How did YOU discover Lovecraft?

It’s been a long time since I’ve done this, and we have a LOT of new members/readers.  As I frequently say, Lovecraftians are a family… and in the past two years that I’ve been publishing Lovecraft eZine, I have found out just how damn nice most of you are, too.

So let’s all get to know each other better!  Two questions — please comment below:

  1. How did you discover Lovecraft?
  2. What is it about Lovecraftian fiction that speaks to you and appeals to you?

I look forward to reading your replies!

83 responses to “How did YOU discover Lovecraft?

  1. I discovered Lovecraft during my teenage years as (what most may believe) a part of a natural progression from Poe to Eldritch Horror. What really sealed my fate… or sacrificed my sanity… was an audio recording of The Call of Cthulhu and The Shadow Over Innsmouth which I acquired accidentally.

  2. 1. References to “The Old Ones” in the “Illuminatus Trilogy” and references to the same in the TV series “Psi Factor”. I kept running into Lovecraft references and just had to get some of the anthologies of his works.
    2. I was attracted immediately to his prose, and the way he told the stories. Further, I identified with his portrayal of an indifferent universe, and the odd forms his horrors took on.

  3. Started reading in college when I was studying the history of the Gothic novel. Lovecraft speaks to me in the fact that he depends on nuance and tension, not gore to tell his tales. The mystery is also very enticing.

  4. Studying English Literature at university I did a module on American Gothic. I love the open-source nature of the universe he created. His contemporaries and successors have continued to build on the things he created.

  5. Ages ago in my High School’s library – The Transition of Juan Romero. Hadn’t encountered anything like it before.

    I enjoy this sort of fiction, among other reasons, because if it’s especially good it gives me great nightmares.

    • Fascinating. I’d love to experience your nightmares (especially your HPL-based nightmares). Horror fiction doesn’t give me nightmares. I almost never have nightmares.

  6. I discovered him during college lit class. I was in the bookstore looking for a textbook and I was an avid reader of Joyce Carol Oates. I saw her name on a book of edited fiction by Lovecraft and the cover had some odd creepy artwork and just his name sounds awfully cool “Lovecraft” so I bought it. First thing I read was At the Mountains of Madness. I read it twice before reading anything else because I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about this guy the writing was so good and I was frustrated back then that the lit courses were not discussing him. We know how that goes.

    What I like about HPL? First I can’t read anything if it doesn’t pass the “first three paragraphs test”. I can’t define it anymore than that. But the writing has to have atmosphere and intelligence in those opening paragraphs or I don’t read it (too many books, too little time). We all know how Madness starts and that whole letter to someone about the scary thing that happened that is so frightening I can’t give you the details is my favorite way to be really scared.

    Then there is the subject matter that is so unique and from nightmares only he could have I guess.

    And then there is the mythos. It has a life of its own and pulls people like us in I think.

    I just bought the Joshi coffee table book called “H. P. Lovecraft Nightmare Countires: The Master of Cosmic Horror (19.99 Barnes n Noble). I saw the cover (blue tentacles bleeding off the edge of the top) and the name Joshi and that’s all I need to know.

    Cheers.

    Leo in Seattle

  7. 1. How did you discover Lovecraft? I believe it might have been a shovel. :-) Nah. A friend gave me a paperback copy of “The Lurking Fear and Other Stories” in high school and my life has never been the same.

    2. What is it about Lovecraftian fiction that speaks to you and appeals to you? At the risk of sounding a bit thick myself, I think it’s that the prose is “thick.” I love the arcane and those things lost to history. Things from so far back that mankind wasn’t thought of. Who better than Lovecraft to give me that fix, right? Slogging through some of his prose, fascinated and pulled along, adds to the building dread. That sense of being small and treading where I have no business at all. That is the closest I’ve ever come to explaining it.

  8. Teen years myself, my local library had a display of assorted horror authors, and one of them was the Jove edition of The Dunwich Horror and Others, with a picture of Wilbur Whateley on it. From there I was hooked.

  9. I honestly don’t remember. I believe it was in relation to some stuff I was reading about Poe at the time but I do remember the first few stories I read that had me hooked. The Tomb, Polaris and The Outsider. After that I was hooked and started reading other Mythos style writers, Lumley being one of my favorites.

    What I love so much about Lovecraftian writing is the cosmic horror that shines a sickly light on our insignificance.

  10. I was sent a copy of Cats of Ulthar. Just the story photocopied and in the post by a friend who knew I was a Cat. I loved it and tried to find more. None of the bookstores or libraries in Malaysia at that time had any. I then went to work in Brunei where they hardly had any bookstores to start with. What they did have were rental book stores and one of them had three battered volumes of stories by Lovecraft. I bought them all and have been hooked ever since. Of course now, his books have made their way into many of the bookstores here thank goodness.

  11. I saw Reanimator back in the day and decided to seek out the written stories.
    Bought a three volume collection and read them all regularly. He’s easily one of my favourite authors.
    I love the strange atmosphere he has captured as you explore the mythos.Not many writers nowadays can do that.

  12. My introduction to Lovecraft was “The Colour Out of Space,” back in high school, but I didn’t return to his work for another many years, till I started attending the HPL Film Festival in Portland, Oregon, which prompted me to read much more of his work.

  13. I had a VERY good English teacher my Freshman year in high-school, who picked up quickly on my Victorian/Gothic tastes and also noticed I liked Bradbury, Jackson, Matheson & Bloch as well as Poe, Byron and Stoker. She was the one who introduced me to the works of du Maurier, Lovecraft, Dunsany & even Dickens’ ghost-stories.

  14. It was 1974, I was 11 years old, and it was those old black paperbacks (were they Ballantines?) with the lurid cover art; images that made me think this might be something a little stronger than the ghost and haunted house stories I’d enjoyed to that point. First one I bought was “The Shuttered Room,” and of course those stories aren’t even by Lovecraft – those are August Derleth. But I quickly picked up the other volumes and got hooked on the real stuff. I remember reading “The Dreams in the Witch House” for the first time while I was on vacation, staying up late when everyone else had gone to bed. Scared the crap out of me! I similarly remember my first time through “The Shadow Out of Time” – described on the back cover as the “most frightening story Lovecraft ever wrote” and I have to say I was not inclined to disagree. Although I probably had more personal nightmares over “Pickman’s Model.”

