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The H.P. Lovecraft Omnibus 3: The Haunter of the Dark and Other Tales (1963)

de H. P. Lovecraft

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Séries: The H.P. Lovecraft Omnibus (3)

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574631,380 (4.24)19
A collection of some of the most famous stories from the master of tomb-dark fear
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This collection with an introduction by August Derleth published in 1951 is expensive to buy, (a good second hand copy is about 80 euros), but you can read all the stories in the collection free on the internet (without Derleths introduction). The listing of these classic stories in the original collection is:

Pickman's Model - 1927
The Call of Cthulhu - 1928
The Colour out of Space - 1927
The Dunwich Horror - 1929
The Haunter of the Dark - 1936
The Music of Eric Zann - 1922
The Outsider - 1921
The Rats in the Walls - 1924
The Thing on the Doorstep - 1937
The Whisperer in the Darkness - 1931

I took the option of reading these stories on my kindle, but in the same order as the 1951 collection.

People may be familiar with the Dunwich Horror, which has been made into films a number of times and it contains all the classic elements of the Cthulhu mythos. The scenario is in backwood country in Massachusetts along the upper reaches of the Miskatonic river and near the town of Arken. Inbreeding is rife and Wilbur Whatley's birth is heralded by a chorus of barking dogs. He is deformed but develops at a prodigious rate. The family has vague connections with the witches of Salem and Wilbur seeks out a book of old spells called the Necronomicon: there is a copy in the library at Arken and a Doctor Armitage becomes interested in the Whatley family and visits their old farmhouse. He soon discovers that Wilbur was attempting to call the Great Old Ones by using the Necronomicon. The Whatley farmhouse erupts with monsters rising from the depths...........

The "Call of Cthulhu" published a year earlier is one of the first of the stories and fills in the history. Two events in different parts of the world set the scene for the stories that follow: an Icelandic tribe and a voodoo gathering in backwoods America are found to be committing atrocities and both chanting the same refrain:

"In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming"

Six of the stories in this collection are based around the Cthulhu mythos and we learn that the monsters are from outer space and are using the earth for mining precious metals in out of the way places. They are able to exert mental power that can control weak minded earthlings, but are content to remain hidden. When they do arise from the depths of the earth there is devastation. Each of the six stories develop the mythos a little more, but of course they have a sameness about them and so by the time I read the final story "The Whisperer in the Darkness" I was getting a little bored.

The strength in the telling of these tales is Lovecraft's ability to create a milieu that has all the portents of coming doom. Nobody behaves foolishly, but they are sucked into the strangeness that surrounds situations that Lovecraft creates. One of the stories: "The Colour Out of Space" which is not really part of the Cthulhu mythos, but tells of the effects of a small meteorite landing in a sparsely populated area and how it slowly poisons the land of the Nahun family and causes their eventual destruction is both atmospheric and sinister. Most of these stories have that same quality. The Collection contains Lovecraft's last tale "Haunter of the Dark" written in 1935 which is of short story length and seems to distill many of the elements of Lovecraft's writing into a superb horror story reading experience. Perhaps people curious about H P Lovecraft should start with this.

I really enjoyed two other stories which are not part of the mythos; 'The Music of Erich Zann' and "The Outsider": the ideas that fuel these two stories have since been written and rewritten by other authors since Lovecraft's versions, but his stories stand up well. Horror stories from the 1920's-30's are short on gore, leaving the reader to imagine the worst and that is just how I like them. Well written and inventive with that unmistakable sense of wonder, this is a 5 star collection. ( )
2 vote baswood | Oct 22, 2020 |
In intelligent and discerning selection of Lovecraft's best and/or most important short stories, this is the best jumping on point I've found for anyone wanting to discover one of Horror's most influential authors. Certainly a better route than trying to wade through one of the many complete collections on the market.

These stories deserve a place on the shelves of any horror fan. ( )
  Angharan | Jul 25, 2017 |
A collection of his best known, shorter stories. New to Lovecraft, I was completely convinced by the world he created, and despite the overly formal style of writing there is real darkness, and fear of madness, lurking beneath. Weird fiction indeed. ( )
  Moomin_Mama | Jul 30, 2016 |
I awaked each morning in a fever, sometimes frantically trying to verify or discredit such information as fell within the range of modern human knowledge. Traditional facts took on new and doubtful aspects, and I marvelled at the dream fancy which could invent such surprising addenda to history and science.
I shivered at the mysteries the past may conceal, and trembled at the menaces the future may bring forth. What was hinted in the speech of post-human entities of the fate of mankind produced such an effect on me that I will not set it down here.
After man there would be the mighty beetle civilization, the bodies of whose members the cream of the Great Race would seize when the monstrous doom overtook the elder world. Later, as the earth’s span closed, the transferred minds would again migrate through time and space - to another stopping place in the bodies of the bulbous vegetable entities of Mercury. But there would be races after them, clinging pathetically to the cold planet and burrowing to its horror-filled core, before the utter end.


I have been reading the stories of H. P. Lovecraft one or two at a time, in more or less chronological order, as they came up in the H. P. Lovecraft Literary podcast. "The Haunter of the Dark" was the last of his stories to be covered in the podcast, so I have finally finished all three volumes of the omnibus.

According to the introduction by August Derlath , the stories in the third volume are some of Lovecraft's best, and it does include one of my favourites, "The Color Out of Space", which features a truly alien extraterrestrial being, one that couldn't be played by an actor in a rubber suit.. Another of the stories I really enjoyed is "The Shadow Out of Time", with it's time-travelling, body-switching aliens. On the other hand I didn't really like The Thing on the Doorstep", whose narrator tells the tale of his weak-willed friend's downfall at the hands of a scheming fellow-student. ( )
1 vote isabelx | Jun 25, 2012 |
This is the third omnibus volume in a series of three, and contains all Lovecraft's best short stories. As typical with this genre, my rating of five stars really depends on one's task for pulp.
The volume contains 14 short stories, the stand outs being The Call of Cthulhu itself (the foundation for leagions of imitators, and very popular role-playing game; The Colour of of Space; The Thing on the Doorstep (possibly my favourite); and The Whisperer i Darkness ( )
  GrumpyBob | Jan 4, 2009 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
H. P. Lovecraftautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Derleth, AugustIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Miller, IanArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
White, TimArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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A collection of some of the most famous stories from the master of tomb-dark fear

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