I have a question for Lovecraft fans

Thomas Barnsley

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I recently bought the commemorative collection of Lovecraft's stories - the Necromonicon. It is supposed to have all his best weird stories, 36 of them all together. Of those I have read Call of Cthulhu, Shadow over Innsmouth, Dagon, and this poem called Nightgaunts. Shadow over Innsmouth was amazing, better than Call of Cthulhu which had a rather anticlimactic ending to be honest. Dagon was very short, but still very good.

So my question is what stories should I read first? It will take ages to read all 36, so I'd rather get to the good parts first. What are your favourite Lovecraft stories, what would you recommend?
 

I Stomp on Kittens

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The Temple and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward are two of my all time favorites works by that man, the first being short and the second has quite some length to it. I'm sure I can think of a few more so I'll probably be back :p , enjoy.

EDIT:
The Hound
Beyond the Wall of Sleep
The Outsider
Lurking Fear
Herbert West-Reanimator
The Dunwich Horror
 

Realitycrash

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Thomas Barnsley said:
I recently bought the commemorative collection of Lovecraft's stories - the Necromonicon. It is supposed to have all his best weird stories, 36 of them all together. Of those I have read Call of Cthulhu, Shadow over Innsmouth, Dagon, and this poem called Nightgaunts. Shadow over Innsmouth was amazing, better than Call of Cthulhu which had a rather anticlimactic ending to be honest. Dagon was very short, but still very good.

So my question is what stories should I read first? It will take ages to read all 36, so I'd rather get to the good parts first. What are your favourite Lovecraft stories, what would you recommend?
You've read Shadows over Innsmouth already. Good start.
Read following:
The Dreams in the Witchhouse.
The Dunwich Horror.
The Colour Out Of Space.
Whispers In The Dark.
The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward

After these, I suggest reading the longer, more detailing works which paints Lovecrafts universe:
Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath.
Shadow Out Of Time.
At The Mountains of Madness.
The Thing on the Doorstep
The Rats In The Walls

Much shorter works with people or locations that will get referenced fairly often in other novels:
The Cats of Ulthar
Pickman's Model.
 

FalloutJack

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Because I have read plenty of them, I find it hard to say which one first. I can only say 'Don't forget to read THIS one'.

Ergo, aside from these good people's recommendations, I believe you should not forget...

Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
A Shadow out of Time
From Beyond (and then maybe see the movie for good measure)
At the Mountains of Madness
Herbert West - Reanimator!
 

M K Ultra

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hurm... my favorites in that collection would be
-"The Doom that Came to Sarnath"
-"The Colour Out of Space"
-"At the Mountains of Madness"

blast I can't stop picking favorites
-"The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath"
 

Owyn_Merrilin

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There's not much in the way of continuity with his books so much as references, so the order doesn't matter all that much, but I'm going to agree with several other people and say not to miss out on The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, At the Mountains of Madness, or Herbert West: Reanimator.

Also, there's two main bodies of his work, which get separated into the "Cthulu Mythos" and the "Dream Cycle." It's kind of an artificial distinction since they're both clearly set in the same universe, but I've always found the Dream Cycle to be more interesting. The Cthulu Mythos focuses more on people dealing with eldritch abominations beyond human comprehension, the Dream Cycle focuses more on what we're really doing when we dream. The biggest difference is in the tone, though: the Cthulu Mythos stories are mostly cosmic horror. The Dream Cycle stories are mostly weird (but good) fantasy, of a kind that the closest thing I can think of in more modern works is Steven King's The Dark Tower series, although even that isn't a perfect match.
 

KoudelkaMorgan

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My favorites are:

Nathicana
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
Dreams in the Witch House
The Silver Key
The Colour Out of Space
Herbert West-Reanimator
The Rats in the Walls
At the Mountains of Madness
The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath
The Shadow Out of Time
The Shadow over Innsmouth

And then there are the "revisions" where another author did some degree of the work:
The Mound
Out of the Aeons
The Last Test
Winged Death
Medusa's Coil
The Horror in the Museum
In the Walls of Eryx
Till A' the Seas
 

Pink Gregory

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The Whisperer in Darkness, Through the Gates of the Silver Key, The Colour out of Space, The Dunwich Horror.

