Monday, February 06, 2006

Eldritch, Cyclopean Horrors

I make no apologies whatsoever for the following gratuitous link to one of the most creative and inventive Lego dioramas I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. I present to you: Cthulego Rising!

People like to poke fun at Lovecraft for overplaying the dramatic tension surrounding his stories, but so far as I am concerned, none have so far surpassed him for the development of atmosphere and, yes, “nameless, lurking dread”. Not only the greatest horror writer we have ever seen, but the most influential (Can you imagine Alien without Lovecraft’s obvious influence? It would probably look a lot like Alien: Resurrection or, y’know, Alien vs Predator, which is horror as interpreted by a cheerleading squad.), and one of the finest writers I have ever read.

The best editions of Lovecraft, for those unfamiliar with this sublime genius, may be found, unsurprisingly, in Penguin, who, having lost the plot around 1970, at least have the decency to keep quality classics in print: The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories and The Thing On The Doorstep & Other Weird Stories. Each furnished with wonderfully elaborate footnotes and annotations, and truly a delight for the senses, provided the scotch and cigarettes are to hand and something suitable is spinning on the old jukebox. I recommend Morals & Dogma by Deathprod, or Saurian Meditations by Karl Sanders.

Speaking of Penguin, their boxed edition of the first series of Great Ideas mini-books is available now in all good bookstores. I recommend you do as I did, and go buy it.

12 Comments:

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Tim said...

Apparently Houllebecq's monograph on Lovecraft is being or has been published in the States. Might be interesting, although going by his novels probably not. I wonder if the front cover will feature a young woman in a bikini.

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger JPW said...

I've got it - it's actually very good. I'm not a fan of Houllebecq but it's a very insightful and interesting monograph, as you say.

 
At 11:56 AM, Blogger JPW said...

It's got Lovecraft's mug on the front cover, incidentally. Handsome, manky-looking lad he is too.

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger TimT said...

I dunno ... I'm not a huge fan of Lovecraft. The best horror writer ever? What about Sheridan le Fanu? Stephen King?

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger JPW said...

Wasn't familiar with le Fanu. Will have to scope him out!

As for Stephen King, being the most prolific doesn't make you the best.

 
At 12:49 PM, Blogger Tim said...

I recently bought Le Fanu's Through a Glass Darkly, a book I enjoyed as a teenager - and not just because the story "Camilla" has lesbian undertones. Although that was a selling point at the time.

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger TimT said...

Le Fanu is excellent. A Glass Darkly - which I've just finished reading - is interesting for many reasons: one because it contains a fictional treatment of the use of drugs. And of course the lesbian undertones.

Have you read any of King's early short stories? (Or even his later ones, like The Moving Finger). They are excellent.

Also, how can we forget to mention Poe?

 
At 2:08 PM, Blogger TimT said...

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At 2:08 PM, Blogger TimT said...

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At 2:08 PM, Blogger TimT said...

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At 2:08 PM, Blogger TimT said...

Some words I learnt from Lovecraft:

Calamander
Eldritch
Chthonic
Cyclopaen
Palanquin

 
At 2:14 PM, Blogger JPW said...

Lovecraft is indeed excellent for expanding one's vocabulary, though not, I can only surmise, particularly good for helping one to make up one's mind :-P

 

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