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paulgoatallen
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MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

The Watchers Out of Time 

 

 

It's surprising – and a little sad – that so many younger dark fantasy and horror fans have never read H.P. Lovecraft.  Yeah, I know, most of the stories in this collection are more than a half a century old... but I'll put these stories up against any horror works written in the last few years ias far as quality, intensity, intelligence, and "pee your pants" fright factor goes...

 

If you've never read Lovecraft before, here's your perfect opportunity – a collection of bite-sized stories that are all arguable classics.  

 

Ryan, this one is for you!

Paul 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Ryan_G
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

I bought it the other day and will start it after I finish Pandemonium which will probably be tonight.

 

 

And Paul, thank you.  Your are the man.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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Shootydog
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

[ Edited ]

I have read a great deal of HP Lovecraft and much of it when I was younger.  The influence was a role playing game set in the Cthulhu universe and I became intrigued.  The Wachers Out of Time is one of his best works.

 

I would recommend this along with any story by Lovecraft.  Some are beautiful tales of faraway and long forgotten worlds and some are downright horrifying nail biters.  Good stuff. 

Message Edited by Shootydog on 03-01-2009 04:32 AM
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." - Albert Einstein
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paulgoatallen
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time


Shootydog wrote:

Some are beautiful tales of faraway and long forgotten worlds and some are downright horrifying nail biters.  Good stuff. 


Shooty:

You're absolutely right.  Lovecraft is synonymous with creepy horror but I think one aspect of his writing that gets overlooked is his singular ability to create "ambiance" and atmosphere. There's a dark lyricism to his writing that is just unforgettable – and, yes, his exotic settings are fantastic.

Paul 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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PenelopeTX
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

Last month, I started the collection H.P. Lovecraft: Tales in anticipation of this discussion and my copy of The Watchers Out of Time. Thought I'd get some background while I waited. I was really drawn in by the richness of the settings. I am very eager to join this discussion, but I have to do some more reading first.
PenelopeTX
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paulgoatallen
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

[ Edited ]

Penelope:

Great point – I think many contemporary fictionists don't fully understand and utilize the subtleties of great writing: tone, ambiance, setting, etc. Lovecraft was a true master craftsman when it came to creating stories... reading him is very much like taking in a classic painting that works on multiple levels. 

Paul 

Message Edited by paulgoatallen on 03-01-2009 09:07 PM
"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Shootydog
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

[ Edited ]

HP Lovecraft Archive

 

The above link is a good place to get familiar with the author and his work.

 

Myself, I have a particular love for the stories set in the Dreamlands and the link below is probably the best way to learn of that aspect of his creations.

 

Dreamlands

 

The way that HPL evoked a feeling of ages gone by...of incredible oceans of time having passed.  He has a way of conveying the scope of distance, time and space.  Some of it can be a bit droning and florid but in the end the destination is well worth the time spent. 

 

And if anyone is into board games check this one out....Its great fun and what is known as a cooperative game....everyone wins or noone wins.

 

Arkham Horror boardgame

 

Hmmm....I guess I forgot just how much I love H.P. Lovecraft. 

Message Edited by Shootydog on 03-01-2009 08:35 PM
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." - Albert Einstein
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Ryan_G
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

I've finsihed the first three stories and I just wanted to touch base with my initial impressions.

 

One, I agree with what's been said earlier.  His writing style in as far as setting tone and atmosphere is almost second to none.  You can actually "feel" what's going on in the stories.

 

I don't know if all of the stories are first person but the first three are and I think that helps get across to the reader the feel of a place or situation.

 

As lastly (fo now) I find myself reminded of old radio show like CBS Mystery Theater, which I love.  I find myself wanting to turn the lights off and listen to the stories being read.

 

I'm sure i will have more to say after I read more.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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paulgoatallen
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

Speaking of Lovecraft, The Onion today posted a hilarious article about a Lovecraftian school board struggling to get more madness in the classrooms – this is great!

Paul 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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PenelopeTX
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

Hooray! I tell you, where else can you find unfathomable horror and unfathomable fun all sushi-rolled together like this? Thanks Paul!
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Ryan_G
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

I know I'm going to say what I'm about to because I tried reading something knew while going through (and still am) a rather serious sinus infection.  So here it is.

 

I enjoyed the book, not as much as I thought I would though.  I think he is a master at describing and making a reader feel the atmosphere and feel of a story.  I think as a whole each individual story was good.  I think my issue was that they all kind of seemed similar.  I think they are supposed to be though since they are all set in the same small regional area.  I think what made me notice it was the over use of the initials A.P.  I believe over half the stories have characters with those initials.  I'm not sure why I focused so much on that detail but I did.

