October 30, 2020, 05:16:37 AM

Author Topic: H. P. Lovecraft  (Read 339 times)

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

H. P. Lovecraft
« on: July 05, 2020, 04:22:50 AM »
I'm not really sure where to post this, but here goes. I've always been quite interested in dark, morbid stories like that of Edgar Allan Poe's work, and recently I've taken an interest in works by H. P. Lovecraft. Would anyone recommend them?

Offline Nora

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Re: H. P. Lovecraft
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2020, 04:21:36 PM »
He's hard to recommend and hard not to. He's vital to read to understand a lot of our current culture, as he's influenced SFF, horror, comics, films and video games. There would be no "the thing" without him, or no bloodborne, etc.

But you have to understand he had serious mental issues and was a raging racist and antisemite. Despite being married to a jewish woman... His entire work revolves around the fear of the unknown, as the deepest fear we can know, and he certainly experienced it first hand, and everyone who didn't look just like him was "unknown" to him. So whatever you do, be sure to research him as well as his work.

If you're curious, a great mangaka is doing manga adaptations of his stories :








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Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: H. P. Lovecraft
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2020, 06:23:22 PM »
"Hard to recommend and hard not to" is a pretty good summation.

Like Nora said, he was tremendously influential, and modern fantasy and horror would be very different without his input. But yes, he had massive issues and the racism in his stories does make me cringe. Although after watching a movie-length documentary on his life and finding out what kind of upbringing Lovecraft got I feel more pity than disgust. He never had any chance to be a functioning individual. And apparently his views did soften later in life, as he actually got out of his comfort zone. Maybe if he'd lived longer he would have wound up circa as racist as was typical for his era. Or maybe not. We'll never know.

But setting aside the racism, there is simply something to his writing style that I can't quite sum up, and yet have a significant appreciation for. The way he really piles on adjectives and antiquated words would normally be the mark of a hack, but somehow he makes it work.

As for works to recommend, I feel The Colour Out of Space and Rats in the Walls are two of his best stories, and as a little bonus they don't contain any of his race issues. I would say The Call of Cthulhu is worth a read/listen, if only to understand what that whole hallmark of fantasy-horror is actually all about. Warning: Contains racism. Then there's At the Mountains of Madness, which really captures that feel of incomprehensible spans of time, insignificance and inevitability of decay that I feel is essential to cosmic horror.

Also, in case you didn't know, Lovecraft's stories are on Youtube in audiobook form, with a narrator whose voice couldn't be more fitting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dguTaK7dcVs

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