Anyone who even barely dips their toes into the dark and bloody pool that is the horror genre has heard the name Lovecraft. With his output at over 150+ short stories, poems, novellas, ghost written stories and fragments it is a staggering body of work.
Fans could argue amongst themselves about their favorites (personally the Dream Quest series leaves me cold). Non-fans can denigrate his writing as ‘overly hysterical’ and ‘melodramatic’. Even the proclaimed ‘Lovecraft Expert’ S.T. Joshi has some snide things to say about certain of Lovecraft’s works (and the same snarkiness is implied toward the people that do like them). To me, it’s a damn shame that he didn’t know how successful he would become within his own lifetime. Why is that so often the artist’s lot?
I do think the one thing that almost all horror fans can agree on is his far-reaching influence on the world of horror. An influence, in fact, that created its own genre: Lovecraftian Horror.
Top Ten Lovecraft Mythos Anthologies
It’s a genre that sits comfortably on its eldritch throne. A horror to make us feel small in comparison with the cosmos. And whatever could be lurking there, ready to crush us with one well-placed tentacle.
It is also a genre that can be built upon. Stone after slimy stone, Lovecraft seemed to encourage the building of his worlds with the result being the new generation of Weird Fiction, began on trade pamphlets they made at their own cost and circulated by mailing lists. Now, in the age of the internet, written freely, produced even more cheaply than Lovecraft was able to do and sold to those who devour it hungrily.
This is a little list I summoned up when the stars were right of some good Lovecraft anthologies and collections with a bonus link or two at the bottom for those interested in reading his works for themselves.
Black Wings of Cthulhu – edited by S.T. Joshi (series)
So far there are 5 books altogether in this series. It’s probably no big secret that I’m not a huge fan of Joshi. I dislike the tendency he has to consider himself the Official Voice of Lovecraft. I also dislike his tendency to dismiss any horror that isn’t directly related to the Cthulhu Mythos or cosmic in nature. Even in the introduction to this same anthology he casts a barbed compliment at a story that includes Lovecraft as a ghostly character. Saying Lovecraft “Might not appreciated his resurrection as a ghost”. I will admit, though, that he does put together an awesome, well-rounded Lovecraft anthology. While I haven’t read every book in the series (I’ve read 1-3) the ones I have read were a good mix of stories. The quality remained consistent throughout the first three so I can’t imagine they go down. Some directly tied into the Cthulhu Mythos while others had a touch of the Lovecraftian flavor to them.
Lovecraft’s Monsters – edited by Ellen Datlow
Now this one was a bit hit or miss with me but Ellen Datlow usually puts together pretty solid collections and anthologies and what pleases me others may find boring and vice versa. Plus, it has a great cover.
By the Light of a Gibbous Moon– Scott Jaeger
I have to admit that when I reviewed this on Goodreads it wasn’t a 5 Star read for me. It was a 3 which to me is a solidly entertaining book and not a bad rating in any way. You could see the influences in his stories. Sometimes a bit too much. However, I think that if he keeps writing he’ll find his own voice and niche in the simultaneously small and vast world of Lovecraftian weird fiction.
Lovecraft Unbound – edited by Ellen Datlow
Another great collection put together by Ellen Datlow with an awesome cover.
World War Cthulhu: A Collection of Lovecraftian War Stories – edited by Brian M. Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass
Has some great stories in it that blend in well with the war theme. Lovecraft and war wouldn’t seem to go together but they do. World War Cthulhu answers the question of what would happen if The Old Ones did break through.
Cthulhu Lies Dreaming: Twenty-three Tales of the Weird and Cosmic – edited by Salome Jones
A great variety of stories in keeping with the arcane unknown that defines Lovecraftian horror. And, again, a beautiful cover to match.
The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft – edited by Aaron J. French
Another very awesome cover. I haven’t read this yet but it has a lot of good reviews behind it. My co-conspirator is reading it right now and so far the verdict is good. The sepia toned illustrations are beautiful looking. This looks like an anthology you might want to invest in the physical book rather than an e-book. It looks absolutely gorgeous.
Searchers After Horror – edited by S.T. Joshi
While not listed exactly as a Lovecraft anthology per se, it’s themes and stories call to mind Lovecraftian tones.
The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack and The Second Cthulhu Mythos Megapack – Various
Put out by Wildside Press these volumes contain stories by H.P. Lovecraft. They also contain stories written by contemporaries of Lovecraft that forayed into Cthulhu’s domains. At $1.00 each they’re one heck of a bargain.
Autumn Cthulhu – edited by Mike Davis
Another I haven’t read yet but with enough good reviews to justify it’s inclusion here. In fact, the lower reviews I have read about it mainly complain that most are not directly tied into the Cthulhu Mythos. Reading the description however it’s not marketed as being strictly Cthulhu stories. The synopsis leads me to believe they were going for stories with a Lovecraftian flavor.
Since these next two books are Lovecraft only collections I didn’t want to include them in the main list but they are great collections.
Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft
A beautifully bound edition that’s too pretty to read. Which brings me to my next entry…
Complete Collection Of H.P.Lovecraft – 150 eBooks With 100+ Audio Book Links(Complete Collection Of Lovecraft’s Fiction,Juvenilia,Poems,Essays And Collaborations)
Insanely cheap this is, as of yet, the most complete collection I’ve found of Lovecraft’s stories. The e-book also includes audio readings and teleplays of his works. The audio collection varies in quality but the e-book does not. Arranged and linked beautifully, it’s only $0.99 in the Amazon store. I highly recommend it.
Have I forgotten any? If you have a favorite Lovecraftian anthology that I’ve overlooked please let me know.