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Waking Up Screaming: Haunting Tales of Terror Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."

Welcome to the world of H. P. Lovecraft, the undisputed master of terror. His work has inspired countless nightmares, and this collection of some of his most chilling stories is likely to inspire even more.

Cool Air–An icy apartment hides secrets no man dares unlock.
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward–Ward delves into the black arts and resurrects the darkest evil from beyond the grave.
The Terrible Old Man–The intruders seek a fortune but find only death.
Herbert West–Reanimator–Mad experiments yield hideous results in this bloodcurdling tale, the inspiration for the cult film Re-Animator.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth–A small fishing town's population is obscenely corrupted by a race of fiendish undersea creatures.
The Lurking Fear–An upstate New York clan degenerates into thunder-crazed mole like creatures with a taste for human flesh.


About the Author

H. P. Lovecraft lived his life in the moody New England that was the setting for his tales. His writing appeared in some of the most famous “pulp” magazines, but no book of his work was published in his lifetime, and so Lovecraft died in relative poverty and obscurity. Since then he has been recognized as one of the most influential cult horror writers of this century. His influence on American horror has extended to Stephen King, Anne Rice, Clive Barker, and many others.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034545829X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345458292
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,315,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Tomsho on February 6, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
H.P. Lovecraft is an underappreciated horror writer. Though flawed in many ways, such as his habit of finding a handful of unusual adjectives and using them over and over and over again, he was an incredible storyteller. He created an entire universe of wonder and at the same time mind-blowing fear which became known as the Cthulhu Mythos, named for the behemoth god-like entity which has become iconic of his works.
That said, there are a lot of great stories here to showcase Lovecraft's talent. Cool Air is a particularly creepy story inspired by the fledgling science of cryogenics which was first talked about in the early 20th century. From this first story, the reader is introduced to one of Lovecraft's signature techniques: using the last line of the story as the climax. Though he did not use it in every story, it proved devastatingly effective in so many of his works such as The Lurking Fear and Pickman's Model.
Herbert West- Reanimator gave me chills the first time I read it. It really is quite a brilliant story, taking the concepts in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and putting a darker, more horrible bite to them. Written in chapters, each one but the last uses the previously stated technique. And each one is more bone-chilling than the last.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth, one of the few stories in this book that officially contributes to the Cthulhu Mythos itself, has a few low points, but is overall a very creepy story with an ending that never ceases to entertain no matter how many times I read it. This is one of the stories I highly recommend to those new to Lovecraft and the Mythos, as it gives one a very good idea of what goes on in this universe of horrors beyond the stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Hirsch on May 31, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
H.P. Lovecraft revitalized the Horror genre (too bad it wasn't noticed until after his death). Between Poe and King, Lovecraft stealthily introduced "cosmic" horror; a mix of mythology, science fiction and horror. It is his combination of science fiction and horror that really introduced a new way to look at the fear of the unknown.

Waking Up Screaming has a collection of some fine stories, but some of the themes were a little too repetitive for me. The discovery of an unknown entity or mythical heritage seems to take-up the bulk of these stories. While I appreciate the author's contribution to genre with these stories, my fault lies with the publisher putting too many similar stories together in one collection.

The central theme in most of the stories, besides a strong focus on how family heritage and its bloodlines can warp the family tree, is the knowledge that there are things in this universe that can not be explained. Many stories introduce the reader to terror that is beyond description - literally. Lovecraft purposely does not describe the terror in detail because the characters can not comprehend what they see without going mad.

Lovecraft really brings this theme to the forefront, almost as a guide to the reader, in his story the "The Unnamable". The protagonist in "The Unnamable" attempts to explain to his skeptical friend why he has a "preoccupation with the mystical and unexplained". That not everything has "fixed dimensions, properties, causes and effects...." there are things beyond our imagination that have no motive and can not be processed in our limited reality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Danno VINE VOICE on April 27, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There may be better collections of Lovecraft's work out there, but this is one of the most accessible anthologies on the market today. Almost none of the stories have anything to do with the otherworldly mythology Lovecraft created, but all of them are examples of the eerie style that originated with the author. Many of the stories are short, and some of them are throwaways. Few of them reference Miskatonic University, the fictitious academy that is at the center of Lovecraft's best-known works. But there are some true gems here. Among them are:

Herbert West - Reanimator: in which many aspects of the "Frankenstein" novel are reinterpreted in an even more sinister light.

The Outsider: in which Lovecraft explores an almost Edgar Allen Poe-like pathos.

Shadow Over Innsmouth: containing enough paranoia to keep any conspiracy theorist happy.

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward: containing a meticulously researched colonial-era backstory, and one of Lovecraft's best fleshed-out doomed heroes.

As horror writers go, Lovecraft never really jolts you while the book is open. But his stories have an insidious way of working their way into your imagination and inspiring nightmares. They possess a consistent, unnerving and disturbing worldview that's impossible to forget. Many thanks to Del Rey for keeping this author available in readily affordable paperback editions!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Rux on January 7, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...oft shine the brightest.
This is a gorgeous selection of H. P. Lovecraft's most often ignored gems, his short-short stories. His sole novel (albeit a short one), "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" - and one of his better long classics, The Shadow Over Innsmouth - are also included, along with some of the less frequently anthologized straight horror pieces of the author's body of work, such as "The Lurking Fear." But it's the inclusion of the horror master's best short-shorts that makes this collection really shine, never seen together under a single cover.
"The Hound" - perhaps the first of the famous Cthulhu Mythos, as the original story to feature the dreaded Necronomicon - finds a pair of foolhardy occult collectors using the black magic tome to track down and grave-rob a buried occult amulet, with disastrous results. "The Outsider" is the unforgettable tale of an imprisoned man coming to a soul-shattering self discovery. "The Unnamable" is what two idle philosophers, discussing the formless nature of fear, find themselves unexpectedly confronting in the flesh. "Herbert West: Reanimator" concocts a serum which reanimates dead flesh, only to have it start tracking him down. And a terrified refugee from a vanished scientist's house relates the man's horrible fate due to creatures "From Beyond."
This is an excellent companion volume to Del Rey's "The Best of H. P. Lovecraft," essentially containing the complementary balance of stories missing from that collection. It's also a great Lovecraft primer - anyone unfamiliar with the author's work couldn't ask for a better first exposure to it. A very handsome and compact volume, Waking Up Screaming is sure to be a welcome addition to any collector of Lovecraftiana.
Beware - for "That is not dead, which can eternal lie / And with strange aeons, even death may die..."
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