At the Mountains of Madness first appeared in 1936, in the February, March and April editions of the American magazine Astounding Stories. One of H.P. Lovecraft’s most chilling works, it draws on Edgar Allan Poe’s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, as well as Lovecraft’s deep fascination with the Antarctic. The sinister discoveries made by a group of explorers in At the Mountains of Madness are testament to the author’s enormous powers of imagination.
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The inclusion of dialogue (any dialogue) at some point before the last page of the book.
Not necessarily the whole genre but I would need some persuading to read or listen to another Lovecraft book.
William Roberts is a fine narrator and I have in the past greatly enjoyed his readings of Bill Bryson's books but there are limits to what a reader can do to improve a book and this particular volume defeated him.
At the risk of posting a spoiler (but you did ask) a scene towards the end where the narrator and a colleague claim to have uncovered and understood the whole history of an entire civilization from the perusal of some carvings. Up until that point the book was simply dull but in an instant it lost whatever credibility it had up until that point enjoyed.
The problem lies in the book itself. It is the first person narrative of an aging professor and in the interests of verisimilitude it eschews dialogue for almost the entire narrative. Unfortunately it quickly became apparent that a novel without dialogue is like a loaf without yeast; practically indigestible. Frankly I only finished the book because it was relatively short and because I had read positive reviews elsewhere then I continued to hope up until very near the end that it would finally improve. It didn't.
- C. P. McGregor