Lovecraftian Horror Recommendations

Discussion in 'H P Lovecraft' started by ryantherebel, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. ryantherebel

    ryantherebel New Member

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    After reading a lot of Lovecraft, and discovering Thomas Ligotti I'd like some pointers on what are some great novels about Cosmic Horrors or have Cosmic Horror themes.
     
  2. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Only novels? Or works of shorter length as well?


    Novels -- I'd suggest T. E. D. Klein's The Ceremonies, for one. Another is Donald Wandrei's The Web of Easter Island (I've not read the original version, Dead Titans Waken!, which was published recently for the first time). Then there is Colin Wilson's The Mind Parasites (his The Philosopher's Stone is less successful, and often difficult to get into for many, but in some ways even better).


    Shorter works... well, if you're interested, then I'll put in a few suggestions....
     
  3. ryantherebel

    ryantherebel New Member

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    Go for it. I'm open for short story suggestions.
     
  4. Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Well-Known Member

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    I'd suggest:

    Laird Barron - Three collections and two novels so far...everything I've read of his has been very good and definitely Lovecraftian yet still retains a unique voice.

    Mark Samuels - Another very good, modern writer of cosmic horror. I've read a couple of collections and both have been excellent.
     
  5. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd second Laird Barron, and add several of Ramsey Campbell's works; some of the pieces in Cold Print are quite good; some of those in Demons by Daylight would also fit; there are also his novels The Parasite and, recently, The Last Revelation of Gla'aki. (I've not yet read the latter, but given Campbell's abilities, I doubt I'd be disappointed.)

    Wilum H. Pugmire has had several collections on Lovecraftian themes; these range from cosmic horrors to a more personal blending of horror and pathos. Wilum is as much a prose-poet as a story-writer, with a very unique voice. You can choose from the following:

    W. H. Pugmire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Richard L. Tierney's Simon tales, which are a blending of the cosmic horror of Lovecraft with the heroic fantasy of Robert E. Howard (along with a strong tinge of Gnosticism) have largely been gathered together in The Scroll of Thoth, though The Gardens of Lucullus is published separately:

    Simon of Gitta

    There are quite a few of the Chaosium volumes you might want to look at, though the contents there are often uneven -- from mediocre to really exceptionally good:

    Amazon.com: The Call of Cthulhu Fiction Collection from Chaosium

    You might also want to look into some of the Fedogan & Bremer anthologies by Robert M. Price (as well as Stephen Jones) -- again, the contents vary, but are often quite good, and almost always at least enjoyable:

    Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos
    The New Lovecraft Circle
    Acolytes of Cthulhu
    Worlds of Cthulhu
    Shadows Over Innsmouth (Jones)
    Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth (Jones)

    T. E. D. Klein also had an excellent collection, Dark Gods, which you should read; and his short story, "The Events at Poroth Farm", which was the origin of The Ceremonies, can be read as a separate entity itself.

    There are a lot of others in the Lovecraftian vein, as it has become something of a wide-ranging industry.

    You might also want to look up a contemporary of Lovecraft, E. H. Visiak, with his Medusa -- some startling similarities there, considering that neither writer was likely aware of the other....
     
  6. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    The Hungry Moon by Ramsey Campbell
    The Manitou by Graham Masterton
    The Wells Of Hell by Graham Masterton
    Wetbones by John Shirley
    The 37th Mandala by Mark Laidlaw
    Dwellers in The Mirage by Abraham Merritt
     
  7. Randy M.

    Randy M. Well-Known Member

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    Another vote for Laird Barron (I've read The Croning and most of The Imago Sequence) and Mark Samuels (The Man Who Collected Machen).

    A few years ago I wrote some suggestions of Lovecraftian short stories for another forum. I included,

    a. Pre-Lovecraft
    · Edgar Allan Poe: “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”
    · Ambrose Bierce: “An Inhabitant of Carcosa”
    · Arthur Machen: “The Novel of the White Powder”
    · H. G. Wells: “The Crystal Egg”
    · Algernon Blackwood: “The Willows”
    · Lord Dunsany: “The Bureau d’Echange de Maux”
    · William Hope Hodgson: “The Voice in the Night”
    · Robert W. Chambers: “The Repairer of Reputations”; “The Yellow Sign”

    To be honest, these older works are more likely to evoke "cosmic horror" than the following.

    c. Not Lovecraft
    · Frank Belknap Long: “The Hounds of Tindalos”
    · Fritz Leiber: “The Dreams of Albert Moreland”
    · Robert Bloch: “Notebook Found in a Deserted House”
    · Ramsey Campbell: “The Voice of the Beach”; “The Tugging”; “Cold Print”
    · T. E. D. Klein: “The Events at Poroth Farm”; “Black Man With a Horn”
    · Karl Edward Wagner: “Sticks”; “The River of Night’s Dreaming”
    · Thomas Ligotti: “The Shadow at the Bottom of the World”
    · Bob Leman: “Olida”; “The Feesters in the Lake”
    · Poppy Z. Brite: “His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood”
    · Fred Chappell: “The Adder”; Dagon

    [b. was a listing of HPL stories I thought they should especially be award of]

    Writing it now I'd add stories by Barron, Samuels and Caitlin Kiernan.

    Not all of these are exactly "cosmic horror," but tap into some strand of Lovecraft's work. As for the Long short story and the Chappell novel, I included them originally because other people whose taste I trust enjoy them more than I do.

