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From the fictional land of Carcosa that inspired the HBO show True Detective to H. P. Lovecraft’s accursed New England hills, this collection features some of the most legendary landscapes of the cosmic horror genre. The collection includes the following twelve stories:   Edgar Allan Poe, "MS. Found in a Bottle" Bram Stoker, "The Squaw" Ambrose Bierce, "Moxon's Master" Amb From the fictional land of Carcosa that inspired the HBO show True Detective to H. P. Lovecraft’s accursed New England hills, this collection features some of the most legendary landscapes of the cosmic horror genre. The collection includes the following twelve stories:   Edgar Allan Poe, "MS. Found in a Bottle" Bram Stoker, "The Squaw" Ambrose Bierce, "Moxon's Master" Ambrose Bierce, "The Damned Thing" Ambrose Bierce, "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" R. W. Chambers, "The Repairer of Reputations" M. P. Shiel, "The House of Sounds" Arthur Machen, "The White People" Algernon Blackwood, "The Willows" Henry James, "The Jolly Corner" Walter de la Mare, "Seaton's Aunt" H. P. Lovecraft, "The Colour Out of Space" “The true weird tale has something more than a secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains. An atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; a hint of that most terrible conception of the human brain—a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space.”—H. P. Lovecraft


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From the fictional land of Carcosa that inspired the HBO show True Detective to H. P. Lovecraft’s accursed New England hills, this collection features some of the most legendary landscapes of the cosmic horror genre. The collection includes the following twelve stories:   Edgar Allan Poe, "MS. Found in a Bottle" Bram Stoker, "The Squaw" Ambrose Bierce, "Moxon's Master" Amb From the fictional land of Carcosa that inspired the HBO show True Detective to H. P. Lovecraft’s accursed New England hills, this collection features some of the most legendary landscapes of the cosmic horror genre. The collection includes the following twelve stories:   Edgar Allan Poe, "MS. Found in a Bottle" Bram Stoker, "The Squaw" Ambrose Bierce, "Moxon's Master" Ambrose Bierce, "The Damned Thing" Ambrose Bierce, "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" R. W. Chambers, "The Repairer of Reputations" M. P. Shiel, "The House of Sounds" Arthur Machen, "The White People" Algernon Blackwood, "The Willows" Henry James, "The Jolly Corner" Walter de la Mare, "Seaton's Aunt" H. P. Lovecraft, "The Colour Out of Space" “The true weird tale has something more than a secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains. An atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; a hint of that most terrible conception of the human brain—a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space.”—H. P. Lovecraft

30 review for Shadows of Carcosa: Tales of Cosmic Horror by Lovecraft, Chambers, Machen, Poe, and Other Masters of the Weird

