The only audio edition of Necronomicon authorized by the H. P. Lovecraft Estate!
Originally written for the pulp magazines of the 1920s and '30s, H. P. Lovecraft's astonishing tales blend elements of horror, science fiction, and cosmic terror that are as powerful today as they were when first published. This tome brings together all of Lovecraft's harrowing stories, including the complete Cthulhu Mythos cycle, just the way they were when first released. It will introduce a whole new generation of readers to Lovecraft's fiction, as well as attract those fans who want all his work in a single, definitive volume.
©2014 H. P. Lovecraft (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
First things first: I'm reviewing the Audiobook listed above, with the black cover featuring blue tentacles and the title "Necronomicon" in bold white caps. Why do I specify? Because there are evidently several different books out there with the same title. Very confusing to a potential buyer, and the reviews I read before purchasing this audiobook were misleading. Regardless of the publisher's summary, it does not contain all of Lovecraft's "harrowing stories" and it doesn't include all of the Cthulhu mythos stories.
I'm not sorry I bought the book, but it simply wasn't what it was represented to be. Another issue: another reviewer listed the stories included in this volume. Well, they're not the stories in the audiobook I bought. By the way, a Table of Contents would be nice, maybe even a downloadable information sheet. In order to learn what my audiobook had in it, I had to go through all 63 chapters and deduce which stories they were associated with. For example, the second selection in the audiobook, "Herbert West..." takes up six chapters. Also, unless you can recognize a reader's voice, there's no way to tell who is narrating each story.
This volume contains:
DAGON; HERBERT WEST-REANIMATOR; THE LURKING FEAR; THE RATS IN THE WALLS; THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS; COOL AIR; IN THE VAULT; THE CALL OF CTHULHU; THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE; THE HORROR AT REDHOOK; THE MUSIC OF ERICH ZANN; THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME; THE DUNWICH HORROR; THE HAUNTER IN THE DARK; THE OUTSIDER; THE SHUNNED HOUSE; THE UNNAMABLE; THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP; UNDER THE PYRAMIDS
I began with my favorite Lovecraft story, "The Shadow Out of Time." I happened to recognize the narrator's voice, Keith Szarabajka, and he was excellent. A lot of Lovecraft's stories are first person narratives, making an audiobook like this one an outstanding way to experience Lovecraft. I'm looking forward to working my way through every story in the volume.
Keith Szarabajka did a commendable job on "The Shadow Out of Time." I'd also like to commend the narrators of "The Call of Cthulhu" and "Herbert West", but I have no idea who they were.
Sleep with a light on.
This is a good audiobook with great stories and well-done narration, but it suffers somewhat by a poorly chosen, all too common title, and an evident publisher's disregard for the little things that might have greatly improved the buyer's experience.
Sometimes you just want to listen to a specific story. For the life of me, I can't understand why anthologies like his aren't broken into chapters or at least labeled in the descriptions. This should help with that. The numbers might be off by a second or two, but will get you to the beginning of each story.
00:16:55 Herbert West, Reanimator
01:33:13 The Lurking Fear
02:25:06 The Rats in the Walls
03:16:06 The Whisperer in the Darkness
06:18:21 Cool Air
06:43:23 In the Vault
07:06:48 The Call of Cthulhu
08:33:03 The Color Out of Space
09:48:10 The Horror at Red Hook
10:44:15 The Music of Eric Zahn
11:06:38 The Shadow Out of Time
13:44:15 The Dunwich Horror
15:47:02 The Haunter of the Dark
16:46:49 The Outsider
17:05:02 The Shunned House
18:16:39 The Unnameable
18:38:16 The Thing on the Doorstep
19:52:54 Under the Pyramids
I'm not one to write reviews, but after listening to Lovecraft's Necronomicon, I'm motivated. To start with, this is my first read by H.P. Lovecraft. I have known of his writings for many years, but just have never picked up a book, I did well in starting with this collection of stories.
