By H.P. Lovecraft.
I came to this, I think, from the blog of the estimable Cthulhu and all round arcane scholar Kenneth Hite. The H.P. Lovercraft Literary Society do a podcast where they do readings of Lovecraft’s short stories, and read-thorough with commentary on the longer works, and a mention of this, along with an dramatisation by ‘Dark Adventure Radio Theatre‘, along with an upcoming shortness of podcasts since I was burning through them at a rate of knots while decorating the garden room, led me to purchase the dramatisation and listen along with the literary criticism and information from the hppodcraft guys.
I have to say, this was an excellent way to experience this. I’ve read a little Lovecraft in the past (but much more influenced by him, such as Stross’s Laundry series, or Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette’s haunting space opera Boojum, which was dramatised masterly on The Drablecast Podcast and available to download from Wired, for some reason. God she’s talented..), but this really turned me onto Lovecraft.
The 30 min podcasts I could listen to in the car, and then continue on with the story when I was decorating. That the hppodcraft guys really know their Lovecraft, as well as a lot of literary and period detail really comes through and brought the story and author to life for me. It helped that ‘Shadow’ is apparently one of Lovecraft’s best works (indeed, since then I’ve listened to their readings of ‘Cool Air’, and ‘The Cats Of Ulthar’, and found the latter much better than the former), apparently.
I can’t, unfortunately, recommend the dramatisation, which is a shame. On the plus side, its very well narrated, has excellent multt-person cast, and the music is evocative. Unfortunately, in dramatising it, they changed the ending, which is unforgivable as far as I’m concerned. It certainly made for a good ‘radio play’, but I was disappointed to hear the real ending on the hppodcraft podcast (try saying that three times fast!), and realise the production had monkeyed with it. Its the same reason I don’t buy abridged books; the author wrote it that way for a reason, and if I want to I can make my own decision on what to skip. Anyway, that spoiled the listening experience for me. The fact that they took several days to delivery the MP3 file once I bought it, and only after my chasing didn’t help. I understand, reading between the lines, that the person who runs the site was at worldcon, but these things are supposed to be automated – if you can take my money, you can deliver the file.
However, the overall experience was great, and I’ve downloaded a ‘complete works of H.P. Lovecraft’ book; since its out of copyright its available all over the place FOC – I downloaded mine from Cthulhuchick.com (great name), as she’d done the work of assembling this from Gutenberg, and will be reading through ‘The Trap’ (the next one after SOI, they’ve even moved onto ‘Dreams in the Witch House” now, also with Kenneth Hite, so full circle there) so I can listen to their LitCrit.