SHOUT OUT TO MY FREAKY FRIDAY LOVECRAFT FANS OUT THERE. I just love that scene where Lindsey Lohan grows a bunch of squid arms and her and her mean girl squid squad eradicate the human race.
At The Mountains of Madness is a book by famous cosmic horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. It’s a book about a group of scientists who discover an unknown and alien world in the unexplored dark regions of the Antarctic.
This book was my first taste of this strange world that Lovecraft invented.
I quite enjoyed it.
I had a conversation recently with a friend on what the actual point of reading is. I told him that in my opinion, books are a way of learning and experiencing ideas and worlds that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.
Not only is it a powerful tool to expand your mind, you can also experience vast and incredible universes similar or completely different from our own. This escapism is a window into the world and ideas that the author has created.
I would recommend escaping to the interesting and curious world Lovecraft has created. Here’s a few reasons why:
World building and atmosphere.
Let’s talk about ATMOSPHERE. It’s inescapable, curious, and fear filled. This book sucks you into a visceral and imaginitive world. The author does a great job of taking something plainly from our world and blending it realistically with the weird and alien.
The characters are a tool for you to view this strange world, the author doesn’t dwell on developing them or giving them much personality. That isn’t their purpose. Their purpose is to explore this finely crafted world and to show you what they find.
This writing style is called Antiquarianism. Yep, it’s a thing, I looked it up. It means that the characters or writer is more concerned about the imperical evidence rather than feelings or character development. This writing style works incredibly well for cosmic horror, because it allows us to gain a ton of information about this fictional world. The characters are not wheezing and fear stricken sheep, they’re scientists or reporters on a mission to discover. They put themselves in danger regardless of fear so they can learn about an ancient, alien, and hostile environment.
(By the way, this book is about aliens. Aliens with adorable little squid arms. Squishy, murdery, intelligent little aliens. Cosmic aliens. . . There’s also a big-ol’ Penguin or two.)
This book shows a brief moment in time in a fleshed out and ambitious fictional world. You travel through a dead city in the Antarctic, and learn about an ancient and supreme civilization. The book may be scary at points, but that’s not the point. The “idea” is the fear of the unknown. The insatiable lust for knowledge that pushes humanity into danger. The fear of things that are bigger than yourself. The book becomes tense and thrilling because Lovecraft is a great world-builder.
At The Mountains of Madness is an experience. It’s a pretty slow paced book that focuses on the details. While the details make it a bit dryer, it also steeps it in a heavy and realistic atmosphere that really makes the reader feel like the unexplainable and unrealistic events that are happening in the book could have happened.
Solid recommend. Love squid people? Love intelligent plants that come to life and eat all your dogs? This book might be for you.
You’ll also learn a ton about mural decorating and alien archetecture.
I’m gonna start a Cthulu Pinterest soon.
“Here’s how to make a hand-made squid bracelet”
“Here’s how to paint a mathematically perfect mural about the downfall of the elder ones”
Oh God I’ve become one of those weird Lovecraft people that makes strange references that nobody else understands.
And I’ve only read one book. Oh dear.