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The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre Paperback – May 12, 1987


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 375 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (May 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345350804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345350800
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Lovecraft is "the American writer of the twentieth century most frequently compared with Poe, in the quality of his art ... [and] its thematic preoccupations (the obsessive depiction of psychic disintegration in the face of cosmic horror)," writes Joyce Carol Oates in the New York Review of Books. Del Rey has reprinted Lovecraft's stories in three handsome paperbacks. This first volume collects 16 classic tales, including "The Rats in the Walls," "The Call of Cthulhu," "The Dunwich Horror," and "The Colour Out of Space." Introduction by Robert Bloch. Wraparound cover art by Michael Whelan.

From the Inside Flap

This is the collection that true fans of horror fiction have been waiting for: sixteen of H.P. Lovecraft's most horrifying visions, including Lovecraft's masterpiece, THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME--the shocking revelation of the mysterious forces that hold all mankind in their fearsome grip.
"I think it is beyond doubt that H.P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the Twentieth Century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."
Stephen King

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

For one who loves horror, that feeling of creepiness will really like his book.
Jodene
Lovecraft has a unique writing style that separates him from most other horror writers I have read, a tenaciously descriptive style with lots of rare old syllables.
Anders Teigen
This collection of H.P. Lovecraft stories is a great anthology and a good introduction to the writings of the horror master.
Cody Carlson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is basically the essential Lovecraft collection, featuring 16 of his best pieces of fiction and a noteworthy introduction by Robert Bloch, a member of the Lovecraft circle.. Naturally, one can make an argument for other tales that should be included, but the contents as they are represent a compelling cross-section of the master's work over the course of his literary career. It must be noted that Lovecraft's three short novels, which are of course immensely important, are not among these shorter works, but their inclusion in these pages would result in a much longer book that could potentially turn away potential readers. This book more than any other serves as a beacon to new readers yet to discover horror's greatest writer.

Every story herein deserves it own review, frankly. "The Rats in the Walls," "The Dreams in the Witch-House," and "In the Vault" (one of my favorites) offer traditional horror tales full of Lovecraftian atmosphere. "The Outsider," perhaps the least satisfying read, is an allegorical tale reflecting an isolated individual's view of society and of himself. "The Silver Key" is a solid representative of the dream-myth stories of the author's earlier years and serves as an introduction to Lovecraft's heroic character Randolph Carter. "The Colour Out of Space" is a singular, science fiction/horror tale counted by Lovecraft himself as one of his favorites. "The Picture in the House" is perhaps Lovecraft's most efficiently horrifying story ever, "The Music of Erich Zann" is an unforgettable tale touching on the great secrets of the unknown, and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" sensationally evokes the horror and depths of influence by unseen agents on this earth.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Rats in the Walls, The Picture in the House, The Outsider, Pickman's Model, In the Vault, The Silver Key, The Music of Erich Zann, The Call of the Cthulhu, The Dunwich Horror, The Whisperer in Darkness, The Colour Out of Space, The Hunter in the Dark, The Thing on the Doorstep, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Dreams in the Witch-House, The Shadow Out of Time.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Anders Teigen on February 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book contains 16 of Lovecraft's best works, though you will find a few equally good or even better stories in the other 2 Del Rey compilations.
Lovecraft has a unique writing style that separates him from most other horror writers I have read, a tenaciously descriptive style with lots of rare old syllables. Most of the horrors are either dimly described or not described at all, leaving a lot up to the reader's imagination, in line with Lovecraft's famous sentence: "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." What we can't see certainly does scare us!
Some of the best known stories like "The Call of Cthulhu" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" are essentials, and my 4 personal favourites "The Shadow Out of Time", "The Whisperer in Darkness", "The Rats in the Walls", and of course Lovecraft's own favourite: "The Colour Out of Space".
Highly recommended! If you like it get the other 2 books in the series, or one of the Arkham House hardbacks if available.
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46 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
I believe another reviewer has already stated that what is contained in this volume seems closer to a most 'accessible' Lovecraft collection than a best of, although the inclusion of pieces such as the Silver Key does give this volume a higher ratio of excellent stories than the clearly-not-best-of Transitions volume also published by Del Ray. What is missing here are the two mature works, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Dream Quest of Unknown Kaddath and (my particular favorite) At the Mountains of Madness. It is difficult to consider this volume to represent the best Lovecraft when it instead seems to (especially in the first few stories) represent the most generic Lovecraft. Some of the man's best and most imaginative stories are not to be found here, but to give the volume credit, it is certainly a well balenced collection with no genuinely weak stories (though the second one--called something like 'the picture in the house' or something like that, is so absurdly predictable that it is hard to understand how it made it into this volume. On another note, upon recent rereading, I must agree with the introduction that appears in the Arkham house Dagon volume, in which the author (I cannot recall his name) states boldly that Lovecraft's horror has not aged well, while his science fiction and fantasy--especially his fantasy--still feels quite inspired and original. But readers of this volume will miss out on most of Lovecraft's fantasy. What they will get instead are pieces like the Dunwich horror, which as the century closes reads more like a potential script idea for a B film made by the likes of Roger Coreman.Read more ›
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
H.P. Lovecraft was the best horror writer of this century. And by saying this, I do not feel I am going out on a limb.
Never before has an author impacted my thought as much as Lovecraft has. I constantly read his work and frequently talk about him to others. In fact, I even sport a few Lovecraft shirts around town. Obsessed? Yes, but for good cause.
As Ramsey Cambell said, Lovecraft can do something many other "master" authors can't: Infuse the reader with mindnumbing terror.
Maybe "mindnumbing" is a little bit of an overstatemnt, but terror isn't. Mixing a broad range of stories from tales of crazy scientists to genocide of ancient races, Lovecraft presents a very powerful and interesting philosophy (best summarized by earlier said Campbell): Man is luckilly ignorant of certain things, for if they knew them it would be death or insanity.
And this book shows just that. From "Call of Cthulhu" to "The Rats in the Walls", this book is sure to please anyone searching to own their first Lovecraft book or someone that wants to find out if the rumours of Lovecraft being a horror master are correct.
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