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Dreams of Terror and Death: The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft Paperback – September 11, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (September 11, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345384210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345384218
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"One is drawn into Lovecraft by the very air of plausibility and characteristic understatement of the prose, the question being When will the weirdness strike?" writes Joyce Carol Oates in The New York Review of Books. Del Rey has reprinted Lovecraft's stories in three large-format paperbacks. This second volume, 25 tales in all, collects the classic "Case of Charles Dexter Ward," the phantasmagoric novel "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath," several fantasies inspired by Lord Dunsany and other stories. Introduction by Neil Gaiman (author of the Sandman comics).

From Publishers Weekly

Horror master Lovecraft (1890-1937) frequently used dreams in his tales of the supernatural to evoke fantastic worlds inconceivable to the conscious mind. This repackaging of 25 stories and fragments calls attention to that aspect of Lovecraft's work, but it won't convince anyone that the selections form a coherent cycle. In the light fantasies "Celephais," "The Silver Key" and "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath," dreams are vehicles for travel to lands of enchantment in which men rub shoulders with gods and imaginary creatures. In the terror tales "The Dreams in the Witch-House," "Hypnos" and "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward," dreams intrude upon reality and serve as portents for horrors too terrible to engage directly. Both "The Statement of Randolph Carter" and the prose-poem "Nyarlathotep" are based on actual dreams of Lovecraft's, but a number of the other stories, good though they are, have no dream association whatsoever. Comics virtuoso Neil Gaiman (Sandman) supplies a respectful introduction that gives no clue to the selection criteria and, in several places, is factually incorrect. (Lovecraft placed two tales, not one, in the magazine Astounding Stories before its name was changed to Astounding Science Fiction, and before the tenure of editor John W. Campbell.) Its failed agenda notwithstanding, this book is a welcome tribute to a writer whose dreams inspired some of this century's finest literary nightmares.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

H. P. Lovecraft was born in 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, where he lived most of his life. He wrote many essays and poems early in his career, but gradually focused on the writing of horror stories, after the advent in 1923 of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, to which he contributed most of his fiction. His relatively small corpus of fiction--three short novels and about sixty short stories--has nevertheless exercised a wide influence on subsequent work in the field, and he is regarded as the leading twentieth-century American author of supernatural fiction. H. P. Lovecraft died in Providence in 1937.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 42 customer reviews
Most of the stories have an air of a fairy-tale, almost -- dreamlike.
Matthew McPherson
Very dark and chilling fantasy, but it has the "feel" of fantasy nonetheless.
Alexander T. MacNeil
A collection of Lovecraft's stories chosen with the dream as a theme of them.
Blue Tyson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 114 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Azathoh, The Descendant, The Thing in the Moonlight, Polaris, Beyond the Wall of Sleep, The Doom That Came to Sarnath, The Statement of Randolph Carter, The Cats of Ulthar, Celephais, From Beyond, Nyarlathotep, The Nameless City, The Other Gods, Ex Oblivione, The Quest of I ranon, The Hound, Hypnos, What the Moon Brings, Pickman's Model, The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, The Silver Key, The Strange High House in the Mist, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Dreams in the Witch-House, Through the Gates of the Silver Key.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Crypt on August 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
Undoubtably one of my favorite authors' most mind blowing stories are compiled here. If you haven't experienced Lovecraft's genious you're really missing out. The imagination this man possessed was incomparable. He created alternate universes and forces, creatures and powers, an entire mythological cycle by the power of pure imagination. These stories will transport you to other worlds. The words will suck you in and leave you feeling like you've experienced an apocalypse rather than simply read a story.
Unfortunately some folks seem to think that it wasn't pure imagination that created such memorable texts. This fairly common myth was perpetuated by the "Simon" edition of the "Necronomicon" which borrows from Lovecraft and combines this with ancient sumerian mysticism. For some reason "Simon" made up an elaborate story about how Lovecraft had occult ties. Not true. He may have been inspired by ancient lore and beliefs and used that to spark his imagination, however the truth is that the Necronomicon, Cthulhu, the Mad Arab etc... are PURE FICTION. The product of an incredible imagination. Anyone who has really read Lovecraft will find nothing in common with his Al Azif and the hoax "Necronomicon" that you can find in any occult bookstore. Anyone who knows Sumerian mythology and mysticism will find little in common with this book as well.
Lovecraft possessed an imagination like no other. Just read "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" if you don't believe me. It's one of the most stimulating and mind bending works of surreal fantasy I've ever read. I dare you to find something that even comes close to being similar. Check it out.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alexander T. MacNeil on October 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I must admit I was really amazed when I read this book. My interest in Lovecraft began three years ago when an online player introduced me to the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. Ever since I bought the book and played using his concepts, I was hooked. You don't have to be a roleplaying game fan to like Lovecraft, though a lot of what his stories talk about is easier to read if you have the benefit of some knowledge of Lovecraft's ideas.

Basically, the premise of his stories is that man is fortunate to be born ignorant, because if he knew the truth it would either destroy him or lead him into corruption and madness. As far as dark fantasy goes, good stories based on the Cthulhu Mythos (August Derleth's term for Lovecraft-inspired stories) rank among the best.

By far my favourite stories are "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" a surreal short novel of epic fantasy (a short epic? I never thought it possible!), "The Silver Key" a short story but intriguing nonetheless, and "Through the Gates of the Silver Key", which in my opinion is almost as good as the Dream-Quest. While it elaborates on the events after the Silver Key, it really isn't necessary to read one story to appreciate the other. Both stories are good enough to be read on their own.

What's been noted on Lovecraft's style is that he seldom produces dialogue and character development. While some of this is practiced in Through the Gates, it is largely true that Lovecraft's style is mostly poetic and not intended to be read like "normal" stories. I would also point out that Mythos tales after Lovecraft do not necessarily follow the strictly "poetic" style the author chose for his works.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on October 11, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With a introduction by Neil Gaiman, this book deals with the stories of dreams and nightmares by Lovecraft. The book starts out with three fragments,'Azathoth', 'The Descendant', and 'The Thing in the Moonlight'. Then comes the stories - 'Polaris', 'Beyond the Wall of Sleep', 'The Doom That Came to Sarnath', 'The Statement of Randolph Carter'(a repeat character in some of his stories), 'The Cats of Ulthar'(he loved cats), 'Celephais', 'From Beyond', 'Nyarlathotep', 'The Nameless City', 'The Other Gods', 'Ex Oblivione', 'The Quest of Iranon', 'The Hound', 'Hypnos', 'What the Moon Brings', 'Pickman's Model', 'The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath'(a story you have to read - more of Carter and cats -a must for fans), 'The Silver Key'(more on Carter), 'The Strange High House in the Mist', 'The Case of Charles Dexter Ward', 'The Dreams in the Witch-House'(seems to be in a lot of Lovecraft collections), 'Through the Gates of the Silver Key'(another Carter story). With over 387 pages worth of Lovecraft, used or new, this is a book worth the price.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
Of the 3 DelRey books (Best of, Dream Cycle, and Transition) this one is the best one. A truly frightening vision of a world in dreaming - the only created world that compares is Tolkien's. Whoever edited these stories together is a genius - don't read any of the stories out of sequence. The cumulative effect is like reading a strange novel into Lovecraft's mind. Terrific.
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