w had our degrees, and were pressed frantically into public service as the numbers of the stricken grew. The situation was almost past management, and deaths ensued too frequently for the local undertakers fully to handle. Burials without embalming were made in rapid succession, and even the Christchurch Cemetery receiving tomb was crammed with coffins of the unembalmed dead. This circumstance was not without effect on West, who thought often of the irony of the situation--so many fresh specimens, yet none for his persecuted researches! We were frightfully overworked, and the terrific mental and nervous strain made my friend brood morbidly.
But West's gentle enemies were no less harassed with prostrating duties. College had all but closed, and every doctor of the medical faculty was helping to fight the typhoid plague. Dr. Halsey in particular had distinguished himself in sacrificing service, applying his extreme skill with whole-hearted energy to cases which many others shunned because of danger or ap
HPL piles on the gore. Not intended to be taken too seriously, although often manages to provoke a shudder, anyway.
A nicely gruesome set of short stories about two doctors, one mad (West) and one a faithful sidekick over the years who narrates the thing. Better done than some of Lovecraft's stories where "unspeakable horrors" never get described or the descriptions are so generalized as to mean nothing.
There are six chronological stories that tell the life and death of Dr. West. Poor guy seemed to have no life at all beyond his attempts to bring the dead back to life.
Glad I've finally found somtenhig I agree with!
I agree with Loewen below on most points he makes on the qualities of the story. It is one of the most gory and rather horrifying stories I have read by Lovecraft. It is not just the blood, guts and death that are disturbing in this series, but there is also a very dark and sinister shadow that lurks throughout the entire story. For instance, I am very disturbed when West procures the corpse of his philanthropic and noble adversary, the Dean of his medical school. The Dean opposes West's experiments in reanimation of the dead so, post-mortem, he turns him into a cannibal zombie who becomes caged at the local sanitorium for more than a decade. To the insanity and cruelty add gory, furtive experiments, midnight trips to the cemetery, hungry and angry zombie armies. Effective horror is really developed here... if that's what you like. I don't like gory horror stories. I'm probably going to delete this on from my ebook. It's too scary. I'm more a fan of Lovecraft' monster stories; the fantasy is fantastic.
It is assumed that when H. P. Lovecraft wrote Herbert West, Reanimator he meant the story to be taken deadly serious, that the continual attempts on the part of West and his unnamed assistant that narrates the story to animate the dead cause a shudder to the soul of the reader.
However, and delightfully so, though there are some truly morbid and grotesque scenes in the story, the completed litany of shocking failures comes across more as dark comedy than true terror.
A delightful read, this entry in ManyBooks contains the entire Herbert West cycle in chronological order to be read and enjoyed in one sitting instead of having the individual stories broken apart.
Craig Alan Loewen
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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