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Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft (Commemorative Edition)
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146 of 151 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2010
Those who have spent time researching H.P. Lovecraft are undoubtedly aware that the story collections edited by S.T. Joshi are considered vastly superior to all others. This edition, unfortunately, does not fall under that category, but opts to include the stories as they were originally published. Just the same, do not quickly dismiss this collection, for it still has a number of merits.

To start things out, here is the list of the works it includes:
"Night-Gaunts" (A great sonnet from "Fungi from Yuggoth")
"Dagon"
"The Statement of Randolph Carter"
"The Doom that Came to Sarnath"
"The Cats of Ulthar"
"The Nameless City"
"Herbert West--Reanimator"
"The Music of Erich Zann"
"The Lurking Fear"
"The Hound"
"The Rats in the Walls"
"Under the Pyramids"
"The Unnamable"
"In the Vault"
"The Outsider"
"The Horror at Red Hook"
"The Colour out of Space"
"Pickman's Model"
"The Call of Cthulhu"
"Cool Air"
"The Shunned House"
"The Silver Key"
"The Dunwich Horror"
"The Whisperer in Darkness"
"The Strange High House in the Mist"
"The Dreams in the Witch-House"
"From Beyond"
"Through the Gates of the Silver Key" (with E. Hoffman Price)
"At the Mountains of Madness"
"The Shadow over Innsmouth"
"The Shadow out of Time"
"The Haunter of the Dark"
"The Thing on the Doorstep"
"The Case of Charles Dexter Ward"
"The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath"
"To a Dreamer" (A final Lovecraft poem)
Afterword: A Gentleman of Providence by Stephen Jones

As can clearly be seen, this is quite a hefty and impressive collection, and it comes with a number of excellent illustrations that go a long way to immersing one in the HPL universe. As such, this collection is ideal as an introduction to the works of Lovecraft, but it isn't without a few shortcomings. Thus, a comparison of it's faults and merits would be:

--Pros--
-One of the largest collections of Lovecraft's works
-Contains a number of superb illustrations
-Enough of HPL's poetry to creat interest
-A very good Afterward on the author himself
-And some very good binding

--Cons--
-Does not include S.T. Joshi's "definitive" versions of the texts
-Contains ONLY enough Lovecraft poetry to wet the appetite
-Finally, "Shambler from the Stars" & "Shadow from the Steeple" by Robert Bloch (prequel & sequel to HPL's "Haunter of the Dark") are not included in this book

Ultimately, if you are truly interested in Lovecraft, you'll need to get more than just this collection. "The Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos" should net you the aforementioned stories by Robert Bloch, and "The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft" should satisfy the need for the author's verse, but there are still a large number of HPL's stories missing from this collection. For a more complete collection of Lovecraft's stories, one would do well to purchase the following four "corrected text" editions of S.T. Joshi: "At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels", "Dagon and Other Macabre Tales", "The Dunwich Horror and Others", and "The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions"

In the end, you will be satisfied with this purchase... but if you're really into Lovecraft, you'll probably not be FULLY satisfied with it. It makes a great intoduction to the superb fiction of HPL, but the fabled "Complete Tales and Poems of H.P. Lovecraft" has yet to be published. Here's to hoping it someday will be....

PS: I would start by reading:
"The Dunwich Horror" (my favorite), "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", "The Rats in the Walls", "The Silver Key", "The Thing on the Doorstep" and finally "The Whisperer in Darkness" ... but that's just me.
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82 of 91 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book in the belief that it was a complete collection of HPL's works (or close to it). Instead it's pretty much just the major stuff found in most big collections, missing a few of my notable favorites (Arthur Jermyn, The Temple, He, The Festival, etc ) as well as missing a lot of the obscure stuff (The Evil Clergymen for instance, plus his really early stuff).

And please note that the description is wrong, it's not over a 1000 pages, it's only 880, including a 50 page essay on Lovecraft. While interesting, I wish that space had been used for some of his missing stories. It could be the regular UK version has more, but Amazon.com seems to be selling the shorter, "Export" edition.

It's got a few stories that the Library of America collection doesn't (but not that many), most notably more of the Dreamlands stuff. But you also don't have any annotations or notes like the Library of America collection. There are some illustrations

This is pretty cheap, but at the same time, it's not the best Lovecraft experience, nor complete. I was really hoping to get all his stories in one big book (as it had been billed in some quarters). But this was a complete waste of my money. The paper and binding is also very cheap.

Only if you are completely new to Lovecraft is it worth a look.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 7, 2010
I'm not going to bother reviewing the fiction in the volume. It's by H.P. Lovecraft, it's absolutely fantastic horror fiction that transcends the genre and what's included is all of his best stuff. I will assume, that like any literary type (or horror fan), you are not here to decide - "Should I buy Lovecraft's books?". I'm assuming you know that like Poe, you need a Lovecraft selected (or complete) works on your shelf - the question then is "Which edition is best suited to my needs?"

So, I'm going to focus on why this book is a good purchase - it has 36 stories, including the big ones. It's affordably priced. It looks really nice on a shelf and it's very pleasant to read in the hands and on the eyes. The drawback is it's big and the binding is so-so. The only one-volume competition is really the Library of America "Tales" collection with 22 tales. It has better binding and a better critical apparatus (e.g. footnotes). That one's a bit more expensive though and has some other problems.