  1. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    A dozen classic tales of cosmic horror and the weird collected here from Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, Ambrose Bierce, R. W. Chambers, M. P. Shiel, Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, Henry James, Walter de la Mare and H. P. Lovecraft. I enjoyed every single one, however, in order to share a more specific taste of what a reader will find in this New York Review Books (NYRB) volume, for the purposes of my review, I'll limit my observations to the following three: THE WHITE PEOPLE by Arthur Machen W A dozen classic tales of cosmic horror and the weird collected here from Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, Ambrose Bierce, R. W. Chambers, M. P. Shiel, Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, Henry James, Walter de la Mare and H. P. Lovecraft. I enjoyed every single one, however, in order to share a more specific taste of what a reader will find in this New York Review Books (NYRB) volume, for the purposes of my review, I'll limit my observations to the following three: THE WHITE PEOPLE by Arthur Machen Welsh author Arthur Machen looked askance at his surrounding late nineteenth-century society’s infatuation with material progress and thinking all the vast mysteries of the universe can be reduced to science. His tale, The White People, one of the most influential works of horror/supernatural fiction ever written, addresses the consequences of such misguided notions in the personage of Ambrose, a devotee of occult literature, who tells his visitor Cotgrave that modern man is rapidly losing spiritual depth and the capacity to know the meaning of true sin and evil. As part of his teachings, he permits Cotgrave to borrow one of his rare treasures, The Green Book, a thin volume written by a young girl now long since dead. The contents of The Green Book is, in effect, the main body of Machem’s tale. And, let me tell you folks, The Green Book makes for one captivating and exhilarating read, touching on many alluring topics and themes, the following among their number: Secret Knowledge and Gnostic Wisdom “I must not write down the real names of the days and months which I found out a year ago, nor the way to make the Aklo letters, or the Chian language, or the great beautiful Circles, nor the Mao Games, nor the chief songs. I may write something about all these things but not the way to do them, for peculiar reasons.” So begins the young narrator (picture her as you would Alice in the tales of Lewis Carroll) about the secret knowledge she speaks of. And it is a knowing she was told as a very little girl: “the little white faces that used to look at me when I was lying in my cradle. They used to talk to me, and I learnt their language and talked to them in it about some great white place where they lived.” We hear echoes of the great Gnostic text, The Hymn of the Pearl, of how we truly belong to a higher, more spiritual realm that we have since long forgotten. Paganism and Nature Cults She tells of her adventures with her nurse when she was five, how they went along a path through a wood and how they came to a deep, dark, shady pool. She’s left by her nurse to play with white people who emerged from the wood to dance and play and sing. Further on she sees the white people drink a curious wine and make images and worship them. Arthur Machen was steeped in the pre-Christian pagan religions and the various descriptions here – woods, pools, singing, dancing, playing, drinking wine, creating and worshiping images – are common to all nature cults not only in Europe but throughout the world. When the little girl relays her experiences to nurse, the nurse becomes frightened and tells her she was only dreaming and never to repeat what she has seen. And for good reason! Nineteenth century Wales is still very Christian and all of what she experienced would be labeled as “pagan” by her parents and others and she could be severely punished. Goddess Worship The narrator conveys more detail of her encounter, how there was “a beautiful lady with kind dark eyes, and a grave face, and long black hair, and she smiled such a strange sad smile.” Along with paganism and the natural world, goddess worship played its part in pre-Christian religions and still is a vital presence within many other world religions such as Buddhism and the various Hindu religions from India. Of course, the appearance of a goddess would pose a serious threat to the prevailing male-centered, male-controlled Christian religion. And the narrator being female adds an additional charge of danger to the equation since females, even little girls, possess such a direct connection to intuition, emotions, feelings and the earth. Jungian Archetypes As part of her adventures, the narrator comes upon “the big round mound.” The University of Richmond has an entire project dedicated to prehistoric round mounds. And round mounds have so much affinity with mandalas thus they can be included in an analysis of the mandala archetype as developed by psychologist Carl Jung. As Jung has written, “The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the Self. This circular image represents the wholeness of the psychic ground or, to put it in mythic terms, the divinity incarnate in man.” As we follow our young guide through her Green Book, we can read between the lines to detect how rich the connections Arthur Machen has made of his narrator’s account to the world of myth, spirit and the quest for psychic wholeness. Shamanism Again and again our little girl writes of her fantastic encounters, as when she “crept up a tunnel under a tree” and “the ground rose up in front of me, tall and steep as a wall, and there was nothing but the green wall and the sky.” This is the language from the world of the shaman. Anthropologist Michael Harner has engaged in years of research of tribal cultures and writes extensively on the “shamanic state of consciousness” where the shaman will enter either the lower world or the higher world to gain knowledge and power so as to benefit the health and well-being of the tribe. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how in tribal cultures our narrator would quickly be initiated as one of its shamans. “I dream in fire but work in clay.” ― Arthur Machen (1863–1947) THE DAMNED THING by Ambrose Bierce In his book The Spooky Art, Norman Mailer addresses the presence and power of evil, how it can take various forms to exert a destructive influence in our material world: “If a Creator exists in company with an opposite Presence (to be called Satan, for short), there is also the most lively possibility of a variety of major and minor angels, devils and demons, good spirits and evil, working away more or less invisibly in our lives.” Well, with this Ambrose Bierce tale, we are given an instance of such a destructive force. However, this force makes itself known by penetrating, on some level, into the visible world. It is this “on some level,” the shadowy, not quite within the spectrum of human vision and human hearing, that makes the tale eerie in the extreme - the force takes on form, sort of, outside our normal human senses, but it is there – it moves, it screams, it can become violent. The dark beauty of Ambrose Bierce’s telling is all in the atmosphere and the timing – there are four short chapters: Chapter I begins: “By THE light of a tallow candle, which had been placed on one end of a rough table, a man was reading something written in a book. It was an old account book, greatly worn; and the writing was not, apparently, very legible, for the man sometimes held the page close to the flame of the candle to get a stronger light upon it. The shadow of the book would then throw into obscurity a half of the room, darkening a number of faces and figures; for besides the reader, eight other men were present. Seven of them sat against the rough log walls, silent and motionless, and, the room being small, not very far from the table. By extending an arm any one of them could have touched the eighth man, who lay on the table, face upward, partly covered by a sheet, his arms at his sides. He was dead.” Chapter II features the entrance of a young short story writer and journalist by the name of William Harker who was near Hugh Morgan when Morgan was mauled by a mysterious force. Harker reads out loud his account of the happening. Harker departs the gathering in Chapter III but before he leaves he asks the man with the book he recognizes as Morgan’s diary if he can see it. "The book will cut no figure in this matter," replied the official, slipping it into his coat pocket; "all the entries in it were made before the writer's death." Lastly, Chapter IV is the contents of Morgan’s diary – horrifying, ghastly, dreadful, creepy, weird, and last but not least, sinister and spine-chilling. A tale not to be missed. “All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusion is called a philosopher.” -Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) SEATON'S AUNT by Walter de la Mare This Walter de la Mare is one of the most chilling tales I’ve ever read. One prime reason is the presence of the aunt who could very well be in league with the devil or other diabolical forces or simply has a keen paranormal ability to read the inner thoughts of those around her. The idea that a being, even if that being is God let alone an old woman, can read our thoughts in such a way that strips us of our privacy, that is a gross invasion of privacy, is most unsettling and disturbing. The Gothic atmosphere created and the flawless timing of the narrator’s telling (the first part as a visiting schoolboy; the second part as a young adult) makes for one scary read. Walter de la Mare’s writing here is to too subtle and nuanced to call this a ghost story, but its close. Here is a quote from the tale when, along with Seaton, his fellow schoolmate, the narrator approaches the aunt’s house: “She was standing at an upper window which opened wide on a hinge, and at first sight she looked an excessively tall and overwhelming figure. This, however, was mainly because the window reached all but to the floor of her bedroom. She was in reality rather an undersized woman, in spite of her long face and big head. She must have stood, I think, unusually still, with eyes fixed on us, though this impression may be due to Seaton's sudden warning and to my consciousness of the cautious and subdued air that had fallen on him at sight of her. I know that without the least reason in the world I felt a kind of guiltiness, as if I had been 'caught'. There was a silvery star pattern sprinkled on her black silk dress, and even from the ground I could see the immense coils of her hair and the rings on her left hand which was held fingering the small jet buttons of her bodice. She watched our united advance without stirring, until, imperceptibly, her eyes raised and lost themselves in the distance, so that it was out of an assumed reverie that she appeared suddenly to awaken to our presence beneath her when we drew close to the house.” Again, not a tale to be missed. “An hour's terror is better than a lifetime of timidity.” ― Walter de la Mare (1876-1953)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    Bad luck for me, it turns out I'd already read a lot of the stories here, and also, disappointingly, there is not a lot of obvious connection to mysterious Carcosa, which is what I was looking for. But, a very good collection, which I recommend if you haven't read many of the following: Edgar Allan Poe, "MS. Found in a Bottle" Bram Stoker, "The Squaw" Ambrose Bierce, "Moxon's Master" Ambrose Bierce, "The Damned Thing" Ambrose Bierce, "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" R. W. Chambers, "The Repairer of Reputat Bad luck for me, it turns out I'd already read a lot of the stories here, and also, disappointingly, there is not a lot of obvious connection to mysterious Carcosa, which is what I was looking for. But, a very good collection, which I recommend if you haven't read many of the following: Edgar Allan Poe, "MS. Found in a Bottle" Bram Stoker, "The Squaw" Ambrose Bierce, "Moxon's Master" Ambrose Bierce, "The Damned Thing" Ambrose Bierce, "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" R. W. Chambers, "The Repairer of Reputations" (this is one of the stories from The King in Yellow M. P. Shiel, "The House of Sounds" (boring) Arthur Machen, "The White People" Excellent! Algernon Blackwood, "The Willows" (I've read this twice before but probably ought to check out this version because I liked it much better on rereading.) Henry James, "The Jolly Corner" (OMG, so boring. I think I fell asleep before figuring out what the supernatural part was.) Walter de la Mare, "Seaton's Aunt" (Subdued creepiness at its most stifling) H. P. Lovecraft, "The Colour Out of Space" is one of the more disturbing and sad Lovecraft stories. The book ends with an essay on Lovecraft's essay on horror, which is kind of amusing since Lovecraft went out of his way to mention not liking James' attempts at horror. I especially enjoyed The White People, which I had otherwise not found in print.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Greg Brown

