The Lurker at the Threshold Kindle ó Lurker at the

The Lurker at the Threshold He is not to open the door which leads to the strange time and place nor to invite Him Who lurks at the threshold went the warning in the old family manuscript that Ambrose Dewart discovered when he returned to his ancestral home in the deep woods of rural Massachusetts Dewart's investigations into his family's sinister past eventually lead to the unspeakable revelations of The Great Old Ones who wait on the boundaries of space and time for someone to summon them to earth Acclaimed cult horror writer H P Lovecraft's notes and outlines for this tale of uncanny terror were completed by August Derleth his friend and future publisher Of the many Lovecraft Derleth posthumous collaborations The Lurker at the Threshold remains the most popular having sold 50000 copies in its previous edition alone

10 thoughts on “The Lurker at the Threshold

  1. says:

    I'd heard some bad things about Derleth's posthumous collaborations with Lovecraft how he had a tendency to over categorise the Mythos and apply a simplistic Christian morality on creatures whose very power to chill stemmed from the fact that they were utterly beyond human notions of good or evil Despite that I found this uite an effective and well written work and Derleth's vision if not entirely in keeping with Lovecraft's own was not wholly incompatible either There's a lot of good if derivative stuff in here and a nice sense of sustained menace running throughout the piece Derleth might not have got Lovecraft entirely but he understood enough about what made him an effective horror writer as regards the basics of tone imagery characterisation and plot not to drop the ball Only the last act really lets the piece down leaving the reader on a distinctly that's it? moment A pity considering all the good work leading up to it

  2. says:

    This book starts out well enough but runs too long through dull exposition to a formulaic finish An experienced reader will suspect early on that this book wasn't written by Lovecraft but his publisher August Derleth Maybe the first give away is the uncharacteristically heavy use of period and regional dialects or maybe it is the 1945 copyright for August Derleth in the front matter Whatever tipped me off I then used the all knowing Wiki to read up on the book and sure enough less than 25% of the writing was Lovecraft's comprising probably no than sketches for a story The other 975% came from the pen of the far less marketable Derleth And it shows The book begins well enough with the standard issue haunted Massachusetts town with its dark past shadowy residents and just returned prodigal scion of an occult dynasty At some point the author trots out a comprehensive list of every single Big Name creature in the Cthulhu mythos and the reader suddenly feels that rather than reading a Lovecraft story with its eerie economy they're taking in the written euivalent of Destroy All Monsters WrestleMania or a commercial for the MUSCLE collector toys The narrative then gets bogged down in tedious exposition about the systematic nature of the Cthulhu mythos and of the relation of the various Elder Gods and Great Old Ones to the elements and to the forces of good and evil Apparently Derleth's Lovecraft project was to systematize the original fragments and in so doing to suck out most of the juice Iah Yog Sothoth Nyarlathotep Azathoth F'nag'n R'lyh Bl'ah Bl'ah Bl'ah

  3. says:

    There's nothing very bad about this book other than it feels extremely familiar I already felt like I'd read it before Wiki states ST Joshi said of this novel's 50000 words only 1200 were actually written by Lovecraft This is probably why I didn't find it a very gripping or original read Many ideas and even characters feel regurgitated from previous stories I even feel that some previous lines of Lovecraft's have been paraphrased hereSo I guess my problem lies in that Lovecraft's name is attached to this book as a co author It would have made sense to have this as a fan novel written by Derleth I guess having Lovecraft's name on it keeps the ripping off of previous ideas in ok territory? I do not feel like this had any of Lovecraft's voice to it Frankly I was bored reading this This novel tends to ramble and I felt that many pages could have been cut from itThis was the type of book I pick up can only read 5 pages at a time before I start rereading the same paragraphs over and my mind wanders I'm not usually that way if I am interested Only the last 50 pages kept my attention for any length of time So I'd only recommend reading this if you're a HUGE Lovecraft fan or studentaspiring scholar in pulp literature

  4. says:

    Overall I enjoyed this than my three star rating would suggest although not as much as my recent Lovecraft read The Case of Charles Dexter Ward However this is written in three sections from different points of view and the final shortest one from the suddenly introduced professor's assistant is abrupt and have a pretty abrupt ending A lot of slow build up and then not much

  5. says:

