At The Mountains of Madness and Other Weird Tales

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As far as I’m aware, H.P. Lovecraft singlehandedly created the “weird horror” genre. His writing depicts things so advanced that we can never hope to understand them, monsters that terrify us not because they’ll kill us, but because they’re so far above us on the food chain that they don’t even seem to care about us. While most horror authors scare us with things that hunt us down, Lovecraft scares us with things that exist that shouldn’t.

At The Mountains of Madness is the second collection of his that I’ve read, a series of short stories. I didn’t like this one as much as some other stories, mostly because this collection featured some of his longest stories – several were about a hundred pages long. That’s a short novel to me.

Aside from the ridiculous length, I did find a new favorite story: The Thing on the Doorstep. In true Lovecraft fashion, it was a very predictable horror story that I thought I understood until the last few paragraphs. He doesn’t take you on twists and turns all along the way; he saves it all up for one last punch at the end.

I would not recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for an easy read. It’s not. But if you’re looking to find out where our modern horror came from, or if you’re looking for some sophisticated, science-fiction-y goosebumps, go for it. It’s a classic. ♦

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