    This book is an odd duck: rather than a primer on or survey of weird fiction, this collection seeks to be more a study of the contemporaries and progenitors of Lovecraft's style. So you'd think they'd be assuming that you've read Lovecraft's stuff, but at the very end(?) it includes Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space". This might well be for comparison or completeness, but the inclusion almost compulsory, like you CAN'T do any collection of weird fiction without including at least some Lovecra This book is an odd duck: rather than a primer on or survey of weird fiction, this collection seeks to be more a study of the contemporaries and progenitors of Lovecraft's style. So you'd think they'd be assuming that you've read Lovecraft's stuff, but at the very end(?) it includes Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space". This might well be for comparison or completeness, but the inclusion almost compulsory, like you CAN'T do any collection of weird fiction without including at least some Lovecraft. That said, the collection itself is revelatory and even pretty enjoyable for the most part. Viewing the collection through the lens of Lovecraft, it takes on an almost combinatorial feel—mixing and matching, excluding and including the various elements that we think of when we survey Lovecraft's work. Shiel's "The House of Sounds" takes the theme of sensory over-stimulations leading to madness, and outdoes "The Fall of the House of Usher" in turn. Machen's "The White People" does the same sort of unworldly lore and descent into hidden codes and ritual, but in a bit different context than usual. And most refreshingly, the collection shows that many of the key elements of weird fiction are not necessarily tied to a racist world-view as much as they disgustingly are in some of Lovecraft's. Of course, some of the stories fall flat or are boring reads; the genre isn't really known for tidy writing or plotting in general, and seeing so many of these in one place negates the novelty that usually carries some of the weight. But many of the stuff is better than Lovecraft's efforts, and certainly deserves some of the attention that's almost singularly accorded to his work. Plus the NYRB has a rad Charles Burns cover that's refreshingly loud compared to their usual tone.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Wicke

