I find a strange love / hate relationship with Lovecraft’s work. I adore the world and mythology / religion he’s created, and so forgive the lack of story that’s almost always present in his tales. You could pretty much sum up 90% of the stories in this collection with the following:
A. A man discovers a journal, or hears a story (told by a distant relative), or hears the story of a distant relative discovering a journal, or has a vision (or hears of said vision from a distant relative).
B. In this vision / journal / story, said person is shown (or reads about) the Old Ones, or Yog-Sothoth, or Cthulu.
C. A crap-load of exposition about said entity and their arrival from distant planets and desire to rule the world and destroy little humanity.
D. An ending that includes a warning or general feeling that the end is nigh.
That’s pretty much it. Fortunately, the mythology is so interesting that you don’t mind the strange dialect of clans worshiping odd entities and praising its arrival in nonsense lyrical prose. So too, you tend to forget that there isn’t a protagonist, or any rising action, or any PLOT, or anything that these days is required to make a story a story.
I find Lovecraft’s work more of a fascinating religion than a fictional narrative, and if an apocalypse ever decides to descend upon all us good folks, I sure hope it’s his. I mean, if you’re gonna go down, you might as well do it with grandeur.
The Call of Cthulu is an excellent starting point w/ Lovecraft’s work, and say what you want about the man, he sure had one hell of an imagination.