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"The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath", first published in 1927, is an horror-fantasy by H.P. Lovecraft about an epic tale that illustrates the scope and wonder of humankind's ability to dreamthe longest of the stories that comprise Lovecraft's "Dream Cycle" and the longest Lovecraft's work to feature protagonist Randolph Carter.


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"The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath", first published in 1927, is an horror-fantasy by H.P. Lovecraft about an epic tale that illustrates the scope and wonder of humankind's ability to dreamthe longest of the stories that comprise Lovecraft's "Dream Cycle" and the longest Lovecraft's work to feature protagonist Randolph Carter.

30 review for The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    The Dream Quest may not be Lovecraft's best effort, but it is undeniably one of his most significant. It is a bridge—and a key—to his two greatest periods. Paradoxically, it is also both his most far-flung fantasy and his most revealing personal work. Before The Dream Quest came the short stories influenced primarily by Poe and organized around a single effect (“The Outsider” to “Pickman's Model,” 1921–1926) and after came the Cthluhlu-mythos novellas set in haunted, particularized landscapes (“T The Dream Quest may not be Lovecraft's best effort, but it is undeniably one of his most significant. It is a bridge—and a key—to his two greatest periods. Paradoxically, it is also both his most far-flung fantasy and his most revealing personal work. Before The Dream Quest came the short stories influenced primarily by Poe and organized around a single effect (“The Outsider” to “Pickman's Model,” 1921–1926) and after came the Cthluhlu-mythos novellas set in haunted, particularized landscapes (“The Colour Out of Space” to “The Haunter in the Dark,” 1927–1935). In between, though, there is this rambling dream-fantasy--stretching over valleys, seas, and caverns, all the way to the titanic black sculptures of the farthest North—which begins on the model of Vathek, in Dunsanian style, boasts an Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars-style plot, and ends with a “Wizard of Oz” moral: “Dorothy, there's no place like home.” H.P.'s life was in transition too. After his beloved mother's death, he married Sonia Greene, seven years his senior, and the thirty-year-old Howard and his “take-charge” bride moved to Manhattan to seek their fortune. But her business failed, his stories fizzled: after a couple of years, she relocated to Chicago, and he returned to Providence. The Dream Quest was written not long after H.P.'s return to Rhode Island, and it is filled not only with an enthusiasm for finely detailed landscapes and the flora and fauna which inhabit them, but also with a nostalgia for his own New England landscapes and the characters and spectres of his previous work, to which he frequently alludes. (For example, the eponymous “hero” of “Pickman's Model” appears here, under the name of “the ghoul who once was 'Pickman.'") Around the time that H.P. was writing The Dream Quest, he remarked, in a letter to Clark Asthon Smith: “Like Antaeus of old, my strength depends on repeated contact with the soil of the Mother Earth that bore me.” This elaborate dream fantasy, in an odd way, brought him even closer to this insight. Lovecraft's next major work was the short novel The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. It is set in the city of Providence, Rhode Island, realized with particular descriptive detail, and its hero—whatever his origins--looks a lot like H.P. Lovecraft himself.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer commercial take 17: Randolph Carter: Hi, I’m Randolph Carter, star of Lovecraft’s Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath - Cthulhu: And I’m Cthulhu and need no introduction. CUT! Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer commercial take 26: Cthulhu: I drink Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer because it tastes great. RC: and I drink it ‘cause it’s less filling. It’s the Dream Cycle side of Lovecraft’s canon, while referencing the darker Cthulhu stories, it is more Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer commercial take 17: Randolph Carter: Hi, I’m Randolph Carter, star of Lovecraft’s Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath - Cthulhu: And I’m Cthulhu and need no introduction. CUT! Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer commercial take 26: Cthulhu: I drink Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer because it tastes great. RC: and I drink it ‘cause it’s less filling. It’s the Dream Cycle side of Lovecraft’s canon, while referencing the darker Cthulhu stories, it is more fantasy than horror – Cthulhu: that’s right Nancy – CUT! Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer commercial take 42: RC: Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer, clean and refreshing, harkening back to a more whimsical, fantastic time of Edgar Rice Burroughs and L. Frank Baum – Cthulhu: Yep, it is to my mythos as lemonade is to Jack Daniels – as to my Old Ones as Air Supply is to Black Sabbath – CUT! Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer commercial take 61: Cthulhu: I don’t always drink craft beer, but when I do, I like to drink Arrogant Bastard Ale – CUT! Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer commercial take 77: RC: Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer takes you back to dreamy, fantastic yarns of an older, more innocent time, inspiring later writers like Jack Vance and John Varley – Cthulhu: And the Care Bears and Smurfs. So drink Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath craft beer, if you like your fantasy hoppy as an IPA and not too boozy – or horrific.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sr3yas

