Monday, February 7, 2011

Book Review: The Call of Cthulhu and other Weird Stories

Over the last couple weeks I've been re-reading a favourite from my teen years, The Call of Cthulhu and other Werid Stories by H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft, for those who don't know was a prolific horror/pulp writer in the early part of the 20th century, most famous for having creating the story The Call of Cthulhu which introduced to readers the concept of the Old Ones; ancient gods who once ruled the world and one day would do so again.

From the ages of 15 to 18 I read through all of Lovecraft's stories (and a number of his letters) and loved them. The pacing and dialogue were both sometimes lacking and his stories have more than a little racism throughout, but the concepts really resonated with me at the time. As someone moving out of the safe environment of childhood into the frightening and seemingly uncaring world of adults, I found a lot that I could relate to in his works.

Re-Reading the book now was kind of like visiting an old friend after many years - his apartment seems a little smaller, but you keep coming across things that set off jolts of memory from your younger days. The stories themselves are pretty standard Lovecraft fare - our narrator has a friend who has discovered something that does not want to be discovered and pays the price. From my point of view the best short stories of the collection were; The Call of Cthulhu, The Color out of Space, and The Shadow Over Innsmouth.

If you've never given them a try, keep in mind that the stories can sometimes be difficult to get into, but there is quite a lot of good stuff there for those willing to explore.

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