The performances were well done and did not distract from the stories. The stories are amazing, Lovecraft builds the stories with firm foundations and builds and builds leading the reader in anticipation until you are sitting on the edge of your chair. It is so refreshing in this world of "fast"-"express" everything, to read something that takes the time to use the quality of words that fully describe the scene that Lovecraft is painting and is sorely lacking in a great deal of today's storytelling.
Bottom line, if you like this genre of story, if you've even slightly thought of reading Lovecraft, then I recommend this book to start with.
Herbert West: Re-Animator
The Lurking Fear
The Rats in the Walls
The Whisperer in Darkness
In the Vault
The Call of Cthluhu
The Colour Out of Space
The Horror at Red Hook
The Haunter of the Dark
The Shunned House
The Thing on the Doorstep
Under the Pyramids
Here is the complete list of stories in this audiobook:
Herbert West, Reanimator
The Lurking Fear
The Rats in the Walls
The Whisperer in the Darkness
In the Vault
The Call of Cthulhu
The Color Out of Space
The Horror at Red Hook
The Music of Eric Zahn
The Shadow Out of Time
The Dunwich Horror
The Haunter of the Dark
The Shunned House
The Thing on the Doorstep
Under the Pyramids
The five star rating for this book is not because I think every story (or even most of them) were 5 stars, or because Lovecraft was a great writer (though I do think he was a better writer than he's often given credit for). It's because these stories are essential reading. Like him or hate him, Lovecraft casts a long, dark shadow over all of American fantasy and horror, and in fact, the stories are mostly pretty good, in a very dated way. Yes, Lovecraft wrote purple. Yes, his characterization is usually pretty thin. And yes, he was a horrible racist and it shows in his writing. But no one who touched this genre after him has been untouched by it, and if you have ever been awed or frightened or scared by a tale of eldritch horrors, unfathomable beings from beyond time and space, bubbling squamous obscenities so horrible that the very sight of them will erode your sanity, or vast, alien, cosmic gods inimical to humans and regarding us the way we regard germs... well, that's all Lovecraftian influence.
You also have Lovecraft to thank for a raft of awesome boardgames and RPGs, from the classic Call of Cthulhu to Eldritch Horror and Cthulhu Wars.
While Lovecraft's stories are typically labeled fantasy (hence his likeness being the trophy for the World Fantasy Award), he was really a science fiction writer, or perhaps science fantasy. His Elder Gods and the inhuman things that served them were not "gods" in the sense of being truly divine, but rather vast cosmic powers who exist on a scale beyond human comprehension. The "magic" sometimes found in his stories, even spells read from books like the Necronomicon, are likewise means of bending reality in ways Man Was Not Meant to Know, but ultimately his creatures are aliens, not demons, and his supernatural horror stems from science perverted beyond recognition, not from arcane witchcraft. Whenever something in the way of a more "traditional" monster appears in a Lovecraft story, like a mere ghost or vampire or werewolf, it's probably something much, much worse.
This collection contains most of Lovecraft's better known stories, focusing largely on his Cthulhu mythos cycle, so there is lots of squamous horror here. All the familiar names are here: Cthulhu, Hastur, Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlathotep, Yog-Sothoth, Dagon, etc. Monsters of all shapes and sizes, and degenerate inbred New England townsfolk who usually have nasty things in their barns, wells, attics, and woods.
If you want a Lovecraft primer, this is a good start. I'd read all these stories before, but many of them I had not read for years, so I enjoyed going through the classics again even if they don't bring me quite the same feeling of existential horror they did when I was a teenager.
