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Tag: h p lovecraft

The Dreams in The Witch-House by Howard P. Lovecraft – R.I.P. VII

The Dreams in The Witch-House is a short story / novella by H. P. Lovecraft, part of his Cthulhu Mythos. I read it for the R.I.P. Challenge. I can’t believe I read so few horror-ish books for R.I.P. this year, but I am going to spend this last week making up for all the lost time.

I’ve always said, that the one thing that I love about Lovecraft’s stories, is the way he dives right into the mystery, horror and absurdity of the situations his characters are in. I also like how there is usually one lead character and the story revolves around his experiences with something beyond reality. It’s as if he strips off all the elements that may complicate a story, many characters, dialogues, small plot twists and other fluff and focuses the entire plot on the one thing that he does extremely well: intrigue and terrify the readers.

This story was no different. It is a tale about Walter Gilman, a student of mathematics and folklore, who moves to the Witch House, a place where the witch Keziah Mason lived after she escaped from Salem. Like all the previous occupants of the place, who mysteriously died prematurely, Gilman begins to suspect that he is being haunted by her. He spends nights dreaming feverishly of alien worlds and indescribable evils till he eventually encounters the witch and her freaky, rat-like familiar.

“May Eve was Walpurgis Night, when hell’s blackest evil roamed the earth and all the slaves of Satan gathered for nameless rites and deeds. It was always a very bad time in Arkham, even though the fine folks up in Miskatonic Avenue and High and Saltonstall Streets pretended to know nothing about it. There would be bad doings, and a child or two would probably be missing.”

I had read about Lovecraft somewhere, before I had actually ever read his books and the article said, that the only way to enjoy Lovecraftian horror was to leave your brain aside and believe everything he throws at you. I don’t think that is very accurate now, because it doesn’t include the fact, that Lovecraft makes it very easy for the readers to believe in all the things that would seem ludicrous when written by most other writers. He has the uncanny knack of making just about anything seem completely realistic. It may be true, though, that not everyone can enjoy his books, but I do think everyone ought to try at least a few stories; you never know, you may actually like them.

If you like Lovecraft, if you’ve read anything by him and are used to his style, this is quite a good story. If you haven’t, you should, but this is not the best place to start. The first book I read by Lovecraft was The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, his only novel, and I would suggest that to first-timers, mostly because it is easier to get used to all the absurd, when it is novel-length. And of course, if you happen to read any similar authors or books on such cosmic horrors, recommendations are welcome!

The Shadow out of Time by H. P. Lovecraft

I admit, I haven’t read many of Lovecraft’s works. But what I have read, I love. I have read quite a few stories from the Cthulu Mythos, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and now this fascinating little novella about time travel and mind transference and spiritual possession and such. H. P. Lovecraft was an American authors, known for his tales of madness and gory and has influenced some of my favourite writers; not to mention, was himself influenced by some of the greatest horror/weird fiction writers. Those of you who are familiar with or like Lovecraftian horror, should definitely give this one a try.

The Shadow of out Time, published in 1936, is a combination of horror, thriller and science fiction. The story takes place (sort of) in the early 1900s, when a man named Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee happens to temporarily switch bodies with a member of the Great Race of Yith; a weird species that is able to travel through time and space. And it is Nathaniel who tell us the story!

What I like about Lovecraft, is how he dives right into the crazy, gory part of a story; without a build up or even a vague idea as to how grotesque things might become. It is shocking, but it is also fascinating. It makes me realize how unnecessary the build up is. The narrator tells us what has happened at the start, even though it would normally be the suspense in a story. And then the story of how he got there, that works as the suspense. It is terribly intriguing.

It is a short, quick-paced novella, with wonderful writing and an engaging plot; so it certainly makes a nice, quick read.  Do try it, it’s worth it. It was the perfect book for me to read as a part of the 24 Hour Readathon, at any rate!

(I found a short film version of the book on Youtube, here.)

Holiday Reads

I haven’t been blogging much lately (for one reason or another) and I do sincerely miss it so I decided to make some time in my seemingly insanely busy life to wish you guys a happy Christmas! I had planned a whole set of twelve reads for the “twelve nights of Christmas”, but I am neither supposed to know nor do I happen to know when these nights start or end. So I just read a lot of other books along with a few Christmas-ey reads this month.

One of the books I read and loved was The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore. After reading the likes of Heinrich Boell and Max Frisch in November, this laid-back Christmas story was more than welcome – for getting out of the serious-literature-mode and into the holiday spirit! While looking for some good Christmas reads, among the usual Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, Tolstoy’s Papa Panov’s Special Christmas, in a list titled Christmas Horror I spotted that little cartoon angel, who made me want to read the book in the first place – and also wonder whether the book was in the right list! I loved the book – so much, in fact, that I spend the next day reading two more just-as-funny books by Moore!
It is Christmas time in the fictional town of Pine Cove. An angel (a very silly one) is supposed to grant a lucky boy one wish. The little boy has seen Santa die (well, someone dressed up as Santa, but the boy doesn’t know that, does he?) The wish goes awry, and instead of making Santa alive again, the angel manages to raise a graveyard full of people from the dead – making it a very zombie Christmas!

Only last Wednesday I read a short story called The Festival by H. P. Lovecraft, that I forgot to post about. A man returns home for Christmas, to the little village of Kingsport to meet his folks. Instead he is greeted by strangely silent streets and crazy people. This story is one of the first short stories of Lovecraft’s Cthulu Mythos. The strange rites performed in the caves and the old battered and scary grimoire of Necronomicon do make me want to read so much more of Lovecraftian horror – which I hear it’s called!
Last night, I re-read my most favourite (holiday) book – Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather – ’twas (after all) the night before Hogswatch…