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Howard Phillips Lovecraft - The Lurking Fear (156.0 Kb)

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"The Lurking Fear" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft in the horror fiction genre. Written in November 1922, it was first published in the January through April 1923 issues of Home Brew.Like "Herbert West--Reanimator", earlier published in Home Brew, "The Lurking Fear" was solicited by editor George Julian Houtain expressly to be published as a serial. Unlike with "Herbert West", however, Houtain ran recaps of the story so far with each installment after the first, relieving Lovecraft of the need for objectionable repetitio... More >>>
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Category 1:  Horror Tales
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Author:      Howard Phillips Lovecraft
Format:      eBook
"The Lurking Fear" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft in the horror fiction genre. Written in November 1922, it was first published in the January through April 1923 issues of Home Brew.

Like "Herbert West--Reanimator", earlier published in Home Brew, "The Lurking Fear" was solicited by editor George Julian Houtain expressly to be published as a serial. Unlike with "Herbert West", however, Houtain ran recaps of the story so far with each installment after the first, relieving Lovecraft of the need for objectionable repetition.

The story is split up into 4 chapters:

I. The Shadow On The Chimney

The narrator, hearing tales of a "lurking fear" upon Tempest Mountain, takes two men with him to investigate. They camp inside the deserted Martense Mansion as a lightning storm approaches, and feeling strangely drowsy, they all fall alseep. The narrator wakes up to find both his companions missing, and in a flash of lightning sees a demonic shadow cast upon the fireplace chimney.

II. A Passer In The Storm

Continuing his investigation, the narrator teams up with Arthur Munroe, another journalist. The two find as much information as they can on the Mansion and environs, until they find themselves trapped by yet another storm. Bunkered in a small cabin, they witness a bright flash of lightning. Arthur looks out the window to survey the damage. The narrator, curious as to why Arthur is still staring out the window, turns him to find his face chewed off.

III. What The Red Glare Meant

As the narrator digs upon the grave of Jan Martense, he describes the history of the Martense family. Upon reaching the coffin, he continues to dig, and subsequently falls into a subterranean burrow. He crawls along, until he sees two eyes reflecting his torch-light in the darkness. Yet another lightning-strike causes the tunnel to cave in above the beast and the narrator has to dig his way to the surface. He spots a red glare in the distance that he learns was a cabin that the hillside squatters had set alight with one of the beasts inside.

IV. The Horror In The Eyes

The narrator continues to search for more clues, until it occurs to him that peculiar mounds of earth lead out in lines from the Mansion. He finds a burrow entrance in the basement as another storm approaches. Finding a hiding place, he watches as countless creatures crawl from the hole. He shoots the last over a clap of thunder, and upon closer inspection, notices the creature's heterochromia and realizes that the deformed, hair-covered creature is in fact a relative of the Martense family, who after many years of isolation have degenerated into apelike creatures.

About Author:

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 - March 15, 1937) was an American author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, known then simply as weird fiction.

HP Lovecraft was one of the early exponents of horror fantasy, best known for the series of works known collectively as the Cthulhu Mythos. He peppered his books with references to an occult work called The Necronomicon, and, as his fame grew, he was besieged by readers asking where they could find a copy of it. But the truth was that Lovecraft had invented the book and its title. He wrote in a letter of 1937: 'The name Necronomicon (necros, corpse; nomos, law; eikon, image = An Image of the Law of the Dead) occurred to me in the course of a dream, although the etymology is perfectly sound.' So the title came before everything else, and substituted, perfectly reasonably, for the work itself.

This is a game that many writers have played, and the history of literature is full of references to books that don't, in fact, exist. Margaret Atwood, AS Byatt, Dorothy L Sayers, Frank Herbert, Martin Amis, Arthur Conan Doyle and many, many others have all joined in. Some of my favourite fictional titles are from Kurt Vonnegut, who, as Kilgore Trout, writes non-existent works such as The Barring-Gaffner of Bagnialto, or This Year's Masterpiece, which are usually accompanied by helpful plot summaries. Perhaps the most notorious fictional-book-inventors have been writers such as Umberto Eco and Jorge Luis Borges; naturally enough, since their writing often draws attention to literature as itself an artefact.

With the Necronomicon there was a difference, however. Other writers began to treat it as if it really did exist, quoting from the nonexistent work and even composing large sections of it; several Necronomicons were in fact later published, by hoaxers including L. Sprague De Camp and Colin Wilson.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror, the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a series of loosely interconnected fiction featuring a pantheon of human-nullifying entities, as well as the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works were deeply pessimistic and cynical, challenging the values of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Christian humanism. Lovecraft's protagonists usually achieve the mirror-opposite of traditional gnosis and mysticism by momentarily glimpsing the horror of ultimate reality.

Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his life, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now commonly regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century, who together with Edgar Allan Poe has exerted "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction". Stephen King has called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.