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The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath Mass Market Paperback

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345240480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345240484
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,793,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I guess maybe I'm in the minority here about HP Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, but unfortunatley, I didn't get the whole point of this book. I understood the story well enough: Carter doesn't like it much in the real world, so he goes on a quest in the dreamworld so he can stay there instead because he likes it there better. And so he basically walks around, more or less wandering aimlessly in that dreamworld throughout the whole story (or up to around page 100, because after that, I just got completely bored of the whole story), and from time to time meets some people, some of whom help him, while others kidnap him for their own twisted purposes.
The protagonist, Randolph Carter isn't someone the reader would care about; he's not someone I felt I was able to admire, love, or even pity, nor could I hate this character, because virtually no information was given about him and we never really see what kind of a person Carter really is. The reader is told that he likes cats and that he prefers the dreamworld to the real world (though it isn't discussed WHY he feels this way about either cats or the dreamworld), but no other information was given about Carter, thus rendering him little more than a name without a face throughout the novel. Perhaps the intent here was to make him enigmatic somehow, but that doesn't work either, because usually when a character is an enigma, the reader is interested in finding out what makes him tick, though learning about him or her may diminish the mystery and intrigue at times.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
H.P. Lovecraft continues to exert an enormous influence in the horror/fantasy genre. This may be surprising because Lovecraft's writings were nearly impossible to find for decades. Unlike those poor souls who, in the old days, fruitlessly searched for copies of his stories, today we can locate copies of them quite easily. And they are definitely worth seeking out, as Lovecraft writes chilling stories like no other person, alive or dead. Unfortunately for horror buffs, Lovecraft died at a young age, thus leaving his work to be carried on by others.
Lovecraft is famous for his creation of the Cthulhu mythos, an alternate universe (or series of universes) populated by strange beings of infinite evil. These are the Elder Gods, beings who enjoy tormenting the human race. Time and time again, Lovecraft takes his characters into unfortunate encounters with the Elder Gods, almost always to the detriment of these hapless souls. In "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath," DelRey collects yet another batch of Lovecraft gems.
The main course of this collection is "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath," a story about Randolph Carter, a mystic who has the ability to enter a fabulous world through his dreams. Carter isn't content with merely shuffling about a dream world; he wants to track down Kadath, a fortress where the gods live and play. Carter's quest takes him through endless adventures where he faces both good and evil realms. Carter goes to the moon, talks to cats, sails on the seas, and encounters weird creatures both helpful and harmful. All of this brings him steadily closer to his goal. This story is a synthesis of many of Lovecraft's other stories, such as "The Cats of Ulthar."
"Celephais" is a short story about one of Carter's friends who became a king in the dream world.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" is perhaps Lovecraft's greatest piece of fiction; it certainly is a culmination of the Dunsanian fantasy pieces he wrote early in his career, several of which are also featured in this collection. While I recognize the seminal importance of "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath," I must also say that I find it a particularly difficult read; if my powers of concentration are less than 100%, I simply can't make heads or tails of the story. Perhaps my trouble is a personal idiosyncrasy, but this novella is certainly complex and not well suited for the casual reader. The story describes Randolph Carter's obsessive search for the abode of earth's gods on mystical Kadath and his determination to find and abide in a glorious city he has seen in his dreams. Carter is a proficient dreamer, and his journey introduces us to important denizens and personalities in the dream world. Unafraid, Carter sets himself to brave a meeting even with Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos. There are monstrous creatures and horrible vistas brought to life in these pages, but the entire dreamlike atmosphere of the story seems to rise up and cover my mind with mists that force me to reread passages in order to maintain my focus. While I don't necessarily enjoy this story in the normal sense of the word, I do regard it as a grand achievement by the author.
The other stories in the collection also take us to the dream world created by Lovecraft. "The Silver Key" and "Through the Gates of the Silver Key" (written in collaboration with E. Hoffman Price) reveal much of the history of Randolph Carter and offer glimpses of other dream quests he embarked on in life.
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