Classic sci-fi book review of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS (H.P. Lovecraft)


Since Halloween is coming up at the end of this month, I thought  my book review should reflect the spirit of the moment. So here it is: a classic tale of science fiction horror.


AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, the novella by the celebrated and highly influential H.P. Lovecraft, was written in 1931, but originally rejected by the magazines at the time because it was too long to be considered a short story and didn't fit their format. It was only in 1936 that it was finally published in serialized form in "Astounding Stories".


This novella has long since been acclaimed as one of Lovecraft's finest stories, and contains most of his unique "trademark" themes: the Necronomicon, the Great Old Ones, and the Cthulhu mythos. At just over 100 pages, it is a relatively short read and an effective horror story for sci-fi geeks. It chronicles a first person account of an early Antarctic expedition, where past some breathtakingly tall mountains which dwarf the Himalayas, the group of scientists and explorers find an unfathomably ancient abandoned (or is it?) city dating back millions of years, long before the evolution of humanity. While exploring this unbelievable discovery, they find the remains of some strange ghastly alien beings, the Elder Ones---a species of space travellers---who, the scientists soon discover, built the city all those millions of years ago with the help of work animals called Shoggoths. There are murals containing elaborate carvings which chronicle the entire history of these spacefaring ancient extra-terrestrial colonists. It isn't long before the Antarctic expedition discovers that the Elder Ones aren't all extinct and that they are not benevolent to human intruders.


AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS is a great read which is sure to give you chills as you reflect on the unfathomable vastness of space and time, and what hostile cosmic entities might be lurking across the dimensional void.


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