This volume collects, for the first time, the entire Dream Cycle created by H. P. Lovecraft, the master of twentieth-century horror, including some of his most fantastic tales, such as:
Plus twenty more tales of surreal terror!
©2014 H. P. Lovecraft (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks
This is a very mixed bag of Lovecraft stories and the collection itself is not well named. Not all of these stories are from Lovecraft's dream cycle and a couple don't seem Lovecraftian at all! Some of the early stories are incomplete but most are worth listening to.
I have read and listened to most of Lovecraft's stories and consider myself a fan. It's hard to pin down the appeal, I think it is the feel and antiquity of the stories. I don't know anyone else that reads Lovecraft and it always surprises me when I read how popular he is.
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is my favourite Lovecraft story in this collection.
Only after buying this book did I realist that ALL of the stories contained are also in the Necronomicon or Eldritch tales. I would suggest you buy those 2 books and skip this one.
A set of unrelated bits of scribbling desperately cobbled together for purpose of making money. Magnificently written, as is all of Lovecraft's work but not a single complete story. Whatever Lovecraft had in mind for any of these he never finished. I threw it away after 15 hopeful minutes.
Yes but I would make sure I got a complete story.
Yes but pointless.
All of them.
A complete waste of your time and money!
"Table of Contents"
The Thing in the Moonlight
Beyond the Wall of Sleep
The Doom That Came to Sarnath
The Statement of Randolph Carter
The Cats of Ulthar
The Nameless City
The Other Gods
The Quest of Iranon
What the Moon Brings
The Dream Quest of Unknown Kaddath
The Silver Key
The Strange High House in the Mist
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Dreams in the Witch House
Through the Gates of the Silver Key
"Great readings except for one!"
Enjoyable, Lovecraft, Dreamlands
The reading of the Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath
All of the readings were great, especially Bronson Pinchot's EXCEPT for "High House in the Mist" read by Tom Wyner, which was absolutely awful.
If I could have, but tons of stories to listen to.
While a few of the readers take just a little or no adjustment time to get used to, Tom Wyner is just awful with his reading of High House on the Mist. I honestly fast forwarded through that after giving him about 5-10 minutes. He reads it like it's a newspaper and has no emotion nor gives any color to the reading like the others do.
The readings of the Quest of Unknown Kadath (I forget the reader) and all of Bronson Pinchot's readings (you never know who reads and can "get" Lovecraft, these days) are excellent, so basically, if you're a fan of Lovecraft's character Randolph Carter, you will enjoy every story involving him.
I gave this book 5 stars for all facets as long as you ignore High House in the Mist. Maybe find another version or just read it yourself. ;-)
(And if you have never read Lovecraft stories before, this is an interesting set of his stories to take up. I suggest Googling "Lovecraft Dreamlands" before you do, though, so all of the unusual names don't immediately distract you from the stories involved).
"Songfully or Horrifically Transcending the Mundane"
Dreams of Terror and Death: The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft (1995) is a collection of three dream fragments, 19 short stories, two novellas, and one collaboration story. Most of the works have thematic and or dramatic connections to dreams, and many take place in Lovecraft's "dreamlands." Most of the characters either pursue the ineffable too avidly ("with unsanctioned phrensy"), or dream beyond the toil and torpor of the "real" world. Either way, there's more to life than the daily waking world. Here's an annotated list of the stories.
1. Azathoth (1922/38) read by Robertson Dean
A dream fragment in which a man travels "out of life on a quest into the spaces whither the world's dreams had fled."
2. The Descendant (1926/38) read by Simon Vance
This dream fragment begins "In London there is a man who screams when the church bells ring" and asserts that our reality is one atom in a vast fabric of time and space.
3. The Thing in the Moonlight (1934/41) read by Sean Runnette
In the third dream fragment a dreamer desperately tries to write himself awake out of a terrible nightmare featuring a railroad car and a tentacled conductor.
4. Polaris (1918/1920) read by Elijah Alexander
No warrior, the dreamer is manning the watchtower to protect Lomar from squat yellow invaders when a leering star sends him inopportunely to sleep.
5. Beyond the Wall of Sleep (1919) read by Stefan Rudnicki
A degenerate murderer in an insane asylum proves that "Freud's puerile symbolism" can't explain real dreams: "our vain presence on the terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon."
6. The Doom that Came to Sarnath (1919/20) read by Robertson Dean
Sarnath, a mighty city 10,000 years ago, receives a 1000-year pay back.
7. The Statement of Randolph Carter (1920) read by Bronson Pinchot
Randolph Carter recounts Harley Warren's descent into the foul hole of a sepulcher, Carter having "witnessed" the adventure above ground via portable telephone.
