The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

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Stormbringer
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The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Stormbringer » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:53 pm

So, good old HPL. You can't really have spent any time in geek/nerd culture without stumbling across his name, either directly or because something has been influenced by him. It seems in the last decade his influence and popularity among gamers of many sorts has grown massively. It was his 128th birthday yesterday so I thought it was about time I started a thread about him, as on the old forum in days of yore.

I started reading him in 2004, I think, only months after I'd signed up on the old forum at the tender age of 21. My first story was The Outsider. I'd never read anything like it and was instantly in love. I felt a connection with the words in a way I'd never connected with any other story. It was like a spiritual experience, you might say, as if I had, for the first time, been understood by another person. After that, I became a little... shall we say... obsessed with the man in a most unhealthy way and begin to re-order my entire thinking around his. Bad times.

I'm much better now, thankfully, but I'm at a point where, as has been discussed elsewhere, although I recognise his writing talents and appreciate much about his stories, I'm finding it hard to enjoy his work in a genuine way, as I find the ideologies behind it so odious (and increasingly so as I learn more about their extent). Also, it's been pointed out by some that his stories are mostly a thinly-disguised expression of extreme xenophobia in various different ways. Rather than either trying to defend his views or shunning him entirely, I've found a sort of happy medium at the moment where I mostly make fun of him, while enjoying certain paragraphs of elaborately-worded prose from certain stories.

Anyway, I thought, rather than just having the same-old, same-old discussion, we might do something new and perhaps start a forum HPL "book club", where we choose one short story and read it, then talk about it. His stories, especially his early ones, are not that long, and should take you less than an hour. Whaddya think?

We should probably start with The Hound as it's short, very well-written and also one of his earliest.

It's also Gibby's favourite, and I'm trying to bait him into this discussion. ¬_¬
Last edited by Stormbringer on Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Sly Boots » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:56 pm

Sure, why not. I'm game.

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Mantis » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:58 pm

That's a great idea.

Though lets not read The Curious Case of Charles Dexter Ward for a while, because I may have pinched a couple of phrases from it for a certain thread in another folder. ¬_¬

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Stormbringer » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:59 pm

Here we go then:

The Hound (1922)

Mantis wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:58 pm
Though lets not read The Curious Case of Charles Dexter Ward for a while, because I may have pinched a couple of phrases from it for a certain thread in another folder. ¬_¬
That's fine; I've never actually read that story as I always found it to be overly long and exceedingly boring. Even when I read the plot outline I was less than impressed. I really don't understand why people enjoy that story so much. Actually, I feel the same way about all his longer tales: The Shadow Out of Time and At The Mountains of Madness seem to be highly praised and yet I find them quite tedious. I prefer his earlier, shorter works. They pack more of a punch, I feel, in plot, tension and use of language.
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Sly Boots » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:05 pm

Cool. Probs won't get to it tonight though :)

If we're to make a regular thing of it I found a big collection of his works on the Kindle store for £2, so I bought that. It's 562 pages long so it seems like decent value.

Second review down, essentially: "It's good, but watch out for the racism" :lol:

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Stormbringer » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:07 pm

But...you can read all of his works for free online at: www.hplovecraft.com
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Sly Boots » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:09 pm

Stormbringer wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:07 pm
But...you can read all of his works for free online at: www.hplovecraft.com
I just thought that I spend literally all day at my screen either reading or writing I'd prefer to either read this in bed or on the sofa with my Kindle. £2 is a snip really, I don't mind paying that.

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Mantis » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:12 pm

Stormbringer wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:59 pm
Mantis wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:58 pm
Though lets not read The Curious Case of Charles Dexter Ward for a while, because I may have pinched a couple of phrases from it for a certain thread in another folder. ¬_¬
That's fine; I've never actually read that story as I always found it to be overly long and exceedingly boring. Even when I read the plot outline I was less than impressed. I really don't understand why people enjoy that story so much. Actually, I feel the same way about all his longer tales: The Shadow Out of Time and At The Mountains of Madness seem to be highly praised and yet I find them quite tedious. I prefer his earlier, shorter works. They pack more of a punch, I feel, in plot, tension and use of language.
It just happened to be the one I thought of when I was looking for zombie inspiration, but I agree, it's far from his best work. I'm not sure whether it was released episodically or something, but the constant repetition and recaps of previous parts of the story in each new section really drag the whole thing out unnecessarily. It loses a lot of the tension when you read about 'the mysterious clawings on the grave' for the fifth time, all of it could quite easily have been cut and the story would have benefited a lot from it.

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Stormbringer » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:14 pm

Lovecraft himself said it was a "cumbrous, creaking bit of self-conscious antiquarianism".

AND HE WAS RIGHT!
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Gibby » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:49 am

My interest in HPL was prompted by Doug's enthusiasm for his work. In around 2006 he kindly sent me some collected stories. From then on, rather than read through them all in any kind of order, I read random ones occasionally. I've always liked anything atmospheric, macabre, etc, so I am a fan of his stories that evoke that sort of thing. The Hound, I think, is the distillation of HPL's ability to evoke an atmosphere, a sense of unease, fear of the unknown and even a sense of self-loathing found in the depths of terrible men.

I am a big fan of the overall "Mythos", really. The setting contemporary to HPL but in the bleak past for us really adds to it. You have that sort of detective noir story meets cosmic horror thing going on that appeals.

HPL's odious racism and prejudice is undeniable. I will admit the personal opinion, however, that some of his tales and horror-leanings DO come from a place beyond his own fears of corrupted bloodlines and scary foreigners. I think he did consider the vast black voids of space and the hubris of fringe science as being a ripe ground for horror stories. Realisations of humanity's insignificance in the vastness of the unknown, the shattering of your world view (and subsequently your psyche) when faced with horrid but undeniable evidence of some terrible truth, is pretty creepy and sinister. The best of his works draw you in to that and make you wonder and shudder, even if for a brief moment.

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Stormbringer » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:26 am

Well said, Gibby. Are you going to join our club and read The Hound once again? ¬_¬
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Alan » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:30 am

I got a big compendium thing and started reading his stuff in chronological order but around Call I’m not sure if I got bored or just put it down too long but that’s as far as I got. So like.... 50pagrs? :lol:

I may do this :ugeek:
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I like everything now.

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Gibby » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:05 am

Stormbringer wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:26 am
Well said, Gibby. Are you going to join our club and read The Hound once again? ¬_¬
Yes. Good choice of bait ¬_¬

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Stormbringer » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:57 pm

So, anyone got any ideas how we should sync up our reading? Should we set a deadline by which we agree to finish each story, so we can start sharing thoughts and observations etc.?
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society

Post by Sly Boots » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:59 pm

Yeah, seems like a good idea.

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