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At the Mountains of Madness and Other Weird Tales (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    Definitely not disappointed!

    At the Mountains of Madness is more than a collection of ethereal, sometimes disturbing pulp stories from the early twentieth century. It is an opportunity to walk through dreams, to see both the light and dark sides of what the human mind has to offer. It has stories that discuss everything from a man's quest through strange and magical lands to a group of vengeful cats tired of being attacked by a cruel couple. Some of these stories are breathtakingly beautiful, while others are so unnerving that even a seasoned horror fan might be tempted to sleep with the lights on for a few nights. However, they all reveal something important about humanity: mankind is a painfully inquisitive species, with infinite capacity for imagination- something that many would do well to remember as they discount the power of thought and invention. Although I enjoyed the short novels included in this collection, my favorite parts of the entire book were two short stories: The Cats of Ulthar and Pickman's Model, as well as the vivid descriptions that illustrated the dreamscapes each story revealed. The Cats of Ulthar appealed to my love of old stories, the kind that, though not entirely suitable for children, always seem to be told around campfires and at sleepovers. The simple tale of a group of cats choosing to avenge their brethren who had died at the hands of an evil old couple was chillingly ironic, with an ending so filled with poetic justice that it evoked the "He had it coming" endings of fairy tales. On the other hand, Pickman's Model , a story about an artist who painted horrific beings, reminded me of a very different set of stories I had read growing up, stories designed to terrify those far older than their target audience, and with illustrations that seemed to stare malevolently at the reader. Although I enjoyed most of At the Mountains of Madness, I had one qualm with it. Since the author wrote in a different time, with different social standards, some of what he wrote has become offensive over the years. It is difficult to tell whether he was satirizing racists through his writing, though that possibility certainly exists. This ambiguity bothered me, and occasionally sent a sour note through an otherwise enjoyable book. As a horror fan, and a lover of surreal worlds, I loved At the Mountains of Madness. The strange creatures, fantastic lands, harsh irony, and intriguing possibilities drew me into its bizarre world, and I found myself unable to put the book down. However, I acknowledge that these stories are not for everyone. They are suitable for anyone over thirteen (the stories can be intense and incredibly disturbing) who enjoys fantasy, horror, or stories that are just a bit different from the normal adolescent fare.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2012

    Odd and creepy......me likey!

    Although I had heard of Lovecraft's work many times before, this is the first time I've read his work. I'm done with "At the Mountains of Madness" and "The Thing On The Doorstep", and I'm hooked.

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  • Posted April 17, 2012

    As always, H.P. Lovecraft brilliantly illustrators the outer-rea

    As always, H.P. Lovecraft brilliantly illustrators the outer-reaches of human conception repeatedly throughout his tales. Each of these stories are fantastic in their own way, and each bears the mark of the great horror master. From depictions that range from supernal to existential to cosmic, Lovecraft weaves dreams and realities both exquisite and Stygian with an excellence few authors in this genre dare to achieve.

    Following themes, such as man's quest for knowledge, the limits of man's sanity, and tenebrous accursed planes of existence of fearsome entities, this is a must have for any reader who genuinely enjoys truly gripping horror novella and short stories. My favorites being "The Thing on the Doorstep", a tale in which a man witnesses the utter deterioration of a lifelong friend at the unmerciful hands of another, insidious entity, "The Shadow out of time" where a man awakens in his body to find himself having taken a decade-long trip elsewhere, and "At the Mountains of Madness" where two men, one with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, set out on an adventure which leaves them aghast at the marvels which they find, adumbrating that man is but a nascent species on this planet. These, and many more (as there are others than this volume holds, perhaps greater one might say), Lovecraft with aptitude and sapience conveys, each and every tale being more wondrous than the last.

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