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At The Mountains of Madness


H.P. Lovecraft

At The Mountains of Madness
average rating is 3 out of 5

Cosmic Horror, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Fantasy

R. Alex Jenkins

The biggest struggle I have with H.P. Lovecraft is H.P. Lovecraft. His imagination and technical ability are unquestionably competent at describing events from an investigative journalist perspective in the aftermath of events that we don't actually get to see ourselves, so have to take his word for it in retrospect.

Lovecraft is confusing to write about, scientific without any solid facts or backup, his distant and far-flung narrative often comes across as purposefully vague and snootish, frustratingly far-removed and irritating, mildly tense but far from scary.

He was clearly lucid and intelligent when writing this book but also out of his gourd, hovering between Darwinian delusions and whatever he used for LSD at the time. Where he got his ideas from is beyond comprehension - the Necronomicon, apparently. It all depends whether you enjoy cosmic horror written from a standoffish perspective?

This is my fourth Lovecraft novella and I'm impressed by the atmosphere in all of them as well as the writing skill, but with the exception of The Dunwich Horror, I'm beginning to dislike this body of work in general. Cthulhu was dreary. I know this opinion is tantamount to pulling down my pants in public (inadvisable) or telling the emperor that he's got no clothes on (gets you nowhere), but that's how I feel. This isn't an entertaining read and, although fluid, is too fantastical and untethered for real enjoyment.

I now approach Lovecraft as a sort of Shakespeare, not necessarily for enjoyment but for wisdom and bragging rights, to experience the daddies of their respective genres. I have a soft spot for them but am rarely entertained.

Edgar Allen Poe is mentioned a few times as another weirdly enigmatic dude in this genre, as Lovecraft's forefather of strange, abstract and spooky literature.

I don't recommend this book but I do appreciate its importance.

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