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Friday, September 28, 2012

“Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales (First Printing, Commemorative Edition)”, by H.P. Lovecraft, Edited by Stephen Jones, Illustrated by Les Edwards

880 pages, Gollancz, ISBN-13: 978-0575081574

Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales is a great place to start if you're new to Lovecraft. It's a hefty book, and the leather binding has so far held up to my bedside abuse. I was seduced by the promise of illustrations, but they seem to be merely a set of proprietary clip-art stamped onto stories with marginal regard to relevance. A few editorial/typographical misses, while the quality paper and typesetting make for easy reading. I've enjoyed the included essay on Lovecraft as it's an enjoyable refresher for HPL fans and an interesting primer for newcomers. The pages it consumes, however, still don’t offer much expanded coverage of HPL's oeuvre.

In my opinion, most (if not all) of his best tales are included, which is why I don't regret the purchase. I do, though, regret the general lack of a deluxe edition of Lovecraft's work more suited to the title of this omnibus, e.g. a thick faux-flesh binding like The Evil Dead commemorative DVD set. Gimmicky, yeah, but what a conversation piece!

The market is ripe for a lovingly crafted edition with relevant placement of the best of Lovecraft artists, annotations, and definitely a pronunciation and glossary appendix! My vocabulary has expanded since I first read HPL as a teenager, but I'm still tripping on some of his archaisms. 

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