    A great selection for any fans of Lovecraft & other cosmic/fantastic horror - and a great way to get exposed to other great authors working within the discipline. Some stories I had read before, and all were very enjoyable. I've taken the time to give them each an individual rating below: Poe - M.S Found in a Bottle (3/5) A mysterious account of a shipwrecked sailor who finds rescue stowed away on a damned ship during an otherworldly storm. Bram Stoker - The Squaw (3/5) A bit of a different feel fr A great selection for any fans of Lovecraft & other cosmic/fantastic horror - and a great way to get exposed to other great authors working within the discipline. Some stories I had read before, and all were very enjoyable. I've taken the time to give them each an individual rating below: Poe - M.S Found in a Bottle (3/5) A mysterious account of a shipwrecked sailor who finds rescue stowed away on a damned ship during an otherworldly storm. Bram Stoker - The Squaw (3/5) A bit of a different feel from much of the other content, this one tells of an American tourist who accidentally kills a kitten & is ruthlessly pursued by its bloodstained mother, which avenges its slain offspring. Ambrose Bierce - Moxon's Master (3/5) A friend's ruminations on whether or not a machine "thinks" preface the discovery that he has constructed a mechanical chess-adversary, who turns out to be an extraordinarily bad loser. Bierce - The Damned Thing (4/5) A coroner's inquest features the interview of a witness who says that he watched the deceased being torn apart by an invisible being. Witty, immersive, and interesting pseudo-scientific explanations. Bierce - An Inhabitant of Carcosa (2/5) A very short & trippy account of the fevered delirium (& apparent death) of the protagonist as he explores the great, destroyed city of Carcosa. R.W Chambers - The Repairer of Reputations (3/5) One that I had read before, in The King in Yellow, a deluded man indulges in a conspiracy with a neighbour to rule the world as he hallucinates a priceless relic & forbids his cousin from dating... A very interesting approach to revealing a narrator's insanity. M.P Shiel - The House of Sounds (3/5) A school chum invites the narrator to his ancestral home haunted by family spirits, complete with a subterranean morgue featuring a complex doomsday clock which heralds the end of their lineage. Arthur Machen - The White People (5/5) A very cool account of a young girl who comes to gradually understand & explore the esoteric truths revealed to her by her nurse. After learning & intuiting phrases & rituals with startling powers, her explorations themselves become a spell, unlocking special places in the great outdoors. Algernon Blackwood - The Willows (5/5) Two buddies are stranded on an island in the midst of a canoeing trip, where gradually a mysterious unease escalates to cosmic terror caused by something dwelling behind the "thin veil between worlds." Fantastic atmosphere and noteworthy approach to cosmic terrors. Henry James - The Jolly Corner (4/5) Recently moved back to his childhood neighbourhood in New York, a man becomes obsessed by what he might have become had he stayed. He stalks his alternate spirit in the dark hallways of his giant house by night. Very cool in concept and execution. Walter de la Mare - Seaton's Aunt (4/5) The awkward boy at school invites our narrator to stay at his creepy aunt's home, where he reveals she's "in league with the devil." Very cool concept and execution, but I was disappointed with the lack of meaningful resolution or final understanding. H.P Lovecraft - The Colour out of Space (5/5) Another I'd read previously: a strange meteor strikes a New England farm, poisoning the countryside with a strange colour outside the earthly spectrum, which infects & destroys all organic matter. A wonderfully unique approach to cosmic terror, & full of wonderful descriptions of terrible phenomena.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    The Charles Burns cover is what initially brought this to my attention. This is a fine collection of horror stories from past masters of the form. It's the usual mixed bag, with perhaps a bit more eclecticism than one normally sees from such books. Standouts for me include Bram Stoker's fine (and darkly humorous) "The Squaw" and Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows"--a bit slow to begin, but worth sticking with as there are some beautifully chilling moments and a fine conclusion. I've read Poe's "M The Charles Burns cover is what initially brought this to my attention. This is a fine collection of horror stories from past masters of the form. It's the usual mixed bag, with perhaps a bit more eclecticism than one normally sees from such books. Standouts for me include Bram Stoker's fine (and darkly humorous) "The Squaw" and Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows"--a bit slow to begin, but worth sticking with as there are some beautifully chilling moments and a fine conclusion. I've read Poe's "M.S. Found In A Bottle", Bierce's "The Damned Thing", and Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space" before, though it's always a pleasure to reread them. My least favorite was probably Henry James' "The Jolly Corner," which I found dreadfully dull. I know James by reputation, and it's possible that I was too impatient, too much of a Philistine, or just simply in the wrong frame of mind to appreciate it. All in all, this is a fun book, well worth reading for fans of the genre.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dexter Morgenstern