You're probably going to get a recommendation for every single one.

Some of his lesser known shorter stories really are a bit lacking, though; but they were left out of the Necronomicon collection.
 

Thomas Barnsley

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Thanks guys, most of those suggestions are in the book so I'll get stuck in. The most mentioned ones were Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath and At The Mountains Of Madness, but I think I'll take Realitycrash's advice and read The Cats Of Ulthar and Pickman's Model first because apparently they are frequently referenced. Also special thanks to Owyn_Merrilin for explaining the two subsets of Lovecraft's universe.

Thanks again! If anyone else finds their way here with a new suggestion I'll still be checking.
 

Anachronism

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The Colour out of Space is probably my favourite. It's genuinely terrifying, very creepy indeed, mostly because Lovecraft never actually explains what's going on. If you want to get scared, that's the one I'd go for.

Nyarlathotep is worth a look as well; quite a mind screw, but a good read. The Rats in the Walls is one of his earlier ones, and for my money one of the more frightening ones as well.
 

Forobryt

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Realitycrash said:
You've read Shadows over Innsmouth already. Good start.
Read following:
The Dreams in the Witchhouse.
The Dunwich Horror.
The Colour Out Of Space.
Whispers In The Dark.
The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward

After these, I suggest reading the longer, more detailing works which paints Lovecrafts universe:
Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath.
Shadow Out Of Time.
At The Mountains of Madness.
The Thing on the Doorstep
The Rats In The Walls

Much shorter works with people or locations that will get referenced fairly often in other novels:
The Cats of Ulthar
Pickman's Model.
Pretty much this right here. Though personally I am also quite fond of The Mound which he did as a ghostwriter.

Others of note are:
Herbert West: Reanimator
The last Test
 

DrunkenMonkey

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Shadow over innsmouth
Call of Cthulhu
Pickman's model (DO IT!)
The Mountains of Madness. was a bit too hoped up on scientific descriptions.
The Dreams in the Witchhouse (pretty disturbing)

edit: ignore 1 and 2 since you've read it.
 

Thomas Barnsley

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Anachronism said:
The Colour out of Space is probably my favourite. It's genuinely terrifying, very creepy indeed, mostly because Lovecraft never actually explains what's going on. If you want to get scared, that's the one I'd go for.

Nyarlathotep is worth a look as well; quite a mind screw, but a good read. The Rats in the Walls is one of his earlier ones, and for my money one of the more frightening ones as well.
I would really like to read Nyarlathotep, since he's a character in upcoming Cthulhu Wars (check it out on Kickstarted). Unfortunately it isn't in my book, so I might just need to get a PDF.

Ok, on that line of thought, new question; which stories have Black Goat or Yellow Sign in them? They're also in Cthulhu Wars.
 

II2

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A Shadow of Out Time is my favorite.

Total headfuck ending. Also covers Mythos creatures "Yithians" (or the great race of Yith) and Flying Polyps.
 

Anachronism

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Thomas Barnsley said:
Anachronism said:
The Colour out of Space is probably my favourite. It's genuinely terrifying, very creepy indeed, mostly because Lovecraft never actually explains what's going on. If you want to get scared, that's the one I'd go for.

Nyarlathotep is worth a look as well; quite a mind screw, but a good read. The Rats in the Walls is one of his earlier ones, and for my money one of the more frightening ones as well.
I would really like to read Nyarlathotep, since he's a character in upcoming Cthulhu Wars (check it out on Kickstarted). Unfortunately it isn't in my book, so I might just need to get a PDF.
Pretty much all of Lovecraft's fiction is in the public domain now. The vast majority of it [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Author:Howard_Phillips_Lovecraft] is easily available on Wikisource, Nyarlathotep included. Enjoy!
 