 

I don't want to sound like I didn't enjoy the stories because I did.  I have every intention of continuing my journey into Lovecrafts work.  I'm just wondering if I should start somewhere specific though.  I think that was my other issue.  A lot of the stories reffered to events that the author assumed the reader would already know about.  So is there a book that pretty much "starts" the universe?

 

Paul I do want to thank you for introducing me to a author I've never read before, I really appreciate it.  I feel like I'm letting you down for not absolutely loving the book.  I think that's why I keep saying I liked the stories on a individual basis, but not together.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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TiggerBear
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time


Ryan_G wrote:

I know I'm going to say what I'm about to because I tried reading something knew while going through (and still am) a rather serious sinus infection.  So here it is.

 

I enjoyed the book, not as much as I thought I would though.  I think he is a master at describing and making a reader feel the atmosphere and feel of a story.  I think as a whole each individual story was good.  I think my issue was that they all kind of seemed similar.  I think they are supposed to be though since they are all set in the same small regional area.  I think what made me notice it was the over use of the initials A.P.  I believe over half the stories have characters with those initials.  I'm not sure why I focused so much on that detail but I did.

 

I don't want to sound like I didn't enjoy the stories because I did.  I have every intention of continuing my journey into Lovecrafts work.  I'm just wondering if I should start somewhere specific though.  I think that was my other issue.  A lot of the stories reffered to events that the author assumed the reader would already know about.  So is there a book that pretty much "starts" the universe?

 

Paul I do want to thank you for introducing me to a author I've never read before, I really appreciate it.  I feel like I'm letting you down for not absolutely loving the book.  I think that's why I keep saying I liked the stories on a individual basis, but not together.


Well one has to remember that originally they were all published as magazine serials. Some of the similarity was on purpose. If that one sells, well you'll really like it this way... mentality. Some of it just is the way he liked the sounds of the words he used over and over. A small bit of it is the area Lovecraft grew up in, a small town everyone haveing one of 5 last names. He grew up with constantly repeating names over and over around him. Happens in the south alot. Want to know how many Uncles and cousins I have with the name of William, Bill, Billy, Billie, ect... some families run names into the ground. 

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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time


TiggerBear wrote:

Well one has to remember that originally they were all published as magazine serials. Some of the similarity was on purpose. If that one sells, well you'll really like it this way... mentality. Some of it just is the way he liked the sounds of the words he used over and over. A small bit of it is the area Lovecraft grew up in, a small town everyone haveing one of 5 last names. He grew up with constantly repeating names over and over around him. Happens in the south alot. Want to know how many Uncles and cousins I have with the name of William, Bill, Billy, Billie, ect... some families run names into the ground. 


Tig has a great point, Ryan – also, I think the social mores at the time cannot be discounted. Today, basically anything goes – all kinds of gratuitous sex and violence – but back in the '50s, when pulp paperbacks were "the" format to read, the sex and violence were mild by today's standards. Even the risque stuff in the 50s wasn't all that risque. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Lovecraft had to work within some pretty restrictive parameters... Just imagine what this guy could've done if he were alive today!

 

I'm finishing up these stories tonight so I'm going to wait until tomorrow to discuss them in detail...

Paul 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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paulgoatallen
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

Ryan:

Just finished this collection and I have to agree with you – I was disappointed. Whoever edited this compilation didn't do a very good job at creating a diversity of stories. Almost all of these stories had to deal with houses, estates, etc. and, yes, the repitition was weird.... I wonder why they decided to do a collection like this...

 

I loved the stories on an individual basis, yes, but the thematic similarity really "dampened" my enthusiasm for this collection. Ryan, I know you're probably tainted now and think Lovecraft was a one-trick pony but that's absolutely not the case. If you ever get the itch to read Lovecraft again please pick up At the Mountains of Madness. It really is a classic. Here's my review that I wrote for B&N in 2005 when Modern Library released a paperback reissue:


    This definitive edition of H.P. Lovecraft’s 1931 masterwork At the Mountains of Madness – published for the first time ever in paperback – includes the novel that has been called one of the greatest horror stories in the English language as well as Lovecraft’s groundbreaking essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature” and an illuminating introduction by China Mieville.
    When a group of scholars from Miskatonic University travel to the Antarctic on a geological expedition, they stumble across the discovery of the century: hidden by a towering mountain range and buried beneath the icy wasteland are the remains of a vast, alien city hundreds of millions of years old. After unearthing strange bodies that appear to be both plant and animal, most of the men and sledge dogs are brutally and mysteriously eviscerated. The two remaining researchers decide to forge ahead and explore the subterranean city before departing. What they find deep in the worming catacombs will change forever how they view humankind’s place in the cosmos…
    Lovecraft writes in his essay on horror in literature: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” That all-paralyzing, insanity-inducing fear of the unfamiliar is no better exemplified than in his classic story about the ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic. At the Mountains of Madness is a “must read” if there ever was one by an author whose work Clive Barker describes as “one of the cornerstones of modern horror.”
-Paul Goat Allen

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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PenelopeTX
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

I am running SOO far behind this time. I hope I will get a chance to read before too late. :smileysad:
PenelopeTX
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Ryan_G
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

Paul,

 

I'm kind of split on how I feel about your reaction to the book.  First I'm glad that I'm not the only one who had this reaction to this collection of stories.  Secondly, I'm sad that you felt the same way to because I know you were psyched about this book.

