'It was a monstrous constellation of unnatural light, like a glutted swarm of corpse-fed fireflies dancing hellish sarabands over an accursed marsh...' H.P. Lovecraft was perhaps the greatest twentieth century practitioner of the horror story, introducing to the genre a new evil, monstrous, pervasive and unconquerable. At the heart of these three stories are terrors unthinkable and strange: a crash-landing meteorite, the wretched inhabitant of an ancient castle and a grave-robber's curse. This book includes "The Colour Out Of Space", "The Outsider" and "The Hound".
Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.
Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and 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 fictions 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 Christianity. 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. He is now commonly regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th Century, exerting widespread and indirect influence, and frequently compared to Edgar Allan Poe.
In some ways, if you think about it, The Colour Out of Space could be H.P. Lovecraft’s scariest story.
And that is saying a lot.
Published in 1927, this was almost certainly an influence for Stephen King in his story “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verill” which gave rise to King’s memorial dramatic performance and his unforgettable line of “meteor s***” from the 1982 film Creepshow.
Lovecraft describes, in his unmentionable, oldest and strongest, ancient and mysterious, eldritch style of writing how a strange and unworldly meteor crashes into a New England farm and then literally all hell breaks loose.
In classic Lovecraft fashion, he gives the reader a hint of the unknown and lets our fear go on from there.
The Colour Out of Space (Amazing Stories, 1927) is probably Lovecraft’s most striking and famous tale. He wrote it at the height of his career, in between The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and The Dunwich Horror. As so often with HPL’s stories, this one takes place around Arkham, an imaginary town in Massachusetts, and involves scientists from Miskatonic University, fictional as well. The whole thing is a nightmarish invention about some strange alien meteorite fallen from the sky that poisons the well water near a farm and dramatically disrupts the peaceful lives of a few locals.
Still, one of Lovecraft’s trademarks (borrowed from Mary Shelley, Edgar Poe, Henry James and others) is to ground his insane stories in material assumptions and provide as many concrete details and particulars as possible — in this case, in the form of a month-by-month chronicle —, to convey a sense of reality and authenticity. Deeper still, Lovecraft shapes the structure of his plot like a Russian doll, instilling a feeling of step-by-step descent into a realm of intensifying horror. This arrangement reflects the story itself, in which the falling star gradually poisons the soil, then the plants, then the animals, then the people, and finally leads on to a blasphemous outlook on a fiendish cosmos.
Using the substance of colour itself as the cause and manifestation of a disturbing reality is perhaps the most original feature of this tale. Not least because it suggests that aliens are entirely beyond the realm of describability — the idea of an abomination beyond words comes back repeatedly throughout this story, which, incidentally, relies almost exclusively on descriptions. Lovecraft got the concept of landscape contamination from some cases of paint poisoning in his time. Nowadays, radioactive waste is identically invisible and deadly, and a Chernobyl-type disaster is far more threatening than the remote possibility of a hostile alien invasion.
The influence of this story on Arkady Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic or Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation is unmistakable. I have heard about a film adaptation of HPL’s story, starring Nicolas Cage; maybe I’ll give it a chance whenever I have leisure.
This is more visceral horror than I'm used to from Lovecraft. Yes, the monstrosity is somewhat ineffable, but its effects are not -- victims suffer in body and mind, changing and watching themselves and their loved ones change, helpless to stop the decay of body and brain. Even the natural world, the farm and animals that the family labored so hard to cultivate are completely poisoned and destroyed, through no fault of their own. It's just chance. Something strange falls from the sky, and by the time you realized you should have abandoned your home and fled while you still had your lives it is too late, the contamination is inside you, changing you, rotting you, even your brain so so can't make yourself go. Disturbing and sad.
This is my 2nd short story I've read by H. P. Lovecraft. Many of the authors I respect like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, etc, cite this author as an influence. It must have been so difficult for him back then. He was writing stories no one had told before, creating a new genre basically and he sold this story to a magazine for $25.00. That is a tough life making a living that way.