It's a fine collection of creepy and fantasy stories, and great inspiration before playing a game of Arkham Horror or Call of Cthulhu.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Necronomicon is an audiobook collection of 19 choice stories by H. P. Lovecraft that complement the dream cycle works found in the Dreams of Death and Terror audiobook. The Necronomicon stories have much in common with each other, featuring sensitive, educated, Lovecraft alter-ego narrators forced to deal with his pet terrors (e.g., size, time, aliens, madness) and referencing his Cthulhu mythos (e.g., Cthulhu, Old Ones, Azathoth, and the Necronomicon). Their most common thrust is that "scientific study and reflection had taught us that the known universe of three dimensions embraces the merest fraction of the whole cosmos of substance and energy," and hence that "There are horrors beyond life's edge that we do not suspect, and once in a while man's evil prying calls them just within our range." The horrors come mostly from outside rather than from within. (Really I think that humans perpetrate plenty of horror without needing any outside help.) Lovecraft usually gives his horror a science fictional underpinning, most of his monsters being star spawn from other worlds, universes, or dimensions. The stories depict the hope that the lurking inimical alien powers are only dreams while crushing such comfort via exact dates, specific locations, "real" documents, and the like.
Despite their similarity, the stories make an entertaining and varied set, from outrageous Frankenstein parody and rustic undertaker farce to mental time travel and cross-species baby rearing. Here is an annotated list.
1. Dagon (1917)
The narrator has run out of the morphine he'd been taking to forget "a vast reach of black slime" full of rotting fish things, aquatic hieroglyphics, and Dagon.
2. Herbert West, Reanimator (1922)
"Damnit, it wasn't quite fresh enough!" Despite the redundant summaries that open each chapter, this is an absorbing novella as the narrator recounts his years assisting the boyish, blond, blue-eyed Herbert West, a "Baudelaire of physical experiment" questing to "overcome the thing we call death."
3. The Lurking Fear (1922)
The "connoisseur of horror" narrator heads for a demon haunted Catskill mansion, and, desperate to get to the innermost secret of fear, soon enough witnesses diabolic caricatures of the monkey tribe capering around.
4. The Rats in the Walls (1923)
When the narrator tries to renovate his cursed ancestral priory, he and his nine cats are "Poised on the brink of frightful revelations" involving a "scampering army of obscene vermin" whose appetites resemble what we do to each other.
5. The Whisperer in the Darkness (1930)
Receiving "invitations to strange surgery and stranger voyagings," an instructor of lit at Miskatonic U learns that "Close contact with the utterly bizarre is often more terrifying than inspiring."
6. Cool Air (1926)
When the fastidious narrator rents a room in a boarding house with "a hint of obscure cookery" run by a bearded Spanish landlady, he befriends Munoz, an abnormal doctor, "paying him overcoated calls" in his refrigerated room.
7. In the Vault (1925)
A careless, callous village undertaker cuts corners for the last time: "And so the prisoner toiled in the twilight, heaving the unresponsive remnants of mortality with little ceremony as his miniature Tower of Babel rose course by course."
8. The Call of Cthulhu (1926) (Pinchot)
Blasphemous cults, obscene gulfs of time, inimical lurking aliens, provocative correlations between disparate cultures, slimy Cyclopean cities of a wrong geometry, sensitive men going mad, and a narrator who researches horrifying secrets. N-not to mention anthropologists, theosophists, and philologists; police investigators, decadent sculptors, and "negro fetishists"; degenerate diabolist "eskimaux," voodoo swamp priests--and Cthulhu.
9. The Colour Out of Space (1927)
Revealing why the narrator would prefer not to drink Arkham water: a local legend about a meteor that fell on a farm, releasing a demoniac iridescence from beyond which mutated, maddened, and consumed the flora, fauna, and family.
10. The Horror at Red Hook (1925)
In the Red Hook slum, a sensitive 42-year-old NYC policeman experiences a hellish revelation involving illegal mongoloid aliens, child sacrifice, pre-human devil dances, Lilith, hell's organ, Satan's court (under the streets of NYC!).
11. The Music of Eric Zahn (1921)
The student of metaphysics narrator rents a room in a house wherein he hears unearthly music apparently coming from the room of the reclusive German viol player above him. Why won't Zahn let him look through his shuttered window?
12. The Shadow Out of Time (1934)
In mid-lecture an economics prof at Miskatonic U suffers an attack of "amnesia" like a case of possession by a "secondary mind." Five years later he suddenly returns to himself, fearing that his vivid dreams are memories of being a "captive mind" 150 million years ago.