    It’s easy for some to mock Lovecraft’s purple prose. I’ve always loved it. It seemed to come from an entirely different place and sensibility, and it still does. I love the distinctly Lovecraftian words like “eldritch,” “cyclopean,” and “nitre.” I loved the even weirder antique prose he broke out for the correspondence of Joseph Curwen with Messrs. Orne and Hutchinson. I’m also a big fan of Lovecraft’s drop-the-bomb story endings: “But by God, Eliot, it was a photograph from life.” “…for you see I died that time eighteen years ago.” “This I have known ever since I stretched out my fingers to the abomination within that great gilded frame; stretched out my fingers and touched a cold and unyielding surface of polished glass.”

    Personal favorites? “The Outsider,” definitely…”The Haunter of the Dark,” absolutely…have always had a special fondness for “The Whisperer in Darkness,” too.

    As I approach age 50, I know without question that Lovecraft’s fiction has been one of the major influences – and joys – in my life.

  15. I became acquainted with the works of HP Lovecraft in 2006, it was then read in the gaming magazine “Igromania” review of the game “Call of Cthulhu – Dark corners of the Earth” for XBox 360, was born at the same interest in his work, well then, my older brother download all books on my phone and begin a journey into the world of dreams and nightmares of HP Lovecraft ….
    As to features of his work, here I took a lot in his own work, and some of the details and do the same – it’s attention to detail and realistic dark look at the world, and an excellent description of everything to which I aspire

  16. I first discovered H.P. Lovecraft in a collection of classic horror when I was 14. (The Colour Out of Space) I was hooked and went on to find and read all of his works and even start collecting Lovecraft related items. I’m now 66 and still rereading his stories and always enjoy the new stories that talented writers add to the Mythos. There are so many elements of the stories I love, his bleak view of the cosmos, the elements of advanced mathematics that appear in his stories, the love of books and cats. I know his works and the works he has inspired have greatly enriched my life and the lives of my friends.

  17. I kinda backdoored into HPL by reading King. I’m not a ‘horror’ fan but rather a fan of great writing. There had been a collection of his short stories running around the house for nearly a decade. I killed off the dust bunnies and was hooked.

    Though I’m not as fascinated by his larger, universal vision (which is fascinating) I’m more intrigued by his exploration of the individual response to the larger mysteries of life. Naturally, I saw them as metaphors of a childhood lived in the late 60’s and 70’s, so I’ve stayed with him. His antiquated language has always bothered me — why can’t I write like that and why doesn’t anyone else? But like a good poet, he deliberately strikes the right chord by staying the course he chose — a brilliant writer, to be sure.

  18. I came to Lovecraft in a roundabout way. I didn’t read HPL until my late teens. However I’d been reading mythos stories since I was able to read. I remember finding a paperback of Robert Bloch’s stories when i was about 7 years old in our garage. I loved it and would check out everything I could find at the library. This led me to buying a paperback anthology that included a Robert E. Howard story, and I fell in love with his writing. I still didn’t know what the hell a mythos story was. I read blindly back then, and still do to some degree, though I’m more aware now.

    There are a lot of things I never liked about Lovecraft’s fiction, but the one thing that drew me in were the ideals within his stories. I read him in my teens, and devoured everything I could in a matter of months. Like most teens I wondered about my place in the world, and if I had any significance at all. And here was Lovecraft affirming that the universe is vast, and each of us a tiny speck in the cosmos. I’m still not certain about our significance, though I don’t think of it much, but the stories have stuck with me. Always.

  19. When I was 9 or 10 in the 70s an Uncle gave me a box of Lovecraft books and Omni magazines, I was immediately hooked on both.
    It’s hard to say what attracted me to it at that age but the first story I read was “dream Quest of Unknown Kaddath”. I had always had, and still do have, very vivid dreams making that story in particular appealing.
    I’ve always liked weird stuff anyway, I used to pick out things like “Ghost Rider” comics to have read to me when I was really young.

  20. It was 1979 and I was just about to enter 4th Grade, when my older sister, who was an avid Dungeons and Dragons player, picked up the first edition Deities and Demigods that included The Cthulhu Mythos. I got my first glimpse of Cthulhu’s big glowering face and read the entire chapter, intrigued by the idea that all the gods were malevolent, and the best we can hope for is their total indifference. After that it was simply a matter of tracking down his works in anthologies and used book stores. Definitely helped me survive adolescence, and the love affair has never abated. By late high school I was collecting the Arkham House hardcover editions, and pushing his works on every disaffected fellow alienated geek I met, to their delight.

  21. I came to Lovecraft relatively recently in my mid-20s. Having been mainly a science fiction reader as a teenager, my pursuit of new science fiction books (initially those of Jack Vance) led me to the small presses – first Subterranean Press, then Night Shade Books and PS Publishing, and more recently, Centipede Press. There has clearly been a broadening of my reading’s tone to include cosmic horror as well as SF’s sense of wonder. In many ways, the two are opposite sides of the same coin.

    The first classic weird tales writer that I read was Hodgson, in the Night Shade Books editions. I later acquired Night Shade’s editions of Clark Ashton Smith (who is stylistically similar to Vance). From there, it was only natural that I acquire and read Lovecraft. The first book that I got by Lovecraft was The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

    I enjoy the sense of the strange and otherworldly that comes through in good weird tales. But as to Lovecraft himself, perhaps the compelling nature of his writing? I find that there is something very fundamental about it. He is also a master of atmosphere.

  22. In the early 1980’s I was a teenage role playing gamer and an avid reader. Lovecraft’s characters and situations crossed over into role playing games right at that time and sparked my interest.

    • As I pondered this, I remembered when I first saw Cthulhu and other beings rendered as Dungeons and Dragons encounters in the D&D Deities & Demigods manual. I recall trying to reconcile the dark horror and hopelessness of Lovecraftian situations with the sword and sorcery fantasy of D&D and thinking how absurd that was. Hobbits and Elves flinging projectiles to knock hit points out of Cthulhu.
      I was most attracted to Lovecraft because of the dark, gritty horror that he presented. Good guys do not win. The best they can hope for is a clean escape. The Dark Age of comic books also began at that time, and I think it reflected something going on in the minds and personalities of my generation.

