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August 5th, 2007, 23:38
Originally Posted by Gallifrey View Post
In regards to Lovecraft… I'm a big fan, have been for a long time, and I utterly love all that early 20th century weird fiction. Lovecraft, Blackwood, Derleth, C.A. Smith, R.E. Howard… Just fantastic. Once upon a time I ran a discussion list dedicated to that sort of thing. I disagree with PJ's assessment that the stories are badly written and only worth reading so you can catch the pop culture references. Lovecraft's prose is certainly a rich purple, but he does successfully convey the horror, mystery and overwhelming madness required for the tales. And the pop culture references we see now are so far removed from Lovecraft's intentions of his stories as to be utterly disconnected and meaningless.
Hardly *only* worth reading for the pop culture references -- I didn't even say that. My problem with HPL's prose is precisely that it falls flat just at the worst possible moment -- usually the build-ups are great, but just when things come to a head, he vomits out a huge puddle of adjectives, which pretty much ruins the atmosphere. So for me, he fails to convey the horror, mystery, etc. There are a few exceptions; The Color Out Of Space for example.

Compare with Bram Stoker's Dracula, which is even a bit older: the subject matter is much more conventional, but that book is written so well it still scares the willies out of me. There, all the Gothic horror is in the story; the dry, almost matter-of-fact writing makes it that much more effective.

[QUOTE]Also, while Lovecraft is most known for his Cthulhu mythos, his other stories (and the bulk of his canon) are, I think, much better.

Which ones do you mean? It so happens that my favorite HPL story is not a Mythos one; it's "The Rats In The Walls," as it happens. But he really didn't write that many non-Mythos stories, other than the Dunsanian stuff (Dream-Quest of Ancient Kadath and so on), and I thought those were *really* lame.
Gaiman's A Study In Emerald isn't very good, surprisingly.
I believe you're in the minority with this opinion. I certainly enjoyed it a lot; IMO it's among his better short stories. But yes, he is a very uneven writer.

He basically took Doyle's A Study In Scarlet and revamped it, with pretty poor results. Gaiman is largely much, much better than what he wrote in that story, but then I'm also a big fan of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. I suppose with that story my expectations were just too high, the combination of three of my favourite authors just couldn't fulfill what I imagined
That would explain it. I like the atmosphere in the Sherlock Holmes stories, but I'm not what you'd call a huge fan. (In fact, I like the BBC TV series with Jeremy Brett more than the actual stories.)

Currently I'm reading The Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul, the second Dirk Gently book by Douglas Adams. I read both books when they came out (the first in 1987 - I bought my copy of the first book at a reading Adams did in Toronto and I got it signed) and I thought 20 years later is probably a good time to re-read them both.
Brilliant stuff, and better than Hitchhiker's.
Funny thing, taste. I found TLDTTOTS pretty blah (liked Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency a lot, though, probably better than most of the HH's.)
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