Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Five Minor Works by H.P. Lovecraft

As much as I have been enjoying my little chronological journey through the works of Lovecraft, it would be a lie if I said that I enjoyed all of it. Even Picasso had his off days, I'm sure. I'll be reviewing his 'minor works' (those that were too short to actually speak of, those that just seemed pointless, or any others that I couldn't justify giving an entire post to) whenever I amass three-to-five of them. So you'll be reading about these minor works slightly out of chronological order. So sue me.

A Reminiscence of Dr. Samuel Johnson: This stodgy piece from Lovecraft is exactly what the title suggests: Lovecraft pretending to be real life author Johnson, reminiscing about some dull events that may or may not have actually happened. This story is full of references to what I can only assume were other real people of Johnson's day, but you probably won't know any of them and thus you probably won't give a damn. Lord (and Cthulu) knows I didn't.  Originally published in the November 1917 issue of The United Amateur, after "The Alchemist" but before "The Beast in the Cave."

Memory: Lovecraft wasn't all sci-fi and horror, as this thankfully brief endeavor proves. It involves only two paper-thin characters--the Genie that haunts the moonbeams (seriously!) and a Demon. Most of the story is dedicated to describing the mysterious land in which they dwell. This reads like something you would have found in some LSD-soaked underground hippie rag from the 1960s.  Who knew that Lovecraft like the Grateful Dead?  Originally published in the June 1919 issue of The United Co-operative, after "The Beast in the Cave" and before "Beyond the Wall of Sleep."

The White Ship: A lighthouse keeper fantasizes that he hitches a ride on a white ship and visits multiple fairy tale-esque lands. Rambling and seemingly pointless, this was a difficult tale to get through.  Originally published in the November 1919 issue of The United Amateur, after "Dagon" and before "The Statement of Randolph Carter."

The Doom That Came to Sarnath: Lovecraft returns to his fairy tale style here, giving us a little history lesson about the mythical land of Sarnath. The name makes you think this would be one of his horror stories...but you would be woefully mistaken.  Originally published in the June 1920 issue of The Scot, after "The Statement of Randolph Carter" and before "Poetry and the Gods."

Poetry and the Gods: This short story, written with fellow author Anna Helen Crofts, is a pretentious blend of prose and poetry. Essentially, a woman reads a poem and discovers a great spiritual truth. We, unfortunately, do not. The Gods here are Greek deities, not the alien elders you are hoping for.  Originally published in the September 1920 issue of The United Amateur, after "The Doom That Came to Sarnath" and before "The Cats of Ulthar" (see the next 'minor works' entry for more information.)


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1 comment:

  1. Sarnath is a minor and somewhat forgettable story to be sure, but it does kind of pave the way (chronologically anyway) for the Deep Ones in The Shadow Over Innsmouth, which makes it interesting at least.


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