  23. Q: How did you discover Lovecraft?
    A: I was flipping through channels one day and stopped on the SciFi (or SyFy, whatever), channel. The movie Dagon happened to be starting, and the idea of man-eating mermaids (at least, that’s what I thought they were judging by the first scene) intrigued me, so I decided to stay and watch it for stuff and giggles. I did not regret staying to watch it. As campy as it was, it was fun and creepy and it was a concept I had never seen before.

    The final scene faded to black and this quote showed up on the screen:

    “…and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory forever.” ~H.P. Lovecraft

    I saw that quote and I knew that I had to find out more about this Lovecraft fellow, if this was what his work inspired. I found a small book of collected Lovecraft stories, read the whole thing, wanted more, and bought the Complete Fiction of Lovecraft from Barnes and Noble.

    Q: What is it about Lovecraftian fiction that speaks to you and appeals to you?
    A: I can’t fully explain why I love Lovecraftian fiction so much. Horror doesn’t really appeal to me as a genre, and I’m very picky about what kind of fantasy or science fiction I read, but Lovecraft seems to capture, more than any other author, just how beautiful and terrifying the universe is with his magnificent pantheon of alien gods and space demons and dark things that creep in the abysmal cracks of the earth. I know it’s just fiction, but I just can’t help but be in awe of this world that Lovecraft created, like I can’t help but be in awe of a tornado or some cruelly efficient predator on National Geographic.

    And it’s also worth noting that Lovecraft’s stories are some of the very few that actually freak me out when I read them. I made sure that the television and every light in the house was turned on while I was reading From Beyond.

  24. It was 1958. I was 9 yrs old. I was stuck in my brother’s old Chevy during a rainstorm. I remembered that he kept a box of paperbacks in the trunk, and that car’s back seat could be folded down to allow access. After reading the “hot” parts of Kyle Onstott’s “Mandingo” and Sartre’s “Intimacy” (9-year-old boys should NEVER read French erotica!) I read “Cry Horror!”, the reprint of 1947’s “The Lurking Fear.”

    His fiction spoke and appealed to a kid who was a misfit; my inner darkness was drawn to and fed by his. After I read his books I took to walking the streets late at night, feeling a “connectedness” to the darkness around. I felt safe in the night, since I figured God couldn’t see me in the dark, since he seemed to have it in for me during daylight,

    (It was relatively safe back then, street gangs being more “Sharks” and “Jets” than the monsters they are today.) It’s sad that my home-life was so horrible that horror stories were a release.

    After my nervous breakdown and my mind doing a core-dump of my memories (except for the nightmares) I’ve attained a semblance of peace.

  25. I was a voracious reader, anything and everything. My mother brought a book home for me one day at random when I was nine or ten years old. The cover caught her eye and she thought I might enjoy it, The Dunwich Horror. Once that book was revealed to me, I tracked down all the rest of Lovecraft’s work.

    I love the cerebral aspect of his horror. For the most part, there is no gore or chase scenes, just the profound starkness of a desolate universe with no friendly powers to temper or balance it against the cold reality. I love horror that doesn’t end when you finish the book; the bad guy isn’t dead, the monster never showed up, and the problem isn’t solved! The scariest single line I recall encountering is “You fool, Warren is dead!” (Randolph Carter). My blood froze. I had to turn on all the lights and wake up everyone in the house! My parents were angry, but they were awake and that’s all I cared about. It still gives me chills today, thirty-seven years later.

    Lovecraft and his mythos heavily influenced my horror writing and my book, Prey Until Dawn, is a modern homage to his open-ended horror. Forbidden knowledge that burns everyone who expands their mind with it? Yes, please! Trying to create real Lovecraftian horror is my (un)holy grail. The shudders I received from that first Lovecraft book changed my entire life.

  26. I had a friend who kept talking to me about “Chutloo”. When I went to learn more about this “Chutloo”, I was drawn into the world of utter meaninglessness, where horrifying things will simply happen with no rhyme or reason, and where what mortals call gods are malicious indecipherable creatures who absolutely are not listening to your prayers.

  27. At the wonderful Portland HPLFF, which I attended for the first time this year to visit an artist friend who’s worked with Lovecraft Ezine. I hadn’t ever heard of the festival, nor did I know anything about the/your vast community. It’s been a very fun trip learning about it all, and getting fresh tastes via the stories and art you deliver. Like? I found out I actually like dark stuff. Cheers.

  28. I discovered a collection of Lovecraft’s stories in the school library. First story I read was “The statement of Randolph Carter” and the dark and brooding atmosphere struck me at once.

    Lovecraft and the authors who are wandering more or less in his footsteps have a philosophical and/or esthetical background which in my opinion is worth thinking about.

  29. I came to Lovecraft surprisingly late, considering my interest in ghost/horror fiction and all things weird and spooky. In my thirties was introduced by a friend who was a huge fan. It was quite cool coming to him having already been a fan of some of the writers who influenced HPL, such as Machen and Blackwood. It’s impossible not to admire his geekiness about his own writing, the way he references and cross-references to create a convincing history for his groundbreaking and hugely influential ideas. I love any horror yarn with an archaeological or folkloric element so he ticks boxes there. I find his overwrought prose a bit much sometimes but I think the opening to ‘The Picture in the House’ one of the finest passages in horror literature and ‘The Outsider’ one of the highpoints of gothic fiction.

  30. 1 – When I was 10 years old, I read an article about the call of cthulhu rpg in a comics magazine. The article spoke about the writer Lovecraft and the story Call of Cthulhu. I’ve read Poe and Stephen King at the time, so I thought “I need to read the books of this writer”. My first book was Dagon, here in my country at that time was very difficult to find books of Lovecraft …

    2 – One of the things I think is great in the Lovecraft tales is the existence of mankind have been random and its insignificance in the cosmic horrors.

    I hope you understand me, my english is not very good. But I’m studying hard to change that :)

  31. Pretty sure I was 10 (1979) when I got an anthology titled THOSE FANTASTIC PULPS, which contained… “The Rats in the Walls”, I believe. Loved that story, but I didn’t realize there was much more to Lovecraft till I discovered the CALL OF CTHULHU RPG two years later. Read some Stephen King (I was convinced “Jerusalem’s Lot” was direct plaguerism of “Rats” at the time) and discovered how infuential and widespread HPL was within the horror genre. By the time GHOSTBUSTERS came out I was already looking for Mythos connections in tv shows and movies.

