Book Review: The Colour Out of Space by H.P. Lovecraft

Lovecraft is one of those names I’ve been aware of for a long time and yet I’ve never actually read any of his stuff until now.

This book is wonderfully creepy, told by a narrator who visits a town to survey for a new reservoir and discovers an eerie atmosphere around a piece of land where nothing grows and grey dust coats the ground. Weirded out and curious the narrator hears rumour and whispers until he visits an old man who was there when things changed.

The old man recounts the “strange times” when a meteor landed at his friend’s farm. Baffling scientists it contained alien metal and odd, otherworldly colours. Over the following months weird things are observed in the vicinity. Plants grow large but foul tasting, horses are spooked and the family become increasingly uneasy and isolated.

Slowly things get worse for the farmers, although nobody knows what is happening to them or how.

Lovecraft’s writing is beautifully understated at times but still manages to capture this deliciously creepy sense of unease and weirdness. It’s only a short piece and it captivated me throughout. Best of all what happens is never fully explained and even at the ending the background hum of dread is never silenced.

It’s old fashioned in style and language, but still works as a piece of chilling sci-fi. I’ll check out more of Lovecraft’s stuff. 8/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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