Anyone who knows me knows I have a knack for enjoying pages that are pungent with the pessimistic and the macabre. Poe, Matheson, Sade; I love them all. There is one who holds a particularly special place in my heart, someone who, to me, embodies the very genre more so than any of the aforementioned (all due respect to them, of course) and that is Mr. Howard Phillips Lovecraft.
What makes Lovecraft so special is that most of his horrific works revolve around the fragile-as-glass human psyche, and usually revolve around mental breaking points and being pushed over the precipices of reality and into a realm far, far less welcoming than our own. While at the same time, describing insanity almost with a sense of lustful longing; conveying both dimensions of desperation and comfort.
Though only few of Lovecraft’s works have gained mainstream popularity in modern media, such as The Call of Cthulhu and At the Mountains of Madness, those are but a hair off a lion’s mane in the grander schemes of his literature. Which is why, for all fans of darker fiction with classical Victorian/gothic undertones, I would recommend the Complete Fiction.
The Complete Fiction takes you on a journey through the dark underscapes of all of Lovecrafts unfortunately very few works; easy to read due to the shortness of his tales literally, but difficult to go through because of the heaviness of his content.
I think the most rewarding aspect of my going through the entire works consecutively (as I had only gone through them in separate volumes over a long period of time) is that you grow to see the beauty and black humor that Lovecraft intends where the average reader will see only despair and sadness. The frighteningly realistic and (dare I say it) relatable circumstances that some of these very human characters are thrown into, make for a very exhilarating read during and a very self-reflective time after.
Make no mistake, these works will be out of many comfort zones, not just for the classically disturbing content, but simply due to the fact that the time period annotations might simply not appeal to the reader. One thing is for certain, where Tolkien forever affected the landscape of fantasy, Lovecraft embodies a very niche genre that will influence and will be seen for ages to come.