    *Opens the door* My friend, The Dreamlands of Dylath-Leen, Ulthar, Oriab, Celephaïs, even the accursed Plateau of Leng and the unknown golden city of Kadath awaits your pre... I love Lovecraft's tales from Cthulhu cycle, but his Dream cycle tales and I have a rocky relationship. And Dream-quest of Unknown Kadath is THE Dream cycle tale. It tells the odyssey of Carter through the vast dreamlands to find the mysterious unknown city, Kadath. As Carter progresses through his quest, he gets kidnap *Opens the door* My friend, The Dreamlands of Dylath-Leen, Ulthar, Oriab, Celephaïs, even the accursed Plateau of Leng and the unknown golden city of Kadath awaits your pre... I love Lovecraft's tales from Cthulhu cycle, but his Dream cycle tales and I have a rocky relationship. And Dream-quest of Unknown Kadath is THE Dream cycle tale. It tells the odyssey of Carter through the vast dreamlands to find the mysterious unknown city, Kadath. As Carter progresses through his quest, he gets kidnapped and gets taken to the moon, makes allies with cats, gets kidnapped by flying monsters, makes allies with ghouls, gets kidna... Okay, I'm going to stop now. Lovecraft wrote this novella in the 1920s, and just like his novel The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Lovecraft never published the story in his life because he thought it was crap. Now, I disagree with Lovecraft about the quality of Charles Dexter Ward, but his instinct about Kadath is quite accurate. It's crap. Okay, that's a bit harsh. It's a vast, imaginative story filled with diverse creatures, gods, civilization, and worlds. But ultimately it's pointless and even unreadable at times. Nevertheless, Dream-quest is an important tale as Lovecraft weaves characters and stories from his previous works to this gigantic dream. He brings our protagonist from The Statement of Randolph Carter (1919), supporting characters from Pickman's Model (1926), Celephaïs (1920), The Cats of Ulthar (1920), The other gods (1921) and probably more that I missed. Lovecraft has never connected so many short stories together like this in any of his other works. I just wish he had a better story to tell. The cats are cool though. There are also five short stories included in this collection, all from dream cycle. The Silver Key and Through the gates of Silver Key is soft sequels to Randolph Carter's Journey, and while The Silver Key is fun-ish, the latter is a cosmic mess with a decent ending. The White Ship and The Strange High House in the Mist are the two decent short stories in this collection, and it tells the stories of men who brushed with the wonders and gods of other worlds. Verdict: When it comes to Lovecraft's Dream cycles, the shorter the stories are, the better.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    Note: The edition to which I attached this review isn't the one I read. Because this novella is short (141 p.), it's hard to find free-standing printings of it. I actually read it in the Bluefield College library's 1970 Ballantine Books printing, with a worthwhile introduction by Lin Carter, , which has the same title but binds the novella with five other works by Lovecraft. However, I didn't read the other five at this time. Though it wasn't published until after his death, the author wrote Note: The edition to which I attached this review isn't the one I read. Because this novella is short (141 p.), it's hard to find free-standing printings of it. I actually read it in the Bluefield College library's 1970 Ballantine Books printing, with a worthwhile introduction by Lin Carter, , which has the same title but binds the novella with five other works by Lovecraft. However, I didn't read the other five at this time. Though it wasn't published until after his death, the author wrote this, according to his letters, primarily in 1926-27, making it one of his earlier works.. Dreams played an important part in HPL's writing. By his own statement, a lot of his story ideas came to him in dreams, as did fictional elements and motifs like the scary "night-gaunts" who inhabit some of his tales (and who play a significant role here). Quite a few of his stories posit the idea that dreams are a vehicle of communication between humans and... other entities, or that they can be windows to realities unseen by waking eyes. ("The Dreams in the Witch House" comes to mind, for example.) So it isn't surprising that, as the title implies, it's in vivid dreams that his protagonist here first beholds the mysterious, ethereally beautiful city he feels compelled to search out, and that his quest plays out in a deep dream. That protagonist is Randolph Carter, who appears also in several other Lovecraft tales ("The Silver Key," "The Unnameable," and "The Statement of Randolph Carter," just to list the ones I've read), and who's thought by many to be an alter ego for the author himself. Lovecraft is primarily known as an author of naturalistically-explained, but dark and horrific, speculative fiction that imagines sinister entities beyond the realm of normal experience, some but not all of which is directly connected with what has come to be called his "Cthulhu Mythos" (the first work of that corpus proper, "The Call of Cthulhu," was published in 1927, the year this book was finished) with its concept of the Elder Gods or Great Old Ones, powerful malevolent entities that ruled the primeval Earth and remain dangerous. Much of his fiction outside of the Mythos proper have features that relate to or adumbrate it. The same could truthfully be said of this novella, to a significant degree. There are evocations of the characteristic Lovecraft idea of "cosmic horror," "mindless" and unwholesome "Outer Gods" who rule the void of space, headed up by the demonic Azathoth, and whose messenger is the "crawling chaos" Nyarlathotep (both names are echoed in the Mythos stories). We also have references to the "Pnakotic Manuscripts," and many allusions to ideas of ancient, pre-human races, unholy cults with grisly rites, horrible places and beings in the bowels of the Earth as well as space. An earlier Lovecraft story, "Pickman's Model," is directly referenced here as well; the sinister creatures from there are also here, where they're identified as "ghouls," and a prior acquaintance between Carter and Richard Upton Pickman is posited. (Unlike at least one Goodreader, I didn't find the treatment of Pickman and the ghouls irreconcilably inconsistent in tone or details with the earlier story --though let's say that there were some "developments" between the two....) For all that, though I've classified most of Lovecraft's work as science fiction, I've classified this as fantasy, to suggest a distinction in content and tone. One could argue that his whole body of fiction has a great deal of basic commonality, and he didn't necessarily divide it up in his own mind the way some later readers do (he didn't coin the term "Cthulhu Myhos" --August Derleth did-- and those stories don't actually have an entirely consistent or compatible body of exact details). And this novella doesn't feature "magic" as such, which we usually consider a key aspect of fantasy. But the world of dreams here is an objective place, though intangible to the waking world; normal cats here can jump from Earth to the dark side of the moon on a nightly basis, and much of the world-building has the characteristic tropes of a fantasy world. Many readers familiar with classic fantasist Lord Dunsany --whose work Lovecraft read and highly praised-- have detected a Dunsany influence here and in several other early Lovecraft works, though I haven't read enough of Dunsany's writing to claim that myself. (And I haven't read much of this strand of HPL's work to be very familiar with it, either, though arguably "The Doom That Came to Sarnath" is in that vein.) But be that as it may, it's difficult to see the literary vision here as strictly explainable in naturalistic terms. The tone is also different from the Lovecraft writings I've called science fiction; we have less emphasis on existential pessimism, more description of beauty and grandeur as well as horror, a kind of storytelling that's more positive and upbeat than is his wont elsewhere. (Of course, the quest narrative itself that structures the book is a traditional fantasy motif.) This is a markedly different side of Lovecraft's creativity compared to most of my prior reading. Stylistically, this is a tour de force (Lovecraft, of course, is one of the writers I most admire just as an English-language stylist); his command of vocabulary, language and diction is impeccable, and he perfectly adapts his style to his purpose. Some of his most effective passages are here. (He did send me to the dictionary a few times, but that's not a bad thing!) As in most of his work, he concentrates solely on male characters, and prefers to rely on straight narration, usually summarizing dialogue rather than delivering it verbatim (except where the latter kind of delivery has an essential dramatic effect). He also chose, as he said in a Dec. 1926 letter to Derleth, to write it "continuously... without any subdivision into chapters" (an idea he apparently got from William Beckford's Vathek). But these characteristics do not make it at all tedious to read. The level of originality in the imagination is amazing; the pace is steady and the plot eventful and suspenseful. (It's a quick read, not solely because it's relatively short.) It's also unpredictable, especially in the denouement and ending --and yet (without stating any spoiler) I realized that the ending was perfect for the story. My only regret now is that I waited so long to read this!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    Prodigious, phosphorescent, hideous, terrible, eldritch, sinister, lightless, mad, incalculable, gibbering, twisted, detestable, blasphemous, grotesque, swarming, splendid. That's just the first page. Even if you've never read Lovecraft, you've probably heard about his purple prose and overwrought descriptions. Well, this is Lovecraft at his purplest and wroughtest. And longest. How long was it actually? I don't even know (I read it in an annotated collection) but it felt like it went on forever, Prodigious, phosphorescent, hideous, terrible, eldritch, sinister, lightless, mad, incalculable, gibbering, twisted, detestable, blasphemous, grotesque, swarming, splendid. That's just the first page. Even if you've never read Lovecraft, you've probably heard about his purple prose and overwrought descriptions. Well, this is Lovecraft at his purplest and wroughtest. And longest. How long was it actually? I don't even know (I read it in an annotated collection) but it felt like it went on forever, ironically kind of like some dreams that seem to last for months of subjective time. Added to the stylistic issue was the fact that this novella is mostly descriptive. Carter is journeying, trying to find a way back to the city of his dreams. And most of the page time is him describing what he sees, most of which he doesn't like. Oh, and there's minor racism, but you know to expect that from HP, right? When there was action or conversations this wasn't bad. I liked the parts with the cats, and the ghouls, and the scene were he finally gets to talk to an old one. And it was interesting how the depictions of and attitudes to different imaginary creatures shifted over the course of the story, which added to the dream-like feel. There was just way too much travelogue for my taste. I should have known I wouldn't love this because although I really like the *idea* of the Dreamlands the prose in those stories is my least-favorite of HPL's. I recommend trying an earlier, shorter Dreamlands story before jumping into this (that makes sense chronologically, anyway). Now I can read The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe and all I can say is, you better be worth it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    Lovecraft Illustrated Volume 1 Contents: ix - Introduction by S.T. Joshi 003 - "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" by H.P. Lovecraft 141 - HPL and PVS by Pete Von Sholly