    *No Spoilers* I'll have to admit, as a millennial, it's a bit of an adjustment to adapt to the writing styles of authors from as far as the late 1800s, but I was already a fan of H.P Lovecraft before going in, so I stuck through, and while some of the tales I kind of shrugged at, some of these reads were quite worth it. The biggest theme of this book is cosmic horror, which I didn't have defined going in. Now, I understand: it's a type of dread. You don't know exactly what's happening, but somethi *No Spoilers* I'll have to admit, as a millennial, it's a bit of an adjustment to adapt to the writing styles of authors from as far as the late 1800s, but I was already a fan of H.P Lovecraft before going in, so I stuck through, and while some of the tales I kind of shrugged at, some of these reads were quite worth it. The biggest theme of this book is cosmic horror, which I didn't have defined going in. Now, I understand: it's a type of dread. You don't know exactly what's happening, but something is wrong, and then something bad happens, and you don't exactly how it happened, but you know whatever caused it transcends human understanding. You start to grasp just enough of it, but you're still clouded by the dangerous unknown. Certain stories did this well: An Inhabitant of Carcosa, The Willows, the House of Sounds, the Colour out of Space. Arguably, the most memorable of the tales of the book. If you just want the best reads and the best definition of "cosmic horror", read those four. The White People would have been a lot better had I not been so turned off by the prose. Other stories were enjoyable, but didn't really take the cosmic horror route: The Repairer of Reputations, the Damned Thing, The Squaw, and Moxon's Master were all good, if not predictable, and much less "cosmic". Some of these stories were rather dull or entertaining enough, but not exciting enough in the end to be worth the read. I`d consider Seaton's Aunt and the Jolly Corner to be among the dullest of tales, and I don't think Poe's MS Found in a Bottle tale was entertaining enough to kick off the collection with. The Colour out of Space is the final story in the collection, and after reading the other tales, it's clear where Lovecraft got much of his influence. As much as I liked the others listed, this was the only story that made me run over to a friend and rant about how good it was. That's the only 5-star story in the collection.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jack Haringa

