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That is not dead which can eternal lie

I was reading some short stories by H.P. Lovecraft today and stopped to ponder on his greatness. I don't remember the first thing of his that I read, but it hooked me and got me to keep on looking for more. I realized that the more I read, the more I enjoy it. There is a distinct reason for this that I haven't experienced with any other author.

His stories stand on their own as, for my money, the greatest horror fiction ever written. But what makes Lovecraft so rewarding to keep coming back to is the repetition of common themes and recurring names that build up into a common mythos that unites the individual tales. Each short story sheds light into a new dark corner of that hideous world, and enriches the entire Lovecraftian oeuvre.

The true genius of it is that the references are not explicit, but rather tend to act as little gems for observant readers to spot and exclaim, "ah-ha! I've seen this before!" It's like the second time through a good movie when you are hit over the head by foreshadowing and vague hints that just slipped by and failed to register in your consciousness during the first viewing. But it's even better than that, because it brings additional elements into the story you are reading that open it up onto a larger world.

I'm not sure where to go with this post. If you're an avid Lovecraft reader, I suppose you've already noticed the things of which I speak, and if not then you probably don't care. But you should care... one of the handy things about his short stories is that they tend to be easy to find online. If you've never read him before, go do it now. Then come back and tell me what you think. Take all the time you want; I can wait for you.

1 comment:

mangaijin said...

Lovecraft: Brilliant ideas, often terrifying, awful dialogue. A lot of his work, and some other great stuff, can be found here.