So, I’m about 300 pages into “The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft” (the hardcover addition, because I don’t care for and don’t own any electronic readers), right after “Under the Pyramids”. So, about a third of the way through. It’s worth taking some time to comment on what I think of it so far.
First, as I did know when I bought it, most of Lovecraft’s work are short stories. The problem with this is that I already knew that I’m not a big fan of short stories. I tend to find that they can’t develop things enough to make for a really interesting story, although there are some that work. So far, I think that Lovecraft’s stories mostly work, because he likes to include a lot of detail in his stories. Sometimes, too much, so that instead of wondering where this all came from and what the backstory was I ended up just wanting him to get to the point.
The early stories tended to be less scary, as they tended to be related more as stories and seemed to rely on concepts that had been done to death elsewhere — but likely not before Lovecraft did it — and mostly described them. However, just as my favourite parts of “The Blair Witch Project” were the documentary scenes where they were relating the story and not the purportedly scary parts in the woods, some of my favourite stories were the ones where he just relates a tale or backstory and isn’t trying to scare the reader … as long as he doesn’t overdo the details. Also, in later stories he seems to better capture the ideas of horror and insanity that would make him famous, and thus provides more disturbing/scary stories than ones that are just, well, kinda freaky.
So far, it’s mostly entertaining. We’ll see how that goes over the next few weeks.