At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft

Posted on 11th January 2011 in Reviews

moutains-of-madnessThis novella, originally published in serial form in February through to April 1936, has been featured in many different books over the decades since its debut.  I first read it in a Lovecraft omnibus I picked up many years ago, before subsequently collecting a more definitive version, and it has been happily burned into my memory ever since.

Lovecraft was a master of horror, dread and lurking sense of doom, and At the Mountains of Madness is a chilling reminder of why that is.  This tale is of an Antarctic expedition which soon discovers eerie ruins beyond a huge mountain range, and within finds numerous, highly-evolved life forms not clearly categorised as animal or vegetable matter.

The location of the bodies’ place of rest creates a problem regarding classification, as their features cannot have evolved naturally in accord with humans as such evolution had not occurred on the geological time scale.  Their biology reminds the narrator William Dyer of monsters of primal myth ‘especially fabled Elder Things in (the) Necronomicon’.   Such is the scene set for collecting of information, but better still a cataloguing of terrors, as the party continues their journey. Click here to read more.. »

The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

Posted on 31st December 2010 in Reviews

House-on-the-Borderland-coverI remember being touched with an immense sense of sadness after first reading The House on the Borderland. On finding that its author William Hope Hodgson was killed in 1918 in the First World War, I couldn’t help thinking what a loss to the genre of weird fiction his death represented.

Though he wrote numerous other works, none are as prominent today as The House on the Borderland. First published in 1909, this book’s focus is quite heavily upon otherworldly cosmic supernatural horrors.

I was sad to think that maybe Hodgson would’ve returned to some of the more specific themes and style of writing found in this novel, possibly creating  a mythos that, based on what’s written here, might’ve been as rich as that found in H. P. Lovecraft’s works. Click here to read more.. »

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

Posted on 20th December 2010 in Reviews

Dark-Matter-book-coverAs we enter the festive season I like to intermingle my reading with a dip into the occasional, more traditional, ghost story;  think along the lines of M R James and his yearly Christmas supernatural tale.

This year I’ve not been disappointed as, in Dark Matter, Michelle Paver shows the world she knows how to craft a chilling tale indeed.  Aptly subtitled ‘A Ghost Story’ I would beg to differ slightly, but not to contradict that moniker.  This short, powerfully written tale of Arctic exploration in Norway pre-second world war is so much more than its title alludes. Click here to read more.. »