  7. 4 out of 5

    P.E.

    The narration mimics the churning of dreams to a fault, in their ceaseless wheeling, reeling, spinning, unraveling, haltering, scooting,... In the living maze of events there is no lack of dead-ends, u-turns, desire-paths, unforeseen developments, and yet the story remains invested with some selfsame and tangible presence throughout. Not to mention the series of apexes in the course of the plot. As a result, this ranks as a top-tier brand of sheer, unfettered fantasy! Osmotic Soundtrack : Azathoth 1 The narration mimics the churning of dreams to a fault, in their ceaseless wheeling, reeling, spinning, unraveling, haltering, scooting,... In the living maze of events there is no lack of dead-ends, u-turns, desire-paths, unforeseen developments, and yet the story remains invested with some selfsame and tangible presence throughout. Not to mention the series of apexes in the course of the plot. As a result, this ranks as a top-tier brand of sheer, unfettered fantasy! Osmotic Soundtrack : Azathoth 1 - Cryo Chamber Azathoth 2 - Cryo Chamber

  8. 5 out of 5

    Love of Hopeless Causes

    Better on audiobook. Not an entry level volume. Dream-quest is a strange first choice since it was a Lovecraft first draft. This advanced mythos touches on several stories not present here. This volume would be better if it contained the, Cats of Ulthar and other tales. No doubt this has to do with some publishing brouhaha. A better collection can be had for free online. Beware, Dream-quest has subject matter repugnant to many. The Silver Key and Through the Gates of the Silver Key, are my two Better on audiobook. Not an entry level volume. Dream-quest is a strange first choice since it was a Lovecraft first draft. This advanced mythos touches on several stories not present here. This volume would be better if it contained the, Cats of Ulthar and other tales. No doubt this has to do with some publishing brouhaha. A better collection can be had for free online. Beware, Dream-quest has subject matter repugnant to many. The Silver Key and Through the Gates of the Silver Key, are my two favorite mythos stories. As for you, find a better collection. Celephais, White Ship, and the Strange High House in the Mist, are reviewed under their titles. Here is my preferred order, assuming you read all of the Dreamlands: Hypnos as best introduction-- then chronological, Doom that Came to Sarnath, Quest of Iranon, the Other Gods, Hypnos, Cats of Ulthar, Celephais, Strange High House, Dreamquest, Silver Key, Through the Gates, The White Ship.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    Well, that was painful!! At least I can say this book didn’t beat me - I read the whole damn thing *pats self on back*. I used to think back in the first half of the last century that authors were paid by the word. If you read some of the old stuff you’ll see how they tend to ramble a lot. However, I think in this case he was paid by the adjective and adverb. Seriously, you couldn’t fit another one in this story if you were using size 8 font and a crowbar. Does everything have to be described so Well, that was painful!! At least I can say this book didn’t beat me - I read the whole damn thing *pats self on back*. I used to think back in the first half of the last century that authors were paid by the word. If you read some of the old stuff you’ll see how they tend to ramble a lot. However, I think in this case he was paid by the adjective and adverb. Seriously, you couldn’t fit another one in this story if you were using size 8 font and a crowbar. Does everything have to be described so intensely? I think not. You could probably cut 50 pages out just by stopping the over-descriptiveness. To give you some idea of Lovecraft’s writing, at least in this story, imagine Neil Gaiman and his most fantastical story ever. Now pump him full of LSD and magic mushrooms et voila, Lovecraft. So, the story…as descriptive as it was, and as weird as it was, was overwhelmingly boring. The protagonist, Carter, has discovered a city in his dreams that he can see but cannot get to but he really, really wants to go there. This is the story of his travels through dreamland in search of this city. My dreamland is better than his. Really, everyone’s dreamland is better than his. It was dark and full of monsters, and cats – apparently Lovecraft had a fondness for cats. Would I recommend this? Hell no. Not to the average reader anyhow. Only people who’ve previously read Lovecraft should look at it. The rest of you, step away from the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    4.5 The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath is a wonderfully creepy horror story of one man's quest to find and reach a forbidden place with an unexpected and great ending. The lack of dialogue shouldn't be a surprise to any Lovecraft lover, but the imaginative way this story is told and filled with unearthly creatures while the protagonist is searching for a way to get to his destination should be enough to overlook that. The main character is Randolph Carter who meets many strange and terrifying being 4.5 The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath is a wonderfully creepy horror story of one man's quest to find and reach a forbidden place with an unexpected and great ending. The lack of dialogue shouldn't be a surprise to any Lovecraft lover, but the imaginative way this story is told and filled with unearthly creatures while the protagonist is searching for a way to get to his destination should be enough to overlook that. The main character is Randolph Carter who meets many strange and terrifying beings on his journey; beings like zoogs, ghasts, gugs, nightgaunts and so on. Whatever Randolph Carter encounters, whatever happens to him on his journey, he never stops going forward. There isn't a single place or a tavern where people don't try to warn him off his quest to get to Kadath. He never wavers. One of the beautiful things is that he gets help from unlikely sources. There are so many references to other Lovecraft's stories here, I am certain I missed a few. Some of well-known characters play an even greater role than you might expect. Here you'll find out what happened to Kuranes and where exactly Pickman ended up after he had disappeared. The cats of Ulthar don't just make an appearance, but rather give this story a fairy tale touch. Even Nyarlathotep has a role to play. Now, you can choose to read this story partly as a commentary on society. I'll simply read it as fantasy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dan Henk

