The Whisperer in Darkness

Written by H.P. Lovecraft

A book review by Nicholas Muehlenbein

The Whisperer in Darkness is a short story about a mysterious man named Henry Akeley and his explorations into the unknown, insanity inducing mysteries of the planet called Yuggoth. It follows the views of the skeptical Albert Wilmarth when receiving letters from Akeley about his excursions and discoveries about the strange creatures that slowly degrade Akeley's mental state. The story takes place in the time of the 1920's. Akeley's whereabouts change from time to time, but he spends most of his time in Vermont while Wilmarth stays in the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts.

Throughout his explorations of Vermont, Akeley begins to discover strange creatures invisible to the human eye but viewable when photographed. As the creatures, collectively called Mi-Go, harass Akeley throughout the night by destroying generators and other objects necessary for his survival, he progressively learns more and more about them. They are described by Lovecraft to be "pinkish, fungoid, crustacean-like entities with a "convoluted ellipsoid" composed of pyramided, fleshy rings and covered in antennae where a head would normally be". The main conflict in this story is the fact that Akeley suddenly becomes less scared and intimidated by the Mi-Go and requests that Wilmarth finally visit him in Vermont. This leads Wilmarth to discover that, at some point before he had arrived, the Mi-Go had stolen Akeley's brain and created a complex mechanical facsimile/disguise with which to convince Wilmarth to give them his brain.

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After this discovery, Wilmarth flees by car and recounts his strange memories of the building in Vermont he had stayed at with Akeley. The next day, when the police arrive to search the house for some sort of evidence as to what had happened, all they find is a house that had been sprayed with bullets over and over again. This leads us to the time Wilmarth is writing his memoirs (the story currently being read) where he tells us about the Akeley he saw at the house and how it had been a perfect replica of Akeley, down to the microscopic detail. He had been sitting in a chair with his body completely covered excluding the hands and face, which had been fake.

About the Author

The deceased Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) didn't receive a large amount of praise for his works while he was alive and only began to be widely known posthumously. His most well known works include The Call of Cthulhu and The Shadow Over Innsmouth. He died relatively poor, unable to make money off of his writing, at the age of 46.
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The short story is included in this collection of works by H.P. Lovecraft.

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This book better compiles the works of H.P. Lovecraft than the one listed above.