Reading: H. P. Lovecraft — Omnibus 1: At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels of Terror

Once again, Charles Stross to blame. As if The Bloody White Baron wasn’t sufficiently ghastly, I now travel back to the origins of Cthulu mythos.

Imagine someone whispering in your ear, “Horror. Horror. Horror. Horror. Horror…”, and each utterance was unique and chilling, as if the immensity signified within that word reverberated whole and unobscured for the first time, and beneath the weight of which you quailed, exposed and helpless, in cold terror.

Actually, it’s quite fun to write like that, a bit like Black Metal lyrics; there’s a theatre in the prose, and considering the relative paucity of such dread words, H. P. is remarkable for this quality — even where such word as ‘horror’ (‘the horror’, ‘elder horrors’ …) occurs more than once in a page, it’s context seems distinct.

Paul at Saint George’s persuaded me to take the second-hand copy instead of the new one, which almost led me to take Omnibus 2. Alas, no used copy. It does have a certain majesty to be reading such an author — I could have sat in the shop all afternoon if I wasn’t intent on being hailed upon — especially considering Charlie and China Miéville, two of my favourite authors of the last few years, are so influenced by him.

By him, by the mythos, by Unheimlich horror, New Weird, whatever its appellation, even though H. P. himself was influenced by earlier writers (Necronomicon anyone?), there is something of a well-spring in him, traces of which I find in most of the art I’m drawn to.

I only hope it doesn’t give me nightmares.