    I think Lovecraft often gets a bad rap. People read that he influenced the modern greats, everyone form authors like Stephen King and Clive Barker, to movie makers like John Carpenter and Wes Craven, and then dive into his books expecting the same fare. He wrote for a different era. His mind-bending, first person surrealistic approach to a creeping, nameless horror stunned and fascinated huge segments of early century America. The America that read, that is, which wasn't nearly what it is today. I think Lovecraft often gets a bad rap. People read that he influenced the modern greats, everyone form authors like Stephen King and Clive Barker, to movie makers like John Carpenter and Wes Craven, and then dive into his books expecting the same fare. He wrote for a different era. His mind-bending, first person surrealistic approach to a creeping, nameless horror stunned and fascinated huge segments of early century America. The America that read, that is, which wasn't nearly what it is today. I enjoy his approach, even if some of it is a bit florid, but his ideas are dauntless. They broke conventions and rearranged the way a future breed of horror authors would look at the world. Even today, I find them stunningly original, and well worth the read. If any sound familiar, it is only because they have been copied, usually far less efficiently, by later day authors.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dfordoom

    H. P. Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is one of his fantasy, rather than horror, stories. Lovecraft was very much influenced by the great British fantasist Lord Dunsany. It’s exactly what the title says it is – it’s a dream quest, wherein the great dreamer Randolph Carter dreams a dream to find the fabulous sunset city which he has so far never quite been able to reach in his dreams, because the gods (possibly the gods of Earth, or the more mysterious outer gods) have prevented him H. P. Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is one of his fantasy, rather than horror, stories. Lovecraft was very much influenced by the great British fantasist Lord Dunsany. It’s exactly what the title says it is – it’s a dream quest, wherein the great dreamer Randolph Carter dreams a dream to find the fabulous sunset city which he has so far never quite been able to reach in his dreams, because the gods (possibly the gods of Earth, or the more mysterious outer gods) have prevented him. It’s a book which really has no right to work. There isn’t much of a plot, and Lovecraft’s prose is even more impossibly overblown and overelaborated and generally overdone than normal. But somehow it does work. The prose is unbelievably purple, but it suits the dreamworld perfectly, and captures the right mood of impossibleness. The dreamworld Lovecraft creates is bizarre and grotesque, but sometimes beautiful and often glorious. The army of cats is absolutely fabulous! And the idea of the cats who, at night, climb to the highest rooftops and then leap to the dark side of the moon – it’s just a marvellous idea and it works beautifully. There are whimsical moments such as this, and there’s humour (and Lovecraft’s humour is often underestimated). If you’ve only read his horror his fantasy will come as a surprise, and a very pleasant surprise. I liked this one very much.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    the most boring lovecraft i have ever read. a lot of mythology here but not really much story. more of a travelogue -- it's back on the shelf. not sure when i will finish it. ******* i did go back and finish it but i must say it was excruciating. again, this is the disappointment i felt when i began to read lord dunsany who had been cited as influential by so many, and found that there really wasn't much of a story but rather a beautiful picture of strange places and people. so sadly, i will not the most boring lovecraft i have ever read. a lot of mythology here but not really much story. more of a travelogue -- it's back on the shelf. not sure when i will finish it. ******* i did go back and finish it but i must say it was excruciating. again, this is the disappointment i felt when i began to read lord dunsany who had been cited as influential by so many, and found that there really wasn't much of a story but rather a beautiful picture of strange places and people. so sadly, i will not be able to recommend this lovecraft. it's useful to read as a bestiary and atlas of his worlds, but i'd rather be given the opportunity to skip all the dry text and look at illustrations and maps instead. and yes, i did like that army of cats. where do you think the two stars came from?

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    Kubla Cthulu 30 December 2017 While this rather long short story was not necessarily based upon the poem with an interesting background by Coleridge, it still reminded me of it quite a lot, except of the part where he is woken up halfway through his opium induced dream state by some guy from Portlock who refused to go away to get him get back to his trip (well, it didn't happen that way, but it still sounds cool). Actually, considering Lovecraft was a bit of a teatottler then descending into a he Kubla Cthulu 30 December 2017 While this rather long short story was not necessarily based upon the poem with an interesting background by Coleridge, it still reminded me of it quite a lot, except of the part where he is woken up halfway through his opium induced dream state by some guy from Portlock who refused to go away to get him get back to his trip (well, it didn't happen that way, but it still sounds cool). Actually, considering Lovecraft was a bit of a teatottler then descending into a heroin induced dream isn't really his style, though I should remember that this is not so much a story about him, but a story about one of his reoccurring character's: Rudolph Carter. The version that I read has a short story about Carter before this one, though it is probably more a statement than a story. However, one thing that seems to have been consistent with the Lovecraft stories that I have read so far has the main character wander into some ruins or whatnot, come across a deep pit descending into the Earth, and upon entering these pits uncovering some indescribable horror. In a way I was starting to expect more of the same, except that Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath does take a different path. Much like Kubla Khan, Carter has a dream of a beautiful and magnificent city, and decides that he must go and look for this city, however the only beings that happen to know the location of this city are the old gods of Earth. The only way for Carter to reach them though is to go on a dream quest, so he descents into the world of dreams and goes on what is quite a long, and adventurous, journey, to look for the gods and discern the location of this magnificent city. In the process he gets kidnapped by some rather disreputable sailors, leads an army of cats against some monstrous entities, and makes some friends with ghouls, who happen to be the souls of those who have died. In a way this story is somewhat different than what one would expect from Lovecraft in that it is more of a fantasy adventure than a horror story. Okay, a lot of the horror elements are still present, though unlike many of the other stories, it seems as if Carter is able to deal with them without going insane – maybe it has something to do with him being in a dream world than in reality. In many cases it reads like a fantasy story, though, with the exception of the ghouls, ghasts, and cats (and humans), most of his encounters involve creatures with names worthy of Cthulu himself. Oh, and it is also set in the world of Cthulu, which means that the elder gods that Carter seeks aren't the anthropomorphic gods that we are all familiar with (and Nyarlanthotep, the crawling chaos, seems to regularly make an appearance). One of the interesting things about this mythos that I discovered happens to do with the cats. It seems as if cats are not only antagonistic towards many of the nasties that inhabit Lovecraft's realms, but they are actually able to deal with them. I guess this idea stems back to the Egyptians who first domesticated cats so that they could deal with the snakes, but then raised them to some godlike status. In a way the suggestion is that having a cat around is a good thing because against the supernatural and the horrific they are much more capable defenders than are dogs (and Stephen King even borrowed the idea for one of his short stories). In fact the image of Carter wandering through the world among and army of cats was somewhat cool. Mind you, like the cats that we all know, these cats also have a mind of their own, and don't so much travel with Carter because he persuaded them to, but rather for their own reasons. Then there is this idea of the dream. Carter seems to go into the dream world to escape from the dull and dreary would in which he lives to find something that he believes is truly glorious. Mind you, whether anything in the world of Cthulu can be truly consider glorious, as opposed to horrific, is a question open to debate, but this dream that Carter had no doubt grabbed his imagination to make him want to leave the familiar and travel to the fantastic. Yet, interestingly, the further we descend into the dreamquest, the more we forget that we are actually living in a dream. It is sort of like the statement 'reality is a state of mind without drugs'. Many people take drugs (in fact most of them) to escape reality – in a way they provide a gateway to the world of dreams, a world where the dreariness of society no longer exists. The problem is that the more you descend into the world the more you become disconnected from reality. Dreams are always funny, and those annoying alarm clocks that yank us out of a world that appears to be much better than the work-a-day world in which we exist are the bane of our existance. Yet, like drug users, when we catch a glimpse of this heavenly realm the more we pursue them, and the more we disconnect ourselves from reality. In fact there are people that make substantial amounts of money, and countless pieces of literature, about interpreting dreams. In a way we want to attain that heavenly realm in much the same way that Carter wanted to reach this heavenly city. Yet the reality is that we are always dragged back into the real world by annoying men from Portlock, and like Coleridge, we simply cannot return. (view spoiler)[However, I should mention that it ends somewhat differently to Coleridge's poem, and maybe I should have left that comment for that review. Anyway, Carter discovers that he is not the only person who is seeking the city, and when he arrives at the domain of the old gods, discovers that they have all left to dwell in that city. Yet, instead of being shown the way, instead he is made to look back outwards, back to the world of New England, to discover that the real beauty lies in the reality of home and not the vague world of the dreams. It is only when he returns and looks upon the Charles river that flows through the old town of Boston that he realises, as Dorothy discovered, that there is truly no place like home. In a way, like the drugs, clutching onto the world of the dreams really does not solve our longings, but rather disconnects us from what we have forgotten is truly beautiful. (hide spoiler)]

