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Old 02-11-2009, 12:00 PM   #1
Ea
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What's the fuss about Lovecraft?

I've just finished "The call of Cthulhu" - had to find out why it's well-known (and popular?) - and I don't think I've come nearer an answer
It never really grabbed me, he keeps telling us how terrible and horrible and hideous things are, and it's just... boring. I'm glad it was short. I guess I maybe could enjoy it as a piece of kitch
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:21 PM   #2
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(whispering nervously) I agree.

(ducks and runs before Cthulu comes after me with lunch on its mind)
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:37 PM   #3
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Cthulu? Didn't she sing "To Sir with Love"?
I'm always confusing her with Petula Clark.
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Ea_ View Post
I've just finished "The call of Cthulhu" - had to find out why it's well-known (and popular?) - and I don't think I've come nearer an answer
It never really grabbed me, he keeps telling us how terrible and horrible and hideous things are, and it's just... boring. I'm glad it was short. I guess I maybe could enjoy it as a piece of kitch

Lovecraft main goal in writing was to create an "atmosphere" in his stories. In addition, he wanted to create a totally different milleu from what "horror" stories consisted of at the time, which was ghost stories and Satanism. Plots and character developement were not his goals. Personally, I haven't found him to be of my "taste" (but then I don't like "horror" anyways), but there is a number of readers who do. A couple of his longer works are of more "modern" style. I might recommend sampling "A Shadow over Innsmouth" or "The Shadow out of Time" or at the same length of "The Call of Cthulhu" I might recommend "The Thing On The Doorstep".

Hope this is of some use.
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:34 PM   #5
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Its the difference between the "in your face" violence and gore available today, and the expectations to use your imagination that yesterdays writers had.

Sometimes, the unknown can be more fearful than the known.

But you have to actually think, and immerse yourself into the experience.
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:46 PM   #6
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board game is great btw. as is playing in the rpg. I have not read the books
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:04 PM   #7
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Lovecraft is such a huge influence for today's horror narrative (which in my opinion is just another flavor of fantasy), so maybe you can't perceive how original he was in his time. Moreover, I think you should read more of his work before passing judgment. I recommend you the oniric adventures of his alter ego, Randolph Carter ("The dream quest of unknown Kadath) and several of his short stories, like "The color from outer space", and "In the mountains of madness".
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:26 AM   #8
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I don't generally read much horror, or watch it. The Sherlock Holmes BBC TV series is as much as I can take, so I don't think I compare it with a certain genre, but with writing in general. I get stuck in his (over)use of adjectives(?) like hideous and terrible. Telling me what to feel doesn't really convey the feeling effectively and I think that actually hinders imagination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertgrandma View Post
Its the difference between the "in your face" violence and gore available today, and the expectations to use your imagination that yesterdays writers had.

Sometimes, the unknown can be more fearful than the known.

But you have to actually think, and immerse yourself into the experience.
This sounds a bit like a 'you kids have it too easy' I don't like 'in your face' gore and violence, so I don't think this apply to me though. I completely agree with the sentiment that the unknown is more fearful than the known.
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:36 AM   #9
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I agree that Lovecraft is more about atmosphere and concepts, and his style is not going to be to everyone's taste. Try "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," "The Color Out of Space," or maybe "Cool Air."

I hate to contradict anyone, but I usually recommend that people avoid "Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" until they really get a taste for his stuff. The Dream Cycle stuff is good, but I think it's less accessible to someone new to Lovecraft. If you'd like to try one of his longer stories, go with the "At the Mountains of Madness" suggestion. It's amazing.

Whatever you do, avoid the knockoff Mythos stories by other writers. Especially the stories claimed to be co-written by Lovecraft (they're largely people revising and adding to story fragments after his death). Then again, I have this huge bias against novels or short stories that "continue" an author's setting or characters after they're no longer with us.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:20 AM   #10
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Lovecraft does use words like horrible and hideous often - but then, his stories are not told in first person. They are told to the reader by people who lived through some events. The reader is told he's listening to/reading someone's tale at the beginning, and that someone uses words like 'horrible' to describe the undescribable.

Unfortunately, many of today's readers can't imagine properly the feeling of sitting in a room, and listening to the story - instead they begin to assume they're actually the person telling the story, and they expect to be informed of the facts and get the feeling from the facts.

That said, I find Call of Cthulhu boring as well. I prefer "In the Mountains of Madness", which is much better suited to today's readers.

Also, I adore this approach to Lovecraft mythos: http://www.macguff.fr/goomi/unspeaka...lt00-cast.html
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:19 AM   #11
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_Ea_/DixieGal; You are of course welcome to not like his works... I see nothing wrong with that... Though the dark and terrible ones, which haven't crawled on solid ground since before recorded time, may. Being more of a nightmare of that which was, they have only recently begun to permeate back through to our reality. They are the creaks and moans in the walls and floors while you are want to sleep and the whispers which cry out for the non-believers.

-MJ
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:27 AM   #12
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From what I remember from reading Lovecraft (his entire works, more than 10 years ago), I'd agree that the story "Call of Cthulhu" is not the best.
I enjoyed a lot "Mountains of Madness", as many people mentioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krystian Galaj View Post
Also, I adore this approach to Lovecraft mythos: http://www.macguff.fr/goomi/unspeaka...lt00-cast.html
This seems pretty funny, I'll have a more detailed look.


You may also know this one :
http://www.hello-cthulhu.com/
Ribbons !!
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:35 PM   #13
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Lovecraft is such a huge influence for today's horror narrative (which in my opinion is just another flavor of fantasy), so maybe you can't perceive how original he was in his time.
LoboMuerto nails it - Lovecraft redefined much of what we think of as 'gothic horror' and along with Machen was the most original writer in the fantasy genre - but for modern readers he can seem a little archaic, especially given some of the writing styles of the time like third person omniscient POV and the epistolary style of presenting letters and diaries.

The idea of creating an overarching mythology of prehistoric dark gods and concentrating on building mood and atmosphere is key to Lovecraft's stories and is arguably unique. Many of his tales do work better in the short story format. The novels - well, they grow on you, even if they are slow by modern standards.

You can chart a similar evolution in movies. Before the onset of digital editing in the 1980's, movies were generally a lot slower with fewer rapid fire edits. Go back to the 1950's and even the camera barely moved . By modern standards most 1950's movies look more like a play than what we see today as a film. Books have evolved in a similar fashion.

Personally I'm a huge fan of HPL and his works. I've even visited his grave in Providence.

Morph
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:50 PM   #14
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_Ea_/DixieGal; You are of course welcome to not like his works... I see nothing wrong with that... Though the dark and terrible ones, which haven't crawled on solid ground since before recorded time, may. Being more of a nightmare of that which was, they have only recently begun to permeate back through to our reality. They are the creaks and moans in the walls and floors while you are want to sleep and the whispers which cry out for the non-believers.

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Old 02-13-2009, 06:15 PM   #15
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I've just finished "The call of Cthulhu" - had to find out why it's well-known (and popular?) - and I don't think I've come nearer an answer
It never really grabbed me, he keeps telling us how terrible and horrible and hideous things are, and it's just... boring. I'm glad it was short. I guess I maybe could enjoy it as a piece of kitch
That's funny because I tried Lovecraft this week ("The Shadow Over Innsmouth"). I read half of it and right now I'm feeling the same way. Sometimes in the story, the character is just feels fear for no apparent reason and describes a lot of things as undescribable . It's not bad... it's just not scary or horrifying to me.
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