The Dark Worlds Of H. P. Lovecraft, Volume 1 Audio CD – Audiobook, November 14, 2006
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The stories I am enthralled with are the Rats in the Walls and The Music of Erich Zann. The Shunned House is also very good but wouldn't make my top 10 tales of Lovecraft. Seeing the description for this audiobook and what I listened to, there might be a disconnect in the stories included, but getting the right edition is a bit tricky, so sorry for that.
All that aside, these tales have that olds chool feel where you better not have a rush to do anything. They expand and are weaved at a chill pace, slowly but surely picking up in pace. Most Lovecraft tales are like a locomotive, they start slow and pick up speed until you need to see what happens in the end. There is a LOT of exposition but you're not here for a thrill ride... you're in a slow crawling haunted house and you never know when he's going to hit you.
Wayne June's voice is perfectly suited to tell these tales and his performance throughout is spot on. My only complaint would be that I would have turned the echo/reverb in his voice down ever so slightly. That's it. I think he did a phenomenal job and should be the benchmark for anyone who wants to read horror.
The docked star is more a comment to Lovecraft's work rather than an individual appreciation of this collection. There are only 3 stories and there are other stories that I think are the best Lovecraft has to offer. That said, if you want a slow burn tale that will creep you out, this collection is awesome.
In this day and age, a cat named Nxxxxx-Man renamed Black-Man (Rats in the Walls) in one Audiobook can be expected.
However, should one expect deletion of "Voodoo orgies multiply in Hayti, and African outposts report ominous mutterings. American officers in the Philippines find certain tribes bothersome about this time, and New York policemen are mobbed by hysterical Levantines on the night of March..." (Chapter 1) in virtually all Audiobook versions available on Audible? Why expunge it?
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Running Time is approximately 3.5 hours.
The Dunwich Horror is the longest story at 2:02:39 with The Call Of Cthulhu running at 1:27:41
June's voice is very deep and at it's best captures the imagination. Although at times he seems to over-emphasise certain intonations.
Both stories have decent pacing and pauses but the Dunwich Horror stands out as the better read story for me. Despite being one of my favourites, The Call of Cthulhu seems a bit flat and monotone in places hence 4 stars instead of five overall.
A major plus is that the stories are completely unabridged and retain their atmosphere of suspense because of being in full.
A slight niggle, if you purchase the 3CD set as I did, there maybe say 18 tracks on disc 1 all separate. So after converting from WAV (CD format) to MP3 format, I then had to obtain software to join all the parts together. Otherwise I would have had breaks where tracks begin and end. In addition to this, the stories are split across CDs. Rather than having one story per CD, The Call Of Cthulhu begins at tracks 12-16 on CD2 onwards. So listening on CD is going to be slightly fiddly having to change CDs. I would recommend joining the files together for a better listening experience.
I would have liked a few sound effects and/or music thrown in to add to the atmosphere but there are none present in this volume. Mr June does have a very expressive voice and does a very good job bringing these classics to life.
To fans of Lovecraft who do not already possess this I would say give it a shot for sure. Especially as the stories are read well and unabridged. Plus how often does one encounter Lovecraft's work in audiobook format?
To anyone who has not encountered Lovecraft's work before be mindful of these points:
The subject matter is classified as strange fiction and is about ancient 'evil gods' and races of 'elder beings', so the stories are not straight forward mainstream type horror.
The stories are not 'blood and guts' affairs, the horror is very subtle creating an instinctive sense of dis-ease and rely upon having a strong imagination.
Instead most of Lovecraft's work focuses upon a 'cosmic sense of horror' in depicting a universe that is fundamentally uncaring at best, and at worst hostile to humankind.
Most frequently there are no happy endings to Lovecraft stories, madness and death are the usual botton lines. Stories usually endly badly!
H.P Lovecraft (1890-1937) possessed an awe inspiring command of the English language, some of his sentences are long and quite complex....
These stories are now classified as modern literature, so they are now and again dense in language and utilise grammatical structures that are somewhat antiquated. (Though for me this adds to the suspense and general atmosphere)
The bottom line: Lovecraft fans will most likely go for these stories big time. Those with an active imagination looking for something subtle, suspensful and unconventional in the horror genre may well be taken with these stories.
To anyone who likes this volume, I cannot recommend highly enough obtaining Dark Adventure Radio Theatre's At The Mountains Of Madness. If not available via Amazon can be purchaed from City In The Sea or The H P Lovecraft Historical Society.
Update: I would strongly recommend obtaining the Audiorealms releases (The Dark Worlds Of H.P Lovecraft Series) from Amazon only. In my experience Amazon has a strong commitment to customer service, whereas I have ordered Volume 5 of this collection direct from the Audiorealms website, have not received it after 3 months of waiting, and they will not answer any number of emails.
Keine Soundeffekte, keine Musik, keine Moderationen... nichts weiter als die Lesung der beiden Klassiker 'The Dunwich Horror' und 'The Call of Cthulhu'. Die jedoch haben es in sich...
Vom ersten Moment an nimmt einen die raue, knarzende Stimme Wayne Junes mit auf eine Alptraumreise durch das literarische Universum des H.P.Lovecraft.
Wohl moduliert, vorgtragen in einem distinguierten, 'Amerikanisch', versteht June es, die Geschichten von unvorstellbaren Monstren, kosmischem Schrecken und einem uralten Grauen in seinem raunenden Barriton vorzutragen, einen gewissen zynischen Unterton hinzufügend, wo dieser angebracht ist.
Einzelne Charaktere werden mit einer erstaunlich variablen Stimmmodulation und Betonung zu akustischem Leben erweckt, gleiten dabei jedoch niemals ins Lächerliche ab, was angesichts der dramatis personae des Schreckens von Dunwich eine echte Leistung darstellt. Im Gegenteil, Erzähler June verdichtet die schaurige Stimmung hierdurch zusätzlich zu einer erstaunlichen Intensität.
Diese ehrfurchtsvolle Huldigung an den großen Autoren ist konzipiert, um an langen Winterabenden mit geschlossenen Augen gehört zu werden, wobei sie ihre volle, dämonische Kraft entfalten wird.
Weniger ist halt manchmal mehr. Und hier ist weniger alles.