    Editor D. Thin has assembled a mostly-excellent anthology of classic horror stories, most of the cosmic variety, and it's been wrapped in an arresting cover by underground comix artist Charles Burns. Thin states in his afterword--which should properly have been an introduction with some bona fides provided for the editor himself--that he was mainly guided in his selection by Lovecraft's famous essay, "Supernatural Horror in Literature." As a result, we get some much-reprinted and rightly-lauded Editor D. Thin has assembled a mostly-excellent anthology of classic horror stories, most of the cosmic variety, and it's been wrapped in an arresting cover by underground comix artist Charles Burns. Thin states in his afterword--which should properly have been an introduction with some bona fides provided for the editor himself--that he was mainly guided in his selection by Lovecraft's famous essay, "Supernatural Horror in Literature." As a result, we get some much-reprinted and rightly-lauded material including personal favorites like "The White People" by Arthur Machen and "The Willows" by Algernon Blackwood. His selection of Bierce stories contains the oddity "Moxon's Master," a sort of science-fictional automaton tale that owes more to Hoffmann than Lovecraft, alongside the more common "The Damned Thing" and "An Inhabitant of Carcosa." Thin also interestingly chooses Chambers' "The Repairer of Reputations" from The King in Yellow rather than "The Yellow Sign" or "The Demoiselle D'Ys." When the editor deviates from Lovecraft's recommendations, the book loses points. First is in the selection of the utterly predictable and histrionically told "The Squaw" by Bram Stoker. It's a dreadful bit of writing that belongs in a selection of "sensation" stories of the type mocked by Poe long before its original publication. The other major misstep is the inclusion of Henry James' "The Jolly Corner." This story comes from James' later phase, and it has all the hallmarks of that period's interminable recursiveness, stuttering self-referentiality, and tedious fastidiousness. Overall a worthwhile assemblage of tales, and a good primer of the horror genre from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Don Hackett

    I read the first part of this fine anthology in my last year's pre-Halloween reading and finished it this year. I was apprehensive about the last story, Lovecraft's "Colour Out of Space"; it had scared the sleep out of me when I first read it at the age of 12 and I was worried that it would have that kind of effect on me now, or that I would find that it was not that good. No worries, it is a fine piece of cosmic horror and my favorite work by Lovecraft. It has no mention of Cthulhu and only use I read the first part of this fine anthology in my last year's pre-Halloween reading and finished it this year. I was apprehensive about the last story, Lovecraft's "Colour Out of Space"; it had scared the sleep out of me when I first read it at the age of 12 and I was worried that it would have that kind of effect on me now, or that I would find that it was not that good. No worries, it is a fine piece of cosmic horror and my favorite work by Lovecraft. It has no mention of Cthulhu and only uses the word "eldritch" once, and that not followed by "horror."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Charles Dee Mitchell

    My review is part of a blog posting on Worlds Without End titled The Universe Wants You Dead: The Return of Cosmic Horror. http://blog.worldswithoutend.com/2015... My review is part of a blog posting on Worlds Without End titled The Universe Wants You Dead: The Return of Cosmic Horror. http://blog.worldswithoutend.com/2015...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Media

