A good place to start reading HP Lovecraft

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I was wondering if anyone knows of a good starting place for someone who's never read an H P Lovecraft book before.
 

Extollager

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Begin with his best story, "The Colour Out of Space." Lovecraft's stories are available online.

If you like that, I suggest you proceed to his short novel At the Mountains of Madness.

For a good effort in his earlier weird fiction vein, read "The Music of Erich Zann."

Other ones that are characteristic of his imagination are "The Whisperer in Darkness" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth."
 

Toby Frost

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I was wondering if anyone knows of a good starting place for someone who's never read an H P Lovecraft book before.
I would start in an old, dark house, once owed by a grand family but now abandoned, in rain-swept Arkham on the banks of the ill-fated Miskatonic River.

Alternatively, I'd start with either The Whisperer in Darkness or The Shadow Over Innsmouth, because they are good lead-ins to his world, and they both read like an old-fashioned take on modern SF and horror. I think programmes like The X-Files owe a lot to them. They are long, though, especially Innsmouth. I started with a collection called The Haunter of the Dark and other weird tales, and that's pretty good, too.
 

Randy M.

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For what it's worth, I started with what was, at the time, probably the least of the collections Ballantine put out in the 1960s-'70s, The Tomb and Other Tales. I was hooked. Of course, I was also in my mid-teens.

Anyway, the question is, do you want to explore his "mythos" or are you interested more broadly in his horror stories and weird tales?

If the latter, "The Rats in the Walls" and "The Colour Out of Space" are excellent introductions, both on the periphery of the mythos. I also enjoy "The Music of Erich Zann" and "Pickman's Model." The latter maybe isn't one of his best, but it seems the root of a straggly, gnarled and thornned branch of horror fiction that includes stories like Richard Barbor Johnson's "Far Below" and Karl Edward Wagner's "Sticks."

If you're patient with stories that might seem slow to develop, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" presents some of HPL's recurring themes, not least his love of the New England landscape. "The Shadow over Innsmouth" is shorter and more focused, though, and also offers some of his recurring themes.

And as others have noted it's hard to go wrong with At the Mountains of Madness, a short novel, and arguably the best story he wrote.


Randy M.
 

CreateBobob

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I am also new to H.P LoveCraft. I started with Call Of Ctuhulhu but i actually don't know if it's a good idea
 
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I was wondering if anyone knows of a good starting place for someone who's never read an HP Lovecraft book before.
I would begin with The Outsider...it's a very satisfying, creepy story with a totally unexpected ending. From there, I would go with The Colour out of Space, then At The Mountains of Madness, followed by Shadow Out Of Time (a protagonist from Mountains makes his appearance again...it's pretty cool!) and finally Call of Cthulhu. However, if you are thinking about absolute musts: Mountains first and then Call of Cthulhu. Happy reading!
 

Smudger5150

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Personally, I loved the The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and thought it was one his better written stories. At the mountains of madness was good as well and probably could be considered an origin story for some elements of the Mythos but I preferred 'The Case of..'.

These could be good starting points but I found his stories vary in length and some of the shorter ones don't progress an idea enough for me so these two may not be a good representation of how some of other stories are structured or are more complete than some of his other shorter stories.
 

Cathbad

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I read my first Lovecraft story when I was very young - probably too young.

I remember sliding out of bed about half way through the story and turning on the light. And even though no one had seen me, I pretended to look for something I'd "dropped" before shrugging my shoulders and getting back into bed - "forgetting" to turn the light back off.
 

Phyrebrat

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Often with Lovecraft I find the famous ones are less user friendly for beginners. Certainly The Call of Cthulhu is somewhat intractable.

I think The Whisperer in Darkness is a great start, and echo sentiments about Rats and Tomb. I think The Music of Erich Zann might be my favourite Lovecraft story. Pickman’s model, The Haunter of the Dark and The Thing on the Doorstep are worth a look.

Then when you’re done with Lovecraft you can throw yourself into M R James and Arthur Machen.

pH
 
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hitmouse

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The Dreams in the Witch House has always really stayed with me. Also, The Music of Erich Zann.
Dreams ITWH kept me awake at night. It has that elusive "thing" found in the best horror ss: an atmospheric and compelling page-turner which works up to a fascinatingly nasty climax. One of his best.

I also like Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, which is a bit of an oddity.
 

BAYLOR

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Dreams ITWH kept me awake at night. It has that elusive "thing" found in the best horror ss: an atmospheric and compelling page-turner which works up to a fascinatingly nasty climax. One of his best.

I also like Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, which is a bit of an oddity.
The Dream Quest of Unknown Kaddath is a terrific read. In terms literary style , It almost resembles something that Lord Dunsany would have written. Brian Lumley did a Four book series set in the world of Kaddath.
 

BAYLOR

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For what it's worth, I started with what was, at the time, probably the least of the collections Ballantine put out in the 1960s-'70s, The Tomb and Other Tales. I was hooked. Of course, I was also in my mid-teens.

Anyway, the question is, do you want to explore his "mythos" or are you interested more broadly in his horror stories and weird tales?

If the latter, "The Rats in the Walls" and "The Colour Out of Space" are excellent introductions, both on the periphery of the mythos. I also enjoy "The Music of Erich Zann" and "Pickman's Model." The latter maybe isn't one of his best, but it seems the root of a straggly, gnarled and thornned branch of horror fiction that includes stories like Richard Barbor Johnson's "Far Below" and Karl Edward Wagner's "Sticks."

If you're patient with stories that might seem slow to develop, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" presents some of HPL's recurring themes, not least his love of the New England landscape. "The Shadow over Innsmouth" is shorter and more focused, though, and also offers some of his recurring themes.

And as others have noted it's hard to go wrong with At the Mountains of Madness, a short novel, and arguably the best story he wrote.


Randy M.
Pickman's Model was adapted for Rod Serlings Night Gallery
 
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