Sunday, 13 November 2011

Bex's Bookshelves: The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, by H.P. Lovecraft


Did you know there was such a thing as Weird fiction? I didn't. Fanf mentioned Lovecraft to me when we very first met and when recently he told me that Guillermo del Toro wanted to film a version of Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness I thought that the double recommendation, Guigui and Fanf, should secure old H.P. a place on my next Amazon order. The stories are a mixture of horror, fantasy and science-fiction and, posthumously, Lovecraft appears to have been hugely influential both in genre literature and film. He feels a bit like the strange sibling of Poe and Wells, the one they keep locked in the attic and don't talk about. At times it is deeply silly, like a lot of horror, fantasy and science-fiction, but none the less compelling for that. His fear of where our quest for scientific knowledge would lead us seems remarkably prescient. His fear of repulsive alien fungi less so.

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the dealy light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."
From The Call of Cthulhu.

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