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Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft (Commemorative Edition) Paperback – March 27, 2008
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Lovecraft opened the way for me, as he had done for others before me―STEPHEN KING
You need to read him - he's where the darkness starts―NEIL GAIMAN
Preposterous, overblown, absurd in every way - yet with an originality that looks more powerful and convincing each time I dip into it.―PHILIP PULLMAN
About the Author
Howard Philips Lovecraft (1890-1937) is probably the most important and influential author of supernatural fiction of the 20th century. A life-long resident of Providence, R.I., many of his tales are set in the fear-haunted towns of an imaginary area of Massachusetts, or in the cosmic vistas that exist beyond space and time. Since his untimely death, he has become acknowledged as a master of fantasy fiction, and a mainstream American writer second only to Edgar Allan Poe, while his relatively small body of work has influenced countless imitators and formed the basis of a world-wide industry of books, games and movies based on his concepts.
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Top customer reviews
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.
But if you're new to Lovecraft, this is a great place to start.
I bought the hardcover edition of this book basically on the phrase "bibiliophile's dream" utilized in one review. Now that I have it, I have to say that's not that far from the truth. It's a really great buy for the price and the gold inlay Cthulhu on the cover is a selling point all it's own. In another review, someone made note of the binding. I'm inclined to agree, it's not spectacular binding - particularly for a book this size (900 pages!). That said, I don't feel like I'm going to break it when I hold it. It's weak and not impressive but I think it'll hold.
Images and heavy, bold text (such as on the inner title page) have all imprinted themselves on the immediate pages surrounding them. In my copy, there's no bleeding or anything like that but it's definitely distracting.
Take it into consideration and decide just what it is you're looking for. HP Veterans might not be too impressed but it's a fine buy and I'm very happy with it.
If you do buy the book, I hope it finds you in good spirits. Then corrupts them. All the best.
One of the best things about these books, are that the stories are short. This makes it really easy to read during commutes, short breaks, and when one doesn't feel like getting into a whole long boo