13. The Dunwich Horror (1928)
After the birth of a goat-faced, fast-growing boy to a twisted albino woman in degenerate Dunwich (where the whippoorwills are demoniac psychopomps), Dr. Armitage, an erudite, 73-year old librarian at Miskatonic U, steps in.
14. The Haunter of the Dark (1935)
A writer/painter of Lovecraftian horror (like "The Feaster from the Stars") enters a shunned Providence church: "Probably they were mere legends evoked by the evil look of the place, but even so, they were like a strange coming to life of one of his own stories."
15. The Outsider (1921) (Pinchot)
This is a strangely affecting story about how it feels to be the consummate "carrion horror" outsider craving light and companionship.
16. The Shunned House (1924)
The narrator and his old uncle have been investigating an eldritch house whose inhabitants have tended to madden and die, when they decide to stand vigil in the foulest and fungiest room in the house, the cellar.
17. The Unnameable (1923) (Pinchot)
Randolph Carter, an author of Lovecraftian horror, and his friend Joel Manton, a teacher confident that science can classify everything, are knocked out by the "the ultimate abomination… the unnameable."
18. The Thing on the Doorstep (1933) (Pinchot)
"It is true that I have sent six bullets through the head of my best friend, and yet I hope to shew by this statement that I am not his murderer." It's all down to a good-looking woman with the protuberant eyes of her dead wizard father: she-devil, he, or it?
19. Under the Pyramids (1924)
"Hippopotami should not have human hands and carry torches," opines Lovecraft-Houdini while recounting his escape from "the black soul of necropolitan Egypt," composite mummies in cyclopean subterranean temples.
There are two disappointing features of the audiobook. First, the stories are arranged neither chronologically nor thematically. Second, there is no list of which readers read which stories. Apart from the inspired Bronson Pinchot, who caresses his four tales with macabre import, relishing lines like "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn," I have no idea who reads what. And I would like to know that, if only to avoid one reader among the many good ones who botches Lovecraft's rhythm and pacing with unwanted pauses and says "horror" with one syllable: e.g., "in quest of greater whores."
Fans of Lovecraft and aficionados of horror should give this collection a listen, not only because Lovecraft is such an influential figure in 20th-century horror and sf, but also because his stories, despite their pulp origins and unpleasant racism, classism, and sexism evoke half-chortle half-shiver fascination and offer great writing:
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."
"Bodies were always nuisances."
"We were now burrowing bodily through the midst of the picture, and I seemed to find in its necromancy a thing I had innately known or inherited, and for which I had always been vainly searching."
"Smash that record!"
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
I have been putting this off for ages now, but I am glad I finally got to listen. This is a collection of H. P. Lovecraft's greatest tales, and relentlessly barrages you with fear of the unknown, taking you beyond sanity, logic, humanity and the thin veil of our mundane lives into the infinite terror of the beyond.
I listened to parts of this book past midnight. I recommend you do the same. If you do, keep the shades open and the windows closed. Who knows when your mind will start playing tricks on you.
Others have offered a list of what's included (Maliboo's list is incomplete), but here I'll add a list of which chapters correspond to which stories......I found that information very helpful in allowing me to choose shorter or longer stories to listen to.
Dagon (Ch. 1)
Herbert West: Re-Animator (Ch. 2 - 7)
The Lurking Fear (Ch. 8)
The Rats in the Walls (Ch. 9)
The Whisperer in Darkness (Ch. 10 - 17)
Cool Air (Ch. 18)
In the Vault (Ch. 19)
The Call of Cthluhu (Ch. 20 - 22)
The Color Out of Space (Ch. 23)
The Horror at Red Hook (Ch. 24 - 30)
The Music of Eric Zahn (Ch. 31)
The Shadow Out of Time (Ch 32 - 39)
The Dunwich Horror (Ch. 40 - 49)
The Haunter of the Dark (Ch. 50)
The Outsider (Ch. 51)
The Shunned House (Ch. 52 - 56)
The Unnamable (Ch. 57)
The Thing on the Doorstep (Ch. 58 - 62)
Under the Pyramids (Ch. 63)
I am not a huge Lovecraft fan, but I thought some short stories would allow me small tastes of his different subjects and themes, without getting too much and getting turned off by the sparse writing and thin characters. It was a good mix. The narrators varied in quality from fair to very good, as did the stories. I consider this a good mix for those unsure of how much they will like Lovecraft, because they, like I can enjoy small bits over months without feeling like they're losing the thread of a longer book.
