>Try to read Lovecraft
>Slog through the shitty writing of At The Mountains Of Madness
>Finally builds up to a big monster reveal
>The monster is literally a penguin
>It's not even a hostile penguin
>The penguin completely ignores the explorers the whole time
Fuck man, is this the fabled spooky cosmic Lovecraft horror I've been told about? ,
1. It sounds like you need to work on your reading comprehension.
2. At The Mountains Of Madness is actually a pretty bad place to start with Lovecraft. Not only is it his longest work, but it's considerably improved by having read some of his previous stories, particularly The Call of Cthulhu. AtMoM "demythologizes" Lovecraft's earlier work (along with The Whisperer in the Darkness), explaining some of the occult aspects of these earlier stories in scientific (or at least science fiction) terms. I think a lot of the enjoyment some people get out of AtMoM (I'm not a huge fan of it either, honestly) is based on it being a bit of an info dump about Lovecraft's universe.
>hear about the geek boner for lovecraft
>sit down and read through his work
>dude couldn't write for shit
>monster was almost always indescribable nonsense
This is one of those internet jokes that everybody is in on, right?
Like rick rolls?
The penguin is just there to show that there's lifeforms we don't know about (these penguins evolved differently than normal penguins). The actual monster inside the mountains shows up a bit later, and has nothing to do with penguins (though has already been mentioned a few times in the story.)
But yeah, I agree with anons. You should leave Lovecraft's longer works (Madness, Dunwich, Dexter Ward, etc) for later. Check out his shorter works first. Not sure which book you got, but if available try to read "the music of erich zann", "nyarlathotep" or "the thing at the doorstep" next.
That was the point, it's spooky because you don't know what it is.
Imagine if they made all horror movies in fullbright, and with the monster taking center frame for all the shots - would that be scary?
No. He's not for everyone, and his writing is a little creaky, both for age and stylistic reasons, but he has merits. I think my favorite thing about Lovecraft is his portrayal of characters being "driven insane" by their contact with the Outer Beings. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a matter (usually) of "read this, go insane!" or "see this, mind literally blown!" but of people becoming convinced of the truth of things that seem insane to normal people and behaving accordingly, like becoming convinced that the modern descendants of an Eskimo cult are out to get you because you know about the secret hidden city.
He's not just about "le indescribable horror" either, whatever effect lesser imitators have had on his reputation. The Dreamlands stories are quite comfy, for instance. And despite his evident prejudices, Lovecraft had the presence of mind to show his universe from different perspectives. AtMoM is one example, another being the Randolph Carter's dealings with
Pickman the ghoulcompared to the portrayal in "Pickman's Model". For worldbuilding fags, of which you may have noticed there are many in SFF, this is pretty cool.