The story was written in 1927 and I hear that this was H.P.'s favorite story he wrote. His language was of the day and much more purple prose than today. The language is a bit archaic and for some modern readers this can be a turn off. I don't mind it. My head gets in the rhythm of the pieces and it flows.
Lovecraft creates such a mood of dread in about 30 some pages. It's amazing. He didn't publish novels, so the guy could create a very creepy world in a short story.
The evil is the most interesting thing I have read. We are used to things from space being horrible monsters, but this was more like some sort of awful colored gas of some kind, a mist. I mean, I've never really seen that so much. Usually mist is hiding the thing. After reading this story, I can see some of the influence it had on King and where King took it and made it his own.
This is about a rural farm community that is there for a meteorite hitting someones farm and it affects that farmer and the community in terrifying ways. This is psychological devastating. It's like a horrible retold version of Job without the bet between God and Satan.
If you are looking for creepy and don't mind older type language then this is a story for you.
Ammi Pierce tells the extremely haunting story of the aftermath when a meteorite hit the ground in his neighbourhood. The area is known as 'blasted heath' since. On the character of the farmer Nahum Gardner you can see the terrible impact of the meteorite. Strangeness comes and the family undergoes subtle changes as the surrounding. At first everything seems to be in bloom but then all colours fade to grey, madness befell the members of the family and some eldritch force sucks the life out of the now accursed place. Decay stands at the end. The well seems to be its centre... To me, this is one of the best stories Lovecraft ever wrote. It is so damn eerie and will really scare you. Absolute must read for every fan of Lovecraft or everyone who wants to become a fan of his. Classic creeper!
It’s been a while since I read any Lovecraft so I’d forgotten just how… crap he is!
Lovecraft’s problem is his poor writing ability. He can come up with some great stories and ideas, he clearly had a ton of nightmarishly unique imagery, but he really struggles to convey them to the reader.
Like The Colour Out of Space, which tells of a meteorite hitting a farm and the mysterious colourfully glowing rock slowly poisoning the farmer and his family. It’s a great setup but Lovecraft ineptly tries to make the cause of the illnesses a mystery when you know it’s the alien meteorite. Things start falling apart and continue in that vein for the rest of the story with little variation. There’s no suspense but he drags out the story to a unnecessary length anyway and it’s beyond tedious to read.
The Outsider takes a similar approach where a monster rises up from his dungeon castle to visit the outside world and is surprised to see he looks different to the humans who run from him screaming. That scene when he looks in the mirror at the end and realises he’s a monster is the “twist ending” even though the reader’s figured it out long beforehand.
The Hound is a dull story of a demon dog’s revenge on a pair of grave-robbers who stole a magical amulet. A great idea but so poorly handled that it fails to live up to it’s potential.
Lovecraft’s style is to write lavish monologues rather than a narrative so it feels like you’re reading a sequence of descriptions of elaborate and complex images rather than an actual story with a plot, characters, etc. And if you write horror, it’s best to try and have some immediacy with the threat - having characters meet another character who relates a story from 50 years ago, and whose “terrors” were also static and distant, completely nullifies any scares.
And while he doesn’t describe the monsters, leaving that up to the reader, which can be effective if written with skill, it’s not really potent in the way he uses it here. Simply writing “oh the horror was unimaginable!” isn’t scary, it’s stupid.
At least Lovecraft knew his weaknesses and stayed away from writing dialogue for the most part - which doesn’t make it easier to read - but he does attempt dialogue in The Colour Out of Space and it’s laughable. It’s a page-length monologue where a character stutters out a few words followed by ellipses, over and over again: “the terror… it’s so terrible… durnit, the terror… unimaginable!!...” etc. - nobody talks like this!!
(Horror trivia: in On Writing, Stephen King says his inspiration for The Tommyknockers was The Colour Out of Space. Also in On Writing, I think the dialogue he uses to illustrate how not to write speech was taken from this story too.)
Lovecraft’s stories may be horribly written and be a chore to read but he is remembered for a reason as his stories contain some great imagery and he did influence a number of succeeding great horror writers. If you want a taste of what Lovecraft’s like to see if you’ll like or dislike his work, this three story collection provides a good idea of what to expect from him.