  32. I first became aware of HPL early in 1959, when I was in the 8th grade. One night, my father brought home a paperback collection called CRY HORROR, which contained eleven of the master’s tales, and he made a big thing about how great the writer was. I wasn’t quite ready for it at the time — I managed to read through “The Lurking Fear,” but it was not until the spring of 1961 that I picked up the book again, and this time, I read all the stories through — and wanted more! Of those in the book, the ones that “grabbed” me the most were “The Shunned House,” “The Hound,” “The Nameless City,” “Pickman’s Model,” “The Call of Cthulhu,” and especially “The Colour Out of Space.”

    Unfortunately, much of HPL’s work was out of print then and hard to find, and one’s best bet was to check out anthologies which might reprint one or two of the stories. In this way, over the next few years, I got to read “The Rats in the Walls,” “The Dunwich Horror,” and “The Shadow Out of Time.” Also, I acquired a copy of the Arkham House collection entitled THE SHUTTERED ROOM AND OTHERS, and thus I read “The Outsider,” “Dagon,” and one or two others. That same book contained some critical articles with references to a number of other yarns, and I despaired of ever being able to read them.

    At last, in the early 60s, Arkham House began to bring out new editions of HPL’s works, and when I bought THE DUNWICH HORROR AND OTHERS, I was finally able to read such masterpieces as “The Whisperer in Darkness,” “The Haunter of the Dark,” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” Within a few years, I had the other two omnibus volumes that the publisher put out, and thus for the first time I had all of the master’s work at my disposal.

    It’s hard to make a balanced evaluation of his work as a whole, since that is such a subjective matter. I never warmed up to the short Dunsanian stories, but I found THE DREAM-QUEST OF UNKNOWN KADATH quite absorbing, though not particularly horrifying. Of the other novels, AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, though well written, did not appeal to me much, but I love THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD, despite a few problems with some of the details of the story. Of course, I like all the other stories that I mentioned in the paragraphs above. It is good to see that HPL has acquired ever greater significance in the past few decades, and I hope his reputation remains as high as ever.

    By the way, while I admit that he was clearly a voluminous letter-writer, I don’t believe he wrote anything near the 100,000 of them that some people have claimed. Of course, if a huge stash of them should turn up some day and the count is somewhere near that, I might change my opinion, but for the moment — highly unlikely!

  33. 1 . discovering HPL
    Summer of 1981 – I was 14 and stranded in a seaside town with nothing to read.
    There was a stall selling second hand books on the road to the beach – mostly romance novels and mysteries.
    I spotted a book called “I Mostri all’Angolo della Strada” (Monsters on the street corner), a collection of Lovecraft classics – Dagon, Color out of Space, Cthulhu, Whisperer, Ulthar…
    The cover (by Karel Thole) was what caught my eye.
    I bought it and I was hooked for life.

    2 . what speaks to me
    First, when I was a teenager, the sheer diversity of Lovecraft’s approach to horror (compared to Poe, Stoker…)
    Now that I’m older, certainly the scope and vision of Lovecraft’s universe – the “scientific” approach to horror, the depth of the thoughts underlying the narrative. And yet it’s still a lot of fun!

  34. I discovered Lovecraft when the gray-and-red Michael Whelan covers caught my eye at the bookstore. I read a few of the volumes in high school, but I still recall my first reading of At The Mountains of Madness my freshman year in college. From then on, I was hard-core hooked.

    I love his use of language, the time periods, and the settings, particularly how the locations he describes almost become characters in their own right. I love the feeling of slowly building dread. But what really appeals to me is that the horrors in his stories aren’t generally some aberration intruding into normal reality, whose defeat returns things to the status quo. They are “normal reality,” and it’s only human ignorance that has allowed us to imagine otherwise.

  35. As a young D&D player I became curious about who all of those weird characters in the Deities & Demigods hardback were, so when I had a chance to get an anthology, I went for it.

    What I found was the perfect image of an atheistic universe where there is no meaning, no purpose, and no ally in the face of an indifferent universe. Even the devil, who has received so much blame for centuries of human suffering, exists within a meaningful, life affirming system. The real spiritual battle of our world is between God and Cthulhu, and Lovecraft saw it clearly.

  36. Not only do I remember the first Lovecraft story I read, I remember where I was the first time I read each of his stories.

    It was college, and I was home on a mini-vacation. His name had come up before and I think I’ve seen the Del-Rey editions of his work, when curiosity overtook me and I started looking him up online. I read Call of Cthulhu first, on a website that had his works posted. I was entrapped. The following day I accompanied my parents on a shopping trip, and we stopped at the Barnes and Noble where I picked up The Best of HP Lovecraft (Del Rey). On the way home I read The Picture In The House, and once I got home I retreated to my room and read The Rats in The Walls. A few days later I went back to college, and I continued to read.

    It was only a matter of days before I had ordered the other Del Rey editions of his work, and only a few more days until I ordered my first non-Lovecraft Mythos anthologies: Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos and Cthulhu 2000 (also by Del Rey). The obsession grew, and now I have a few overflowing shelves of fiction all somehow related to Lovecraft and his works. If I see a new book is coming out, and is related in any way, I buy.

    What was it that so appealed to me? Maybe it was the weirdness of it all. Call of Cthulhu, the faux-documentary style, the way the story was presented as a manuscript detailing these connected accounts made it a highly enjoyable read for me. The horrors hinted at, and the buildup to the conclusion of Cthulhu rising just struck a chord. The vastness of the ocean has always tickled a primal fear within me, and this story just resonated perfectly. Also, the way all his stories are connected, and other authors have stories connected, even just in theme, reminds me of this vast and ever growing web, and I’m fascinated by it.

    I don’t hide my love for it either, my office here at school is filled with memorabilia: HPL Historical Society movie/radio show posters, a Cthulhu sculpture I bought from this site, a King in Yellow sculpture I won from this site, a mythos wall calendar, and a Lovecraft E-Zine flyer hanging up on my corkboard.

    Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn!

  37. My mother handed me a horror anthology when I was 7-8. There was a Lovecraft story in there, can’t for the life of me remember which story, but I do know the mood and atmosphere really reached inside and spoke to me. That’s probably my primary attraction to his work, as well as all things Cthulhu. The Old Ones and all things related just fired my imagination in new and fascinating ways.

  38. I started reading “Horror literature” in the early 90ies – the first novel I can remember carrying around was IT by Stephen King (which led to reading Poe, of all the writers, but not to HPL).
    King’s references to HPL and the mythos in general passed right by me, as I was not familiar with any of them. Having grown rather fascinated by the genre I branched out and was introduced to a german author (Wolfgang Hohlbein) that wrote novel(la)s that included HPL as a main character.
    A cigar smoking, sword fighting, time travelling HPL that happend to be a Knight’s Templar. Woah. Still, the name didn’t ring a bell.

    We’re in the mid 90ies now and when you read horror in my part of the world, you were reading DämonenLand (DemonsLand) – the german version of a somewhat pulpish (early) Weird Tales. Within the pages I was introduced to further parts of the puzzle: Brian Lumley, german mythos authors – and readers. Oh, the damnable “Letters to the Editor” section.
    As a young reader, I was looking for ways to find new literature, new names, new books … and in a truly Lovecraftian tradion my only conscious decision should lead to my ultimate doom: I asked about Lovecraft. Just because the name was vaguely familiar …
    In a matter of days I received mail from all over the Germany, Australia and Switzerland (blame that on being a sheep amongst wolves = a girl at a boy’s playground). Books, xerox copies, essays, typed scripts … I was onto something. Two weeks later I was hooked.
    I still am.

    What fascinates me about HPL’s work? Well, actually it’s the man himself, his letters, essays, etc.

    As far as the stories / novellas go, I just love the mood. He still grabs me and pulls me along, letting me take part in the charcater’s fear and emotional torture. It’s not that the situation in itself is scary, but I can feel the desperation of the character (or of the situation itself) and I still love being pulled into that “other” world.
    And yes, the italics still work for me … The closer I get to the end, the more my heart races and I *can* hear them coming up the stairs, can hear their tentacles moving outside my door … and as long as still works, it doesn’t need to be explained. It’s just … HPL.

  39. I first discovered to lovecraft when I was about 16 years old. My friend and I were rummaging around in his parent’s attic and I found several dog eared volumes tucked away in a box. Ever since that moment, I’ve been hooked. 

    I’ve always loved horror, I’ve been addicted ever since I was small child, and his writing spoke to me immediately. Most of what I’d read up to that point was the more ‘splattery’ kind of horror, but -this-! Well this was far more genuinely creepy. I loved the sense  that there were far bigger things going on than what we could see, that there was so much we couldn’t or chose not to see, how superfluous and ineffectual humankind is in spite of our hubris, and (on kind of a smaller, more personal scale) the downward slide into decay and decadence that some families/towns go through. I only had to look around me to see the truth of that last part! (I grew up in a small poverty stricken village north of Providence. I was thrilled to discover that H.P.L. was a ‘local boy’.) H. P. Lovecraft has been a tremendous influence on me, and I consider him to be one of the honorary ‘gods of my world’.

  40. Back in the 70s’ I was in my local bookstore and saw a copy of The Cthulhu Mythos and was just so taken by the cover that I bought it and have been a fan ever since. Lovecraft speaks to me in many ways. Perhaps the horror he sees in the stark houses of backwoods New England and the wonder of “what has transpired behind those shuttered windows” that reminds me so much of feelings I had as a child growing up in central Maine, which has those houses seemingly everywhere.

  41. 1. How did you discover Lovecraft?

    I first discovered Lovecraft when I about 12 yrs old, in an anthology I picked up at the local library. I read everything I could find but the stories that stayed with me most strongly were “At the Mountains of Madness” and “The Shadow Out of Time”. I didn’t read Lovecraft again until I was in my 30s but when I went down to London as a student and saw my first tube (subway) train rushing up the tunnel I unexpectedly thought of a shoggoth!

    2. What is it about Lovecraftian fiction that speaks to you and appeals to you?

    The sense of what some geologists have called “deep time”, the perception in the stories that all of human history is just a thin skin over a mysterious abyss and that we are of only passing consequence in the history of the earth. But I don’t find the contemplation of vast tracts of space and time to be horrible; for me there is a kind of romance and glamour in those mindblowing numbers.

    When I was a small child we had an atlas of the British Isles that showed how parts of Britain looked at different periods of geological history, and I loved to turn over the pages and see the same landscape as a swamp, a desert, a sea teeming with strange creatures. I got a similar feeling later from reading books about astronomy and trying to visualise the distances and timescales involved. It’s not surprising I was captivated by Lovecraft.

    I don’t think of Lovecraftian fiction as horror unless there are additional gory elements, more as a variety of science fiction.

  42. I discovered Lovecraft in the Fall of 1983 when a friend of mine introduced me to the Call of Cthulhu role playing game.When I enrolled in University. I ordered a copy of Call of Cthulhu and other stories from Arkham House and have been “Hooked” ever since! I can never thank my friend Ashley enough or forgive him. Ha. Lovecraft resonates with me as no other author before or since. With all due respect to Poe, Lovecraft speaks to “That which is Unknown” within my psyche. The cosmology of the Lovevcraft Mythos has become a passion of mine as well as a study onto itself.

  43. I discovered Lovecraft through two sources, I’m not sure which came first but they happened around the same time, freshman year of high school. One was through the music of Metallica. The other was a book called The Encyclopedia of Monsters (http://tinyurl.com/c8xcwsh), which had entries for Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian entities.

  44. Strange as it may seem I stumbled upon Lovecraft back in the mid 60’s when I was reading a lot of Ray Bradbury.I noticed that a lot of his short stories were first published in Weird Tales and I set out looking for any copies of the magazine in all the used book stores I could find.I did manage to locate a few issues with Bradbury stories in them however there also was a Lovecraft story in couple of them,after reading these stories I now had a new quest,to track down anything else that I could find by Mr. Lovecraft,the feeling of dread and dark foreboding that he could evoke in me had me hooked for life.