    This novel though sometimes billed as being written by HP Lovecraft is really instead almost entirely authored by August Derleth working from notes and story fragments left by Lovecraft It does have the feel of Lovecraft for the most part though with maybe a little less of his sometimes purple prose and also included actual dialogue something Lovecraft wasn’t known for but did indeed include other Lovecraftian tropes such as characters reading historical records of mysterious happenings of people in the book perusing rare tomes of occult knowledge of the reader being presented accounts left behind by people who met bad ends from Things Not Of This World of encounters with strange townsfolk who while they appear poor illiterate and “degenerate” have vast knowledge again of Things Not Of This World of much of the horror hinted at coming from a rational 20th century mind coming to terms with creatures that should be physically impossible maybe only seeing this horror at the very end of strange cults and rituals in the middle of the night among weird ruins of the characters not believing what they saw of the stakes being uite high if the protagonists fail to stop the Things Not Of This World entering ours of not every main character surviving the narrative of deeply alien creatures that just reek of evil so much that even things associated with them seem to put off a nearly tangible fog of sinister thoughts and intentions Indeed at times the book sort of read like a greatest hits of Lovecraft or maybe charitably an introduction to the Cthulhu mythos with appearances mostly mentions or brief discussions of the Necronomicon Miskatonic University the Elder Sign Cthulhu the Elder Gods the Great Old Ones Yog Sothoth Nyarlathotep Abdul Alhazred Dunwich Azathothall of that is there often named dropped sometimes figuring into the story to varying degrees This book was published in 1945 and I wonder if this was in part a way to cement together the various stories of Lovecraft of part of a way to establish what Cthulhu mythos canon would be of setting this particular work in the context of the larger universe andor if it was just interesting backstory and use of at this point shared worldbuilding It didn’t bother me until the very end when it felt like list making by one of the characters Not a huge problem I suppose but I would have liked the overall story to be tightly confined to one or maybe two of the Lovecraftian entities The novel’s structure was a division into three somewhat uneual parts The first third was titled “Billington’s Wood” and presented in the third person the story of Ambrose Dewart described later in the book as fifty something years in age “a pottering gentleman a country suire lazily in search of something to occupy his time” unfortunately that vocation being refurbishing an old isolated home out in the wilds of Massachusetts This home a family home he decides to refurbish in 1921 the home having been abandoned for nearly a century This place also has a history of strange noises at night and even stranger disappearances a home filled with an occult library and strange instructions about not molesting an odd and seemingly purposeless stone tower on the property or to disturb a marsh and its multitude of fireflies frogs and whippoorwills While examining the strange grounds and house he inherits its odd library and the local history Dewart falls under the influence of some malevolent entities though this isn’t explicit in this section of the novel His reading and recounting of the previous owners and what they saw as well as other locals felt the most Lovecraftian part of the novel to me with for a time the horror sort of between the lines as it were in the events not talked about perhaps recounted in missing journal references of accounts of people avoiding the place but not uite saying why they were avoiding it It was a slow build and probably wouldn’t do well with most modern readers I would think unless they were Lovecraft fans but I read through it fairly fast though the 2005 novel The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova certainly relied a lot on the use of historical research of books and especially correspondence The following middle third is titled the “Manuscript of Stephen Bates” and unlike the first third is told from the first person point of view Bates is the cousin of Dewart summoned from Boston by a frantic note from Dewart who as Bates describes in the book was from “a man who sincerely asked and needed some assistance toward an explanation in which he found himself caught however inexplicably” though upon arrival at the house in Billington’s Wood Bates finds his cousin instead “cool cautious and very much self contained” no longer uite as needful of his assistance but guardedly friendly to a point This middle third of the novel covers Bates investigation on what appears to be at times a schizophrenic state of mind in his cousin alternating between being frantic friendly hostile guarded or affable as well as the numerous odd papers and books in the house the strange structures in the ground and increasingly the odd sights and sounds as well Though it covered uite literally much of the same ground as the first third it felt immediate and fresher than one could expect in part because it was in the first person and also because Bates felt a bit identifiable perhaps because while at some point in the first third Dewart fell under control to an extent from malevolent entities Bates sorry if this is a spoiler kept his wits about him The final third was titled the “Narrative of Winfield Phillips” another section presented in the first person and had the most dialogue in the book The title character along with the other main character in this section Dr Seneca Lapham a professor of anthropology at Miskatonic Universe are individuals who Stephen Bates comes seeking advice and help from on the matter of his cousin Ambrose Dewart and the strange happenings in his home Again some recounting of past events that both Dewart and Bates uncovered here is where I would have seriously edited the book and the aforementioned list makingname dropping of the various elements of the Cthulhu Mythos though this section did place the danger at Billington’s Wood in a larger context provided information that Dewart and later Bates simply did not have and most importantly had the resolution to both Dewart’s and Bates’ plot lines In general I thought the book just ok Despite it being a very very slow build it still read fairly fast I didn’t trip over as many words as I sometimes do with Lovecraft it was nice to see the book avoid the veers into racism that Lovecraft very sadly made I only recall one passage that I might call racist – “this has been eually true of the American Indian as of the African Negro who had in many places set up the phonograph as an object of worship because it was completely beyond his comprehension” – although the people of Dunwich were sort of stereotyped they were in the book deeply odd people so I will give that one a pass and there were some horror elements I liked the aforementioned frogs fireflies and whippoorwills were effectively used to build tension as was the Elder Sign I don’t think the book really broke new ground in the mythos or introduced any notable new elements It basically read to me like “half way decent story set in the world of the Cthulhu mythos”

