H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space”


I’ve been a fan of Lovecraft for a long time – originally read his words through the delightful Wordsworth editions of Tales of Mystery and Suspense. I first read ‘Dagon’, and was blown away. Its tightness and its power enthralled me, and I’ve since taken it upon myself to read much, much more of his work.

‘The Colour Out of Space’ comes recommended by Will of Spooky Reads (a cracking horror review site no less), who suggested reading it alongside my own Trees (that bled blood).

I can see why he suggested it – aside from being a notably weird tale, it deals with the co.concept of the corruption of nature most well.

Lovecraft’s archaic style is evident, and shews most strongly in his writing*. He is well known for his ability to recount horrific events. Nothing is seen directly by the reader; everything is evoked by the narrator’s reflection, and your brain is left to fill in the considerable gaps in understanding. This conjures the inhuman terror well – indeed, what could be more horrific than the nameless things from our own imagination?

This tale steps a further step backwards – the evident horror is recounted by the nameless narrator who interviews a local man, Ammi Pierce, about his experience from the past. Rather than increasing the horror here, I feel the reporting narrator mellows it, but in doing this the dread becomes most notably extant.

The edition I read is a very nice Penguin Pocket Classics one – and for only three pounds was well worth the investment. It comes with The Outsider, which I’ve not read, and The Hound, which I have.

A great place to start with Lovecraft, if notable for the absence of his Cthulhu mythos.

* Forgive the pastiche.

H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space”

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