Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft: Dreams of Terror and Death
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on March 2, 2000
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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on August 4, 2003
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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on March 2, 2007
These days i find myself sadly jaded. I pick up books, read partway through, and lose interest... either because the plot is too predictable (been there, read that, know what's going to happen) or because the writing is mediocre. I find that good writing is increasingly important to me as I get older.

So, a couple of years back when I picked up this collection in a bookstore and started to read, my happy little synapses started firing as they hadn't in quite a while. Lovecraft writes more hauntingly than most anyone; I mean this in the sense of conveying extraordinary images and a sense of fabulous unworldliness, in language that is so deliciously balanced, complex and graceful that it makes one slow down and read every word.

At times dark and macabre, at others lyrical and filled with magic, the stories here really do have the quality of dreams. One encounters lost or fabulous worlds, and intimations of age-old terror. I was instantly transported into Lovecraft's world, and return there periodically to lose myself in his magic, and to recall that once upon a time, people could use the English language to enchant.

Here is the opening to "Azathoth", the first brief story (which is unfinished). If you like this language and the rich concepts it conveys, I promise that you'll love the rest of the book:

"When age fell upon the world, and wonder went out of the minds of men; when grey cities reared to smoky skies tall towers grim and ugly, in whose shadow none might dream of the sun or of Spring's flowering meads; when learning stripped the Earth of her mantle of beauty and poets sang no more of twisted phantoms seen with bleared and inward looking eyes; when these things had come to pass, and childish hopes had gone forever, there was a man who traveled out of life on a quest into spaces whither the world's dreams had fled."

Sigh. Now THAT'S writing...
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on October 12, 2004
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. I'm told Ramsey Campbell does the Mythos particularly well, and he is an example of the more traditional horror novelist.

All in all, The Dream Cycle of H.P. Lovecraft is a selection of some of Lovecraft's greatest flights of imaginative fantasy. Very dark and chilling fantasy, but it has the "feel" of fantasy nonetheless.
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on May 1, 2013
I love this book. I had bought a copy long ago when Walden Books still existed, and it is one of my favorite books. I love Lovecraft, and this is my favorite set of his short stories. I had loaned out this book to a friend to read, but he moved away and never gave me back my copy. I finally broke down a bought this book again, and it was pristine. Perfect condition. I bought it directly from Amazon, which ensured that. I have always trusted Amazon for books that are in perfect condition. I have yet to buy a book from Amazon that was damaged in some way. And I know that the Customer Service people will help if that ever is not the case. I almost always buy my books from Amazon, instead of from the Marketplace. Those I do buy from in the Marketplace, I have yet to have a problem with.

I'm just so glad to have my book back. I missed it.
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on June 7, 1998
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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on June 9, 2014
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

In the mood for some Eldritch horror? Feel like steeping yourself in Lovecraft’s frightening nihilistic dream worlds? Want to be read to by some of the world’s best story readers? Then give Blackstone Audio’s version of Dreams of Terror and Death: The Dream Cycle of H.P. Lovecraft a try. It collects Lovecraft’s entire Dream Cycle in 20 hours of high-quality audio narrated by some of my favorite readers including Robertson Dean, Simon Vance, Sean Runnette, Elijah Alexander, Stefan Rudnicki, Bronson Pinchot, Simon Prebble, Tom Weiner, Malcolm Hillgartner, and Patrick Cullen.

Here are the stories:

Azathoth
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
Celephaïs
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
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

The stories of the Dream Cycle tell of men (Lovecraft writes very few women) who are seeking, discovering, traversing, stuck in, or trying to escape the Dreamlands, a parallel universe that is entered through dreams. The Dreamlands have a consistent geography with land masses and towns that have their own personalities and politics. For example, in “The Cats of Ulthar” (one of my favorite stories) we learn why it’s illegal to kill cats in Ulthar. The Dreamlands also have a moon and an underworld which are inhabited by frightening non-human races.

If you’re already a fan of Lovecraft, many of these stories will be familiar to you and those that aren’t will seem so. Lovecraft’s usual themes and imagery are all here. (Honestly, they get a little repetitive). The Eldritch mythos and its famous textbook, The Necronomicon, is a constant backdrop, making the tortured characters seem puny and ineffective to change their circumstances in the face of an ancient elder race that cares nothing for mankind. This nihilistic, hopeless feeling is indeed terrifying. Many of Lovecraft’s characters have descended into madness as they face, or refuse to face, a cosmic reality that only a few people have encountered.

