HP-LovecraftNormally, when people think of spooky, Halloween-y story telling, the name of Edgar Allan Poe immediately springs to mind. And for good reason. And was the same for me since High School…until I discovered the works of one Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

He himself being inspired by Poe, Lovecraft’s stories nevertheless seemed to draw their inspirations from a very different kind of dark well. Lovecraft’s stories managed to weld together dark fantasy and horror with science fiction, giving an added dimension to an already well-mined literary genre.

I first heard about H. P. Lovecraft by a very ironic source: an anti-rock book I had back in my mid-teen years, titled The Rock Report. In it, Pastor Fletcher A. Brothers tried amusingly to tie in the fact that deceased Metallica bass player Cliff Burton was a big fan of H. P. Lovecraft (the Metallica songs “Call Of Ktulu” and “The Thing That Should Not Be” being based on Lovecraft stories), and thus that was why he perished in 1986 when the tour bus slipped on a patch of ice and rolled over him. Back then, even I thought it was quite a stretch to make that connection, but the name of Lovecraft had a certain mystique to it. It wasn’t until the earlier 2000s, when I was rekindling my love of darker fiction when I read my first Lovecraft story in a collection of Gothic Tales: “The Outsider”. From there, I picked up a mass market paperback collection of his stories, Wake Up Screaming, where I was further exposed to the classics “The Lurking Fear”, “The Unnamable”, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, “Herbert West–Reanimator”, “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”, and others. I’ve been collecting and reading his stories ever since then.

Give me a nice, thick musty tome of H. P. Lovecraft tales to read by the wane light of…well, my reading lamp, and a steaming mug of spiced coffee, and that makes for a very nice seasonal holiday story time, indeed.