Thomas Barnsley

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Anachronism said:
Thomas Barnsley said:
Anachronism said:
The Colour out of Space is probably my favourite. It's genuinely terrifying, very creepy indeed, mostly because Lovecraft never actually explains what's going on. If you want to get scared, that's the one I'd go for.

Nyarlathotep is worth a look as well; quite a mind screw, but a good read. The Rats in the Walls is one of his earlier ones, and for my money one of the more frightening ones as well.
I would really like to read Nyarlathotep, since he's a character in upcoming Cthulhu Wars (check it out on Kickstarted). Unfortunately it isn't in my book, so I might just need to get a PDF.
Pretty much all of Lovecraft's fiction is in the public domain now. The vast majority of it [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Author:Howard_Phillips_Lovecraft] is easily available on Wikisource, Nyarlathotep included. Enjoy!
Just read it. Pretty cool, thought I don't get how people got the figure of Nyarlathotep from it (image search Nyarlathotep to see it), as there is no description. Maybe I missed it.
 

Anachronism

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Thomas Barnsley said:
Anachronism said:
Thomas Barnsley said:
Anachronism said:
The Colour out of Space is probably my favourite. It's genuinely terrifying, very creepy indeed, mostly because Lovecraft never actually explains what's going on. If you want to get scared, that's the one I'd go for.

Nyarlathotep is worth a look as well; quite a mind screw, but a good read. The Rats in the Walls is one of his earlier ones, and for my money one of the more frightening ones as well.
I would really like to read Nyarlathotep, since he's a character in upcoming Cthulhu Wars (check it out on Kickstarted). Unfortunately it isn't in my book, so I might just need to get a PDF.
Pretty much all of Lovecraft's fiction is in the public domain now. The vast majority of it [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Author:Howard_Phillips_Lovecraft] is easily available on Wikisource, Nyarlathotep included. Enjoy!
Just read it. Pretty cool, thought I don't get how people got the figure of Nyarlathotep from it (image search Nyarlathotep to see it), as there is no description. Maybe I missed it.
I think there's an awful lot of artistic licence that goes into drawing one of Lovecraft's cosmic abominations. Most of them are only described in very vague terms, if at all. Just did a Google image search for Nyarlathotep, for instance, and there are loads of different interpretations of how he looks. He appears human in his eponymous story, for one thing, even if his true form is different. Admittedly I've not read all of Lovecraft's stories, but the only one I can remember being described particularly clearly is Cthulhu.
 

Deathlyphil

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The Mountains Of Madness explains almost all of his mythos creatures, and how they relate to each other. I suggest that you read a few other stories first before that one.

Essentially his books are either Mythos-based (real world with horrible unknowable evil lurking in it's corners), or Dreamworlds (huge fantasy worlds that we enter when we dream).
 

Thaluikhain

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Anachronism said:
I think there's an awful lot of artistic licence that goes into drawing one of Lovecraft's cosmic abominations. Most of them are only described in very vague terms, if at all. Just did a Google image search for Nyarlathotep, for instance, and there are loads of different interpretations of how he looks. He appears human in his eponymous story, for one thing, even if his true form is different. Admittedly I've not read all of Lovecraft's stories, but the only one I can remember being described particularly clearly is Cthulhu.
Especially as he kept going on about how indescribable everything is. One reason why a movie adaptation is hard, all those colours that don't exist and those shapes that the human mind cant view.

Cthulhu...IIRC, wasn't really well described, just said to be a cross between a dragon, squid and octopus. This got interpreted as a winged lizardman with facial tentacles, but there could be other ways.
 

The_Echo

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I still have yet to go through his entire collection, but I really like Herbert West, Reanimator. The Colour Out of Space is also good.

... Basically, you probably can't go wrong no matter what you choose. Lovecraft is a pretty consistent writer.
thaluikhain said:
Cthulhu...IIRC, wasn't really well described, just said to be a cross between a dragon, squid and octopus. This got interpreted as a winged lizardman with facial tentacles, but there could be other ways.
Actually, while it's still vague, Cthulhu's shape has been very clearly defined.
The Call of Cthulhu said:
A monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.