A strange meteor. Colors beyond human experience and description. Trees that scratch at the sky. But then poison and death and fear.
I haven't read a lot of Lovecraft, but this one has been my favorite so far. This one seem a lot less obtuse in its language to me. Candidly, this was the only one so far where I didn't struggle to understand it (or even fail to understand it).
We're back at Arkham. No wonder the name was used in the DC comics, not a day goes by that nothing awful happens in this town! *lol*
This time, we're following a land surveyor into the hills and woods around Arkhman though. Supposedly, different groups of immigrants have tried settling there but something creeps them out until they all leave. Ammi Pierce is the only one who still remains, and even Ammi only dares live at the outskirts, close to the new road in and out of Arkham. The surveyor was told the place was evil but didn't think the land itself was meant so he went into the heath anyway. He immediately noticed the strange way the plants and trees grow in the glens leading up to it as well as the absence of noise from animals ... and he still continued, the idiot. *lol* He continues until he is in the heath proper where nothing grows. It looks as if a fire had raged there - though we all know that fires can be cleansing and new plant life will regrow, this is not the case here. Once he makes it back to Arkham, he asks around and, through Ammi, is told what happened (which wasn't long ago either) - leading him to immediately return to Boston never to come back. Cue ominous music!
I shall not tell you anything about what Ammi told the surveyor, but I can tell you that it was pretty darn great. Well, not for the people who were involved, obviously, but for the reader who got sucked into quite a psychedelic trip. Muhahahahahahaha.
Not too long ago, I've see the movie adaptation with Nick Cage (don't judge) and while it wasn't rocking my world, it was really rather good and creepy. If you were wondering: the story is even more so! The writing sent shivers down my spines and made me glad it was still light outside when I read it. *lol*
It was not a matter of old legendry at all, but something within the lifetime of those who spoke. It had happened in the ’eighties, and a family had disappeared or was killed. Speakers would not be exact; and because they all told me to pay no attention to old Ammi Pierce’s crazy tales, I sought him out the next morning, having heard that he lived alone in the ancient tottering cottage where the trees first begin to get very thick.
To me this reads entirely as camp, and it's camp I love. (I have no doubt whatsoever that Lovecraft was deadly serious about it, though. I was going to plaster photo realistic rainbow fields and forests all over this review, but I will tip my hat to Lovecraft and refrain. The story is sufficiently horrifying in spite of its rainbows of disgusting vegetation.) There's even an almost killer bunny. That said, Lovecraft's writing is awful and he's back to using characters as props to observe the horror as it unfolds rather than allowing them to do anything actual people would do when faced with a threat of this nature. (And the Darwin Award on this entry goes to the entire municipality of Arkham, or at least whoever is in charge of their water and sanitation departments.) By rights this should be two stars, but it made me laugh. Take your three stars and go, Lovecraft.
Long time horror reader, first time Lovecraft reader. Crazy, right? So what did I think?
I think this was a damn good short story, super bleak and shamelessly sinister. This strange tale centers around a meteorite with peculiar characteristics falling to Earth, crash-landing on a farmer’s property. At first, he is thrilled about it, as the event turns him into a local celebrity for awhile. Ah, but then it all goes south, as we discover that this object from outer space is capable of much more harm than good.
Short story shorter, I was riveted the entire way through. This was nearly a perfect short story, but for one thing: the extreme lack of dialogue (which I hear is a Lovecraft signature). I’m huge on character, and it boils down to this: it’s hard for me to fully feel invested if I don’t fully know and understand the characters, and I can’t fully know and understand the characters without dialogue. As a result, I docked the story a star. Still, this is a very interesting tale that is well worth the time of any horror fan.
Bereits mehrfach habe ich versucht mich mit den Geschichten von Lovecraft anzufreunden, aber jedes Mal wurden meine Erwartungen milde gesagt enttäuscht. The Colour Out of Space ist da leider keine Ausnahme.
