Uvula Audio (part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 )
Length: 4 hours, 53 minutes
Reader: Craig Nickleson
The story: Traditionally, horror has explored the unknown and unknowable: ghosts, demons, and similar superstitions. With the coming of the 20th century and the seemingly inexorable progress of science, it appeared that these superstitions would be overcome by triumphant rationalism. In H.P. Lovecraft's horror, progress brought with it new horrors, not of the unknown, but of knowing too much.
This novella is Lovecraft's most critically admired, though I prefer some of his shorter stories. This tale follows an Antarctic expedition that makes some startling discoveries about prehistoric times and wakes something that should have been left undisturbed. . . If it sounds like you've heard this story before, that's because this novel was hugely influential on later writers. I usually am a bit disappointed to read an influential work, since the familiarity of the copies make the original seem, perversely, unoriginal. At the Mountains of Madness is no exception, but if you can ignore what you've seen or read before, this story still has the power to chill and thrill.
The reader: Craig Nickerson's baritone works well as the voice of the narrator, geologist William Dyer, who tells the story of his polar expedition. When Dyer begins his story, Nickerson's strong voice reflects the hardness of a man who has experienced terror and is reluctantly sharing it. As the story progresses, he adds a quiver to his voice, bringing the listener along with Dyer's horror at his recollection. The recording does have a bit of an echo and some background noise, which can distract from the storytelling, but once again, Uvula Audio does a good job at bringing a classic to free audio.