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For whatever reason, and I have no ready theory for why it should be so, Horror has proven to be one of the most novel and enduring of America's literary forms.  From Washington Irving and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to Edgar Allan Poe's stories and poems, to The Turn of the Screw (Henry James' only worthwhile work), on to the great pulp writers like Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, right on up to the overrated but ridiculously successful Stephen King and the innovative but underappreciated Dan Simmons and Robert McCammon, we just keep churning out great horror writers and stories.

HP Lovecraft earned his place in this company with his supremely creepy short fiction, which injected both intergalactic elements and the mythos that he created involving the dread text of the Necronomicon.  At the Mountains of Madness is perhaps his finest work and is obviously the forerunner of such subsequent horror staples as The Thing and Alien.  It tells the story of a doomed party of Antarctic explorers who uncover the remains of a lost civilization, the Old Ones.  Turns out, these Old Ones bioengineered the Earth, but were vanquished by their own creations, who have now been reawakened by these unwitting explorers.

Lovecraft's writing is mannered and affected, which may keep him from a mass audience, but it retains a certain gothic power and he continues to be a cult favorite.


Grade: (B+)


See also:

Howard Lovecraft (3 books reviewed)
Howard Lovecraft Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: H. P. Lovecraft
    -The H. P. Lovecraft Archive
    -BLOG: Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein
    -ESSAY: Bridges Across the Void in H.P. Lovecraft’s Mythos (Nathaniel Birzer, November 17, 2023, Online Library of Liberty)
-ESSAY: “A dismal throng of vague spectres”: Reading Knowledge and Identity in H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” Through Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” (Janice Lynne Deitner Articles, Issue 13 2024, Irish Journal of American Studies)
    -ESSAY: Terrifying vistas of reality: H P Lovecraft, the master of cosmic horror stories, was a philosopher who believed in the total insignificance of humanity (Sam Howard, 3/28/24, Aeon)
    -ESSAY: H. P. Lovecraft, Prophet Of AGI: We've entered the age of the three-letter agency -- AGI, ASI, NHI -- and Lovecraft saw it coming. (JON STOKES, APR 12, 2023, Return)
    -ESSAY: The Tricky Terrors of H.P. Lovecraft: A little racist, sometimes a bit dull, but undeniably influential and wholly original. (BILL RYAN, OCTOBER 13, 2022, The Bulwark)
    -ESSAY: H.P. Lovecraft's Afterlife: He was an atheist and a nihilist, and he's more influential than ever. (JOHN J. MILLER, March 15, 2005, National Review)

Book-related and General Links:
    -H.P. Lovecraft Archive
    -The Cthulhu Mythos: A Guide (Joseph F. Morales)
    -H.P. Lovecraft (Alan Gullette)
    -Iä, Shub-Niggurath!: H.P. Lovecraft Page
    -REVIEW:  THE DUNWICH HORROR AND OTHERS By H. P. Lovecraft (Edna Stumpf, NY Times Book Review: IN SHORT)
     -REVIEW: H.P Lovecraft: A Life  by S.T. Joshi (Paul T. Riddell, Tangent)
    -ESSAY: The King of Weird (Joyce Carol Oates, NY Review of Books)
            H.P. Lovecraft: A Life by S.T. Joshi
            The Dunwich Horror and Others with texts edited by S.T. Joshi
            At the Mountains of Madness & Other Novels edited by S.T. Joshi
            Dagon and Other Macabre Tales edited by S.T. Joshi
            Miscellaneous Writings edited by S.T. Joshi
            Selected Letters edited by S.T. Joshi
                            Vol. I: 1911-1924 (out of print)
                            Vol. II: 1925-1929, $10.00
                            Vol. III: 1929-1931 (forthcoming)
                            Vol. IV: 1932-1934, $12.50
                            Vol. V: 1934-1937, $12.50
    -ESSAY: Julian Symons: The Heavy Fantastic
    -ESSAY: Why Lovecraft Still Matters: The Magical Power of Transformative Fiction by Don Webb
    -ESSAY: The Poetry of H. P. LOVECRAFT by L. Sprague de Camp (as edited by Jonathan Vos Post)
     -ESSAY: Calling Cthulhu: H.P. Lovecraft's Magick Realism  by Erik Davis
     -ESSAY: H. P. Lovecraft and the Myth of the 20th Century  (Joseph F. Morales)
     -ESSAY: Poe &  Lovecraft   by  Robert Bloch