Everyone makes fun of H.P. Lovecraft for his use of ‘it was too horrible to describe.’ And honestly, I feel that’s unfair. The man was very descriptive. Sometimes too descriptive.
If you’re gonna mock him for anything, it should be the racism.
The story focuses on William Dyer, a professor at Arkham’s Miskatonic University as he relays his expedition to Antarctica. There, he and his team discovered a creature unlike anything humankind had ever known. From there, they delve deep into secrets better left untouched, all hidden beneath the Mountains of Madness.
Not gonna lie: I struggled to get through this one. There’s a lot of stuff I really like about this story. But as a whole, it can be pretty damn boring to read.
A lot of this story is spent describing environments. At first, it’s really cool and creepy and interesting; Lovecraft did a good job of describing things that were truly alien while leaving out just enough details to capture your imagination. However, this can get pretty old when you’ve got to sit through multiple whole pages of just descriptors without any actual plot progression.
Not that there’s much plot to begin with. Lovecraft was not a character person and that comes across in his writing. There are no real character arcs to grab onto and become engaged with. The whole story is just two dudes taking a hike into spooky land and meeting monsters.
That said, I do kinda like the ending. It leaves off on a really creepy note. The whole ‘tekeli li’ thing is chilling and the monsters hinted at are all incredibly bizarre and interesting. Sure, it’s not the greatest ending in the history of literature, but it gets the job done.
Overall, I think At the Mountains of Madness is just okay. It can be really boring sometimes, but it also has its moments where it shines. Still, as a relative newcomer to the original works of Lovecraft, it does feel kinda lackluster.
I hope I didn’t just make the whole Lovecraftian community hate me…