What’s The Nameless City all about?:
“The Nameless City” is a horror story written by H. P. Lovecraft in January 1921 and first published in the November 1921 issue of the amateur press journal The Wolverine. It is often considered the first Cthulhu Mythos story.
The Nameless City of the story’s title is an ancient ruin located somewhere in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and is older than any human civilization.
What did I think?:
H.P. Lovecraft is commonly thought of as one of the greatest horror writers of the 20th Century, with comparisons often being made to Edgar Allan Poe. I have to admit I have never read anything by him before, although I know that his fiction often tends to veer over to the science fiction sub-class. He was said to value the effects of ‘cosmic horror’ i.e. “life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien.” The first story in this collection, The Nameless City, involves our main character exploring a hidden city in the Arabian deserts, which holds relics from the earliest days of humankind. As he tunnels his way further and further underground, he witnesses horrific imagery and hints of evil that makes him regret his curiosity.
As I began reading this short story, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the author’s language and vocabulary. He seemed to make a nightmare situation into something quite eloquent. Of course, a lot of things are left to the readers imagination and he sets the scene so precisely, that your imagination is free to run riot. Certainly the idea of an individual alone, at night, in the desert, underground, with the whispers of strange reptilian-like creatures, would give anyone the shivers, I can bet. He re-iterates on a few occasions that the tunnels are built in a way that they are too low for a human to pass through…creepy! What are you picturing? Quite enjoyable in general, and I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of the collection.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
NEXT SHORT STORY: Mr E. Morse, BA OXON (Failed) by Colin Dexter, from the collection The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime, Volume 7.