A particular theme of these stories is the nature of dreams and reality. They may make you wonder, along with the author and his characters, why we dream at all. Lovecraft suggests that perhaps “real” life is only a dream. If Lovecraft were alive today, I think he’d be disillusioned with modern science’s views about dreams. They’re not nearly as wondrous as Lovecraft’s ideas.
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on October 11, 2002
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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on January 30, 2010
The book begins with a section entitled "Three Fragments," in which is printed "Azathoth," "The Descendant," and "The Thing in the Moonlight." A note following ye latter fragment notes: "As discovered by editor/historian S. T. Joshi, the central portion of this fragment was taken from a letter Lovecraft wrote to Donald Wandrei. Opening and closing paragraphs were added by J. Chapman Miske." It was actually Schultz who made this discovery, I believe. As S. T. describes the situation in H. P. LOVECRAFT: A LIFE (pgs. 435/436):

"Later in the month of November Lovecraft had another peculiar dream, involving a street-car conductor whose head suddenly turns into 'a mere white cone tapering to one blood-red tentacle.' The account of this dream appears in a letter to Wandrei of November 25, 1927. This letter is of interest because it has proved the source of a hoax whereby a work entitled 'The Thing in the Moonlight' was spuriously attributed to Lovecraft. After Lovecraft's death, Wandrei had passed along the texts of both the Roman dream and this shorter dream to J. Chapman Miske, editor of SCIENTI-SNAPS. The Roman dream appeared in SCIENTI-SNAPS (under the title 'The Very Old Folk') in the Summer 1940 issue. When Miske renamed SCIENTI-SNAPS as BIZARRE, he printed the other dream-account, adding opening and closing paragraphs of his own and calling the whole farrago 'The Thing in the Moonlight by H. P. Lovecraft'. August Derleth, not aware that this item was not entirely Lovecraft's, reprinted it in MARGINALIA (1944). When Miske saw the volume, he wrote to Derleth informing him of the true nature of the text; but Derleth must have forgotten the matter, for he reprinted the piece again as a 'fragment' in DAGON AND OTHER MACABRE TALES (1965). Only recently has the matter been clarified by David E. Schultz."

It is wrong to call this a "hoax," and in point of fact this very queer dream-image of Lovecraft's has inspir'd many other writers of Lovecraftian horror. Edward Lee has based an entire novel, the nasty and authentically Lovecraftian TROLLEY NO. 1852, on the dream. S. T. now excludes "The Thing in the Moonlight" from all modern editions of Lovecraft's tales, so this trade pb is one of the last few places where you'll be able to find it.

I found Neil Gaiman's Introduction very disappointing, and he has said some very odd things in video interviews concerning Lovecraft. In the 2003 documentary, THE ELDRITCH INFLUENCE, Gaiman calls "The Call of Cthulhu" a "crap story." I find this quite astonishing, and I wish I could understand more completely this statement. In the Introduction to this book, Gaiman writes of Lovecraft that "He's rock and roll." Perhaps he means by this that Lovecraft, through his influence &c, has gained a kind of Immortality and modernism, despite the fact that his stories were written almost one century ago. Again, such statements baffle me, and I wish I understood what they mean. Because I'm a literary snob, my gut reaction when I first read that was, "Don't be absurd -- Lovecraft is LITERATURE."

The book is an excellent introduction to Lovecraft, and shews that even his very minor efforts have depths of brilliance and are imaginatively rich. Ye Contents:
Azathoth
The Descendant
The Thing in the Moonlight
Polaris
Beyond the Wall of Sleep
The Doom That Came to Sarnath
The Cats of Ulthar
Celephais
From Beyond
Nyarlathotep
The Nameless City
The Other Gods
Ex Oblivione
The Quest of Iranon
The Hound
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

It was a mistake to call this THE DREAM CYCLE OF H. P. LOVECRAFT -- for although dreams are a vital component to many of the stories, very few actual tales by Lovecraft could be included in anything called a "dream cycle." But the stories are enchanting, and in most cases excellently written. The choice of tales here cover E'ch-Pi-El's entire career as a weird fiction writer. Highly recommended.
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on July 29, 2013
I loved Lovecraft when I first read him as a "tween" some 53 years ago. This is simply a re-packaging of some of his work, and as such, still great. A special treat for those readers who appreciate an incredible command of an incredible and incredibly emotive, vocabulary. if you're into minimalism, avoid HPL. If you love language, you're in for quite a ride.
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