I’m about halfway through a book of H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories, and I recently finished his popular “The Colour Out of Space.” What a strange and delightful story!
I won’t give too many spoilers, in case you want to read it. But the main crux of the story is about a meteor that falls in the wild hills of Lovecraft’s fictional Arkham, Massachusetts, which slowly but surely poisons everything in its wake.
“Colour” is said to be one of Lovecraft’s personal favorites, and Lovecraft scholars also rank it as one of his best. The story has some elements of horror, but it really reads, to me, like science fiction. Perhaps that’s why many Lovecraft’s stories are often termed as “cosmic horror.”
The most interesting part of the story to me is Lovecraft’s take on alien life. He was dismayed by the usual take of alien life in stories, according to the Wiki page, and he sought to create something truly extraterrestrial in “Colour.”
That’s why the residents of Arkham and the scientists are so puzzled by the meteor’s effects in the story. Lovecraft describes the effects as strange colors not of this world. The colour is basically a species that wreaks havoc on the wild hills, turning it into a “blasted heath.” “The colour out of space” has it’s own Wiki page, which describes it as:
…unknowable, non-humanoid extraterrestrial creatures who suck life out of all living things in the area.
To read the story yourself, here’s a link.