I would recommend either this volume or the Library of America to someone looking for a single volume collection. If you're a collector or own the Library of America "Tales" book, this probably isn't worth a purchase because you have most of the stories.

Personally, I prefer this one because the pages are thicker and I find the text easier on my eyes. The Library of America edition is much smaller and has ultra-thin pages with relatively small text. If you have good eyesight, that might be a better choice since physically it's smaller, but I had difficulty reading it. This edition sits like a Bible on the shelf towering above other books. The gold ink on the spine looks very classy and ominous and it's easy to find amongst my bookshelves. The binding is not great, but it's good enough and on par with most oversized mass market paperbacks.

There are better Lovecraft collections out there. I believe the Arkham has Lovecraft in his entirety, there are the Joshi volumes edited from the original proofs rather than the published editions - of note to the purists, but this is the best one for most people, myself included. $18 for 36 Lovecraft stories and short fiction! It's an uncanny deal. It towers, cyclopean, above other such editions at that price.

If you want a shorter volume (admittedly this is quite large physically) - the Del-Rey's might fit your needs. It's cheaper, too. The collectors and completists love the Arkham ones. If you're buying for a library, the Library of America is a better pick, both because of its standard size, because it's bound better and because of the critical apparatus and lastly because of snob appeal - the tales were "selected" by Joyce Carol Oates (the tales selected aren't much different than this volume though).

I think this is the best single volume reading edition because it's easy to read, it has the best selection of stories and it's an attractive volume. Recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I had been trying to obtain a worthy volume of HPL's works for quite sometime. I'm never satisfied with what is out there, to my surprise, I discovered this publication! It's as close as you are going to get to having a 'full' collection, as it includes most of his major works. The cover is impressive for a softcover and the artwork that accompanies each story is fantastic!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2008
'Necronomicon: the complete Weird Tales' of H.P Lovecraft in its hardcover edition is a beautiful book - a bibliophiles dream. Suitably tome-like, all it really needed was a tassel to complete the look. The typeset and illustrations are really appropriate and unlike some I appreciated the biography on H.P Lovercraft contained in the rear of the book. Reviewers have also noted that 'Necronomicon: the complete Weird Tales' is not a complete collection of Lovecraft's work - but it never claimed to be, instead it collects those works written for legendary pulp magazine 'Weird Tales.' At 878 pages there's plenty of material for readers to sink their teeth into, and all the classics, such as 'The Dunwich Horror,' 'The Shadow Out of Time,' and 'Call of Cthulhu' are included.

Buy this book and saraband yourself across aeons of time into the curious, antique world of H.P Lovecraft. Park yourself under a gibbous moon and read these eldritch tales of cyclopean architecture and primordial terrors. You will traverse dimensions of time and space and have an indescribably sinister experience of unspeakable horror.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2014
This book is simply wonderful. As far as the stories it contains are concerned, I have absolutely no complaints. Lovecraft's vocabulary is something to behold, providing even the most learned readers with at least a few unfamiliar words. Lovecraft has a skill not just for storytelling, but also for setting up a dark and frightening atmosphere for his stories. Anyone who is unfamiliar with Lovecraft's work ought to pick this item up; it serves as a nice sample of the kinds of works that Lovecraft is known for, and it will take quite some time to get through the entire 800 pages so one gets his/her money's worth for sure. The only reason that this item does not get a full five stars from me is that while the contents of the book are phenomenal (though appear to have been edited by a Brit due to spelling variations), the book itself physically leaves much to be desired. The ink of the text tends to smear if one has sweaty hands; further, the ink on the outside cover fades away too if one's hands sweat profusely. The book is also gigantic. To purchase this item is to purchase not only a source of entertainment but also a source of security; this book is big enough to be brandished as a weapon. Lastly, as one reaches the end of the book, the spine begins to bow in and the sound of the cheap glue holding the whole thing together can be heard crepitating with each turn of the page. Who said that we bookish types neglected our work-outs? This book's unwieldy size will more than make up for any missed weights training. So, purchase this book; I highly recommend it. But do take care to prepare both your brain and your biceps for this daunting and thoroughly satisfying tome.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2012
This the a great and affordable way to start an H.P. Lovecraft collection. It is not a full collection, but very close. You will need to see the companion book "Eldritch Tales" which concludes his works. These are unedited, so for the purist who wants the way there were and not edited by people further down the line, this is it. Worth the price and looks great as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2012
I first saw this edition about four years ago and was disappointed upon picking it up to find that it was paperback, I glumly set it down and promised that I would wait for a hardcover, if it ever came to pass. Then no too long ago I found here on Amazon that it had (maybe there was one from the beginning and I had ill luck, who knows) I bought it without a second thought and am glad I did. First the price was actually cheaper than the paperback I found in stores, and second, I didn't immediately notice, but Necronomicon is the twin of Eldritch Tales: A Miscellany of the Macabre (both by Orion Publishing) which I already owned. Just their presence on my bookshelf is great.

