This 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.. »
Sir Charles Baskerville’s corpse is found in the grounds of his Devonshire estate, Baskerville Hall, and despite a public inquest clearing up certain rumours regarding his death, certain private facts pertaining to the death are withheld.
These circumstances are revealed to famous consulting detective Sherlock Holmes by Dr Mortimer, a troubled friend of the recently deceased. Concerned at raising the grim historical reputation that surrounds Baskerville Hall, not to mention discarding his closely held scientific investigative principles in the face of proper evidence, he has chosen Holmes as a confidant in the matter in the hope that he can elude to certain unexplained, possibly paranormal possibilities in the case.
Legend and local superstition has it that a demonic hound stalks the moors surrounding the area and the insinuation (backed by some evidence) is that such hound is responsible for chasing down Sir Charles and terrifying him to death. There is also concern that a similar fate may befall his heir, Sir Henry Baskerville, who has received an anonymous note warning him to stay away from the moor if he values his life. Watson is sent ahead to investigate the goings on alongside Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry, and soon discovers further mystery and hints at evil along the way. Click here to read more.. »