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Some time ago I borrowed a little book, which was a collection of short stories. I am really talking likely of a less-than-200 pages book.

I think that on the back of the book was written that this author might have or had indeed inspired Lovecraft.

The first story (not sure if it was the longest, but in any case it was probably 10-15 pages long? Surely far from 50) was a about a ship (a merchant ship?) which is suddenly attacked by a huge, worm-like, sea creature.

I'm not sure, but I think that the main character survives the event by sheltering in a cabin or something similar.

For now, the first story is the only one I remember. Should any other one come up to memory, I'll update the present question.

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  • @user14111, As regards the first question, I don't really care, as the first story is the one I preferred and, tbh, I think that given the name of the author, then is very easy to find anything, included the anthology. It was a very small and thin paper book, probably classifiable as pocket. Not sure about the age. And it was an italian translation.
    – Enlico
    Commented Mar 9, 2022 at 9:29

2 Answers 2

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Perhaps "A Tropical Horror", a 1905 short story by William Hope Hodgson (1877–1918) of whom Wikipedia says:

Hodgson's work is said to have had an influence on H.P. Lovecraft, even though Lovecraft did not read his works until 1934.

Wikipedia plot summary:

In this story, a ship at sea is attacked by a giant, eel-like sea monster. The story is told from the point of view of the sole survivor, a young apprentice. The creature is aboard the ship for several days and gradually kills and/or eats the remainder of the crew. A second apprentice eventually succeeds in killing the creature, but he is killed in the process.

The end of the story is presented using a literary device in the form of a report from another ship, who has rescued the sole survivor. They validate his story, finding the ship damaged and the crew missing or dead.

You can listen to a Librivox recording of the story here.

According to the ISFDB the story has been translated into Italian twice. In 1985 "Terrore ai tropici", translated by Gianni Pilo, appeared on pp. 195–208 of the 230-page paperback La casa sull'abisso, a collection of Hodgon stories. In 1990 "Orrore ai tropici", translated by Mida, appeared as the first story, on pp. 3–14, of the 284-page paperback anthology Horror Story 4.

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    That's the one! And, for my own memory, this was part of the book L'orrore del mare, which collects a few other stories. A Tropical Horror is named in italian as il mostro (which means the monster).
    – Enlico
    Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 9:38
  • Ah, ISFDB doesn't know about that one. Their coverage of non-English material is rather hit-and-miss.
    – user14111
    Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 9:44
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Perhaps "The Man Who Was Saved", a short story by B. W. Sliney, first published in Weird Tales, May, 1926, available at the Internet Archive. The story fits your description pretty well.

ISFDB synopsis:

A freighter hauls in a man who claims to be the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by a mysterious unseen sea creature powerful enough to crush a whale to a pulp.

You can listen to a reading of the story at Pseudopod.

Is this the one you were looking for?

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    I'm pretty sure the author lived (or at least was born) before Lovecraft.
    – Enlico
    Commented Mar 9, 2022 at 13:44

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