  45. I was staying with my grandmother in San Francisco when I was 8 or 9 and off exploring my home town on my own. (It was a lot safer back in the early 1960’s and I was a cunning little devil). Was out of reading material and went into the bookstore at Ghirardelli Square (all cutsy and touristy) and found a Pengiun edition of The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward. I was into Poe, et all back then so this sounded nice and moody. WOW – I was so surprised. The descriptions, hints of unspeakable horror, etc really hooked me.
    I really like the lack of elaborately described gore found in “normal” horror. My imagination has always scared me a lot more. I just fell into his world and have stayed there ever since. I like his purple prose, it gives his world a feeling of compeleness to me. IHis work opened me to writers that I would never have read. Example – I was a bit of a book snob in my youth and would never read a Conan novel – to pedestrian and mainstream. Then I read of REH’s relationship with HPL and this opened another world.

  46. I discovered Lovecraft relatively late. I was in college and was looking for some recreational reading to enjoy between papers. I knew of Lovecraft through Robert E. Howard’s work and was curious what the big deal was all about. I started with At the Mountains of Madness and was hooked. I liked that Lovecraft was a kind of bridge between the 19th century writers (Poe, Chambers, etc.) and the more “pulp” writers like Howard, Clark Ashton-Smith, and Lieber.

  47. I picked up “The Lurker at the Threshold” at a used bookstore when I was 13, and was drawn in by the tale; it mattered little that (as it turned out) the work in question was primarily a product of someone other than HPL. Of course I would later come to read the work of HPL, and found the passages treating of decay and abandonment the most satisfying. Today my favourite piece is far and away “Nyarlathotep.”

  48. I suppose my story is rather boring. I was in a Barns & Noble in Boston, MA when I came upon ST Joshi’s Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories. It looked interesting, so I picked it up. The first story I read was Dagon, and I was immediately hooked. It mirrored perfectly an idea I had been intrigued with since my earliest days–the notion that there might have been powerful beings here before mankind, and that one day they might return. I devoured everything Lovecraft I could find after that, and it continues to influence me to this day.

  49. I’d been seeing posters for The HP Lovecraft Film Festival for years, but I was totally clueless until I started playing Munchkin and getting into Steve Jackson’s games. I bought my brother a “Cowthulhu” tee shirt and then decided I better find out what the joke was all about. The rest, as they say, is history!

    I love his work because he brings the grimly gothic to uniquely American places. As someone who grew up in farming and logging country, stories like “The Colour Out Of Space” never fail to inspire me. It’s like redneck spooktacular!

  50. I was given a copy of “THE HAUNTER OF THE DARK” when i was 12 as a present from my uncle, my uncle was an ex-hippy and has a mountain of arcane literature. I was hooked after reading THE MOON BOG. Anyway i got to the age of 16 and put LOVECRAFT away. Some 12 years later a childhood friend of mine had just got into LOVECRAFT. I left LOVECRAFT behind as a teen, and then i rediscovered him as a married father of two, an adult.
    I dug out my battered and dusty copys of his works, i expected to be dissapointed, i expected i would not find his work to be as good as i remembered!……..
    I WAS WRONG!
    ReDiscovering LOVECRAFT i was struck by the hypnotic nightmarish frenetic writing. Reading Lovecraft as an adult and understanding his works, his nightmarish masterpieces in all their contexts was mindblowing.
    Not only were his stories better written than i had remembered i was also struck by the amount of other authors work i had read that had cribbed from LOVECRAFT.
    I am forever marked by the tall man of providence, his works make me obsessive, they make you want to read him over and over again.

    What does Lovecraft mean to me?
    FREEDOM! And an instant passport to dark worlds were suicide, madness and monsters lurk in the dark corners of my mind. A man who was a genre to himself, a worldview bleaker than nihilism.

    S.T. Joshi’s fantastic biographies are worth a read. Lovecraft although a very strange man indeed was also a very nice chap. :D
    “H.P. Lovecraft, the dark baroque prince of providence.” Stephen King.

  51. I came to Lovecraft rather later than most–not until my twenties. When I was a teenager and a young man in my native Boston, I would habitually dress in Victorian and Edwardian clothes (stiff detachable collar, spats, frock coat, walking stick, the whole nine yards), write sonnets with a fountain pen and have picnics in old graveyards. I even declared my loyalty to Mother England and spouted things like, “God Save King George III!” All this was before I’d even heard of H.P.L. When I was 21, a friend told me that I reminded him of an H.P. Lovecraft character–that was the first time I heard the name. A year or two later, I chanced upon one of his books at the Trident Bookstore on Newbury Street in Boston, and I’ve never looked back. I love his weirdness and cosmicism, but his style of writing and his love of antiquity–particular his love of antique New England and England–are the main things that attract me to him.

  52. 1. The book was “The Lurking Fear and Other Stories” and I’m not entirely certain how it came into my possession. Maybe it was a loan from the young lady who would eventually be my wife, It could have been a gift and it could have been good old fashioned petty theft. I do remember that it was sometime in the mid to late 90’s.

    2. What’s not to love? Monsters, madness and arcane secrets hidden in plain sight and no hero to save us once we get a glimpse of the truth. It is simply loads of fun.

  53. When I was between 8 and 10 I discovered a horror anthology at my local library called “Haunts, Haunts, Haunts”. It was fabulous – became my favorite book! In it was The Music of Erich Zann, and I was hooked! In high school I read much more of the mythos, as it was RPG driven (I believe it was the Dungeons & Dragons: Deities & Demigods book…) From there there were films, and much more to indulge in….!

  54. I can not remember exactly how I first became enamoured with HPL, but it was definitely through my interest in Poe.
    The vague shapes in the darkness are what I find so appealing. The vast expanses he creates are like a vaccum, and just when you think you are alone in your horror, something in the distance begins to sound or materialize. When I read Lovecraft, it is as if one part of the experience are his ideas, and another part is what is produced when my mind embellishes those ideas. The result is mindblowing.

