Saturday, March 3, 2012

Early Horror Works by H. P. Lovecraft

Publisher: Classic CD Books (Dec. 6, 2005)

Performed by: Erik Sellin

H. P. Lovecraft is widely regarded as one of America's greatest horror writers. In this audiobook, Classic CD Books speaks new life into five of his stories. Listen to the story of a curious tourist's confrontation with The Beast in the Cave. In Dagon, a naval prisoner escapes his captors... but to what? The Statement of Randolph Carter recounts the horrifying experience of two researchers. A group of thieves get more than they bargain for when they choose The Terrible Old Man as their next victim. A metaphysics student is eerily intrigued by The Music of Erich Zann.

This cool little audiobook, ~72 minutes, was my introduction to H. P Lovecraft. I know - I am so way behind on that To Be Read Mountain that keeps burying me. It doesn't help that I am attracted to shiny books weekly.

I don't particularly care for horror and rarely watch a horror flick and almost never read a horror story. Maybe that title is what kept me from enjoying Lovecraft for so long. I could easily see a 'science fiction' or 'fantasy' label attached to these five stories. These stories were written between 1905-1921.

The Beast in the Cave was a concise little tale of the fear of being lost in a cave, even if only temporarily. I have been in a deep cave with all the lights out before. I think most humans would prove to be pretty helpless in such a situation and therefore, this makes an excellent setting for a suspenseful tale.

Dagon intrigued me with the unknowns left for the reader to ponder - how did this bit of sea floor come to be raised up? Who or what wrote the unknown hieroglyphics? Is there a threat to humanity waiting at the bottom of the ocean?

When two guys go into a swamp with a few shovels and a portable telephone - well, you know they are not up to the usual gator or orchid hunting. The Statement of Randolph Carter is told after the fact by the survivor of a tomb dig gone horribly wrong.

The Terrible Old Man has Spanish gold coins but no friends. That is why I think he was highly entertained by the idiots who showed up to rob him.

The Music of Erich Zann was a great retelling of the classic myth of trying to outplay the Devil - but this time with a viol.

The narrator, Erik Sellin, did a decent job of character voices. I especially enjoyed how he performed the hollow telephone half of the conversation in The Statement of Randolph Carter.

+++: The stories weren't focused on gory, gruesome details, each was distinctly different, and I like how not everything is answered for the reader.

--: No female characters at all and I found myself wishing for more character development and setting (a lot to ask for in short stories).