"This was no breath from the skies whose motions and dimensions our astronomers measure or deem too vast to measure. It was just a colour out of space, a frigthful messenger from unformed realms of infinity beyond all Nature as we know it; from realms whose mere existence stuns the brain and numbs us with the black extra-cosmic gulfs it throws open before our frenzied eyes."
A longer short story from Lovecraft this time and quite possibly the best I've read (actually it is the best I've read, but I've only read two others). A meteor crashes down to earth on some farmstead and thus proceeds to infect all around it with its out-of-this-world eerie qualities.
It becomes apparent that, much like Shelley and her Frankenstein's creation, we don't get told everything. Things happen, but no details come forth. It is implied strongly, with language and rhetoric I've not come across before, but it isn't obvious what is happening all of the time.
This was written at a time when science wasn't quite there for the fiction. This is early sci-fi dressed up as gothic horror. The mix of attempted sci-fi and eldritch horror is a good combination that Alien vs. Predator could never capture. It's quite something and it's very intriguing. Mr. Lovecraft has me hooked.
The Colour Out of Space, H.P.Lovecraft, Poor old, Nahum, father and family man his family, his animals his grown produce, are slowly being eaten away by something unnatural, actually an enigmatic poisonous metorite crashed into his farm. Scientists studying the rock couldn't make heads or tails of it, though colours beyond imagination they did find. Fiendishly atmospheric New England tale that sounds misty and foggy, grey and boring, Lovecraft style is so nightmarish, random, cryptic in manner with some interesting play on words, "with darkness and interstellar space, leaves you trembling" so great delving into the language of a different time, Lovecraft struggled in a pitiless world for a meagre living. Against his own demons of mental illness, which makes his prolific works more the remarkable. what 2 of his disciples said of Lovecraft, Stephen King, "opened the way for me" Neil Gaiman "Fear of the Unknown. I teach using some of Lovecraft's works and I do not shy away from the racism, etc, etc" anyway colour illness is that a thing? colour blidness, maybe skin colour thats off track, argh, doesnt really matter.
My Synopsis: A man tells the story of how a strange, desolate piece of land came to be known as the blasted heath due to the coming of a mysterious meteorite containing a strangely colored globule inside.
My Thoughts: Another masterpiece of creeping horror over the strange and unknown. Some of the descriptions might almost - almost - describe radiation poisoning, but not quite.
Lovecraft definitely knows how to build a scene, especially in these works from the height of his career. Check him out if psychological horror is your thing.
My first attempt on H.P Lovecraft. A three-story book, this seems like a sampler for me. This book consists of Lovecraft's short stories: The Colour Out of Space, The Outsider and The Hound.
I am glad that this didn't fail my expectations of Lovecraft. Carefully written, with vivid details on the imagery, and dark appeal, this can give you goosebumps. The stories are creepy, but not the kind that can make you scream. But it's a page-turner, and the voice of the storyteller is perfect for a dark, gothic storytelling.
This book is a good start for me to continue on my next book of his.
Another re-read for me. One of Lovecraft's finest stories that is perfectly paced and with a great build up and release of tension at the end.
A meteor lands in a farmer's land in a rural backwater in New England. It has exceedingly strange properties that baffle scientists and gradually has a strange and insidious effect on the surrounding area.
Definitely recommended for those new to Lovecraft, especially if you're already inclined to read SF.
I had read most of Lovecraft's stories as a teen but I decided to revisit them, or at least some of them, namely the most famous ones. My feelings are mixed, but I'm enjoying most of them, and this one definitely falls in the category "great stories". I gave it 4 stars. It's really horror-filled, the atmosphere is stifling, I couldn't put the book down. My boyfriend was trying to talk to me towards the end of the book and I think I might have replied a bit harshly, lol! I would definitely recommend this book to all those who like horror and want to know its forefathers.
Beautifully elegant and poetic writing. A perfectly paced story with just the right amount of tension and wonder. The atmosphere that Lovecraft creates is brilliant, with the story leading up to a really good and satisfying ending.