  6. says:

    This novel was published posthumously and according to rumor written by August Derleth than Lovecraft himself Some see it as a watered down version of classic Lovecraft horror I don't think it's that bad but it's not the best of the booksJust outside Arkham Massachusetts lies Billingtons' Woods where many strange sounds come at night In the middle of the woods lie a great old house a mysterious stone tower and a circle of stones like Stonehenge but not uite Many tales of horror come from these woods and those who look too closely disappear coming back months later very dead and with curious wounds and injuries This book is in three sections each a manuscript written by a character in the series There is madness magic of the darkest kind and mortals striving to prevent the coming of Those From Beyond A good enough horror tale to give you a taste of what like Lovecraft is like

  7. says:

    I tend to defend Dereleth but this was disappointing A rushed ending that comes in the final 2 pages and not a terribly original one

  8. says:

    Most of the reviews that have been posted so far seem to be from Lovecraft purists who object to Derleth's creation of a novella from a 1200 word sketch by HPL We should maybe bear in mind the debt that Lovecraftians owe to Derleth He founded Arkham House specifically to keep HPL's memory alive and to bring his work to a larger audience than the readers of Weird Tales MagazineSo let's try to approach Lurker from another angle Of course Derleth is different But he's good too The character that holds much of the narrative together is uamis Derleth does a sound job of tracing his malignant influence Derleth also makes good use of Lovecraft's literary apparatus his cosmology his imaginary New England landscape the sights sounds and even the smells of the Lovecraft landscape gambrel roofs dereliction and decay you know all that stuff If you don't like Derleth's treatment you don't have to read the book As for me I am at present re reading it for about the tenth time I like it

  9. says:

    Derleth took notes Lovecraft made wrote this story himself and put Lovecraft's name on itThe theme begins Lovecraftian but the whole binding of the Old Ones with elements begins here and the last half of the book is a lovely example of Derleth driving Lovecraft's brilliant ideas into the ground In a later Derleth story R'lyeh rises to the surface again which is ridiculous since it rose in 1927 for the first time since it's sinking which occurred before the advent of the Dinosaurs Even ridiculous unimaginative and offensive might I add is the fact that they solve the problem by dropping an atom bomb on R'lyehIf you ask me that wouldn't do a goddamn thingOn a side note Derleth claims to own the copyright to Lovecraft's work but hasn't brought a suit against anyone publishing Lovecraft on the Web Why? Because he has no case

  10. says:

    While I enjoyed this book it does have a bit of a August Derleth writes Lovecraft fanfic vibe to it Very little of this novel was actually written by HPL and it has a number of the issues that you see in ADHPL collaborations the Elder Gods as absent white hats and less of a feeling of hopelessness than you get in pure HPL stories; also Derleth seems to have thrown in every aspect of HPL's Mythos including the tentacled other worldly kitchen sink The story is split into three sections each from a different perspective the last seemed to be both the weakest too much expostulation and also the most rushed like he was trying to wrap up the story uickly A fun read but not great

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