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review 2017-10-30 17:21
At the Mountains of Madness / H.P. Lovecraft
At the Mountains of Madness and Other Works of Weird Fiction - H.P. Lovecraft,D.M. Mitchell

I read this book to fill the ‘Monsters’ square of my 2017 Halloween Book Bingo card.

I’ve read a few accounts of Antarctic exploration and At the Mountains of Madness starts out in exactly the same style, but then it veers dramatically off course--the tale becomes an H. Rider Haggard adventure novel crossed with a cheesy horror movie! Lovecraft is very skillful at making the readers use their imaginations—he doesn’t describe the horrors experienced by the men of the expedition. Instead, he shows us a destroyed campsite and lets the expedition leader tippy-toe around the ancient ruins, jumping at every sound. There is a lot of hinting and alluding to mysterious writings, rather than descriptions of actual creatures, which would have become silly quite quickly. Much better to let each reader’s mind fill in the details that they would find the most horrifying.

It has taken me a long time to get around to reading Lovecraft, probably because I’m not much of a horror reader. If you are going to read any significant amount in this genre, a basic knowledge of Lovecraft and his Cthulhu mythos will stand you in good stead. I now realize that I have been missing allusions to his work in a number of short story collections that I’ve read in the past.

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review 2017-10-23 20:22
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallows Horror by Stephen Jones
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallows Horror: A Novel (All Hallows Horror Trilogy) - John Llewellyn Probert,Stephen Jones

There has always been something wrong about All Hallows Church. Not just the building, but the very land upon it stands. Reports dating back to Roman times reveal that it has always been a bad place—blighted by strange sightings, unusual phenomena, and unexplained disappearances.

So in the 1990s, a team of para-psychiatrists is sent in to investigate the various mysteries surrounding the Church and its unsavoury legends. From the start, they begin to discover a paranormal world that defies belief. But as they dig deeper, not only do they uncover some of the secrets behind the ancient edifice designed by “Zombie King” Thomas Moreby but, hidden away beneath everything else, something so ancient and so terrifying that it is using the architect himself as a conduit to unimaginable evil.

After four days and nights, not everybody survives—and those that do will come to wish they hadn’t. Imagine The Haunting of Hill House, The Amityville Horror, The Entity and The Stone Tape rolled together into the very fabric of a single building. And then imagine if all that horror is accidentally released . . .

The Lovecraft Squad is a book that promising in the beginning of the book, but unfortunately didn't manage to be interesting all the way until the end. 
I loved the beginning of the book. Two boys are investigating a building site and they find a skull, a bone and a pot in the place where H.G. Wells house once upon a time had stood. I found this part chilling and the story just kept on being interesting, the discovery of scrolls that tells about the end of time. It was fascinating and intriguing and the idea of 7 people entering the haunted All Hallows Church and spending four days there sounded so incredibly awesome. 
However, it's here the story started to drag a bit. At first, I loved the events (apparitions, etc.) at the church, but it came to a point when the story just didn't intrigue as much as it had before. The "surviving" members of the team is going beneath the church and into another world, it was pretty easy to see which world this was, but it took some time before this was addressed by one of them (hint a classic book about hell). And, they traveled from one level to another and I grew more and more bored and I had a suspicion that a certain twist would occur here and I was right. 
But, despite this did the book end in an interesting way, and yes I would read the next book in the series. Partly because of the cliffhanger ending, but I did find the book, for the most part interesting.
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
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text 2017-10-17 18:24
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!
Wise Children - Angela Carter
At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror - H.P. Lovecraft
Bitten - Kelley Armstrong
Late Bite (Toronto Chronicles, #1) - John Matsui
The Green Man - Kingsley Amis
Doctor Sleep - Stephen King
The Severed Streets - Paul Cornell
What the #@&% Is That?: The Saga Anthology of the Monstrous and the Macabre - John Joseph Adams,Douglas Cohen

Yup, I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland!  I'm way behind on my Halloween Bingo reading.


I'm about half way through Wise Children (my magical realism choice).  Lovecraft, Bitten, and Late Bite should all go pretty quickly. I'm a bit concerned about The Green Man and Doctor Sleep--if they're too scary to read after dark, then Houston, I may have a problem!


Wish me luck as I push to the finish!!



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review 2017-10-10 14:50
The Best of HP Lovecraft ★★★☆☆
The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre - H.P. Lovecraft,August Derleth,Robert Bloch

This is my first Lovecraft, so I can’t judge whether this particular collection has all his “best”. It did have the stories that were recommended to me as being representative of his work: The Dunwich Horror, The Colour Out of Space, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and of course, The Call of Cthulhu. I enjoyed all of these. The quality of the other stories was variable.


Rather than trying to review the stories individually, I’ll just offer a few random thoughts. Yep, now that I’ve read the source material, the influence of Lovecraft on several of my favorite modern authors is pretty obvious, especially Stephen King. Lovecraft does seem to have a wide variance in style, with stories ranging from so floridly verbose that they’re almost unreadable (a la EA Poe) to more straightforward, but still atmospheric, little horror stories. I like his monsters, which seem to run from mundane creatures acting in supernatural ways, to crazy mixes of various creature parts, to creatures who aren’t even entirely corporeal. One common choice of style that I don’t care for is how they narrator always seems to be telling you a story of something that happened a while ago – this puts too much distance between the reader and the horror experienced, IMO.


Last, and specific to this edition, is the truly excellent foreword by Robert Bloch. I learned something about the author, who is interestingly defensive on the subject of moral hygiene and authors. I also learned a bit about the evolution of the horror genre.


Previous Updates:

Foreword 1/24/15 (yes I started this ages ago, then reshelved until this month)

Pg 33/406 10/4/17

Pg 98/406 10/4/17


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review 2017-10-05 07:28
At the Mountains of Madness
At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror - H.P. Lovecraft

Nope. This is the second time I've tried Lovecraft, I've given him more than a fair shake, and I'm going with a solid No. Even setting aside the problematic social issues, I just don't like his writing at all. Like many writers who hit on a big idea that births a genre (or mini-genre) he can't actually write.

Here is the thing: he reads like a particularly dry tome written in the Victorian era. I look at his contemporaries and the antiquated language and structure seem even more tortured. I think there were more pages devoted to descriptions of boring equipment, what the expedition packed, and geology than there was actual story. (If I read the word "Cambrian" one more time this book might actually get me to scream, though not for the reasons advertised.) Also, this story is such an ideal example of why "show don't tell" is a writing staple. Again and again I'm told how scary something is, how mind-shakingly terrifying such and such is, oh the horror the horror, and that stands in for actually writing something scary. His writing also suffers from a problem a lot of older sci-fi has where our understanding of science has progressed and made certain things unintentionally funny or absurd. Oh, they have wings so they can flap their way through space? Riiiiiiight. I try to give authors a break on this because it isn't their fault, but it really didn't help matters.

So yeah. Not my bag, and I'm officially giving up on Lovecraft. I know a lot of people love him, and that's fine, but it's not my thing. I'll stick to re-tellings from modern authors if I feel the need to re-visit Lovecraftian horror. The only thing I find scary about Lovecraft are his politics and sweeping popularity.

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