And your first Lovecraft tale was ....?

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#2
Well, I think my first was "The Colour out of Space" but at such an early age it didn't make that much of an impression, really. Then I picked up a copy of the old Beagle 2-vol. Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos at the library when I was about 12, and read "The Call of Cthulhu"...

And how did I feel? It was a strange blending... scared the bejeezus out of me, as a kid, but also I found myself feeling as if this were something that had some reality to it... it could be real. It's a fantastic story, yet done with care for the verisimilitude, and it avoids any of the usual supernatural trappings... the most of that being Cthulhu's influence on dreams; the rest is a supernormal, but still meets a rational explanation. Yet it made me feel as if a whole new world that felt like the spiritual world had opened up to me there....

Lovecraft himself called it "a form of non-supernatural cosmic art" that he was trying to achieve... that sense of awe, terror, wonder, the supernal, almost mystical feeling for the vastness and mystery of the universe that is very closely akin to the religious feeling at root... and I'd say he accomplished it admirably.
 

HoopyFrood

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#3
The Call of Cthulhu was the first Lovecraft story I read as well. I was so happy when I managed to come across a copy of Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos from a little book stall and that was the first story I read from it. This was about...well, during the Christmas holidays actually! I enjoyed it immensely and I think the thing I loved most about the story was the description of R'lyeh, with it's impossible angles and strange appearance; it was something truly unsettling.
 

Randolph

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#5
I think my first was "The Statement of Randolph Carter." I had just finished "The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe" and someone suggested that I read Lovecraft. I had no idea about what I was in for, but stories like "The Cats of Ulthar" and "The Quest of Iranon" really got me excited. They had that same poetic quality as "Silence: A Fable" which is one of my favorite stories by Poe. (I had never heard of Lord Dunsany, so these tales seemed very original to me)

The story that had the greatest impact on me, though, was At the Mountains of Madness. I wish I could have the pleasure of reading that story for the first time again - it is truly an original. Fortunately, one of the amazing things about it (as with much of Lovecraft) is that there is so much depth to it, it can actually get better each time it's read.
 

Curt Chiarelli

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#6
In December 1980 I unearthed a battered paperback copy of the Scholastic Books edition of The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Other Stories of Horror the Friday before Christmas break began. The cover art depicted some kind of bizarre hybrid of Max Schreck as Count Orlock and a sea monkey, but never mind: it was the contents that I was after.



The first tale I read in that anthology was The Shadow Over Innsmouth and with that fateful hook firmly planted in my cheek I was reeled in gasping for air, my appetite for more became insatiable.
 
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#7
The first story I read was in a collection of tales I found in the library. It was appropriately enough The Cats Of Ulthar. It sank it's claws into me from the very first line.

However it was to be several years before I managed to find anything by Lovecraft. There was none available in the libraries in Malaysia and the whole fantasy, supernatural horror, science fiction genres were in their infancy. The most one could hope for was a book of tales by Poe.

I found all the resr of Lovecraft's tales when I was in University and it was like coming home. I felt as if someone had reached into my mind and pulled all the thoughts and ideas out and spilled them on paper in black and white. I think I spent days not eating or sleeping but just reading all the books I'd found.

I loved Call of Cthulhu with it's city of walls standing at odd angles; Mountains of Madness and the horror that crapt up slowly making sure you were well and comfortable every step of the way; The Colour Out Of Space with it's ill defined horror that seemed to somehow encompass everything without ever showing its face.

The one that sunk it's claws the deepest was The Silver Key. Here was hope and wistfullness and wishes come true all bound together.
 
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#8
My first was Rats in the Walls. Somehow, it felt overrated to me. All the same I read other Lovecraft stuff over the years. Those involving alien intelligences and the like, they didn't suit me. But there was one which bothered me and I can't remember the title anymore.

Anyone remember the one where you have an old man who never dies, and who has lived for all those years in New England plotting and planning something? I think he had a house with weird things underneath.
 
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#9
My first was Rats in the Walls. Somehow, it felt overrated to me. All the same I read other Lovecraft stuff over the years. Those involving alien intelligences and the like, they didn't suit me. But there was one which bothered me and I can't remember the title anymore.

