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Monday, November 21, 2022

Reading List: "The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft" - Knickerbocker Classics Edition

I have read Lovecraft's fictional output in its entirety several times, in several formats.  Whether it's for reference, or just for pure enjoyment, nothing competes with pulling out one of my favorite tales from old Uncle Theobald (among my favorites being Cool Air, Pickman's Model, and The Music of Erich Zann).  

So it was inevitable that I would have to get a really good compendium of the complete works to give pride of place on my bookshelf.  I was given an Amazon gift card a few years ago and knew that the stars were right to choose THE Lovecraft collection for my library.  

There are many to choose from, some being garish, some being very expensive and some being woefully incomplete.  There are electronic editions aplenty (including one very nice one I found that also contained the complete collaborative works, juvenilia, poetical works and links to audiobooks of most of his fiction, all for under a buck!), and you can even read most of it for free online at hplovecraft.com.  Still, it's hard to compare those with the tactile thrill of having a physical copy of the work that you can hold and admire.

After going through quite a few of the offerings on Amazon, the best one for my money ended up being the Knickerbocker Classic Edition of The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft.  For a very reasonable price you get a slipcovered hardcover edition that is beautifully printed on high quality paper with tasteful cover art that celebrates the pulp roots of the work while still being somewhat dignified.  In fact, one of the things that drew me to this edition was that the slipcase art reminded me of Virgil Finlay's Weird Tales illustrations.  

The stories are complete and appear to be printed in order of publication (I haven't fully verified this).  Of course this means that the edition contains over 1100 pages.  That, plus the hardcover and slipcase, means that this is a weighty tome that you could probably wield to fend off a shoggoth.  It looks and feels nice and handles well.  I've had my copy on my bookshelf for a couple of years and refer to it often, and it has yet to show any signs of wear.  

For the ardent Lovecraft fan, this is a volume worth adding to that eldritch library; probably the next best thing to sporting a copy of the Necronomicon itself.

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