At the Mountains of Madness and other tales of terror
At the Mountains of Madness and other tales of terror Author:H. P. Lovecraft The Horror in the Ice — The barren, windswept interior of the Antarctic Plateau was lifeless - or so the expedition from Miskatonic University thought . . . until they found the strange fossils of unheard-of creatures . . . and the carved stones tens of millions of years old . . . and, finally, the mind-blasting horror of the City of the Old One... more »s . . . .
Here is one of H. P. Lovecraft's greatest stories - a novel of magnificently wrought terror - together with his famous "Dreams in the Witch-House" and other short fiction.« less
I've read dozens of reviews by well known people who claim that Lovecraft is the virtuoso of horror, a terrifying read from start to finish, blah blah blah. In fact, on the back of the particular book I'm reading Stephen King himself says, "H.P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."
I picked up "At the Mountains of Madness", wondering how I got to be 30 years old without reading something by this astounding genius. The back of the book claims that this story is "...Lovecraft's indisputable masterpiece. In the barren, windswept Antarctic, an expedition uncovers strange fossils...and mind-blasting terror."
So I snuggled with it in a darkened room intent on discovering this mind-blasting terror for myself...and dozed off. Don't get me wrong. This author is a genius, but he's more Temperance Brennan genius than Charlie in the Chocolate Factory genius. It's like he created several whole new worlds, only half hinted at in fabled books such as the Necronomicon and Pneukotic Manuscripts, then told us about them in a monotone, medical book-like format, even to the point of dropping scientific sounding names of people we've never heard of or care about. When he couldn't get the emotion he wanted out of it, he threw an entire encyclopedia of adverbs at it and said, "There. Now it's scary!"
My favorite sentence so far is on page 30 as he describes the backdrop to newly discovered mountains. You won't be able to count the number of adjective on two hands:
"That seething, half-luminous cloud background held ineffable suggestions of a vague, ethereal beyondness far more than terrestrially spatial, and gave appalling reminders of the utter remoteness, separateness, desolation, and aeon-long death of this untrodden and unfathomed austral world."
anansi reviewed At the Mountains of Madness and other tales of terror on
Helpful Score: 4
You can not go wrong with H.P. Lovecraft.
He is the unsurpassed master of horror writing - and the increasingly antiquated feel of his books only adds to the macabre atmosphere.
Highly Recommended that everyone collect a complete Lovecraft catalog.
I re-read this for the first time in years and its pretty good, but not as good as I remember it. Lovecraft does an excellent job of invoking the remoteness of Antarctica, removed from the rest of civilization, with the discovery of an advanced pre-human civilization under less than ideal circumstances.
I guess I didn't find it as good as I used to is because I know more than I used to and that Stirling is right: the world is smaller.