8. The Cats of Ulthar (1920) read by Elijah Alexander
Why the people of Ulthar never harm cats.
9. Celephais (1920/22) read by Simon Prebble
Realizing that "the urges and aspirations of waking life lead to nothing," Kuranes escapes its prosaic poison by dreaming himself into Celephais.
10. From Beyond (1920/34) read by Tom Weiner
Obsessed with research revealing the real universe, including hideous unseen aliens all around us, Crawford Tillinghast ("a shuddering gargoyle") shares his discoveries with the narrator.
11. Nyarlathotep (1920) read by Stefan Rudnicki
A bleak dreaming/waking trip through space and future into "the audient void": "past ghastly midnights of rotting creation, corpses of dead worlds with sores that were cities, charnel winds that brush the pallid stars and make them flicker low."
12. The Nameless City (1921) read by Malcom Hillgartner
The narrator travels by camel into "a parched and terrible valley under the moon" and descends into a ruin "protruding uncannily above the sands as parts of a corpse may protrude from an ill-made grave."
13. The Other Gods (1921/33) read by Stefan Rudnicki
Barzai the Wise learns the hard way that gods don't like men accessing their inaccessible places.
14. Ex Oblivione (1921) read by Sean Runnette
Because "no new horror can be more terrible than the daily torture of the commonplace," the narrator takes a drug and "songfully" dissolves "again into that native infinity of crystal oblivion from which the daemon Life had called me for one brief and desolate hour."
15. The Quest of Iranon (1921/35) read by Elijah Alexander
In this ironic Dunsany-esque tale, Iranon, a vine-crowned, singing youth, is on a quest for an imaginary city called Aira in which he believes he'd been a prince.
16. The Hound (1922/27) read by Simon Prebble
From the pre-Raphaelites through the decadents to diabolism, the narrator and his friend become aesthetic ghouls in England till they grave-rob an obscene amulet.
17. Hypnos (1922/23) read by Simon Vance
A Poe-esque story featuring doubles, drugs to dream beyond dreams, and drugs to avoid "Sleep, that sinister adventure of all our nights."
18. What the Moon Brings (1922/23) Read by Sean Runnette
"I hate the moon--I am afraid of it--for when it shines on certain scenes familiar and loved it sometimes makes them unfamiliar and hideous."
19. Pickman's Model (1926/27) read by Malcom Hillgartner
An artist paints pictures of monsters breaking into the upper world from subways and cellars, not from imagination, but from LIFE, as in a painting of a demon "gnawing at the head [of a man] as a child nibbles at a stick of candy."
20. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (1927/43) read by Bronson Pinchot
Randolph Carter quests for a marvelous inaccessible dream city evoking "the poignancy and suspense of almost-vanished memory, the pain of lost things." He visits places like Dylath-Leen, Celephais, and the Cerenerian Sea, encounters beings like zoogs, ghasts, and gugs, travels by galleon, zebra, and yak, and is transported by cats, night-gaunts, and hippocephalic shantak-birds. The novella is rich and dense with beautiful dream/nightmare writing, as when Carter is "stopped by a red-robed sentry till he had told three dreams beyond belief, and proved himself a dreamer worthy to walk up Thran's steep mysterious streets and linger in bazaars where the wares of the ornate galleons were sold." There's also some humor, as when Carter's ghoul allies are "in general respectful, even if one did attempt to pinch him while several others eyed his leanness speculatively." The finale is superb.
21. The Silver Key (1926/29) read by Bronson Pinchot
After prosaic daily life occultism, religion, and authorship fail him, Randolph Carter at 54 is contemplating suicide when he finds a key.
22. The Strange High House in the Mist (1926/31) read by Tom Weiner
The people of Kingsport (near Arkham) avoid a strange crag and the strange house atop it, while a philosopher avid for mysteries climbs up and is invited in.
23. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (1927/43) read by Robertson Dean
Prematurely aged Charles Dexter Ward inexplicably disappears from an insane asylum, leaving behind a disturbed Dr. Willett. The novella involves historical research, underground labs, immortal wizards, enspirited paintings, and summoned spirits.
24. The Dreams in the Witch-House (1932/33) read by John Lescault
Dreaming and waking merge with increasing horror for Walter Gilman, a Miskatonic University student studying mathematics and witchcraft and renting an unwholesome room in an unwholesome house.
25. Through the Gates of the Silver Key (1934) read by Bronson Pinchot
The lawyer cousin of the absent Carter wants to divide up his estate, while his friends want to wait for his return, and a strange Swami relates what happened to him: "Had his whole quest not been based upon a faith in the unreality of the local and partial?" E. Hoffmann Price co-wrote the story.
