Not my top five — that’s impossible to determine! Just five Lovecraftian tales that I really like, and that I feel are good examples of what a Lovecraftian short story should be:
- The Shadow on the Doorstep, by James P. Blaylock. (In Cthulhu 2000.) In the dead of night, a man reading Jules Verne hears footsteps on his porch.
- N, by Stephen King. (In Just After Sunset.) A psychiatrist’s patient tells him that he’s the only thing keeping the world from ending. But he’s crazy… right?
- Children of the Kingdom, by T.E.D. Klein. (In Dark Gods.) Exactly what was the cause of the 1977 New York City blackout?
- The Shifting of the Sands, by John Connolly. (In Nocturnes.) Once every 20 years, someone drowns off the waters of Black Sands.
- Salt Air, by Mike Minnis. (In Dead But Dreaming.) Is there a tapping at the window… or is it just your imagination?
I’ve asked other Lovecraftian authors and editors for five of their favorites, and I’ll publish those lists — so stay tuned! Sign up for email notifications on the top right side of this page, if you haven’t already.
Next week: Laird Barron’s list!
Mike, I wondered what happened to “The Night Ocean,” until I read the fine print, not necessarily your top five.
The Sticks was one of my favourites too. Scared the unowut out of me.
I have to agree with the esteemed Mr. Pugmire. How can you pick 5? I guess you said “5 of” so that takes you off the hook. Someone should attempt the 100 greatest non- Lovecraft Lovecraftian/Mythos stories and anthologize them, a la John Pelan’s 100 greatest horror stories, or Library of America’s two volume “Fantastic Tales.” No doubt Mr. Pugmire would warrant an entry or two, or three or… How about a Lovecraft E-zine Kickstarter of the 100 greatest…? I’d back that.
I think I find such a list impossible to conceive. I have this thing about separating “Lovecraftian weird fiction” from “Cthulhu Mythos.” My immediate gut-impulse response would be “The Survivor” by August Derleth, “Black Man with a Horn” by T. E. D. Klein, “Sticks” by Karl Edward Wagner, “Mysterium Tremendum” by Laird Barron and “The Sect of the Idiot” by Ligotti. But then my second gut-reaction is, “Wait, dang ye! They’re all GUYS!!” Where’s Caitlin? Where’s — and then I gets embarrass’d because I cannot immediately recall women writers who write Lovecraftian horror. And then I think of “His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood,” that classic tale by Billy Martin when he was identify’d as Poppy Z. Brite. And then I think, “OH! How I LOVED “The Abyss” by Robert A. W. Lowndes–and that makes me think of how Doc Lowndes has been utterly neglected by today’s Lovecraftian scene, and that is A FREAKING CRIME!!!! I reprinted one of his Lovecraftian essays that served as editorial for an issue of MAGAZINE OF HORROR in one of ye Lovecraft fanzines I did in ye 1970’s. Why have we forgotten Doc Lowndes??? I need to do a blog on him NOW!!!