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dana Campbell

    Reading this was like slogging through quicksand. I wanted to enjoy it, I really did, but I just couldn't. I read at least 50 pages a day. This 101 page book took me the entire month to read. It's like Lovecraft sat down and said how many elaborate adjectives can I fit into each sentence. I have an expansive vocabulary so I only had to lookup a word every few pages but I can imagine most people would need a dictionary every few sentences. Also nothing happens. The book over there the most terrif Reading this was like slogging through quicksand. I wanted to enjoy it, I really did, but I just couldn't. I read at least 50 pages a day. This 101 page book took me the entire month to read. It's like Lovecraft sat down and said how many elaborate adjectives can I fit into each sentence. I have an expansive vocabulary so I only had to lookup a word every few pages but I can imagine most people would need a dictionary every few sentences. Also nothing happens. The book over there the most terrifying thing you've ever seen and in that corner something even more horrific. I couldn't care about Carter. I also had no idea why he was on this journey. The part at the end about the spheres of music was vaguely interesting. I've also heard that Lovecraft thought this was the worst thing he had ever written so I'm not entirely sure why the book club picked this instead of another of lovecraft's books and I would definitely give Lovecraft another try at some point. If Goodreads let you give half stars I would give this 2 & 1/2 stars because I wanted to like it but I just couldn't.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nate D

    Back in college, I worked for a few semesters shelving books in the sub-basements of the library, which for some reason set its 3rd floor at ground level. Two floors below that was a largely-ignored fiction section, dimly lit by flickering lights that turned off automatically when no one was around. The farther corners never really got direct light, giving the whole space a perfect kind of eerie-cozy twilight feel, and in retrospect, it was a pretty amazing place to work. Not least because I usu Back in college, I worked for a few semesters shelving books in the sub-basements of the library, which for some reason set its 3rd floor at ground level. Two floors below that was a largely-ignored fiction section, dimly lit by flickering lights that turned off automatically when no one was around. The farther corners never really got direct light, giving the whole space a perfect kind of eerie-cozy twilight feel, and in retrospect, it was a pretty amazing place to work. Not least because I usually kept up with my shelving pretty well and found time to browse the more esoteric sections when no one was around (almost always). Naturally, this was the perfect place for reading Lovecraft. Most people tend to be less than thrilled with Dreamquest, I think, but in that context those strange winding mythologies were just about right.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian

    It’s been a while since I’ve read any Lovecraft, and I guess I picked the wrong book to get back to it. No, wait, I picked an abhorrent, detestable, vile tome of repugnance and monstrosity, such that human eyes cannot behold it for any length of time lest it drive the poor reader into the twisted, coiled, convoluted maze of insanity that lies on the other side of that damp, oily, unctuous bog of the most dreadful stench that only the choicest pustulation of a quivering mountain of adjectives and It’s been a while since I’ve read any Lovecraft, and I guess I picked the wrong book to get back to it. No, wait, I picked an abhorrent, detestable, vile tome of repugnance and monstrosity, such that human eyes cannot behold it for any length of time lest it drive the poor reader into the twisted, coiled, convoluted maze of insanity that lies on the other side of that damp, oily, unctuous bog of the most dreadful stench that only the choicest pustulation of a quivering mountain of adjectives and irrelevant toponyms that is Lovecraft at his worst can produce. I did, however, pick the right book to give me quite a vivid and shocking reminder of who I was aping during my high-school budding-horror-writer phase.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    Synopsis: Three times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvelous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it. All golden and lovely it blazed in the sunset, with walls, temples, colonnades and arched bridges of veined marble, silver-basined fountains of prismatic spray in broad squares and perfumed gardens, and wide streets marching between delicate trees and blossom-laden urns and ivory statues in gleaming rows; while on steep northward slopes cli Synopsis: Three times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvelous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it. All golden and lovely it blazed in the sunset, with walls, temples, colonnades and arched bridges of veined marble, silver-basined fountains of prismatic spray in broad squares and perfumed gardens, and wide streets marching between delicate trees and blossom-laden urns and ivory statues in gleaming rows; while on steep northward slopes climbed tiers of red roofs and old peaked gables harbouring little lanes of grassy cobbles. It was a fever of the gods, a fanfare of supernal trumpets and a clash of immortal cymbals. Mystery hung about it as clouds about a fabulous unvisited mountain; and as Carter stood breathless and expectant on that balustraded parapet there swept up to him the poignancy and suspense of almost-vanished memory, the pain of lost things and the maddening need to place again what once had been an awesome and momentous place. My Thoughts: Although it took me an unforgivably long time to get this whole story read, it was not through lack of interest, I assure you. I have looked at many reviews, and it appears that a lot of readers just didn't "get it" - describing it as a "travelogue" or such. But this... this is a brilliant little piece of dream-world building, and the ultimate aspiration of any lucid dreamer is to create a world as vivid as the world Randolph Carter creates for his own dreams (or at least I aspire to such - I have had dreams from which I have awakened, most reluctantly, while in the process of begging whomever I am with in the dream to hold me there somehow). Others complain of Lovecraft's racism, but ignore the fact that he was just parroting the thoughts of the time. Besides, anyone who venerates cats the way this guy does can't be all bad, right? I reveled in the lush prose, enjoyed the horrors he creates in this short. I highly recommend Lovecraft to people who, like me, love words.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Felix

