Knowledge brings pain. Madness offers release.
The Dreams in the Witch-House (15-16)
A mathematician, attempting to combine math and the occult, takes up residence in a house with a history of witchcraft. Through feverish dreams the protagonist gains new insight into the occult, but as is often the case with Lovecraft, knowledge is a weakness, not a resource.
The story languishes in repetitive dream imagery, as the protagonist struggles to prevent himself from sleep walking. Eventually the conflict develops into a real problem, but many readers will lose interest before they reach that point.
The Shadow Out of Time (16-16)
After five years of amnesia the protagonist regains his sense of self. His friends share strange stories about his behavior. This prompts him to research other cases like his own. He gradually uncovers clues, but the story is more than half over before readers learn the full scope of the story.
Through it all the protagonist repeatedly expresses his growing dread, the looming horror of this truth, but it rings false. This is not a horror story. It’s a dry, clinical mystery with a science fiction solution. Most of the story is a stripped down summary, glossing over events until an expedition alluded to in the opening. This is where things finally begin to get interesting. The underlying ideas are thought provoking, but without first hand details the story fails to engage its readers.
Hell House-Stand Alone