  55. So it goes back to childhood in small bookshop in Kansas City,Missouri. I have always been an omnivorous reader when to surprise I discovered Lovecrafts short stories and forever have been a fan. I loved the way he sucked me into his alternate worlds of mystery and horror instantly or would slowly build into a horrific ending that was not predictable at the time. His Gods were merciless and vicious and unforgiving when it came to human subjugation,which was quite a departure for a little catholic boy looking for a good time… he he With the right set of actors and director and with todays special effects, there is no question that a full blown movie should be made of his most famous creations. Or at least thats my prayer. Guilermo Del Toro comes to mind…

  56. Junior High. I was a hellacious reader and the librarians loved me, checking out more books in a month, than most would do all year. I cannot remember their names, but one gave me her personal copy of “The Hobbit”, they didn’t have it there. I returned it to her the following Monday proclaiming “Greatest writer since Asimov. The next day she brought in for me her personal copy of a Lovecraft book with several of his stories, brought it back a few days later, proclaiming the greatest writer since Tolkien. No horror before or since has intrigued me as much as HPL.

  57. First encountered Lovecraft when I got the original “Deities & Demigods” book for my D&D group. Cthulhu mythos was an awesome monster pantheon to play and I read HPL to get the context from which that material was extracted.

    It was a shame the stuff was removed from future versions of Deities and Demigods because I am sure that exposure in the original version introduced many people to HPL.

  58. 1979 Monster Manual (which I still have).
    It launched me in into the Arkham House collections as well as a passion for the Sengoku Jidai era of Japan (Eiji Yoshikawa in print and Akira Kurosawa in film to begin with).

  59. 1)…been a loong time, but I believe I discovered Lovecraft via William S. Burroughs… If I remember right, there was an amazing bibliography at the end of a hardcover edition of “The Algebra of Need”…., lengthy and all-encompassing.., Burroughs was cool that way, forever referencing writers that eviscerated him….
    2)…Wow, Lovecraft goes to the source of the true, penultimate horror…, our subconcious…!!! Honestly, what has ever been more paralysingly horrific than our own nightmares..??, particularly those we suffered in childhood..??? I can STILL relate, with stark clarity, two agonizingly frightening, yet, RECURRING, nightmares that plagued me as a child…. All the more horrifying because NOONE can really ever help…, we are most truly ALONE with our nightmares.., alienated, and…lost. Yes, I could go on.., but this was absolutely the man’s forte’.., he knew this realm…, all too well..!!!
    -Blessed be, ~Kyl~

  60. Mine was a game of Call Of Cthulhu run by a family friend who is a Cthulhu nut. I didn’t quite understand the concepts and the whole sanity thing and was just playing along until our group saw Cthulhu awaken (it was designed as a very short campaign). We all miraculously survived (the GM was SUPREMELY merciful), but my character was catatonic for 6 months and when she recovered she had such a violent hatred of amphibians, she would whoop out a gun (she was a trained sniper and always carried one) and shoot at it until she either killed it or it was out of sight. Years later, I came across a book of Lovecraft stories and kind of giggled remembering striding down a dirt road firing at a frog as it hopped away in terror and thought I should read the book and see what the whole Cthulhu thing was about.

    I’m kind of a nihilist, basically. And the idea that we live in a big universe, just part of a food chain we don’t understand our place in and that doesn’t care about us appeals to me. And it’s the thing I like about other Lovecraftians too: They’re not control freaks that need to believe humanity is the most important thing there is in order to get through the day.

  61. I first discovered Lovecraft while studying music in college around 1972, through those wonderful, 1970s Del Rey paperbacks. A friend suggested I give Lovecraft a try and I think the first story I read was The Lurking Fear. At first I was put off by all the flowery language but quickly became addicted to the tremendous atmosphere he was able to create. I realized very quickly that I preferred his Mythos-type stories. Then I discovered the Derleth pasticshes, which, although many make fun of them, I have always enjoyed. Part of that enjoyment comes from the comfort of knowing the “game-plan” of a story, but also in the great richness of Derleth (and others’) imagination when it came to creating a mythos story. Soon I started to seriously collect Mythos and Lovecraftian stories. Luckily, I have lived and performed in New York since college and so was able to easily buy those wonderful, early Arkham titles from the Science Fiction Shop down in Greenwich Vilage (now long gone). That’s when I discovered Bloch, Lumley, Cooper, and many others, I have never stopped collecting Mythos stories.

  62. I discovered Lovecraft when I was a child, looking at my dad’s books and watching the movie “Necronomicon” for the first time. I did not start to really appreciate Lovecraft’s works until I reached my 20s. Lovecraftian fiction appeals to me because it is based more in science than in fiction. The stories demonstrate the existence of evolution, the fact that the universe is infinitely large, and that Earth may not be the only planet with life. As Jodie Foster said in “Contact,” “If it’s just us…seems like an awful waste of space.”

  63. I discovered Lovecraft though Heavy Metal Music actually Metallica and Therion ,just to mention a few bands.I love the sense of “otherness” in Lovecraft’s writing.The strange style of writing appeals to me along with the stories.Case of Charles Dexter Ward is a great example of one of my favorite stories along with the “not so happy endings in his stories”.Carl Jung (another favorite of mine) is quoted as saying “In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.
    “I believe Lovecraft was streaming some of the secret order into our World.

  64. I was first a HUGE Clark Ashton Smith fan, via an anthology of his work given to me by my father. It didn’t take long to curiously invest time in Lovecraft, and Shub-Niggurath’s your uncle! I still am a huge fan of CAS, but Lovecraft is the father of the Mythos, obviously.

    What I like about all the old writers of the Mythos isn’t just the sense of cosmic horror, although it is a pertinent factor. Moreso for me, is the indomitable creative spirit, the true (in my mind) sense of fantasy – leaning toward the darker corners in their cases.

    Just love them.

  65. Found Lovecraft as a child through references in the Weird Tales comics I was devouring at the time. Read a collection of his work when I was nine. Didn’t understand much about what was going on but I do recall liking the way his words flowed. When I got older I reacquainted myself to his work and explored all he had to offer. I think what keeps me coming back is the notion that something lives beyond our capacity to understand.

  66. I first encountered HPL in an anthology of horror and sci-fi that I had gotten my hands on when I was 12 or 13. The story was “The Call of Cthulhu,” and I thought it was terrible at the time. A couple years later I went so far as to attempt reading “At the Mountains of Madness,” and it bored me to death. So I gave up on Lovecraft until college–when I read the old gent’s whole body of fictional work and was hooked for life.

