Saturday, April 26, 2008


Just kidding. Claritin works.

Mowing's done. Time for a frosty adult beverage and the last couple dozen pages of At The Mountains of Madness on the front porch. Believe it or not, this is the first H.P. Lovecraft I've ever read. I got to the point last night, just after midnight, where the narrator had flown over the mountains. I was reading it in bed, feeling a little toasty and sweaty, no doubt running a bit of a fever from my sudden bizarro allergies.

As my eyelids got almost as heavy as the weight of knowing I had to be up early, I turned off the light. I tossed and turned under the covers, peeling the blanket back and sticking a leg or two out into the air for cooling... no sooner had I drifted off to slumberland than I heard this weird keening and a skritch-skritch-skritch noise. Then a cold draft blew across my legs and the flapping shade over the open window flashed white from the thunderstorm brewing outside. Perfect!


Anonymous said...

Mountains of Madness is actually one of HPL's weakest stories: just an extended exercise in atmospherics. The DreamQuest of Unknown Kadath is a similar idea, but much better done--and in fact it's more a fantasy than a horror story.

Probably his best ones are Charles Dexter Ward, Shadow over Innsmouth, and Dunwich Horror--all of which are so intricately plotted you need to reread them at least two or three times before you can hope to get everything he put into them. Several others fall in the same category, but they're shorter, so usually you only need one rereading.

Anonymous said...

I rather disagree on the quality of "At the Mountains of Madness," but I may be coming at it from a different point of view. LIke "The Shadow out of Time," "Mountains of Madness" is properly seen as science fiction, not the supernatural horror/fantasy of "Dunwich Horror" or "Shadow over Innsmouth."

I agree that "Mountains" is largely an exercise in atmospherics, but I found much more to it than that. To a fossil geek like me, it's a fascinating tour de force in early-20th-century geology and palaeontology. Lovecraft really did his homework in trying to reconstruct Earth's geologic history for the 'records' left by the Old Ones. He used the very best sources available and took only limited liberties with them. It's a real shame that the sources he used were wrong in a lot of ways.

Brian J. said...

Kinda like reading A. Gordon Pym for your first Poe, I'd say.

BobG said...

I think Charles Dexter Ward was one of my favorites; but Mountains of Madness is up there close. The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath reminds me of some of Clark Ashton Smith's stuff, and I quite liked it. My first experiences with the genre were stuff by Derleth and Machen.

Less said...

I bought a collection of Lovecraft's work published by the Library of America!

I finished it in 3 days... I was SOO hooked and "mountains" is one of my favorite stories in it!!

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Sadly, Claritin stopped working for my wife. She's on Zyrtec and Singulair right now and she's just getting back to where she can talk again.

Anonymous said...

"I heard this weird keening and a skritch-skritch-skritch noise." which point the cats stormed into the room and jumped square onto your stomach?

TW: "weibgscs"
More sneezing on the weib: "Gscs!"