Book Post 14 : At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
Book Post 14 : At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

Book Post 14 : At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

Book Name : At the Mountains of Madness 

Author : H.P. Lovecraft        

Genre : Cosmic Horror

Year of Publication : 1936

What is it about? : About a scientific expedition gone wrong in Antarctica.

How I came to read it : 
 A casual conversation about Horror bought back memories of a book I had bought long back but couldn’t read it. It was a book of Horror stories by H.P. Lovecraft. I thought its time I start reading Lovecraft. So I picked up this Magnum opus of his.  
Did I like it? 
I loved it. For me three factors make up a good horror story. The Setup. The Buildup and The Delivery. ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ excels in all three. The setup is brilliant. A University team goes to the Antarctica to conduct some scientific experiments. There a sub team ventures further into the heart of the deserted land to gather some samples. The team at the base receives a message that they have found something spectacular. Something that will make all the known history and science to be rewritten. But the team fails to return and the base team sends a second team to investigate. What the second team finds there is what forms the delivery. The transition from the setup to the delivery is the buildup. All of this has been done expertly. The scale of Lovecraft’s themes are gigantic. He does not scare you at an individual level but something far more deeper. 
An excerpt from an article in the Guardian in 2010 perhaps sums up best what Lovecraft is about. 
”The American writer HP Lovecraft, who died in 1937, has been called “the man who scares Stephen King”. A writer of horror and science fiction, Lovecraft’s guiding principle was that the universe is incomprehensible and terrifyingly alien, and that there somewhere exists an abyss which, should we have the misfortune to gaze into it, will rob us for ever of our sanity. Many of his books feature a grimoire (my favourite word ever) called the Necronomican, which was written eons ago by a man called Abdul al-Hazred in Sana’a, Yemen. Spooky, eh? Lovecraft isn’t easy to read; his language is archaic and convoluted, and you might not know half the time what he is going on about.”
True, Lovecraft is a bit hard to read but therein lies the beauty. It is like the process of diffusion of a gas in a room. The idea of what is happening spreads slowly in your mind like the smell of a perfume in a closed room. By the time the idea is full established in your mind you realize the horror of it all. Lovecraft is a master! And ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ easily climbs into my list of favorite horror books.  

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