    I kinda struggled with this one. This story is certainly very imaginitive, and even spooky and unsettling at times, but honestly: there is so much going on in this story. There are so many names and places and stuff happening in this book - a thing happens and then another thing happens and then there's an interruption of that thing and then Nyarlathotep, Nir, Skai, Dyath-Leen - there's so many names, but by the time you get a proper grip on what they are or who they are or where they are, they' I kinda struggled with this one. This story is certainly very imaginitive, and even spooky and unsettling at times, but honestly: there is so much going on in this story. There are so many names and places and stuff happening in this book - a thing happens and then another thing happens and then there's an interruption of that thing and then Nyarlathotep, Nir, Skai, Dyath-Leen - there's so many names, but by the time you get a proper grip on what they are or who they are or where they are, they're gone again. Everything is moving so fast. It's strange because being slow-moving and overwritten are two of the most common criticisms of Lovecraft, and this is neither. In fact, it's quite the opposite, in both areas. I think Lovecraft is trying to capture some sense of the experience of dreaming in this story - like Finnegans Wake - and in that I think he does definitely succeed - but like in many of my own dreams, the narrative is oftentimes a challenge to follow (sometimes bordering on total incomprehensibility). I liked the cats a lot though. There's some top tier cat adventures in this book, for those who are into that sort of thing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Thiago

    First, this story, I think, is just for the hardcore Lovecraft fan. Something that one must keep in mind is that “The Dream-Quest to Unknown Kadath” is very much a first draft; Lovecraft wrote it, decided that it was bad and put it in a drawer (he was very critical with his own work). It was only some years after his death that it was published. Here Lovecraft delves deep in his Dream World and in all craziness of dreams in general (or at least his dreams, which were certainly much crazier than m First, this story, I think, is just for the hardcore Lovecraft fan. Something that one must keep in mind is that “The Dream-Quest to Unknown Kadath” is very much a first draft; Lovecraft wrote it, decided that it was bad and put it in a drawer (he was very critical with his own work). It was only some years after his death that it was published. Here Lovecraft delves deep in his Dream World and in all craziness of dreams in general (or at least his dreams, which were certainly much crazier than mine). I guess one could say that this story is a weird mixture of Alice, Oz and Lovecratian horror (although I’m not sure if one should, so excuse me if I do). Oh, and cats. Anyway, one of the best things about this novella is that it references most of Lovecraft’s body of work, especially those stories concerning Randolph Carter and what later became known as “the Dream Cycle”. It is not just the references to places, creatures, hideous gods and tomes of forbidden lore, as is indeed usual in Lovecraft’s fiction, but also we get to re-encounter many of the characters he created in previous tales (and that is quite rare in Lovecraft’s work). No doubt, this story has its fair share of problems, but I had so much fun reading it, the adventure, the perils, the battles, the cats - YAY Cats! -, the references (and the bonus of actually knowing that I knew them, it felt like sharing a secret with the man himself) that I couldn’t possibly rate it with any less than five stars. I do acknowledge that it definitely does not achieve the same heights as most of what Lovecraft was writing around that time and after, like The Call of Cthulhu, At The Mountains of Madness or The Shadow over Innsmouth, just to name a few. And did I say it had cats? Yeah, they were some big damn heroes. In conclusion, even though it, most certainly, wasn’t Lovecraft’s plan, the greatest thing about this story is finding the bits and pieces that are referenced throughout. Indeed, if one is not acquainted with most of Lovecraft’s body of work that would end up being the story's main weakness, as most of it would seem disconnected. Great stuff.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    I have read parts of Lovecraft's Dream Cycle before, not knowing that they tied together in any way. The prose in this novella is superb, in my opinion, and the quest is compelling. I expect to read this again in the future.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alan Smith

    H P Lovecraft is best known as a writer of highly original, wordy and grotesque horror tales, based on the premise that a displaced pantheon of evil tentacled gods lurk just outside our own ordered, settled world, and are only a hairsbreadth away from breaking back in and tearing the universe apart. But many may not be aware that there is a gentler side to the Providence Dreamer. Now, speaking of this particular author's "gentle side" might seem as weird as anything he ever wrote, but in the earl H P Lovecraft is best known as a writer of highly original, wordy and grotesque horror tales, based on the premise that a displaced pantheon of evil tentacled gods lurk just outside our own ordered, settled world, and are only a hairsbreadth away from breaking back in and tearing the universe apart. But many may not be aware that there is a gentler side to the Providence Dreamer. Now, speaking of this particular author's "gentle side" might seem as weird as anything he ever wrote, but in the early part of his writing career, Lovecraft came under the spell of Lord Dunsany, the Irish fantasist (whom Lovecraft actually heard lecture), and during this period he wrote many tales that are out and out fantasy, rather than the cosmic horrors he later penned. This work is a collection of these tales, including three from the "Randolph Carter" cycle (Carter is an idealized version of the author, who spends his time searching out arcane lore and trying to avoid the modern world), together with "Celephais", a story about a man so obsessed with his dreams he fails to wake up, "The White Ship", a quest tale with a truly tragic conclusion, and "The Strange High House In The Mist", about a guy who meets some of the more benevolent characters from mythology. The Carter stories are particularly intriguing, telling of Randolph's search through the world of dream looking for a wonderful city to which the gods have denied him entrance - only to find that it is actually composed of his boyhood memories (Dream Quest...), his attempts to hold back the emotional collapse of middle age by dreaming himself firstly back into his own childhood, and then beyond (Silver Key) and finally into another dimension entirely, in which he becomes marooned (Through The Gates...) . Sure, these are fantasy, but there's nothing insipid about them - you'll look in vain for happy endings and friendly elves! In fact, in Carter's attempts to avoid the pressure of the world and recover the wonder of dreams you read a symbolic and mythological account of Lovecraft's own life and world-rejection... truly poignant stuff! OK, Lovecraft can be wordy, overblown, and in his own way, didactic... but his writing has such power, imagination and originality that his faults are easy enough to forget. After all, what's a "rugose" or an "eldritch" or two between friends?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ubiquitousbastard

