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mar 13, 2010, 10:24pm

After having him recommended to me repeatedly by friends, I recently picked up the Library of America volume of his writings, along with a big brick collection titled "the Necronomicon." I'm reading the LoA volume at the moment and rather enjoying it, although I wouldn't say its great literature by any stretch. From the little I know of the example authors, I'm assuming Lovecraft would fit in here, if not feel free to ignore this. I am, however, curious if anyone else enjoys Lovecraft, and what they thought of his work?

mar 14, 2010, 7:29pm

Lovecraft's stories have major issues - of both the "patchy writing quality" and the "my god, that's racist" variety, but they're so very influential in so many ways that I think they're definitely worth reading for anyone who's interested in horror and the things that lurk at the edges. :D

If you like the Randolph Carter stories, I really recommend Dunsany, who worked in a similar style a little bit earlier. And if you're interested in a nonfiction author who was working in the same spirit of incomprehensible looming powers, there's always the later works of Charles Fort, after he'd gone a bit (more) mad.

Just be careful if you try to buy a copy of the actual Necronomicon - the common paperback version isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

mar 14, 2010, 10:41pm

Oh, he was blatantly racist, and the writing quality is definitely patchy, but that doesn't keep him from being a guilty pleasure. The "Necronomicon" I have is actually a collection of his stories, not THE Necronomicon. I would, however, be interested in reading it, if you know of a version thats actually worthwhile. From what I've heard he never actually wrote the book, but more than a couple people have written their own versions.

Redigeret: mar 15, 2010, 5:00am

It's indeed not great writing, but often good entertainment. And yes, he was racist, but I don't think really that more racist than many others in his period.

As for the Necronomicon: he indeed never wrote one (though he seems to have toyed with the idea of doing so occasionally). I have a small collection of those hoax editions - because I think the phenomenon of people creating them is hilarious. None of them are very good.

You might enjoy The Necronomicon Files though, which is an analysis of said phenomenon from both a literary and an occult angle.

mar 15, 2010, 3:14pm

Yeah, from what I've read, there's a few attempts at actually reconstructing the Necronomicon referenced in stories (I've never gotten my hands on one, though - BarkingMatt, are *any* of them worth reading?)

The one you're likely to find in a store or used book sale is the "Simon" necronomicon, which along with being not very good, also has only the most tenuous relationship possible with Lovecraft's work (said connection being: marketing.) That one I distinctly disrecommend, unless you're interested in faux-sumerian occultism for its own sake.

I would kind of like to get my hands on the Al-Azif edition with the de Camp introduction, the one that's never been deciphered, just for memorabilia purposes, though the chances of that happening are about nil. (de Camp wrote at least one short story with a cameo by Lovecraft himself that's in one of my favorite of his collections, The Purple Pterodactyls.)

Redigeret: mar 15, 2010, 3:46pm

I really can't recommend any of the "Necronomicons", but the Hay "The Necronomicon: The book of Dead Names" ( and the parts of Pelton's "A Guide of the Cthulhu Cult" ( pretending to be "Necronomicon" are somewhat less dismal than most others.

Actually, by the way, the Sprague de Camp introduced "El Azif" ( is available in a fairly cheap paperback edition. But be warned the main "text" consists of just a couple of pages of (mock) arabic repeated over and over again.

(tried to give touchstones, but most wouldn't take).

mar 15, 2010, 3:45pm

But you might like to try The Necronomicon: Selected Stories and Essays Concerning the Blasphemous Tome of the Mad Arab edited by Robert M. Price. Beside stories it contains (parts of) various attempts.

mar 15, 2010, 10:30pm


I didn't know there had been a recent edition of the de Camp one! (I did know it contained only a few pages of text - which is kind of a gyp, since I am fairly sure de Camp would've known how to get an indefinitely-long gibberish cyphertext that people could've actually tried to decipher - cf. the Voynich manuscript - but I supposed one of the recurring themes in his work *is* "never take a practical joke too far.")

mar 16, 2010, 12:25am

Thanks BarkingMatt, added those to my wish list and will keep an eye out for them.