The book itself is all black with stamped gold gilt letters and cover drawing (a Cthulhu rendering by Les Edwards), and inside are certainly the best tales of Lovecraft. I have not read very far at this time but have yet to encounter any glaring errors, I have faith though as the only mistakes I found in Eldtritch Tales were so minute I cannot even recall them in detail.

On the illustrations provided by Edwards I find nothing disagreeable, the full page drawings are not many but each one fantastically blends in mood and translation the story it correlates to. If you already own or have perused through Eldtritch Tales then you will recognize them immediately as they are of the same crop. With my copy however the ink had yet to fully dry and with many of the illustrations there is a faint ghost on the opposite page, it honestly does not detract much as only the larger pieces have a noticeable mirror smudge, and those are really seen when the book is angled and held under certain light.

This book looks great, feels great, and fits wonderfully on the book shelf right next to its sibling, Eldritch Tales, which as I did not buy off Amazon and cannot really leave a review I would in short still recommend that you at least look into picking up that volume as well.

So yes, I am a happy customer, Lovecraftian followers, buy this book and I'm sure you'll be just as happy if not more.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I always swore I would never buy another edition of Lovecraft. I already own his complete works in multiple forms: a few copies of "Weird Tales," a complete set of the old Arkham Press hardcovers, S.T. Joshi's annotated editions, an Easton Press luxury edition of "At the Mountains of Madness." several comic book adaptations, and an illustrated version of Nyarlathotep. But then Gollancz Press came along with this cool faux leather-bound "Necronomicon" and I found myself buying yet another bound volume of Lovecraft works for that most vain reason to buy a book--it looks good on my bookshelf.

Obviously,"Necronomicon" is not a single-edition complete set of Lovecraft. It is followed by a second Lovecraft edition, Eldritch Tales. Both books form a matched set with Gollancz Press' The Complete Chronicles of Conan. The front cover it says that this is a Commemorative Edition but it doesn't say what it commemorates The book was originally printed in 2007. If I that is a significant date to Lovecraft, then I don't know what it is. And yes, all three books together look good on my bookshelf.

The subtitle for "Necronomicon" is "The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft" and arguably that is what it delivers. His most famous works are here: "The Call of Cthulhu." "The Dunwich Horror." "Herbert West - Reanimator." "The Rats in the Walls." "The Horror at Red Hook." "The Shadow Over Innsmouth." "At The Mountains of Madness." There are thirty-six stories collected in all, including Lovecraft's ghost written piece for Harry Houdini, "Under the Pyramids."

Notably missing are Lovecraft's poems. There is no "Fungi From Yuggoth." No "Nyarlathotep." The only poem included is the short "Night Gaunts" in the front and "To a Dreamer" in the back. Also not included are his revisions that he did of other writers works, many of which are almost wholly Lovecraft stories with Lovecraft re-writing over ninety percent of the story. Most what is not collected can be found in the companion volume "Eldritch Tales."

The book is illustrated by Les Edwards, who does an excellent job with a series of black-and-white drawings that summon up some of the great scenes of the stories. Obviously, not all thirty-six stories are illustrated, and some of the illustrations are used more than once, but they look great. Really, Lovecraft doesn't need lush illustrations and I thought Edwards did a fantastic job.

There is a nice afterward, titled "A Gentleman of Providence," by editor Stephen Jones. I really enjoyed this. Jones laid out Lovecraft's life from birth to death to beyond, touching briefly on almost everything. From Lovecraft's earliest literary efforts, to his career as an author, to his death and resurrection from obscurity by August Derleth, to Derleth's own invention of the "Cthulhu Mythos," to films and TV and comics and pretty everything Lovecraft. In a few short pages Jones is very thorough.

Except for Jones' excellent afterword, I wouldn't say this is really a beginner's Lovecraft. There really are a lot of different versions available, and this Gollancz Press is largely for established fans. Still, it is an excellent book and I am glad I was lured to add one more Lovecraft edition to my bookshelf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2009
It's a hefty book, and the leather binding has so far held up to my bedside abuse. I was seduced by the promise of illustrations, but they seem to be merely a set of proprietary clip-art stamped onto stories with marginal regard to relevance. A few editorial/typographical misses. Quality paper and typesetting make for easy reading.

I've enjoyed what I've read of the included essay on Lovecraft. It's an enjoyable refresher for HPL fans, and an interesting primer for newcomers. The pages it consumes wouldn't offer much expanded coverage of HPL's oeuvre. In my opinion, most (if not all) of his best tales are included.

I don't regret the purchase. I do regret the general lack of a deluxe edition of Lovecraft's work more suited to the title of this omnibus, e.g. a thick faux-flesh binding a la the Evil Dead commemorative DVD set. Gimmicky, yeah, but what a conversation piece!

The market is ripe for a lovingly crafted edition with relevant placement of the best of Lovecraft artists, annotations in the vein of ST Joshi's work, and definitely a pronunciation and glossary appendix! My vocabulary has expanded since I first read HPL as a teenager, but I'm still tripping on some of his archaisms.

The Amazon price for the hardcover is only slightly more than you'd pay for the softcover at a retail shop. Good deal.
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