The Best of H.P. Lovecraft 04of06-Anthology

By H.P. Lovecraft

Knowledge brings pain. Madness offers release.

2016-09-15_SA Best of HP Lovecraft Cover

The Whisperer in the Darkness (10-16)
A shaken narrator opens with doubt, wondering if his story can be true. It begins when strange things are seen floating in Vermont rivers, reviving local legends of a reclusive alien race up in the hills. Various debates spread the story further, until a Mr. Akeley warns the narrator to stop, before “they” stop him.

At first Akeley is easily dismissed as mistaken, but in his letters he scientifically documents all of his findings, lending them an objective authenticity. The story uses their correspondence to alternate between intense and calm experiences. The story as a whole gradually shifts from scientific to emotional tones, but the contrast helps to enhance the suspense as both men slowly uncover the full scope of their adversary.

+Strong Plot
+Strong Characters


The Colour Out of Space (11-16)
A narrator learns of a “blasted heath”, a patch of forsaken farmland. He finds a local man who tells him what happened. It began when a meteor fell on a local farm. The story reads like a historical summary, outlining numerous attempts to study the meteor, as well as the gradual changes it effects upon the farm. As the changes become more drastic, the summaries become more detailed but never quite cross over into actual scenes. Even the dialogue is summarized rather than simply said. The story ends tragically, as each character confronts and ultimately resigns themselves to their fate.

+Strong Plot
-Weak Characters
-Weak Writing


The Haunter of the Dark (12-16)
In the aftermath of a storm, an artist is found dead. Most conclude that he was struck by lightning, but his journal suggests another explanation, an ancient evil he awoke by exploring an abandoned church, and disturbing ancient relics. An unnamed narrator summarizes much of the story, glossing over details that do not directly relate to the church or the malignant entity. Some passages are interesting, particularly the parts where the artist is allowed to speak directly, once again hinting at complex horrors in disjointed phrases, aptly demonstrating the artist’s tattered mind. Unfortunately these moments are few and isolated to the latter portions of the story. Once again Lovecraft frontloads his story with exposition before demonstrating his strengths.

+Strong Descriptions
-Weak Characters
-Weak Plot


Next Time…
Best of HP Lovecraft 5of6-Anthology

6 thoughts on “The Best of H.P. Lovecraft 04of06-Anthology

  1. Pingback: The Best of H.P. Lovecraft 03of06-Anthology | Write Thoughts

    • Lovecraft is a master of portraying the unknown and alien, but I feel his pacing is often excessively slow. I’ve seen a slow pace used to build anticipation, but in these cases it felt more like expositional chores before moving on to the good parts.
      There are a few stories of his that I’ve given 3/5 to: Rats in the Wall (1of6), The Call of Cthulhu (3of6), and Shadow Over Innsmouth (5of6).
      I also tend to rate things a little differently than most. 2 and above means I liked it but don’t generally recommend it. 3 and above I’ll recommend to anyone who’s a fan of the genre or subject matter, and 4 and above I recommend in general.
      For really good horror I would recommend the 3 Lovecraft shorts I mentioned above, Hell House or Hellbound Heart. For something a bit softer, Thief of Always or Coraline

  2. Not a lot of people willing to have negative opinions on Lovecraft, I’ll admit that even I was surprised at your ratings. But to each to his own. I think lovecraft stories tend to have higher focus on the concepts and aliens being portrayed over anything else, which is why I wouldn’t have the same complaints that you do. But thanks for sharing!

    • I agree. I think when it comes to unique ideas and otherworldly descriptions Lovecraft excels like no other, but I think there are also other areas where he struggles.
      I think a lot depends on the audience, what they are looking for and what they would prefer to avoid.

  3. Pingback: The Best of H.P. Lovecraft-Condensed Anthology | Write Thoughts

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