Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H P Lovecraft

Well, I finally relented and bought myself a copy of Necronomicon: the Best Weird Tales of H P Lovecraft. I've got various different editions of my favourite Lovecraft tales, and have had numerous others over the years some of which I've really treasured. However, I am now a fan of substance, a middle aged, middle class nerd, and I am allowed - perhaps even obliged - to treat myself to little indulgences like this.

It's a classy package. Needless to say it's got nice clear print, on smooth, creamy paper. It comes as a black, leather-look hard cover binding with gold leaf lettering and a rather nice depiction of Cthulhu, similarly in gold leaf. It's very dramatic. I feel like should read it by candle light with a velvet dinner jacket and glass of sherry.

I love H P L's stories and I have a great admiration for H P L as a true literary misfit. He created a handful of great, short works then died young, and his life and writing always make me think of his near-contemporary, Franz Kafka. Both men were able to externalise inner fears and demons into universal horror stories, and they share a helpless, hopeless streak, that stems from the horror of the world around them.

It'd be silly to buy this handsome volume and not enjoy it properly, so I've decided this would be a good time to reread these stories, some of which I haven't read for a long, long time (in fact, I may not have read “The Unnameable” or “In the Vault and I may not have ever made it all the way through Under the Pyramids”).

While I read them, in my velvet dinner jacket, I'd like to invite you to share a glass of sherry and  some spine-tingling tales of mystery and suspense, as I blogg my way through them. The stories are arranged in order of publication (not necessarily order written) and you can probably find the contents on amazon or elsewhere, if you're dying to know how its going to play out.

It might take some time. There's 35 stories here, including “At the Mountains of Madness” and “The Case of Charles Dester Ward”, which are both slim novels. I'm going to read them slowly at night, rather than try and blitz through them on the tube, and so I'll probably be at it for a year or so.

While I'm reading them, I'll have on hand An H P Lovecraft Encyclopedia compiled by S T Joshi and David E Schulz, to see what they have to say about the stories. I reviewed it here for The Zone a few years ago.

So, without further ado, the first story: Dagon.

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