Αν και η συλλογή αυτών των τριών κειμένων τιτλοφορείται The Colour out of Space —πράγματι πρόκειται για ανατριχιαστική άσκηση στο υπερφυσικό—, κατά τη γνώμη μου ο αναγνώστης δοκιμάζεται περισσότερο από την ερεβώδη ατμόσφαιρα των δύο μικρότερων ιστοριών της συλλογής, από το The Hound και ειδικότερα από το The Outsider.
Δεν είχα ξαναδιαβάσει Λόβκραφτ, τώρα θέλω κι άλλο, μην είναι ο Οκτώβρης;
‘The Blasted heath’ is a vacant, almost shunned deep wood valley by the West Hills of rural New England, a place no good for imagination with its withered vegetation and evasively muttered local legends. This novella, like atavistic Arkham mysteries, takes reader through the narrative of an unnamed outsider, in his quest to understand the queer happenings of Gardner Estate, following a meteorite fall.
The monster or alien or other dimensional entity in this book, is a colour, or takes the form of a colour, a colour unknown to us, and not of our cosmos.
In Lovecraftian horror, the little details that are left out for reader’s imagination usually embellish the ones that form the premise. Considering the time of publication(1927), I was amazed at the metallurgical details author put on that other worldly meteorite - a soft, ductile non homogeneous shrinking mass completely in contradiction with every definition. Miskatonic University analysis of the specimen, is said to have concluded traces of 'Widmanstatten ferrite' in its texture along with strong 'silicon' affinity and other unfathomable properties. Interestingly enough, the iron ore content goes well with frequent lightening at crate and Silicon, the semiconductor material, could, though arguably, give some scientific side to the strange colours. And the effect of ‘colour’ and meteorite to the surroundings and inhabitants, though archaically, draws close parallelism with modern day nuclear holocaust. Seemingly prophesying HPL was keen to leave the ‘unknown factor’ in a rather clever manner with protagonist's outsider pov. Never are the readers credited with the authenticity of ‘strange days’, and Ammi Pierce, the sole inhabitant and spectator of the incident, for all we know is an unreliable narrator. Nevertheless, in all its openness and reticent narrative, The Colour out of Space had my preponderant attention buoyed up.
Though it should have been the other way around, ‘the blasted heath’ and Gardner Estate constantly reminded me of Mirkwood from Stranger Things and Keyhouse from Locke and Key. And the strangest part was, as usual, me being more immersed in Howard’s word flow and writing, than the creeping alien horror this story is famous for.
This was my very first (and as of this date, only) H.P. Lovecraft I have ever read. Considering my reading history, you would have thought I would have at least a few of them under my belt by now but I was avoiding him.
When I was fairly young, there was a show on TV that was about Lovecraft. I wasn't really watching that show but in those days there were only a couple of channels and I just happened to flip to it and watched a few minutes. I was freaked out. I was totally and completely turned off of him and never forgot his name. Keep in mind, this was also around the same age that I ate a grilled cheese sandwich, got the flu and subsequently didn't eat another for 15 years.
I'm glad I got over it because he was a good writer. Considering almost a century has passed, I didn't really find it to be overly dated. Thinking back on the story, I guess the alien was the colour itself (as implied by the title) but it really felt like we never got to see the actual alien. While reading, I was reminded of Roadside Picnic - you see the aftermath but never the alien that caused the problems.
If you've been putting off Lovecraft, this may be a good one to start with. It was short but very good. I really enjoyed it.
...restlessness was in the air. The entire Gardner family developed the habit of stealthy listening, though not for any sound which they could consciously name. The listening was, indeed, rather a product of moments when consciousness seemed half to slip away.
Why I always end up reading Lovecraft when it's rainy and windy is something I cannot understand. It certainly isn't planned. Nor did I plan to be up past midnight, worried for Canadian neighbours who had to suddenly leave because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The wind, the Great Fleeing, the pounding rain...all perfect for a Lovecraft short story.
