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posted by chromas on Friday August 24 2018, @05:21PM   Printer-friendly
from the into-the-darkness dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow4408

In the realm where science fiction, horror and fantasy meet lives the work of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, who endures as one of the world's most imaginative writers. His mythos of interstellar deities and sinister forces has inspired generations of storytellers, with the word "Lovecraftian" used today to describe a specific, chilling tale. As with most people who are posthumously labeled geniuses in their fields, Lovecraft's work never took off during his short lifetime. Only after his death in 1937 did he gain the kind of popularity that's made him one of the most famous writers in the world.

[...] He created the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts, and the fictional Miskatonic University, which show up again and again in his stories about the Necronomicon, a forbidden book of dark magic, and the Old Ones — the most famous of which, Cthulhu, is practically a meme. His stories appeared in pulp magazines like Weird Tales, sometimes serialized, never particularly popular while he lived, and he died having used up the remains of an inheritance down to the last penny. He was a visionary (with, uh, documented racist views); his work was influenced by a post-World War I awareness of the horrors men can inflict on other men, which inspired his darkest, most chilling tales of murder, suspense, and otherworldly evil.

Lovecraft was a pioneer of the "speculative fiction" genre, and started the Cosmicism movement, which is marked by the belief that there are interstellar beings far outside the realm of human perception, and humans are an insignificant part of a very large, very terrifying universe. His narrators are unreliable, often addicted to substances, their minds altered and broken by the horrors they've witnessed. Lovecraft's work traditionally features humans catching glimpses of a bigger universe our minds were never built to comprehend.

If you've ever wanted to dip a toe into this universe but never knew where to start, we've compiled a list of Lovecraft's best, weirdest, and most iconic tales to keep you up at night, questioning the nature of what's real and what's just your imagination.


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  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Friday August 24 2018, @10:25PM (2 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Friday August 24 2018, @10:25PM (#726046) Journal

    I haven't read any Lovecraft, but it seems I hardly need to. Lots of references to the Elder Gods in other works of fiction. The gist of it appears to be extremely powerful and ancient aliens with mysterious agendas in which mere humans are vermin and pond scum of no account. They do not care that some humans worship them as gods. Their agendas could merely be the flailings of intelligent beings who are so old they've gone batshit crazy, which makes puzzling out the meaning behind their actions very difficult, and at the same time lends weight to the notion that they might really be gods.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 25 2018, @02:24AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 25 2018, @02:24AM (#726122)

    Some Lovecraft is good, some is tedious. Give Herbert West: Reanimator [] a try. It's got zombies instead of elder gods (well... not explicitly anyway). I've never seen the 1985 movie [], but the reviews look very good.

    My favorite interpretation of Lovecraft is Eternal Darkness [], a GameCube game.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by The Vocal Minority on Saturday August 25 2018, @06:24AM

    by The Vocal Minority (2765) on Saturday August 25 2018, @06:24AM (#726157) Journal

    It's been a loooong time since I read Lovecraft but was a little obsessed with his work when I was young. It is actually, in the main, not very good in terms of literary craft. However there is a unique weirdness to it that is very compelling and not well captured by later "Lovecraftian" works. The ones I remember enjoying the most were "At the Mountains of Madness" and the dream cycle stories , the only one of which I can remember the title of is "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath".

    The latter of these is a weird almost Tolkienesque fantasy which ties a lot of his previous work and the mythos in general together. It was inspired by the work of an earlier author, Lord Dunsany, who although not as well know these days as Lovecraft is a much better and more interesting writer IMHO.

    There is of course the more classic texts such as "The Call of Cthulhu", "The Shadow over Innsmouth" and "The Dunwitch Horror" which are pretty good, the third one on particular. Didn't RTFA, Polygon can suck my hairy cock and balls.