    "It's not a physical condition we can escape from by running away...There are forces close here that could kill a herd of elephants in a second as easily as you or I could squash a fly. Our only chance is to keep perfectly still. Our insignificance perhaps may save us." - The Willows, Algernon Blackwood. This is an excellent collection of some great weird tales from some of the best classic horror authors out there. Notably, the tales I enjoyed the most were from Ambrose Bierce (The Damned Thing, "It's not a physical condition we can escape from by running away...There are forces close here that could kill a herd of elephants in a second as easily as you or I could squash a fly. Our only chance is to keep perfectly still. Our insignificance perhaps may save us." - The Willows, Algernon Blackwood. This is an excellent collection of some great weird tales from some of the best classic horror authors out there. Notably, the tales I enjoyed the most were from Ambrose Bierce (The Damned Thing, An Inhabitant of Carcosa), Algernon Blackwood (The Willows), and R.W. Chambers (The Repairer of Reputations), while Arthur Machen (The White People) and Henry James (The Corner) hold the weaker stories. I would highly recommend this for anyone looking to get into horror. It's not necessarily cosmic, Lovecraft contributes the most to that, but the stories are selected on their themes of the unknown and human fear in the face of powers weird and horrible. Most importantly it shows how there were more people contributing to this genre than just Lovecraft.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    4.5 stars! This was an excellently chosen collection of short stories to represent the weird fiction genre, and the breath and depth of range that it possesses. I would certainly recommend this to someone who has no previous experience with weird fiction, as this book contains many of the well known classics/cornerstones of the genre. That being said, more seasoned readers should probably skip this one since most likely you would have come across most of these stories by now. I consider myself q 4.5 stars! This was an excellently chosen collection of short stories to represent the weird fiction genre, and the breath and depth of range that it possesses. I would certainly recommend this to someone who has no previous experience with weird fiction, as this book contains many of the well known classics/cornerstones of the genre. That being said, more seasoned readers should probably skip this one since most likely you would have come across most of these stories by now. I consider myself quite new to weird fiction and I've already read 3 from this collection. Nevertheless, I had a blast with these stories and I couldn't help but be impressed with not only the prose of these authors but their collective ability to evoke the strangest atmospheres and bring forth dark, elusive concepts into examination. Overall, I've stumbled upon another winner of a book! "Fear is the cement and solvent of this and every world. Even the gods tremble."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jesuitstea

    As always the quality of NYRB's printing quality is superb and this book is pleasurably elastic. This book occupies a tricky spot on my bookshelf; it is a rather esoteric collection for an inductee into the world of weird fiction and as many of the reviewers have noted many of the stories are only tangentially linked to the theme of cosmic horror, while more experienced readers will quickly find that many of the tales printed here are already present in their libraries. It is a well put together As always the quality of NYRB's printing quality is superb and this book is pleasurably elastic. This book occupies a tricky spot on my bookshelf; it is a rather esoteric collection for an inductee into the world of weird fiction and as many of the reviewers have noted many of the stories are only tangentially linked to the theme of cosmic horror, while more experienced readers will quickly find that many of the tales printed here are already present in their libraries. It is a well put together book, but I would recommend tracking down authorial anthologies rather than buying it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Justin Covey

    Loses a star for giving so many pages to Henry James' The Jolly Corner, an interesting but interminably long story with only the most tenuous connection to the themes of the collection. One suspects it was included more to assuage the editor's literary pretensions than anything else, and it eats up space that could have given us a second Blackwood or Lovecraft story at the very least. But the rest of the collection is fantastic, The White People by Arthur Machen being the stand out. Loses a star for giving so many pages to Henry James' The Jolly Corner, an interesting but interminably long story with only the most tenuous connection to the themes of the collection. One suspects it was included more to assuage the editor's literary pretensions than anything else, and it eats up space that could have given us a second Blackwood or Lovecraft story at the very least. But the rest of the collection is fantastic, The White People by Arthur Machen being the stand out.

  14. 5 out of 5

    C♥️

    Some well-rounded stories great for an introduction to cosmic horror (rather than just Lovecraft). Some were better than others, some bizarre, some horrifying. Bram Stoker’s was my favourite although I wasn’t aware until googling it that the title is a slur, unfortunately. I also liked “Seaton’s Aunt” and “The Repairer of Reputations”. Unfortunately I was soooo tired when I finished this so I probably didn’t ingest a few of the last stories as well as I’d liked.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Albert

    I really love your story, it deserves a lot of audience. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on NovelStar, just submit your story to [email protected] or [email protected]

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This is a nice little gem. There are several authors that would influence Lovecraft as well as a story by Lovecraft. My favorite of this collection was the Repairer of Reputations by R. W. Chambers. All of them were great and I liked some of the lesser known gems as well.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    Some of the stories here are misses, but it ends on what might be my favorite Lovecraft tale.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Quezado

