A master of terror and nightmarish visions, H.P. Lovecraft solidified his place at the top of the horror genre with this macabre supernatural tale.
When a geologist leads an expedition to the Antarctic plateau, his aim is to find rock and plant specimens from deep within the continent. The barren landscape offers no evidence of any life form - until they stumble upon the ruins of a lost civilization. Strange fossils of creatures unknown to man lead the team deeper, where they find carved stones dating back millions of years. But it is their discovery of the terrifying city of the Old Ones that leads them to an encounter with an untold menace.
Deliberately told and increasingly chilling, At the Mountains of Madness is a must-have for every fan of classic terror.
Public Domain (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
The late lamented Herrmann was famous for his portrayals of upper class types - including Franklin Roosevelt and Alger Hiss - people of the class poor Lovecraft imagined himself belonging to. His version of the professor / explorer who discovers more than he wants to on an expedition to Antarctica is a perfect fit for this story.
This is the only novel Lovecraft ever wrote and while a short read it's also a great one. Knowledge of the Lovecraft mythos isn't required, but for newcomers I would still recommend reading a few of his short stories first, specifically Call of Cthulhu. Also, the narration is spot on. Download it now!
"To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” -- Somerset Maugham
I've read all of HPL, including his essays but excluding the letters. He is definitely hit and miss. This is one of his most well-known books because in it, he delineates a major portion of his "Mythos" (the extended pantheon of deities and fantastic creatures that inhabit his stories). I enjoyed that part of it, as well as the dramatic reveal at the camp. (I'm being vague to avoid spoilers.) Ultimately, it's not a great story. It has pacing problems and a large portion of it is explication. Lovecraft never did subscribe to the "show don't tell" school of writing! :) But overall it's a pretty gripping listen.
He is a fantastic reader, never stumbling over Lovecraft's invented words and really selling a story that isn't always delivering on all cylinders.
John Carpenter's The Thing is actually, in many ways, the movie this book would be. And it's awesome. So watch that.
Edward Hermann's performance was spot on with how I envisioned the book to sound. Not only that, but the book itself is of course amazing. It will leave you with new ideas, and imaginations and thoughts and inspiration and bewilderment! I love it, and highly recommend! Lovecraft was ahead of his time I'd say.
Not for the faint-hearted, Lovecraft's flawed classic is just that. While Lovecraft has recently undergone the joys of a post-mortum Purge at the hands of the ever-viligant People's Commissars of Political Correctness, he nonetheless still holds an important place in the development of horror and science fiction and has been and is still a major influence, despite his public denunciation and current "non-person" status.
"Mountains of Madness" is, in some ways, his "Heart of Darkness," a first-person narrative of the psychological and perceptual unraveling of the narrator when confronted with primordial dread. Whereas Conrad accomplishes feats of sparsity, Lovecraft is wallowing in a prolixity which has caused most "literati" to dismiss him utterly. They miss the effect produced by his approach however, especially when read aloud, and Herrmann captures it masterfully.
Herrmann is the ideal narrator for this story. His inflection and delivery are the very incarnation of that Lovecraftian ideal of New England hauter and unflappability, while he also perfectly encompasses the cold, rational, scientist faced with a reality that utterly undermines his rational world-view.
Herrmann, as we know, was an educated man, and he effortlessly delivers Lovecraft's cyclopean, eldritch prose convincingly--no small feat in itself--and does so in a perfectly natural, fluid, and believable way that is really remarkable.
The combination of his many talents makes his over-all performance of what is, at best, a complex, difficult and at times tediously labored story, engaging and psychologically effective.
A real tour de force!
Unafraid to read from any genre.
Those fans of John Carpenter's The Thing will recognize the motifs Lovecraft uses in his description of an antarctic expedition that discovers the remnants of something they never expected. The entire story is delivered as a first person narrative almost entirely devoid of dialogue from the perspective of one of the expedition's leaders, William Dyer. It reminded me of my reading of Time Machine and War of the Worlds, for both the style of the narrative with its abundant description as well as the incredible imagination of the author. It's easy to lose oneself in the dense prose - not since Poe have eerie terrors been offered with such stilted romantic language. I admire the mind at work here, the creative genius, but the utter devotion to this style leaves a cold impression.
I can see readers getting bogged down in At the Mountains of Madness, which is why Edward Herrmann's wonderful reading is so special. His contribution lifts this story and makes it even better.
A fantastic reading of a great example of Lovecraft's work. Edward Herrman was exceptional. I look forward to listening to other works he may have recorded before he passed.
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