Cthulhu fhtagn

So far, the app I use the most on my iPhone is the Stanza e-book reader. I had shied away from e-readers up until getting an iPhone but the chance to have a library of public domain books at my fingertips persuaded me to put my prejudice of non-paper books on hold long enough to install the Stanza app.

I haven’t used a Kindle or any other e-reader before so I have nothing to compare Stanza with but I was surprisingly pleased at how well the interface worked (tap on the right to turn a page, left to go backwards and center for bookmarking or to see how far into the book you are) The text is highly customizable and once adjusted to your personal tastes, is quite easy on the eyes.

But what to read, what to read? The Stanza reader comes with a connection to Project Gutenberg and a half dozen other sites with books that are in the public domain. I downloaded about 25 books before remembering to breathe.

So far I’ve only read short stories. The first one was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (It comes pre-loaded. And I don’t think I had actually ever read the book). Since then it’s been all Lovecraft.

The Call of Cthulhu
At the Mountains of Madness
The Dunwich Horror
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Rats in the Walls
Pickman’s Model

I have downloaded the Kindle App for the iPhone, but I just haven’t gotten around to playing with it yet.

Oh, and I finished House of Leaves. Remember how I said you either loved it or hated it? Well, I meh’ed it. The Zampano story was entertaining. The Truant story was boring. And having to turn the book upside down or sideways to read some of the text was infuriating.


  1. There’s some H. G. Wells available, including “The Time Machine”. And Charles’ Willeford’s “Wild Wives” is a fine old pulp from manybooks.net. I also have “Treasure Island” on here. I also have “The Divine Comedy” but I’m having trouble getting into it.

  2. I’ve really enjoyed the Kindle app. They have public domain content for free as well; I’ve only purchased a couple books but having it sync wirelessly is a nice feature.

  3. Because I had seen it mentioned on the site over the years I finally picked up (paperback form) Call of Cthulu and Other Weird Tales by H.P. Lovecraft. I can honestly say that I am quite impressed. Thanks Chris!

  4. The Rats in the Walls is my favourite Lovecraft story by far! Even so, when re-reading it, I’m always disquietened by the name of the protagonist’s pet black cat: “N***erman”.

    Also pleased to see that because of these posts, the advertising software on cynical-c is now hocking Lovecraft inspired music!

  5. There are some pretty good free scifi novels available through the feedbooks link in Stanza; I can recommend the Rifters trilogy (by Peter Watts), Butcher Bird (Richard Kadrey, fantasy rather than scifi but quite Gaimanesque), and Roo’d (Joshua Klein) – none will change your life, but all are very readable. There are others, too – quite a lot of space-opera type stuff if that’s your cup of tea.

    Then… How robust is your conscience? There are some HUGE archives of scifi ebooks available through torrents*, plus a number of other not-very-legal resources for free in-copyright books (one such is http://www.truly-free.org). Obviously the pirate thing is morally dubious, but you get a better product than if you get legally purchased materials – as it’s DRM free. (A few times I’ve ‘paid’ for pirated books by donating to the author after reading, but that’s not always possible: not all authors put PayPal donate buttons on their websites!)

    *If you go this route get the packages that are not limited to .pdf. There’s no software I’ve found that does a good enough conversion job on .pdf files, and in their native format they’re all but unreadable on the iPhone. .pdf sux.

  6. Then… How robust is your conscience? There are some HUGE archives of scifi ebooks available through torrents*

    I have this old fashioned impulse that artists should be paid for their work therefore I don’t use torrents at all. The DRM issue with e-readers will keep me buying print books for the foreseeable future.

  7. Lovecraft: I can’t read anything by someone as horribly racist as he was. I’m surprised it doesn’t bother you as well, unless you are unaware?

  8. Looking for ideas? Here is a thread to pull…

    I believe that “At the Mountains of Madness” is vaguely related to Poe’s “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket”. Then Verne’s “An Antartic Mystery” and Dake’s “A Strange Discovery” are both sequels to Pym. All three are available via Gutenberg. Charles Stross’ short story “A Colder War” is a follow-up to Mountains, and seems to be on the Internet, but may not be officially public domain.

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