Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Watchers Out of Time (3)

I finished; The Watchers Out of Time; by H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth a few days ago, making it the 3rd book I have finished this year. It is a collection of short stories and I am not entirely sure which of them, save the last one, are by Mr. Derleth as opposed to Mr. Lovecraft. I thought it was an excellent collection and it is easy to see why Mr. Lovecraft is credited with influencing so many modern writers of Horror and Dark Fantasy. His style is obviously a bit old fashioned and he uses some peculiar words that I had to stop and look up; rugose, for instance, which merely means wrinkled. But I love old words especially when they are new to me. His old-fashioned style aside; H.P. Lovecraft was really onto something.

His tales are creepy and tense, his protagonists are isolated and their sanity usually on the wane. They often find themselves in increasingly desperate situations or struggles sometimes fighting their own ill-considered impulses. Places, buildings and objects can all be permeated with evil, with will and desire; their malice can influence or even possess the unwary. Even the most rational, most scientifically minded of his characters can fall prey to the insidious influences of restless spirits or vastly intelligent, otherworldly beings. The stories manage very well being both quaint relics of a simpler, more mannered age and masterpieces of terror. The terror here is quieter than that found in most modern tales; it is a terror born of dread whisperings, dark hints and sudden, horrible realizations.

Highly recommended and best read on a lonely, stormy night.


  1. Actually, all the stories are written by August Derleth. They were based on notes of ideas Lovecraft left behind, but that's about the extent of good ole' H.P.'s hand in any of these stories. The publisher simply prints his name larger to bring on more sales. As a huge fan of the gentleman from Providence I just thought I'd clear it up for ya.


  2. Thanks for the information, Justin. I meant to look it up, figuring that somewhere online I could find out which stories were written by which man, but you have saved me the trouble.

    And thanks for reading.