Lovecraft's indescribable/unspeakable/nameless/blasphemous monsters, horrors, structures, and musics often verge on the vague and absurd. But he also writes rich descriptions and imaginative set pieces and has a finely warped sense of humor. His dreamland stories build a mythos less detailed and more nightmarish than Tolkien's. Lovecraft's sensitive dreamer/artist/writer/scientist heroes explore metaphysical reality, dreaming and perception being more important than physical action because "illusion is real and substance unreal." And because appalling horror lurks around the corner, his heroes--unlike John Carter and Conan--are bundles of nerves prone to fainting fits, paroxysms of terror, and psychological breakdowns (night-gaunts snatch Randolph Carter's unused scimitar and tickle him into submission!). And unlike Carter and Conan, Lovecraft's heroes have no interest in romance (indeed, apart from an ineffectual mother and a wicked witch, there are no female characters in this collection). He favors poetry and imagination over science, but uses scientific language and concepts to authenticate his fantasies. His vision is bleak: "the blind cosmos grinds aimlessly on from nothing to something and from something back to nothing again, neither heeding nor knowing the wishes or existence of the minds that flicker for a second now and then in the darkness."
The readers of the audiobook are mostly fine, the best being Robertson Dean (savorily bass), Stefan Rudnicki (richly bass), Simon Vance (elegantly intelligent), Simon Prebble (gravelly dignified), and Bronson Pinchot (creepily tender).
Fans of imaginative (if febrile, purple, and pulpy) stories fusing fantasy, sf, and horror should like this collection.
"Lovecraft Made Easy!"
Lovecraft is the greatest horror writer of our, or the previous generation. His work changed horror fiction forever. The only problem is many folks have a hard time reading his verbose and archaic style of writing. This problem is gleefully solved by having the greatest tales of terror read to you buy some of the greatest reads assembled!
Well, it's not one story, it's many many tales. Not the complete works of Love craft, but I bought this because it had some of my favorites - i.e. "Dreams in the Witch house" and "The Strange High House in the Mist", The doom that came to Sarnath", The Cats of Ulthar… and the utterly amazing fantastic epic dark-fantasy tale: "The Dream quest of Unknown Kadath", plus many more seldom available stories.
Each tale has a great reader - all different, but it takes real talent to read a H. P. LOVECRAFT tale… the best may be "The Statement of Randolph Carter".
I was entertained & enthralled. The laughs came when I cross referenced each story with the story's review on the "The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast" on the net. They go over each tale and explain all the hidden meaning, and much more. Very entertaining.
Buy it and listen, and then listen to the "The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast" - it's a great combo and you'll get so much more out of these Lovecraft masterpieces than you could imagine.
"Don't get this unless you are already a fan"
Yes - I didn't like this because it is just excerpts of stories, little vignettes, short and unfinished ideas. Some are interesting to listen to, but they go nowhere. I think if you have already read every thing else by Lovecraft and still weren't sated, you should listen to this. Otherwise, wait until something else is available to listen to.
A collection of short stories and novellas which sometimes hold one's attention, but often does not. People either hate or love Lovecraft and this might depend on which style of his they first read. Lovecraft when imitating Poe often does well, but when his style turns to the anachronistic and antiquarian in an effort to suggest the horror of forgotten worlds the reader gets lost. The tales of Carter's dream travels I found particularly hard to follow. When Lovecraft allows the plot to evoke terror he's great, but he is also one of those pulp writers who fall back on a series of stock adjectives and adverbs in order to insist that what we are reading should really scare us. A classic error of novice writers and as we yawn we think Lovecraft ought to know better.
One of the greatest collections of short stories and a few novellas you can find. The fact that some of these weren't published until after his death, and were first drafts than Lovecraft somehow didn't see the literary merit in is baffling. The narrators are easy to understand, and it is a great place to start for fledgling Lovecraft enthusiasts. This coupled with the Necronomicon spans a vast majority of his work, and I personally think giving them a listen or read will change your perspective on horror, or even your life. Enjoy.
Few books can keep you on edge hour after hour but this one sure will!'n
"I loved this production of these stories."
I loved this production. It's why I picked up several others. if you're a Lovecraft fan, pick it up!
"A superb collection"
As a neophyte Lovecraft fan, I cannot honestly say that I have heard every edition of Lovecraft in audiobook format. However, I have heard a few versions of various tales, including the Librivox recordings (and the volunteers there generally do an excellent job); as such, I feel confident in saying that a version with such universal quality to all the stories does not likely exist.
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