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review 2014-01-20 16:32
A Primer on The Life of a Once Criminally Underappreciated Man
H.P. Lovecraft: Nightmare Countries: The Master of Cosmic Horror - S.T. Joshi

Cool Lovecraft

Amateur journalism was exactly the right thing for Lovecraft a this critical juncture of his life.  For the next ten years he devoted himself with unflagging energy to the amateur cause; for him it was not merely a hobby, but a full-time occupation.  For someone so unworldly, so sequestered, and - because of his failure to graduate from high school - so diffident about his own abilities, the tiny world of amateur journalism was a place where he could shine.


This man could be considered to be the literary equivalent - or, at least, something quite similar to - Nikola Tesla.   Taken advantage of, at least, in his lifetime?  Check.  Misunderstood/too ahead of his time?  Check.  Suddenly chic in intellectual circles?  Double check.  A very passionate genius whose body of work and entire persona is essentially one of the brightest points of inspiration to a good deal of both contemporary as well as future geeks? Oh, triple check.


 I actually know very little about Lovecraft, in terms of his everyday life, so I truthfully can't tell how accurate or inaccurate this book is - I can only attest to how the book reads, and what it ended up teaching me about the man, the myth, the legend.


In some areas, the author lingers for a phenomenally long time on the sort of things that I would think of as being, well, unimportant and bordering on boring.  Much of Lovecraft's life, prior to his leaving high school, is not all that interesting to me.  I have to say, if most of the information in the book was not of interest to me, then the author's rather dry and, yes, uninspired narration of the major points of Lovecraft's life would have left me dropping the book even before I managed to get to Lovecraft as a young adult.   It reads almost eerily as though it was originally conceived as a short book-length report on the life of Lovecraft.


A saving grace would be the shortness of the content in the book itself (artificially inflated, I will say, with large text, admittedly interesting pictures and the not-so-occasional inclusion of enhanced quotes from the text of the book that fills up to a third of the page at a time.  My problem here is that, despite the very real shortness of the text itself, the version of the book that I have is this space-hogging, thick and hardcover rectangular block of a book.   It's a coffee table book, but an ugly one at that, with an ominous-looking, cheesy cover that looks more as though it would be a book of Lovecraft-inspired art than an oddly shaped and constructed book of the bare essentials of Lovecraft's life.  So I wouldn't exactly want it for my coffee table (if I *had* one to begin with) because it's quite ugly and gaudy.  And this is *me* talking, the woman who found a collection of little postcards inspired by exploitation films and used them as cheap wall art.


At times it does prove to be a good beginning introduction to Lovecraft as an actual person, despite the awkward size and shape of the book (I love to read in the bathtub, but I couldn't exactly balance this mess in any comfortable way while I soak, so that was irritating, to me), but if you already know a lot about Lovecraft (as I hope to, one day) then this one really has very little to offer, aside from some interesting photos that are cool to look at, once.  To be frank, I bet anything that there have been better biographies of the man made already, and there will definitely be better biographies made in the future, in the face of the awesome popularity of everything Lovecraft.


It's a good thing I got this at, oh, one dollar while in the clearance bin at my work, or else I would have felt pretty bummed about buying it, period.   While I was reading it, Monster Man (my S.O) mentioned to me that it's odd that I was reading this to being with, instead of just reading a story or two out of the collection that he had bought for me as a gift.  Touche.


What Will I Do With My Copy of this Book? : Eh, sell it to Half-Price, most likely. 

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text 2014-01-09 00:44
Great Daddy Lovecraft
H.P. Lovecraft: Nightmare Countries: The Master of Cosmic Horror - S.T. Joshi

Happy Lovecraft


Hey - I don't give a shit - in the right light, Lovecraft was a respectable looking gent!


Am reading this biography of Lovecraft that I got for a buck at my work when it was on clearance, and came across this bomb-ass quote that describes Lovecraft's dead-seriousness towards his subject matter, and explains the perfect attitude for a writer of the weird:


"Now all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large. To me there is nothing but puerility in a tale in which the human form—and the local human passions and conditions and standards—are depicted as native to other worlds or other universes. To achieve the essence of real externality, whether of time or space or dimension, one must forget that such things as organic life, good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all. Only the human scenes and characters must have human qualities. These must be handled with unsparing realism, (not catch-penny romanticism) but when we cross the line to the boundless and hideous unknown—the shadow-haunted Outside—we must remember to leave our humanity—and terrestrialism at the threshold.


(Letter to Farnsworth Wright, 5 July 1927)


And, seriously, if you think that Lovecraft was a friendless recluse with no active life, then you are in desperate need of some serious research  You ass.  'Cause he totally wasn't, to the tune of being what is supposed to be the second most prolific letter writer in history.  

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review 2013-12-29 10:30
My Master's Nightmare (My Master's Nightmare #1-5) by Marita A. Hansen

“You are a soulless man, Jagger.” “No, I’m a breaker of souls, someone you should run from.”

If I could describe My Master's Nightmare I'd say it was like a Sempre (J. M. Darhower), Captive in the Dark (C. J. Roberts) & The Siren (Tiffany Reisz) threesome.

Those men needed to be punished.

And I would do it.

No matter the cost.

Or how much I lost.


... have been mind-fucked.

I don't think I've ever been so lost when reading a book. My mind was scrambled. By the end of the story, I couldn't tell which way was up and which way was triangle.

But I'm a sucker for these stories and I can't say I didn't enjoy the hell out of this one.


You think you have things figured out? Thing again. And then when you think this time I know what's going to happen... through that out the window too. I was kept on my toes throughout the whole book, which was one of the most enjoyable things about it.


Second to that was Jagger & Frano. All I have to say is to them is:




I can't say all the characters were enjoyable, and I want to give Alberto, Matteo and The Priest a big fat

but they were believable. All their mistakes, deceit, betrayal... you just couldn't help but be pulled into it. The plot was so thick you could cut through it.


My Master's Nightmare is not for the faint of heart. I was repulsed by some of the scenes.

But if you can take it then I'd say READ IT!






*A copy of this book was generously provided in exchange for an honest review*

Source: todreamwitheyesopen.wordpress.com
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review 2012-11-21 00:00
H.P. Lovecraft: Nightmare Countries: The Master of Cosmic Horror
H.P. Lovecraft: Nightmare Countries: The Master of Cosmic Horror - S.T. Joshi "Short biography of the master of weird, including photos and reproductions of original hand-written pages.

H.P. never knew the influence he would exert over the horror genre. Never able to break out of the early pulps, Lovecraft struggled to survive on as little as $15 a week, A sad man in many ways, he displayed moments of enduring brilliance.

A must read for any fan of weird literature and early horror.
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