Once again - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!!!
The Book - A guy finds a crazy old book at a messy secondhand bookstore. The proprietor refuses to take payment for it, seemingly relieved to simply be rid of the thing. The man takes the book home and studies it in his attic room dedicated to studying strange stuff. Crap gets weird. He looks at it more and crap gets weirder. Eventually crap gets so weirdthat during one of his readings/rituals the walls melt away and he finds himself in another reality, flying over an ancient stone city. That's pretty much it. I guess Lovecraft initially meant this to be the beginning of a larger story that would essentially be a prose version of his wonderful and hypnotic poem "Fungi from Yuggoth." Then he decided it was shit and ceased his effort. Kind of a shame; I liked it so far. Oh well.
The Call of Cthulhu - Quintessential Lovecraft piece introducing the Old Ones, particularly Cthulhu, to the world. Let's do a very boiled-down summary for this one. Part I: Guy inherits a chest full of stuff that points toward existence of some sort of supernatural force in the world, including a small idol of undetermined origin, construction and significance. Part II: Guy reads account of an explorer who finds two cults on opposite sides of the world and opposite ends of the technological spectrum which worship the same primordial being, represented by the aforementioned diminutive idol. Part III: After years of trying in vain to discover more about these clues, the guy finally stumbles upon the newsaper account that ties everything together in a horrible realization: Cthulhu does indeed sleep in the sunken sity of R'lyeh. And he is stirring, signifying that he will waken for good very soon. And when he does, if his cultists are to be believed, all the world as we know it will be devoured and a new aeon will begin, wherein the Old Ones will once again reign over all the universe. Great story. Read it.
The Cats of Ulthar - This one reminds me of a children's story, kind of like a tale by the Brothers Grimm. Could be at home in a collection with Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin and the Pied Piper of Hamelin. In this story, an old couple loves to torture and kill the cats of their neighborhood. Cat owners are, therefore, very careful to keep their feline companions indoors. When a band of Gypsies comes through town, no one thinks to tell them about the disgusting habits of the town's most hated (and feared) couple. After they kill a little orphan Gypsy boy's beloved kitten, he casts a Gypsy spell and all the cats get together to attack and devour the old couple. It's a revenge tale with cute little ears and tiny pink toes. I read it to my kids a while back, and my 10-year-old son seemed to like it as much as I.
That's it for now. More to come soon. Thanks for reading.