship") and the longest story ("The Shadow over Innsmouth") is fairly well part of the mythos. With no editorial commentary, it's difficult to guess why these stories were combined in one book, moreover why it was named for "The Lurking Fear," neither the best nor the best-known of the selections included. It may have been a semi-random choice of the publisher. Nevertheless, it's good to have all of them, and few will disappoint.
I'm going to give short discussions of each tale, since reviewing the whole volume will avail little.
"The Lurking Fear" itself is a grisly tale of physical and moral degeneracy, and a cursed house, with similarities to "The Rats in the Walls," and a curiously homo-erotic undertone. It is especially effective on a first reading, because Lovecraft successfully obscures the denouement, and springs it as an effective surprise.
"Dagon" is arguably Lovecraft's "first" story, and one which hints at later mythos developments, without really establishing them.
"Beyond the Wall of Sleep" is an early horror tale that hints at coming Dreamworld developments. It is also a foray into the eugenic theories of degeneracy which influence much of Lovecraft.
"The White Ship" is a more developed Dreamworld tale of a young man who forsakes reality for the more interesting world he can visit by traveling the path of imagination, and the error which hubris leads him to.
"Arthur Jermyn" is another story of the cursed degeneration of a noble line of scholars. It uses contemporary theories of Darwinism to offer an element of realism to the fantastic theme.
"From Beyond" is the well-known story of a scientist with an obsessive drive to see what lies beyond the visible spectrum. Too late he learns that He Who Sees may also Be Seen. Of the shorter tales in this book, this is probably the strongest.
"The Temple" is a favorite of mine in which a brutal U-Boat captain leads his crew to doom by refusing to heed superstitious warnings. In the process he visits Atlantis and learns that ancient civilizations harbor Ancient Horror.
"The Moon-Bog" is a somewhat fanciful and traditional Gothic horror tale, which puts a nasty twist on stories of the "little people" of Ireland.
"The Hound" is a story of the haunting of two libertines who cross the bounds of good taste and reason.
"The Unnamable" is a short story which warns against excessive skepticism. Apparently Lovecraft never intended it to be published or read.
"The Outsider" is an unusually Gothic tale with a rather predictable twist ending. It is all atmosphere, no action, and the atmosphere is excellent.
"The Shadow over Innsmouth" is the longest and probably the best-known of the lot (really, this should have been the title of the collection). It is a story of a small New England town that comes to worship pagan Sea-Gods and makes a deal with dark forces that lead to it's degeneracy and gradual loss of humanity. The story is told from the point of view of a young student on a walking tour of the area, whose genealogical inquiries connect him to his own greatest fear.
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Read information about the authorHoward Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.
Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a series of loosely interconnected fictions featuring a pantheon of human-nullifying entities, as well as the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works were deeply pessimistic and cynical, challenging the values of the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Christianity. Lovecraft's protagonists usually achieve the mirror-opposite of traditional gnosis and mysticism by momentarily glimpsing the horror of ultimate reality.
Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his life, his reputation has grown over the decades. He is now commonly regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th Century, exerting widespread and indirect influence, and frequently compared to Edgar Allan Poe.
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