    Several aspects of Lovecraft’s work have always stood out for me: the cosmic indifference of Lovecraftian entities, lost civilizations and forbidden books, philosophy entwined with horror, and genetic (or hereditary) doom.

  67. When I was in junior high, we’d pass a catalog from Scholastic Books around in our English class. One time a collection was advertised from some guy I’d never heard of – The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Others, by H. P. Lovecraft. I took a chance and ordered it. Read “The Colour Out of Space,” still my favorite Lovecraft story, and was hooked forever.

    1. Lovecraft’s cosmic horror – e.g., in The Colour Out of Space – horror created not by ghosts, vampires, etc but by the vastness and mystery of the cosmos. Also, the amazing rich mythology behind his stories – the complex tapestry of real events, settings, folklore of various kinds, books of ocult lore, etc. – it is so very convincing, at least for me.

  68. I had seen books by Lovecraft in the catalogue of a SF books publisher over here, in France. But those books were a bit expensive for me, so I eventually tried his work when the family registered into some monthly book club, and I found a Derleth/Lovecraft collection among the showcased titles. It was okay, so when Panther published some collections by Lovecraft in its horror series, together with stuff by C.A. Smith and W.H. Hodgson, I tried more. That was much better, and I’ve been an HPL reader ever since.

    HPL remains one of the rare practionners of a cosmis horror that succeeds at going beyond the trite and superstitious (though often quite enjoyable) classic themes of traditional horror. SF as horror, superscience as magic. Works for me.

  69. It turns out the first story I encountered was In the Walls of Eryx, in some anthology or other. Somehow my wires got crossed and I’d always remembered it as a Bradbury story until reading it along with HP Podcraft.

    First story I realized was HP was The Color Out of Space, in the anthology My Favorite Horror Story. It was the creepiest thing I’d ever read, and I started looking for more. Eternal thanks to Richard Laymon, who chose that story to go in the book!

  70. 1. In my teens I rented The Re-Animator VCR tape and Lovecraft’s name kind of stuck in my head. The Metallica song furthered my curiosity. Years later after seeing the movie again I decided to check out his writing.
    2. From my first HPL read, this line says everything about what appeals to me so much:
    “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents… some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age.”
    After reading this I didn’t consider anything else until I’d consumed all of his work. Which I did in about a week, I think.

  71. I first encountered Lovecraft as some kind of almost rumour. Mentions in White Dwarf, a few paragraphs in Stephen King’s Danse Macabre, brief mentions in sci-fi film books and horror magazines. In New Zealand in the mid 80s it was nearly impossible for me to find a Lovecraft book to actually read. I started picking up horror anthologies that contained his short stories like I was some kind of literary detective (Colour out of Space, the Tomb, Pickman’s Model etc). The first book of his I bought was at the Mountains of Madness, but by then I was hooked.

  72. I’ve heard of Lovecraft since probably my high school days in the mid-2000s. Mainly because of the geek cult surrounding Cthulhu. It wasn’t until ’09 that I really got into him. I took a college course called Freaks & Monsters. It was wonderful class focusing on the sci-fi, the fantastic and the macabre. We read The Outsider and instant interest from me. Also read Ambrose Bierce’s The Damned Thing, which is one of my favorite short stories. The genre connection between Lovecraft and Bierce reinforced my interest in HP.

  73. My introduction to Lovecraft was the Dell Ray “Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre” edition of his stories. I was 16, and had been a fantasy geek for several years. I found that I was becoming more interested in the villans in books, so I thought I’d give “that horror” stuff a try.

    Lovecraft spoiled me for other horror writers. I like several other authors, but my favorites are in my Mythos collection. The athiest and pessimistic perspectives struck a cord with me in his writing, as did the almost gothic language he used. To this day I’ve not ran into a writer who can use language quite like him.

  74. It was actually in quite a Lovecraftian manner that I discovered his fiction.

    When I was quite young, probably about 10 years old, I found an old anthology of creepy stories tucked away in the back of a bookcase at home.
    It was one of those books bound in the old fashioned way, with a proper hard cover and a cloth lining. It had no cover writing and the name on the spine had worn away with age too.
    Well, with my curiosity roused, I naturally took it off to my room and began to read. It took me a while to get through it as it must have been a couple of hundred pages long.
    In true Lovecraftian style, over the days, my sanity was blasted by the revelations of beings from beyond our world and the terrible hidden knowledge stored in the ancient tomes of history.
    Although this book didn’t actually contain any stories by Lovecraft himself, the tales of Arther Machen, Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber and others had done their work.
    In particular, I was taken by “The Salem Horror” by Henry Kuttner, his small mentioned of the Necronomicon lodged itself in my mind.
    I was convinced that if I looked hard enough, I could find a real copy of the ancient book!
    I managed to locate a Lovecraft anthology after that in the library and was hooked, not only on Lovecraft but all of the other writers too that dipped into this vein.

    I think the whole nameless dread and cosmic horror appeals to me. He very much leaves the descriptions to be populated by your own mind instead of detailing some thing out on paper.
    I love the way that other writers have and continue still to add more stories, books and characters to the Mythos.

    I think there’s still a small part of my mind that believes that the British Library has a restricted section that is never opened, the howling on the winter wind has nothing to do with air moving through the power lines and that one day the stars will be right again.

  75. I discovered Lovecraft when I was reading a collection of Night Gallery scripts and one of them was an adaption for “Pickman’s Model”. I liked it very much, and decided to check out some of his other stories. And then I fell in love with Lovecraftian fiction in general.

    Interestingly enough, I’ve been reading Lovecraftian fiction since I was seven or eight, when I read the “Edge Chronicles”. One of the creatures was supposedly based on Shub-Niggurath. That was, if I recall correctly, the book that gave me nightmares…

    My favorite part of Lovecraftian fiction is the bleak and almost nihilistic worldview that it (or at least “pure” Lovecraftian fiction) offers, especially the idea that humanity is not important in the grand scheme of things. That’s what true horror is to me.

  76. I was introduced to Lovecraft by Vincent Price in his movie ‘The Haunted Palace’ (The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward). i don’t know what it is about cosmic horror that draws me in but it just does. its just there

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