    Contos selecionados de horror? Não podia ser melhor.. com os mestres Lovecraft, Poe, Ambrose Bierce, etc!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Martin Humphreys

    This collection of stories is old, so it can be hard to read at times. Nonetheless, it is worth it; especially Lovecraft's "The Colour out of Space," which is easily the best in the collection. This collection of stories is old, so it can be hard to read at times. Nonetheless, it is worth it; especially Lovecraft's "The Colour out of Space," which is easily the best in the collection.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nupsilon

    Like a lot of anthologies, this is uneven. The two obvious standouts are Machen's "The White People", a tale of ancient folklore and witchcraft, and Blackwood's "The Willows", an atmospheric take on the stranded-on-an-island trope. Poe's story is just okay; it seems he was going for an open ending, but it just feels like half of the story is missing. Stoker's story is kind of ridiculous, with its vengeful cat and its cartoonish American character (I couldn't even tell what he was saying half the ti Like a lot of anthologies, this is uneven. The two obvious standouts are Machen's "The White People", a tale of ancient folklore and witchcraft, and Blackwood's "The Willows", an atmospheric take on the stranded-on-an-island trope. Poe's story is just okay; it seems he was going for an open ending, but it just feels like half of the story is missing. Stoker's story is kind of ridiculous, with its vengeful cat and its cartoonish American character (I couldn't even tell what he was saying half the time). Bierce's stories are good but too short to leave much of an impression. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space" is good but not scary enough. I expected more. Henry James is being Henry James, ie overwritten and uneventful. That's a bit unfair; his story is actually scary, in a very subdued way. I just get tired of his prose very quickly. Walter de la Mare's "Seaton's Aunt" is... fine. I didn't find it scary or suspenseful. It ended the way I expected it to end. Chambers' "Repairer of Reputations" was interesting, but I think I need to read the rest of the King in Yellow stories before I can make up my mind about it. I usually enjoy stories about madness and this was a good one. As for Shiel's "The House of Sounds"... What the hell was that? Maybe I was just very tired when I read it, but I couldn't get into it. Something about the way it was written seemed off. Overall I recommend this anthology, if only for the Machen and Blackwood stories. It's a quick introduction to classic horror.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Terrific sampling of various "weird fiction" writers of the 1800s-1900s America. Well-known writers such as Poe, James, Stoker, and Lovecraft are joined by more obscure fictions such as Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, and Robert Chambers. While the volume does not necessarily contain the best work by each author it showcases, each selection gives a glimpse at the personal brilliance of each. Worth picking up to read Chambers' amazing "The Repairer of Reputations." The introduction (or "Note o Terrific sampling of various "weird fiction" writers of the 1800s-1900s America. Well-known writers such as Poe, James, Stoker, and Lovecraft are joined by more obscure fictions such as Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, and Robert Chambers. While the volume does not necessarily contain the best work by each author it showcases, each selection gives a glimpse at the personal brilliance of each. Worth picking up to read Chambers' amazing "The Repairer of Reputations." The introduction (or "Note on the Selection" as it's titled) written by the mysteriously named D. Thin is not particularly of scholarly interest (as opposed to the S.T. Joshi introductions and endnotes in his Penguin editions of the various authors), though continues the volumes desire in offering a strong overview of the weird writing of the time. And from an aesthetic standpoint, NYRB knows how to make a beautiful edition too.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Strange in content, tone, and selection, but as explained in the editor's note, chosen primarily due to Lovecraft's appreciation for these tales as exemplars of "weird fiction." Worth reading for this reason alone, as it covers the gamut of Lovecraft Lovecraftian influences and contemporaries. I feel like I understand the "weird tale" much better having read these stories in this specific context. Strange in content, tone, and selection, but as explained in the editor's note, chosen primarily due to Lovecraft's appreciation for these tales as exemplars of "weird fiction." Worth reading for this reason alone, as it covers the gamut of Lovecraft Lovecraftian influences and contemporaries. I feel like I understand the "weird tale" much better having read these stories in this specific context.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tait Jensen

    Stories of horror spoiled by a complexity which adds neither suspense nor bewilderment. Underwhelming to say the least.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pws3

    Test review 3

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kurt

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mavis

  29. 4 out of 5

    Victor Nordling

  30. 5 out of 5

    Humberto Ballesteros

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