I recently asked Ramsey Campbell for a short list of some of his favorite Lovecraftian stories and novels. Here’s the list, with comments by Ramsey. My additional comments are in blue.
“Notebook Found in a Deserted House”, which achieves great power with a colloquial voice. (“Notebook Found in a Deserted House” was written by Robert Bloch and was first published by Weird Tales in 1951. You can read it in Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos.)
“The Space Eaters”, which contains images so memorable that for me at least they overcome the excesses of some of the dialogue, and reads as a moving tribute to Lovecraft as well as an attempt to top his sense of the cosmic. (“The Space Eaters” was written by Frank Belknap Long and was first published by Weird Tales in 1928. It is one of the earliest “Lovecraftian” stories not written by Lovecraft himself. You can read it in Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos.)
The Ceremonies, which applies elegant subtlety and understatement to a Lovecraftian concept — as do other tales of T. E. D. Klein’s, not least “Black Man with a Horn”.
The 37th Mandala, an unjustly neglected recent novel of cosmic terror. (The 37th Mandala is by Marc Laidlaw.)
Ramsey Campbell will be a special guest at NecronomiCon this coming August. He is the author of The Last Revelation of Gla’aki, The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Unwelcome Tenants, and many other books.
Grreat read thanks
A new (re)reading list, thanks. What about The Willows by A. Blackwood?
This isn’t a short story but a film; and I think it’s been mentioned here before. But if there are still any Lovecraft fans out there who haven’t seen Polanski’s ‘The Ninth Gate’ then do yourselves a favour now. I find something new in that movie every time I see it. Johnny Depp is brilliant as the dodgy book dealer, as is Frank Langella.
I know that Depp and Polanski didn’t exactly hit it off, but that tension seems to work in its favour.
Hell, the whole package just works for me. And even though the Necronomicon isn’t mentioned, the presence of the mad Arab’s tome is there throughout.
Come to think of it, the most unsettling ‘Lovecraftian’ films never mention Mythos elements at all. Does anyone remember a very unsettling film from — twenty-odd? — years back called ‘Society’?
Damn, now I have to go and look it up — and it’s Race Week in Galway. When HPL gets in the way of the nags, you know you’ve got a problem!
Nice list. I have always enjoyed Mr. Campbell’s works, especially his more surreal pieces.
Very good choices by Mr Campbell there. Particularly ‘Notebook Found in a Deserted House’. A genuinely creepy story in its own right, never mind its specifically Lovecraftian trappings.
With all enormous respect to the great Ramsey Campbell…’The Space Eaters’? Are you kidding me? Even back in the day that must have seemed corny beyond belief. Today it is just about unreadable. I cringe every time I think about it almost as much as I do with Long’s awful ‘Hounds of Tindalos’.
‘The Ceremonies’. Like almost everyone else, at the time it came out I was blown away. But that ending. Oh no. I’ll always prefer the sheer power of the shorter piece it sprang from, ‘The Events at Poroth Farm’ which to me is just about perfect. And creepy as hell.
As is Klein’s ‘Black Man with a Horn’. Despite the fact that modern slang makes the title sound like a porn movie, this one (which I reread recently) still has the power to unsettle in a way that is hard to fathom. A really superb short story and without doubt one of the eeriest non-HPL ones ever written.
Then again, some may not agree…?