It really depends on who is reading it. That is my main complaint about this book. Some of the narrations are terrific at their job while others are dull and monotone. So half the tales I'd rather read because listening was putting me to sleep.
Something about having the story of Cthulhu narrated makes the imagery of the book even more vivid.
Some were good.
Quite a few of the stories were wonderfully done.
I was annoyed at the lack of a real table of contents, so hopefully this is helpful:
Ch 1. Dagon
Ch 2. Herbert West – Reanimator
Ch 8. The Lurking Fear
Ch 9. The Rats in the Walls
Ch 10. The Whisperer in the Darkness
Ch 18. Cool Air
Ch 19. In the Vault
Ch 20. The Call of Cthulu
Ch 23. The Color Out of Space
Ch 24. The Horror at Red Hook
Ch 31. The Music of Erich Zann
Ch 32. The Shadow Out of Time
Ch 40. The Dunwich Horror
Ch 50. The Haunter of the Dark
Ch 51. The Outsider
Ch 52. The Shunned House
Ch 57. The Unnameable
Ch 58. The Thing on the Doorstep
Ch 63. Under the Pyramids
"An Excellent Collection, but NOT Complete."
The book contains these stories:
2. Herbert West, Reanimator
8. The Lurking Fear
9. The Rats in the Walls
10. The Whisperer in Darkness
18. Cool Air
19. In the Vault
20. The Call of Cthulhu
23. The Color Out of Space
24. The Horror at Red Hook
1. The Music of Eric Zahn
2. The Shadow out of Time
10. The Dunwich Horror
20. The Haunter of the Dark
21. The Outsider
22. The Shunned House
27. The Unnameable
28. The Thing on the Doorstep
The numbers are the chapter numbers. The audiobook is presented as a series of chapters, some stories take up multiple chapters, but there is no indication which stories start where, so I made this life.
The review claims that all the stories are here, but as you can see, many of the most significant stories are not present, including The Shadow over Innsmouth, and Beyond the Mountains of Madness.
The stories that are here are wide ranging, excellently read and good stories. If this is your first experience of Lovecraft, then this is a perfect introduction, and a good representative of h is work. If you're interested because of its claim to have all the stories, then be warned. Personally, I don't want to return it, because I'm enjoying it greatly, and I think it is excellent value for money/1 crewdit. I was just disappointed it was misadvertised.
"Eldtrich and unspoken horror...no, wait!"
Yes, I've loved it! I assume you already know Lovecraft if you're looking at this so I'll review it with that in mind.
The stories are well read and, although it's not quite as creepy as reading them yourself, it's still great and...come on, you get about 65 stories here, for ONE CREDIT?
That has to be (at the mountains of) madness!
I sometimes work at night and driving around the dark, wintry streets of Glasgow, often out in the sticks, with this audiobook playing in the background....brilliant!
Some of the narrators are great, some not so much.
I locked the doors in my car when I was listening in the dark....who knows what lurking horror might have crept up on me?
Lovecraft is never terrifying or shocking in a 21st century way, but his writing is always creepy and sticks in your mind. This collection does a fine job of bringing that crawling chaos to life.
Considering I got this for one monthly credit I honestly can't complain. There's 60-odd stories, all professionally read and that is just great value for money. I've read the stories dozens of times myself over the years and yet still found myself wanting to listen more to this to see what happened next. And I've only listened to the first few stories so far! Can't wait until I hear the likes of "Shadow Over Innsmouth" or "The Call of Ktulu" (oops, sorry, I've got Metallica on just now, got mixed up for a sec!).
