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by H. P. Lovecraft et al

Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos


Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos
By H.P. Lovecraft et al

Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos is a compilation of some of the most well-known writers and stories in the Lovecraftian vein. HPL himself is here, as are many of his circle of friends, such as August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, and Robert E. Howard. I thoroughly enjoyed almost every tale in this book, and I feel I’ve gained a better understanding of the Cthulhu Mythos (a term coined by August Derleth after Lovecraft’s death, interestingly enough). I recommend this book highly if you are at all interested in H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos. From what I’ve gathered it is one of the best Lovecraftian anthologies available.

“The Call of Cthulhu”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”

Comments: I’m relatively new to Lovecraft, but I’ve read and enjoyed this one several times. I’ve always loved the way HPL has narrators who are about to die for their knowledge, or whose knowledge is hidden away for someone to find. In this way the world is warned of the Great Old Ones.

“The Return of the Sorcerer”
By Clark Ashton Smith
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “I think you will do, Mr. Ogden.”

Comments: This was the first story of Clark Ashton Smith’s I have read, and I enjoyed it. His tale of revenge from beyond the grave has a few twists involved, and the infamous Necronomicon makes an appearance.

By Clark Ashton Smith
Rating: 5/10
Quote: “For Ubbo-Sathla is the source and the end.”

Comments: I liked parts of the story and wasn’t as thrilled with others. I liked the idea of going back in time and eventually forgetting what it was you were going back for, but the part about a human turning into a pterodactyl threw me!

“The Black Stone”
By Robert E. Howard
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “A Key! Aye, it is a Key, a symbol of a forgotten horror.”

Comments: This was an interesting story about an ancient Hungarian legend which proves to be less a legend and more of a mind-breaking true horror story.

“The Hounds of Tindalos”
By Frank Belknap Long
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Good God, the plaster is falling!”

Comments: This was a pretty good story involving time travel, but not with the means we usually imagine, and definitely not with the results!

“The Space-Eaters”
By Frank Belknap Long
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “It’s come back—the terrible, terrible cold.”

Comments: If you survive an encounter with the unexplainable, do nothing to attract further attention to yourself.

“The Dweller In Darkness”
By August Derleth
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “Gawd! It was awful. It was a Thing—didn’t have no face, hollered there till I thought my eardrums ‘d bust, and them things that was with it—Gawd!”

Comments: Fight fire with fire! Or in this case, fight an interstellar traveler bent on your destruction with another interstellar traveler bent on IT’S destruction!

"Beyond The Threshold"
By August Derleth
Rating: 7/10
Quote: "There they are then, or one of them, just across that threshold. I want to know what lies beyond that threshold, if I can find it."

Comments: August Derleth is known as a not particularly good writer, but I enjoyed both the previous story and this one. I was left wondering at the end if Tony's Grandfather, an adventurer by trade, was more satisfied with his ending than if he had met his fate in bed.

"The Shambler from the Stars"
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 6/10
Quote: "I was a fool."

Comments: Bloch, well-known as the author of Psycho, also was a part of Lovecraft’s circle of friends. This story was dedicated to HPL, and was decent. But I prefer some of Bloch’s later work to this.

“The Haunter of the Dark”
By H.P. Lovecraft
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “I am Robert Blake, but I see the tower in the dark.”

Comments: I enjoyed this one almost as much as The Call of Cthulhu. This was Lovecraft's response to Robert Bloch's story above. I find it amusing that the two friends managed to kill off the other's likeness in their "tribute" stories.

“The Shadow from the Steeple”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “There is no Dr. Dexter. There hasn’t been any such person for many years now.”

Comments: Bloch, writing years later in the 1950’s, continued the story of The Shambler from the Stars and the Haunter of the Dark. This one ties together neatly the question marks contained at the end of Lovecraft’s story.

“Notebook Found in a Deserted House”
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “Black marks two feet wide, but they aren’t just marks. What they really are is fingerprints!”

Comments: This is the best Bloch Mythos story I’ve read yet. I had heard people mention this story several times in my investigations on the internet as I became interested in Lovecraft and all things Lovecraftian, and the hype is well-deserved.

“The Salem Horror”
By Henry Kuttner
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Do you know what a whispering-gallery is?”

Comments: This was an interesting story which combines the story of the Salem witch trials with something undeniably more horrible.

“The Terror from the Depths”
By Fritz Leiber
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “With or without some lovely woman’s help, now burst the gate of dreams!”

Comments: Georg Reuter Fischer has a special gift, passed on to him by his father. It unfortunately leads to his doom.

“Rising With Surtsey”
By Brian Lumley
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “Julian said they wouldn’t take him alive.”

Comments: I’ve heard a lot of good things about Lumley, and this story only confirms those reports. If your brother learns to inexplicably to write in some odd form of hieroglyphics, you have cause to be worried!

“Cold Print”
By Ramsey Campbell
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “You will be my high priest, or you will never leave this room.”

Comments: I think I might stick to shopping at chain bookstores after reading this one…

“The Return of the Lloigor”
By Colin Wilson
Rating: 10/10
Quote: “You see, this is their world anyway. We’re a mistake. They want it back again.”

Comments: I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and liked the tie-ins with Charles Fort and Fortean phenomena.

“My Boat”
By Joanna Russ
Rating: 5/10
Quote: “But they’re not psychiatric cases. It really happened.”

Comments: This one was not up to par with most of the earlier stories. It was an interesting idea and told from an interesting point of view, but it just didn’t do it for me.

By Karl Edward Wagner
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “We’ve got to destroy them.”

Comments: If you find an old house in the woods and you get the heebie-jeebies, DON’T go down into the cellar. You might find more than you bargained for.

“The Freshman”
By Philip Jose Farmer
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Well, Desmond, don’t you think it’s time to answer that phone?”

Comments: This was a fun little tale about the strange ways of Miskatonic University.

"Jerusalem's Lot"
By Stephen King
Ratings: 8/10
Quote: "And I saw the livid rope-burn about its neck."

Comments: When I first read this story, I knew nothing of Lovecraft. Obviously, it makes more sense now that I know of the Cthulhu Mythos. I liked it back then and I like it even more now.

"Discovery of the Ghooric Zone"
By Richard A. Lupoff
Rating: 4/10
Quote: "An interesting occultation. But come, we have our mission to perform."

Comments: I liked the idea, but straight sci-fi has never been my cup of tea.

480 pp.

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