- Mass Market Paperback: 190 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (December 1970)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345336615
- ISBN-13: 978-0345336613
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,597,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Tomb and Other Tales Mass Market Paperback – February 12, 1986
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From the Inside Flap
dinary collection features 13 spine-tingling tales of delicious terror by the unquestioned master of the horror genre, as well as portions of stories he never fully completed. Discover how the mind of H.P. Lovecraft worked, and how much his early and late stories tell about this intriguing writer.
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Imprisoned with the Pharaohs
The Horror at Red Hook
The Strange High House in the Mist
In the Walls of Eryx
The Evil Clergyman
The Beast in the Cave
Poetry and the Gods
The Transition of Juan Romero
The Thing in the Moonlight
The last named title is no longer included in modern editions of Lovecraft's Works, as it is not a tale written by Lovecraft, but rather a portion of a letter in which he relates a dream. A gentleman published it in his fanzine shortly after Lovecraft's death and added his own beginning and end so as to try and make it a complete short story. Disregarded as it is by modern editors, "The Thing in the Moonlight" is evocative of that which we call "Lovecraftian horror," and this wee fragment has inspired many other horror writers with its imagery. Most recently, an entire novel by Edward Lee, TROLLEY NO. 1852 (Bloodletting Press 2009) was based on the fragment, a novel that is wild and kinky yet authentically and deliciously Lovecraftian in every way. Brian Lumley completed the fragment, and his version (first published in the Arkham Collector) has been recently reprinted in the Lovecraft issue of DARK DISCOVERIES.
"The Festival" has long been one of my favorite Lovecraft tales. It was never professionally published during his lifetime and only found its way into the pages of WEIRD TALES after Lovecraft's death, when readers began to clamor for more unpublished H. P. Lovecraft. The tale is set in mist-enshrouded Kingsport, the imaginary town of HPL's invention that I like best (I have written many of my own tales set in Kingsport). Kingsport was inspired by Marblehead, Massachusetts -- and it is cool to read the story and then visit that ancient seaport town and climb the burying ground that is described so eerily in this tale. "The Strange High House inthe Mist" is also a tale of Kingsport (as is "The Terrible Old Man," not included in this book).
"The Evil Clergyman" was not written as a story during HPL's lifetime. As S. T. Joshi explains in his wee introduction to the tale in his Barnes & Noble edition of Lovecraft's fiction, "...this work is not a 'story' as such but an account of a dream, taken from a letter to Bernard Austin Dwyer. The date of the letter is not known, but it probably dates to the summer or fall of 1933; Lovecraft wrote to Clark Ashton Smith (October 22, 1933): 'Some months ago I had a dream of an evil clergyman in a garret full of forbidden books.' Lovecraft would probably have developed the idea beyond the relatively conventional supernaturalism here depicted. Dwyer submitted the story to WEIRD TALES shortly after Lovecraft's death, where it appeared in the April 1939 issue as 'The Wicked Clergyman'." The little story does pack a wonderful atmosphere of menace and mystery, and I am surprised that it has not influenced other writers as has "The Thing in the Moonlight." I shall be writing a longish weird tale inspir'd by it for one of my future books.
"He" is one of the tales that was inspired by Lovecraft's two years in New York. It is not oft commented on, perhaps because of its slightly racist nature. I have always enjoyed its sense of mystery and nightmare. Another New York story, "The Horror at Red Hook," is one of the most boring things that HPL ever wrote. Two of the tales herein are actually collaborations with other writers: "In the Walls of Eryx" is a science fiction tale written with Kenneth Sterling, and "Poetry and the Gods" was written with Anna Helen Crofts in 1920. Neither of these two tales is included in the Penguin Classics or Barnes & Noble editions of Lovecraft's works, and their appearance here makes this paperback a good source for really rare (and getting more rare) Lovecraft.
"The Book" is fascinating in that it is a retelling in prose of the three sonnets that open Lovecraft's sonnet cycle, "Fungi from Yuggoth." The first three poems of the cycle are connected in theme and story -- but then it seems Lovecraft grew weary of trying to tell an actual story in his sonnet cycle. The same lack of inspiration seems to have quelled his ability here, to write an actual short story inspired by his poems. "Azathoth" is a fragment of what was purported by Lovecraft to have been planned as a novel, and I find it fascinating. There is a theory that Lovecraft wrote the novel eventually and called it THE DREAM-QUEST OF UNKNOWN KADATH.
None of the tales in this book overwhelm and impress as does the best fiction of H. P. Lovecraft, so this may not be the best book to begin with if you are reading HPL for the first time; but as an array of the kinds of fiction of which he was capable of writing, this is a solid and quite enjoyable edition. Highly recommended.
I had also been under the assumption that all Lovecraft included things with tentacles... again I was wrong, here we had tale after tale of creepy, eerie, mysterious happenings often told through the first person, that are never fully comprehended by the teller of the tales. Possible Vampires, probable witches, maybe ghosts... you are never sure... is the man telling you the tale mad and recounting the horrors of their deranged minds or have they truly stumbled upon ancient horrors so profound that they defy description.
This book contains no gore, just a creepy vibe and a level of uncertainty that sticks with you after you close the book. Lovecraft is a master of the English language, wielding it as a sword and picking at your doubts. Opening scabs of uncertainty... are there terrible books and beings from "before the age of man" that would summon up the most unholy and terrifying of visions?
I am told that this is NOT one of the stronger collections that you could buy (I read it first because Amazon shipped it first). At the end there are fragments of unfinished tales, and some of his earlier work which make for an interesting read. If you don't read this book, pick up something by Lovecraft so that you can see the true power of the written word. It's beauty and it's ability to evoke emotion.
If you're not familiar with Lovecraft's style - well, prepare yourself for a lot of adjectives. His work makes for a unique experience in a descriptive style that might be called florid if not for what it describes. Also, his stories also leave more unseen and unsaid than not. Instead, they focus on the personal experience of horror, as it develops from normalcy, through disorientation, to all-out terror. The approach works - if the mind had anything clear and unambiguous to hold onto, that bit of certainty in itself would illuminate part of the seething darkness that Lovecraft projects. Often, the protagonist is left with no physical evidence of the event at all, or a single fact too bizarre to reveal. Contrast this evocation of mood and mystery against so much of modern horror, where splatter seems all that matters.