    Since then I've read a few more books/stories I'd include,
    William Hope Hodgson: The House on the Borderland
    Clark Ashton Smith: Zothique (long out of print; I think a representative volume would do)
    Caitlin Kiernan: Threshold; The Red Tree; To Charles Fort, With Love (story collection)
    Ramsey Campbell: The Grin of the Dark; Midnight Sun
    John Langan: House of Windows

    If you can enjoy less "cosmic" with more "pulp" (but very well-written and thought out) try Sarah Monette's The Bone Key (collection).

    Randy M.
     
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  8. Faye HG

    Faye HG Active Member

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  9. S Blake-Smy

    S Blake-Smy Well-Known Member

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    I would like to read H P Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos; I've read a lot about them but not actually read any of them myself. Long or short does not matter, which ones should I read?

    Also is there a best order to read them in?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  10. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    My recommendation would be that you read a handful of core stories. If you read them in this order, you will start with what I think is HPL's finest story, and then you'll have some variety/contrast, story by story.

    The Colour Out of Space
    The Shadow Over Innsmouth
    The Whisperer in Darkness
    The Call of Cthulhu
    At the Mountains of Madness

    I'd say that, from that list of five, "Colour" and "Mountains" are the cream. They start strong and keep up the narrative pressure pretty much right through to the end. They're landmarks of weird literature. "Innsmouth" and "Whisperer" have enjoyable antiquarian detail, and in the former you see HPL manage pulp-thriller pursuit deftly. Personally, I tend to think that "Call" is more in the category of "cool idea" rather than being really compelling in execution.

    If you want to read more after these, I'd recommend making sure you read "The Shadow Out of Time." Other stories, such as "The Haunter of the Dark" and "The Dreams in the Witch-House" may be enjoyable, but probably won't add much to the achievement represented by the ones I have listed. They'll please you if having read the first batch you just want "more Lovecraft." If you keep reading you'll get into the area of stories that some HPL authorities would say are debatable as regards whether or not they really are "Mythos" stories, which, in my opinion, is a fun topic for fannish discussion but not very important.
     
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  11. S Blake-Smy

    S Blake-Smy Well-Known Member

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    That's great, thanks! There's a book warehouse around the corner from me that sells brand new books at £3.99 and they just received a shipment of HPL anthologies; he was so prolific though that when I looked through the huge list of contents of each of the volumes I just didn't know where to start... you just made the job a lot easier.

    Appreciated.
     
  12. Randy M.

    Randy M. Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Extollager about the stories he suggested, though I rate "Call..." more highly that he does, and if you become a fan you might want to read Fritz Leiber's discussion on "Whisperer..." which gave me a greater appreciation of that story.

    If you decide to continue reading after these, I'd strongly suggest "Pickman's Model" and "The Rats in the Walls" which are just good horror stories on the fringe of HPL's mythos (the former seems to have influenced several other good horror stories, like Robert Barbour Johnson's "Far Below"), and "The Music of Erich Zann" which touches on some recurring themes in Lovecraft, but mostly just because I like it and recommend it generally. Yeah, I'm biased.


    Randy M.
     
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  13. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    Y'know, you can read these stories for free online, if you're not sure you'll like 'em.

    Electronic Texts of H.P. Lovecraft's Works
     
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  14. S Blake-Smy

    S Blake-Smy Well-Known Member

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    That's very handy, I can have a good look at them without standing in a shop flicking through the pages and getting dirty looks from the shop assistant... or my little boy getting bored and fidgety ;)
    Although at only £3.99 I'll probably get them anyway; the amount of times I've discovered personal classics that I couldn't connect with on first reading, but loved on subsequent perusals is ridiculous!
     
  15. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I should add that my favorite HPL story, "The Colour Out of Space," which I have suggested as the one to start with, might be challenged, by some, as to whether it is a "Mythos" story since it doesn't contain references to Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, the Necronomicon, and other trappings of the "Mythos." I would respond that those things seem to have been intended by Lovecraft in his more serious moments* as means to an end, the end being the literarily convincing (while the reader reads) evocation of the feeling that the universe is haunted, is very weird. I think it's actually to HPL's credit that in "Colour" he doesn't need the apparatus of bizarre cults, forbidden (but seemingly readily available to his protagonists) books, grotesque names, etc.

    Put it another way: I recommend "Colour" as a threshold "Mythos" story--get on its wavelength and you'll probably be attuned to the other stories.

    If you want to start with a "Mythos" story that does use the "Mythos" trappings, then why not begin with "The Whisperer in Darkness"?

    *There was an element of sheer play in the Mythos-construction, too. Lovecraft himself referred to it as "Yog-Sothothery" and invited his pals to add to it. But I think this is not the main basis for claims that the "Mythos" is an impressive weird construction.
     
  16. S Blake-Smy

    S Blake-Smy Well-Known Member

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    No that's fine, I'll read them as per your original recommended sequence. I read a few paragraphs from the link you posted and connected to it pretty immediately; I'm going to pop down to the shop in the morning before I go to the local Library to write, and check out which ones they have in stock :)
     
  17. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    The Dark Chamber by Leonard Cline
    The Moon Pool by Abraham Merritt
    The Dwellers in The Mirage by Abraham Merritt
    The 37th Mandala By Mark Laidlaw
    The Manitou Graham Masterton
    The Wells of Hell by Graham Masterton
    Wetbones by John Shirley
    The Hungry Moon by Ramsey Campbell
    Cold Print by Ramsey Campbell
    Reanimators by Pete Rawlik
    The Weird Company by Pete Rawlik
     
  18. Cathbad

    Cathbad Weird Guy with Ugly Gray Beard

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