    So, I learned a few things here. Lovecraft was fond of cats, very fond of England, and just fantastically in love with New England. He is also one for repetition. I feel like I should be calling him "august Lovecraft" or something like that, since unknown Kadath was mentioned in exactly that fashion about seven thousand times. I also admit I was more than lost with the variety of place names for which I had almost no reference. Like, I've played a board game with some of the places and such, but So, I learned a few things here. Lovecraft was fond of cats, very fond of England, and just fantastically in love with New England. He is also one for repetition. I feel like I should be calling him "august Lovecraft" or something like that, since unknown Kadath was mentioned in exactly that fashion about seven thousand times. I also admit I was more than lost with the variety of place names for which I had almost no reference. Like, I've played a board game with some of the places and such, but I still am not sure about the significance or just...why? The description was also too much. I get bored with description, which makes sense since I only recently learned that most people can picture description in their heads while I really can't unless I make a concerted effort on each aspect. So, yes, the description just got me bogged down and bored. Maybe if I were otherwise I wouldn't have that issue with it. Overall, it wasn't terrible to read, but it wasn't exactly gripping either. It was a bit of something different from what I'm used to, so considering that, it's a three star short story for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This was the first collection of dream-cycle stories collected by Lyn Carter before he prepared “The Doom That Came to Sarnath” from various leftovers. Accordingly, it is a better-conceived collection, and the stories work together to demonstrate Lovecraft’s work at world-building and character development. Three of the stories star Randolph Carter, who was the most frequently recurring narrator in Lovecraft’s stories, and together they tell the story of his life in this world, the dream world, This was the first collection of dream-cycle stories collected by Lyn Carter before he prepared “The Doom That Came to Sarnath” from various leftovers. Accordingly, it is a better-conceived collection, and the stories work together to demonstrate Lovecraft’s work at world-building and character development. Three of the stories star Randolph Carter, who was the most frequently recurring narrator in Lovecraft’s stories, and together they tell the story of his life in this world, the dream world, and in other worlds as well. When I was younger, I much preferred Lovecraft’s horror stories to his dream-fantasies, but now I would say that he may have allowed his imagination more freedom in the dream stories, and thus actually wrote more originally, if not necessarily “better” in this venue. “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath” is the first, as well as the title of the collection, and it represents the culmination of many short-pieces set in the dream world. Here, by taking the format of the epic quest, Lovecraft is able to map out his dream world, and to give Carter’s position and actions in it some greater meaning. In addition to creatures of familiar fantasy such as ghouls, and beings like the Nyarlathotep that show up in other contexts of Lovecraft fiction, he also populates his world with wholly original and fascinating creatures, like gugs and zoogs, and describes several locations such as Dylath-Leen and Ulthar as seen by an outsider. He even takes us to the moon, and, of course, to Kadath in the Cold Waste. The story is tremendous in scope, at times perhaps a bit too ambitious, but quite enjoyable. “Celephais” is one of the minor tales that relate to the “Dream-Quest,” and tells us of “Kuranes” who is one of the characters Carter meets in his quest, and how he came to be king of Ooth-Nargai while losing his Earthly identity altogether. It’s short and works. “The Silver Key” is the story of Randolph Carter’s mundane (non-dreamworld) existence, told as an allegory for humanity’s lost innocence and imagination. Carter seeks out a means to reconnect with his boyhood freedom, and finds it in an obscure key with a parchment, and manages somehow to travel backward in time. It’s also short, and has long been among my favorite Lovecraft stories. “Beyond the Gates of the Silver Key” is a follow-up, apparently written in collaboration with E. Hoffman Price, who I know nothing about. I can’t help but wonder whether Price did a lot of the plotting, because to me it (and especially the ending) really isn’t up to Lovecraft’s usual standard. We see the “reveal” coming well in advance of the end, but there is some very interesting material towards the middle about how Carter is able to transcend both dreams and conventional reality, and what happens when he meets Yog-Sothoth in his dimension. “The White Ship” and “The Strange High House in the Mist” are both reviewed in other books. I will add that of all the stories in this collection, “The Strange High House” is the closest to being a traditional horror story, although it uses ideas and names from the dream-cycle.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tait

    When I was a kid I always found myself drawn to exploring the many drawers and cabinets that seemed to multiply through the floors of our home, in particular I was always attracted to one low drawer filled with paperback novels , many of them pulp romances and mysteries but including a boxed set of the tales of H. P. Lovecraft, the master of the so-called "cosmic horror" genre. While considered by many to be racist, pulp trash, so that some libraries are only now including him in their collectio When I was a kid I always found myself drawn to exploring the many drawers and cabinets that seemed to multiply through the floors of our home, in particular I was always attracted to one low drawer filled with paperback novels , many of them pulp romances and mysteries but including a boxed set of the tales of H. P. Lovecraft, the master of the so-called "cosmic horror" genre. While considered by many to be racist, pulp trash, so that some libraries are only now including him in their collections, Lovecraft also spawned legions of cultural references from his invented Cthulhu mythos, from metal songs to tentacle porn to even lolthulhus. While Lovecraft's horror often featured incomprehensible monstrosities from outside time and space, which though he claimed to have invented may bear a rather striking semblance to the demons of Assyrian mythology, I was always most struck by Lovecraft's brand of psychological horror. What made his writing frightening was not the visions of cosmic horrors but the impending madness these suggestions of extra-planar reality created in his characters. Most exemplary of this is his tale "At the Mountains of Madness," which is currently in production for a movie version by Guillermo del Toro. Reading Lovecraft's work as a child was one of the few times in my life where I could clearly see the boundaries of what I was capable of reading (or comprehending without going mad), and it was almost like a badge of honor when I finally tackled my favorite Lovecraft tale, (and his only novel) "The Dream-Quest of the Unknown Kadath," in which his most stable hero Randolph Carter journeys through the most fantastic renditions of the sleeping mind accompanied by an army of cats and zombies.

  26. 4 out of 5

    SeventhSon

    I can't believe some people think that something like Kadath could be better than Dunsany's fantasy works. Let's face it : those dream stories are mostly bad imitations of Dunsany. If you don't see the difference, then, read more. Not only Lovecraft is just "writing", but he's often writing badly. When Dunsany is a master of great prose, music, amazing metaphors, Lovecraft has none of it. He only has those adjectives he dearly loves, sadly the stuff he's writing here, unlike cosmic horror, can't I can't believe some people think that something like Kadath could be better than Dunsany's fantasy works. Let's face it : those dream stories are mostly bad imitations of Dunsany. If you don't see the difference, then, read more. Not only Lovecraft is just "writing", but he's often writing badly. When Dunsany is a master of great prose, music, amazing metaphors, Lovecraft has none of it. He only has those adjectives he dearly loves, sadly the stuff he's writing here, unlike cosmic horror, can't work with only this. Some people think the "many adjectives" thing to be appropriate for this work, even if it was true, Lovecraft just doesn't know how to use it properly, unlike, say, Clark Ashton Smith. Because he has no gift for poetry, every attempt to describe something beautiful sounds bland, boring, and the useless, arrythmic adjectives/details are only worse in a pseudo-poetic stuff. As for the lack of plot, all we can say is this : it's not necessarily a problem in that kind of stories... when the writing is good (see Dunsany or CAS once again). Knowing that, there'll always be people who need big plot and characters at all cost, and we are bound to let them whinge. Finally, I was happy to know he wrote different stuff, but was disappointed, though we can't blame a man for things not meant to be published. Many readers must think : "it is Lovecraft, it's different but surely good, a masterpiece", and they don't know what they're talking about. While the early dream tales are pretty uninteresting, others are saved from emptiness mostly by some horror/weird, of course, a genre Lovecraft is more at home in. A fact he came to realize himself, fortunately. The fun or not so fun is, he reuses details and names taken from bad tales. 2,5 stars

