It’s been months now since I last read a Horror book, but the “Voice,” my incorporeal guide and eternally influential Book-Muse, obnoxiously yanks my sleeves and lets me focus my gaze elsewhere — elsewhere meaning a fantasy book (it’s been a while from the time when I read one from that genre, too); yet obligation dictates otherwise, and, unswerving, I set my sail to my direct course.
As you may already know by now Gentle Readers, I’m a guy big on Horror, both books and movies, for quite simply there’s nothing like a good scare. Sparked by Stephen King, this fascination with the genre and exploring its many nooks and crannies is an on-going process along with readings from other categories of literature as well. However, if you just found your way in this dark alley and isn’t accustomed to my wild flights of delusions and in case you got that nagging prick of a question at the back of your brain — “Seriously, what makes this guy attracted to Horror?” — then, with all indulgence, let me quote a portion my book review from King’s Night Shift:
“To us Filipinos there’s this mysterious spell that horror stories cast, making us all the more attracted to it every time we have the opportunity to read of it or when occasions arose where one is willing to tell of his “scary experiences” when all talk of gossip has suddenly run out. Pondering it, I found out what magnetizes us to this kind of stories — because it reminds us of our fear of death, for when we’re scared shit makes us aware of our own mortality for in such horrific situations, depicted in either brutal, gory or any other awful circumstances one can think of, we’re here…alive, breathing. But to me the scariest of all is when seemingly everyday things unexpectedly turn for the weird; frightening occurrences where we find ourselves subjected into.”
In all its primordial sense horror excites fear and I couldn’t have agreed more when one of its greatest practitioners thus said:
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
Fear of the unknown. That’s where I direct my course in this month’s choice of reading as I introduce this blog’s featured Author of the Month and to whom I gratefully borrowed the line cited above: H. P. Lovecraft, one of the greatest horror writers of the 20th century credited as modernizing the field of spooks and spells and slitherings.
Robert Bloch, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman, just to name a few, point their finger Lovecraft’s way whenever they are asked who is the writer that influenced them the most. The gentleman from Providence’s name also crops up every time I saunter a research in the most important works in the Horror genre. That alone is enough to set my curiosity to bubble. Likewise, I am also intrigued by his Cthulthu Mythos, a creation that has become by now synonymous with his name and the canonical stories that comprise his works.
As an introduction to his fiction I’m now reading The Tales of H. P. Lovecraft, edited by Joyce Carol Oates, published by Harper Perennial Modern Classics. I’ve recently finished the first three short stories in the collection and so far I’m really impressed, especially with The Rats in the Walls for it quite reminded of King’s short story Jerusalem’s Lot as it reflect and apply the same stark elements of this classical gothic tale from which I think it was inspired.
With overcast clime, and twilit skies I bid you Gentle Readers adieu — for now — and a happy birthday to H. P. Lovecraft as I ascent the mountain of madness into the world of the weird, grotesque and gothic.
Dark nights and creepy wonders! 😉