Needless to say, if the quality drops I'll edit my review but for now I just wanted to post my thoughts as there's not a lot for other listeners to go on.
Trust me - if you're a fan of HPL give this a go.
Steven A. McKay, author of the Lovecraftian histfic novella "Knight of the Cross" (also on Audible!).
"Cult classic best left to cultists"
If you're a fan of HP Lovecraft, buy this! There are several narrators, with different voices well suited to their stories. The delivery is a bit flat for my tastes, but it's perfectly listenable. Stop reading this review now.
I was not an initiate of HP Lovecraft when I listened to this. I am a fan of horror and sci-fi, though, and he has a reputation. I was curious to listen to the originals. I can barely express the depths of my disappointment. While he certainly has a vivid imagination, his plots have all the complexity of a mass produced Hollywood B movie. In fact, Hollywood B movie is exactly what I see when I'm listening to his stories. They are simply awful. And the writing is bad. Everything is charnel or demoniac. These are unusual words, and to use them more than once in the same book is repetitious. To use them multiple times in every short story grates on the ears. His characters are all the same, and none have any convincing depth. His horror comes almost exclusively from a sense of 'other'. Anything alien is self-evidently evil, so no explanation is required. Ill-intention is implicit, so explanation is not required and rarely given. In short, the stories are extremely xenophobic, and this tribal fear of 'different' occasionally leaks into treatment of fellow humans.
This is nothing more than pulp-fiction. I do not understand what has elevated it above the pages of cheap horror periodicals. By all means wade into it as a cultural archaeologist, but don't expect an enjoyable listen.
"Need better documentation"
This audio book contains many shorter stories. It would be great if there was some documentation of which stories these are and what chapters on the audio book these respond to.
I know that Lovecraft has been very influential and is much admired by some. I liked some of it too, and most of the several narrators were competent. In the end though, this compilation is just too much of material that is too uniform. In the latter half I found myself waiting for the next occurrence of "demoniac", "cyclopian" or "unspeakable" and truth to tell, I never had to wait long. If you opt for this title, my advice would be to listen to a story then listen to a different book, then come back for another Lovecraft tale another day!
"When horror becomes repetitive it is just boring."
This is a great collection short stories, if anything my complaints will be on the lack of editing some of the fairly atrocious reanimator stories with character that were born dead, stories that are so repetitious and uninteresting it made me want to give up, but on the other hand when we move to the Cthulhu Mythos cycle things take a much better turn for horror and that feeling at the back of your neck, all improves the characters are more real and the menace of the others is palpable and enveloping.
H. P. Lovecraft has dated in some stories especially in the ones where he discusses the science of his time, that is impossible to avoid for any mortal human being and a problem for all religious text that were written by a temporal beings; contrary to popular belief.
Good but you have to be selective and remember that pulp fiction sometimes was intended to be pulped.
"Not a bad collection"
Good narration - very atmospheric. If you don't yet have any Lovecraft in your library, then this is the perfect start!
The longer you listen, the more you realise lots of the stories intertwine.
There is something exceedingly strange about the way Lovecraft shows his 'cosmic horror' that will. She you want to go back and re listen to many of the stories.
Some readers are clearly better than others but you very quickly get absorbed into their particular reading style. I particularly enjoyed those who read the stories as one large monologue.
Overall very good, my personal favourite being 'the whisperer in the darkness' closely followed by 'the outsider'
"wonderfully ghoulish !"
Beautifully crafted. Lovecraft's horrors are a pleasure to experience by virtue of superbly empathic delivery.
"A great collection of Lovecraft's works"
Beyond the universe
Not really. There are around 20 stories and although they are all good, they aren't stories you can or should listen to in one go.
A great collection which is well read by a small collection of readers who both add character to the stories and act as a great narrator as each story is generally written in a journal/diary like style.
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