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tobin Elliott

    I got about a third of the way through the walls of text Lovecraft threw up at me, and I simply didn't have the heart to go on. This is one of the unreadable Lovecraft stories, in my opinion. In it, there's no real discernable plot, just Randolph Carter moving from one location to the next, wildly observing things. Meanwhile, Lovecraft's imagination is in overdrive, and he's slinging names and locations and infernal beasts three, four, or five to a page. Unfortunately, while the imagination was f I got about a third of the way through the walls of text Lovecraft threw up at me, and I simply didn't have the heart to go on. This is one of the unreadable Lovecraft stories, in my opinion. In it, there's no real discernable plot, just Randolph Carter moving from one location to the next, wildly observing things. Meanwhile, Lovecraft's imagination is in overdrive, and he's slinging names and locations and infernal beasts three, four, or five to a page. Unfortunately, while the imagination was firing on all cylinders, his storytelling/pacing/plotting abilities were nonexistent. There is no dialogue to be found in this 40+K-word story, so, we are honestly treated to walls of text. And that text is dense. Like, for example, this single sentence gem: And before the day was done Carter saw that the steersman could have no other goal than the Basalt Pillars of the West, beyond which simple folk say Cathuria lies, but which wise dreamers well know are the gates of a monstrous cataract wherein the oceans of earth's dreamland drop wholly to abysmal nothingness and shoot through the empty spaces toward other worlds and other stars and the awful voids outside the ordered universe where the daemon-sultan Azathoth gnaws hungrily in chaos amid pounding and piping and the hellish dancing of the Other Gods, blind, voiceless, tenebrous, and mindless, with their souls and messenger Nyarlathotep. And no, I didn't skip any commas or anything. That's precisely how it's presented. Try reading that aloud. Like, Howard, dude, take a damn breath now and again, would ya? So, yeah, three stars for the book's packaging and artwork, etc. 0 stars for the story, such as it is.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Phil Slattery

    I am a Lovecraft fan, but I find "The Dream-Quest..." very tough reading. Though I want to finish it, it is very tough going. The language is cumbersome and the plot is just Randolph Carter escaping one bad situation after another by luck. Still, I am only about half-way through, and the optimistic side of me keeps hoping it gets better. I don't have much hope though, particularly after reading part of the Wikipedia article on it, which gives Lovecraft's own views, which echo my own: "Lovecraft h I am a Lovecraft fan, but I find "The Dream-Quest..." very tough reading. Though I want to finish it, it is very tough going. The language is cumbersome and the plot is just Randolph Carter escaping one bad situation after another by luck. Still, I am only about half-way through, and the optimistic side of me keeps hoping it gets better. I don't have much hope though, particularly after reading part of the Wikipedia article on it, which gives Lovecraft's own views, which echo my own: "Lovecraft himself declared that 'it isn't much good; but forms useful practice for later and more authentic attempts in the novel form.' He expressed concern while writing it that 'Randolph Carter's adventures may have reached the point of palling on the reader; or that the very plethora of weird imagery may have destroyed the power of any one image to produce the desired impression of strangeness."[8] In the paragraph preceding this one in Wikipedia, Joanna Russ sums up the work nicely: "The Dream-Quest has evoked a broad range of reactions, "some HPL enthusiasts finding it almost unreadable and others...comparing it to the Alice books and the fantasies of George MacDonald.[6] Joanna Russ referred to The Dream-Quest as "charming...but alas, never rewritten or polished". [7] Count me among the ones who find it almost unreadable, with its awkward, first-draft phrasing and its confused attempt to set a tone using an imagined scholarly, courtly language somewhere between Shakespeare and Poe.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Roman Kurys

    This book deserves a solid 4 stars in my book. I was honestly pleasantly surprised as my previous encounter with Lovecraft's early work was sort of ok. Admittedly, Lovecraft used this story as practice for his novel writing and as some other folks on here said, it shows. For me, however is was still a very good read. Character: 4 In short, I liked Carter as a character despite his deficiencies. (Or really Lovecraft's.) The pure concept of a dreamer who is so engrossed in it that it just might be This book deserves a solid 4 stars in my book. I was honestly pleasantly surprised as my previous encounter with Lovecraft's early work was sort of ok. Admittedly, Lovecraft used this story as practice for his novel writing and as some other folks on here said, it shows. For me, however is was still a very good read. Character: 4 In short, I liked Carter as a character despite his deficiencies. (Or really Lovecraft's.) The pure concept of a dreamer who is so engrossed in it that it just might be real is mesmerizing. Carter is a fascinating person and whether his adventures are induced by hashish, over active imagination or are real, the bottom line was that I enjoyed following his footsteps. Plot: 3 Plot was actually very solid, I thought. Lots of fun adventures and unexpected twists. This is certainly not a standard tale and anything goes. I thought it was fun to not really ever feel the need to guess what will happen next. Walls and walls of text without sufficient dialogue or some sort of separations for an easier read would have been more immersive. Setting: 5 Now I really enjoyed the tale's setting and general ambiance. Was it over the top descriptive? Yes, it sure was, but it felt creepy and weird and it made me want to slow down and just spend some in that strange world myself. Overall, this was much better then the previous book, still rough, but it evoked a good deal of emotion out of me, especially the setting, which makes me think about what some of the later written stories might bring to the table. Looking forward to it. Roman "Ragnar"

  30. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    This book was my introduction to the worlds of HP Lovecraft. I found it in the library, was enthralled for some reason by the title, and took it home to read it. Unfortunately, I took it back when I was done. It took me another eight years to find the Ballantine paperback, when a whole series of HPL was published. Because I remembered this book so fondly, I bought the whole series sight unseen, and have never had a second thought about that decision. tDQoUK is extremely accessible to readers of This book was my introduction to the worlds of HP Lovecraft. I found it in the library, was enthralled for some reason by the title, and took it home to read it. Unfortunately, I took it back when I was done. It took me another eight years to find the Ballantine paperback, when a whole series of HPL was published. Because I remembered this book so fondly, I bought the whole series sight unseen, and have never had a second thought about that decision. tDQoUK is extremely accessible to readers of fantasy in particular, and readers in general. Lovecraft's imagination takes flight in his descriptions of the Dreamlands, with exotic creatures and locales abounding, and a strange little mission undertaken to petition the gods of that land. Strongly influenced by the work of Lord Dunsany, Lovecraft would never again write with such hope and beauty, though his writing would grow stronger as his mature voice emerged. This book is not horror, but high fantasy without elves and swords, rare in these days of Tolkienesque pastiche. Buy it, read it, and your imagination may never be the same again. Join me on the seven hundred steps to the gate of the Dreamlands, and don't forget to count. I'll see you in the Enchanted Wood.

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