Anyone remember the one where you have an old man who never dies, and who has lived for all those years in New England plotting and planning something? I think he had a house with weird things underneath.
Not quite an accurate synopsis, but recognizable, I think. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, I believe, is the one you're talking about. Ward was a Salem merchant who left there at the outbreak of the witchcraft scandal and came to Providence; he didn't age noticeably, and his peculiar actions eventually called down the notice of the more prominent men of the time. So he was killed -- by them, or by ignoring the injunction of his colleague to "doe not calle up any that you cannot putte downe"... but he had made plans, and left clues, and his descendant Charles Dexter Ward, unfortunately, is the sacrificial lamb to bring Curwen back nearly 150 years later....

Does that sound familiar? There is a section in the novel where Dr. Willett is underneath Curwen's house, in the ancient vaults, and discovers what is at the bottom of some of those wells.....

As for "The Rats in the Walls", I notice that a lot of more recent readers (say, over the last 20 years or so) have had that response; yet I think it's a more subtle tale than is often realized. The rats aren't real, of course, but we're left uncertain whether they are actual spiritual phenomena, or a manifestation (in his own mind) of De la Poer's tainted ancestry calling him as the past reaches out to engulf him... and it has tremendous implications throughout the tale that are often missed, such as the fact that his is not only not an isolated case, but a synecdochical one, as he stands in for all humankind. There's also a lot of genuine folklore and history woven into that one (as with so much of HPL's work), including some very interesting aspects from S. Baring-Gould's Curious Myths of the Middle Ages -- especially the chapter on Bishop Hatto and the legend of the rats and the tower.... Lots of subtleties to that piece, I find, so that it continues to grow with me over the years....
 
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#11
It sounds a bit more like "The Terrible Old Man" to me. Although he was just terribly old, not immortal.
I was thinking the "weird house with things underneath." That would certainly fit Curwen's labyrinths better, I'd have thought; though "The Terrible Old Man" did occur to me on the other portion....
 

mogora

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#12
Not the first, but "Call of Cthulhu" had the most impact when I first starting reading Lovecraft. After I read that I knew I had to read everything HPL wrote. "Call of Cthulhu" and the other mythos-related stories have been the only pieces of fiction to actually scare me. And yet, at the same time, I'm gasping in awe and wonder. What a wonderful feeling this is when most horror movies and books leave me in bored out of my mind. (The rest make me laugh, so at least there's some entertainment there...)
 

brsrkrkomdy

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#13
The first Lovecraft story that stayed with me was The Festival where the villagers wore strange masks. That image stayed in my mind. However, Colour Out Of Space stood out strongly in my mind. It's far more chilling when all the strange things started happening the minute the meteor fell from the sky. It's become far more imitated in movies as well as other stories. It has shown a glimpse of cosmic dread in the form of a nameless matter whose color is not known by human eye.
 

ghyle

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#14
Mine was The Colour out of Space. I read it in primary school, when I was ten, and it took until I had almost finished high school before I read any more.

Fortunately, I have been able to make up for lost time since.
 
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#15
My first was The Dunwich Horror and my reaction was to jaw out all the people that hyped and recommended Lovecraft because I thought this was one of the biggest crap-fests I'd ever read, but then I read Rats in The Walls (hey...wait...), Shadow over Innsmouth (this...is...) and At The Mountains of Madness (...AWESOME!) and I got totally hooked.
 

Dr. Atomic

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#16
Colour Out of Space was my first, followed by Shadow Over Innsmouth. Someone suggested that, as a science fiction fan, I might enjoy those two in particular. He was right, and while I've liked or loved most everything I've read by ol' H.P., those two remain my favorites.
 

sanityassassin

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#17
I am not too sure but I think I read at least an excerpt from Call of Cthulhu when I was a teenager but the first I read properly was the Outsider and I loved it. That was closely followed by the Rats in the Walls which I also really enjoyed
 

Ningauble

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#18
My first was "The Colour out of Space", in Stora skräckboken (1959) when I was 11. I found the book in my father's collection and thought the Swedish title of the story sounded vaguely science-fiction-ish (I was a huge SF fan at the time). And it scared me silly! I didn't read Lovecraft again until I was 14 or 15, when I had seen references to "Cthulhu" in various RPG material, and decided to look him up (by that time I had completely forgotten that he was the guy who wrote "Colour").

I still find "Colour" a bit unsettling.
 

Fried Egg

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#19
My first H.P. Lovecraft tale was Dagon which I just read this morning. :)

It's the first story in the collection "The Call of Cthulhu and other weird stories".
 

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