 

But no it didn't ruin my taste for Lovecraft.  As I said earlier I enjoyed the stories on a individual basis.  Just not together.  And I will read At the Mountains of Madness, and look forward to it.


paulgoatallen wrote:

Ryan:

Just finished this collection and I have to agree with you – I was disappointed. Whoever edited this compilation didn't do a very good job at creating a diversity of stories. Almost all of these stories had to deal with houses, estates, etc. and, yes, the repitition was weird.... I wonder why they decided to do a collection like this...

 

I loved the stories on an individual basis, yes, but the thematic similarity really "dampened" my enthusiasm for this collection. Ryan, I know you're probably tainted now and think Lovecraft was a one-trick pony but that's absolutely not the case. If you ever get the itch to read Lovecraft again please pick up At the Mountains of Madness. It really is a classic. Here's my review that I wrote for B&N in 2005 when Modern Library released a paperback reissue:


    This definitive edition of H.P. Lovecraft’s 1931 masterwork At the Mountains of Madness – published for the first time ever in paperback – includes the novel that has been called one of the greatest horror stories in the English language as well as Lovecraft’s groundbreaking essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature” and an illuminating introduction by China Mieville.
    When a group of scholars from Miskatonic University travel to the Antarctic on a geological expedition, they stumble across the discovery of the century: hidden by a towering mountain range and buried beneath the icy wasteland are the remains of a vast, alien city hundreds of millions of years old. After unearthing strange bodies that appear to be both plant and animal, most of the men and sledge dogs are brutally and mysteriously eviscerated. The two remaining researchers decide to forge ahead and explore the subterranean city before departing. What they find deep in the worming catacombs will change forever how they view humankind’s place in the cosmos…
    Lovecraft writes in his essay on horror in literature: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” That all-paralyzing, insanity-inducing fear of the unfamiliar is no better exemplified than in his classic story about the ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic. At the Mountains of Madness is a “must read” if there ever was one by an author whose work Clive Barker describes as “one of the cornerstones of modern horror.”
-Paul Goat Allen


 

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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Zack_Kullis
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

Last year I finished reading "Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H. P. Lovecraft"

 

The way Lovecraft writes is timeless.  He paints a vivid picture of horrific beings, and weaves a literary tapestry of fear, wonder, and awe.  One of my favorite stories of his is "The Outsider". 

 

Lovecraft leads you with descriptions so realistic and palpable that it takes very little imagination to see the abysmal horrors and smell the fetid stench of eons long past.

 

A well-constructed compilation of Lovecraft's stories should not leave you feeling like all of the stories are the same.  There are some repeating themes, but this can be seen in many writers who have produced as much work as Lovecraft.  

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PenelopeTX
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

I am so sorry to be tardy, but that might have been to my advantage. I really think these stories are to be taken alone, one at a time, to experience the richness of each offering. They have their own odd beauty. Fortunately for me, I had a forced pause at each turn -- busy, busy weeks. But it did give me time to walk around with the ideas, with the feelings. Some of the images, no matter how outside your experience, or science-fictional in nature, may still have held their own; like a poem in another language. Can you smell the old plaster, but its not the plaster exactly?, smell the wet reptilian presence among the dry paper; can't you see the moonlight through the window, seeping and sparkling like white wine upon the floor, see the aged, dry, white bone protruding from the freshly expired flesh? I have heard that he was a well-read student of Poe. I can see that. I am hooked.
PenelopeTX
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paulgoatallen
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

Penelope:

I'm so glad the your Lovecraft experience has been similar to mine and Ryan's. And, you're right – if one were to read one story at a time (that is not all of these stories one after the other) I don't think there would be any issue with this collection. I can't understand the thought process behind putting so many similar storylines together in one collection. Lovecraft has a much wider thematic scope than just "old haunted estate" stories... If there had been some kind of introduction explaining why these stories were chosen, I would've enjoyed this book much more...

Paul 

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PenelopeTX
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Re: MARCH FEATURE #3: Lovecraft's The Watchers Out of Time

Paul,

 

You really deserve all gratitude for introducing me to this wonderful author. Any collection by a master is worth its time. I already know enough to know that I will need to read all of his other works as well. I won't be able to stay away from them now.

PenelopeTX
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