A meteorite slams into the ground on an Atlantic Gothic farm and strange happenings begin. This isn't one of those walking alien stories because it's Lovecraft and that means a sense of foreboding without really knowing what's happening. Trees sway without the wind. Woodchucks die with strange expressions on their faces. Dogs disappear. Plants and vegetables grow to large proportions but taste horrible.
Strangeness had come into everything growing now.
Something isn't right, as every person who eventually gets near the increasingly isolated farm can attest. And the colours near the well bespeak madness.
Lovecraft is perhaps the perfect author for these times of unknown viruses.
Առաջին անգամ էի կարդում Լավկրաֆտ։ Սկզբում մտածում էի, որ ուշացել ե�� ու շատ ավելի շուտ պիտի կարդացած լինեի, բայց շատ լավ ա, որ հենց էս տարիքումս հանդիպեցինք ձյաձի հետ։ Մի քիչ բարդ, միստիկ, չնայած կարճությանը շատ դիպուկ ու մտածված հերոսներով գիրք էր։ Սկիզբը մի քիչ անհասկանալի էր, մի քանի անգամ կարդացել եմ առաջին մի քանի էջը, բայց հետո՜․ հետո մի շնչով կարդացի, որովհետև շատ գրավիչ սյուժե ուներ, որ արագ ուզում ես ավարտն իմանաս, բայց միևնույն ժամանակ պիտի մարսելով կարդաս, որ տողատակերը ու հեղինակի ասելիքը իմանաս։ Շատ եմ սիրում սենց մութ ու միստիկ պատմություններ, որ համ անհասկանալի են, բայց ուղեղումդ մի բան խլվլում ա, ուզում ես անպայման կարդաս։ Լավկրաֆտը այսուհետ իմ սիրած գրողների ցանկում ա։ Արդար ա։ ^__^ Հ․Գ․ Սկզբում շատ նման էր Պօ-ին, բայց հետո հասկացա, որ շատ ավելին ա։
Había leído la sinopsis de este cuento y caí en el error de pensar “no creo que asuste tanto como La llamada de Cthulhu. Como ya dije, fue un error. Tal vez El color que cayó del espacio tenga una temática ligeramente distinta, pero no por eso la intensidad del horror se altera.
Tenemos nuevamente a un narrador que escucha y no participa activamente de los sucesos. Lo envían a Arkham para recolectar información sobre el terreno en donde se ubicará un pantano y allí se encuentra con leyendas que claramente advierten que no es un buen lugar donde trabajar, salvo que uno piense que un meteorito portador de elementos extraños que empiezan a afectar a los seres vivos de su alrededor y a precipitar la caída en desgracia de una familia de granjeros sea poca cosa.
Esta vez, la cuota de realidad del relato la aporta la ciencia, pero también muestra lo inexacta que puede ser esta última cuando se habla de fenómenos desconocidos. Parece advertir que la ciencia no ayuda a comprenderlos y, por ende, el humano tampoco puede hacerlo. Ese es el clima (pesimista, si se quiere) que se respira en este cuento y me gustó cómo se transmitía a la narración. Una vez que se acepta, no hay vuelta atrás: uno necesita seguir leyendo para encontrar la explicación que traiga el alivio, pero no hay ninguna. La peor parte la llevan, por supuesto, los personajes, que siempre están sujetos a lo que está ocurriéndoles y no tienen salidas disponibles.
Así es como vuelvo a maravillarme (y a aterrarme) con Lovecraft y sus historias retorcidas y oscuras. El color que cayó del espacio atrapa inmediatamente y, aunque uno quiera soltarlo por un momento para poder digerir todo lo que está pasando, no se puede… o no permite hacerlo.
I know this was Lovecraft's favourite story, but it's not mine. I guess studying psych and perception at Uni I know too much about colour perception, and so had a hard time with buying in, even though I can normally totally suspend disbelief, I just couldn't with this one. Another Cosmic horror, I prefer his creature-feature tales.....all hail Cthulu....
A strange book to read over the Pacific Ocean but nevertheless a beautiful image of a landscape gone wrong. This is my first Lovecraft tale and want to read more. Since there's no dialog, the actions that take place makes the story even more odd. And don't go to the water well!