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HP Lovecraft and His Work

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  • There were some nasty conspiracy theories of the 'Zionist banks control everything' variety floating around Occupy. I wouldn't say it was prevalent but I came across it in a lot of places, from the anarchists a little, ironically from progressives who were anti-Israel, and a lot of it predictably from the Ron Paul people.

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    • And I suspect some Demoncratic leaders of being hybrids...enough politics!

      In the Lovecraft Universe, there are dark secrets concealed rather carelessly-The "Necronomicon" is held in libraries, true, in the restricted collections, but, well, some people get to see it. Funny how it keeps turning up at flea markets-I wrote one where the Cult was planting copies on tables at jumble sales for the unwary. Seemed logical.

      As we go forward, think of the horrors that deep time might conceal. Lost civilizations, other dominant races besides Homo sap. Gives a person pause.

      We also must contemplate structures like Macchu Pichu and Nan Midol-how they were made is a bit of a poser. There are explanations, but those are subject to serious doubts. What do we really know for certain?

      Considering the many factors against fossilization the thought of some of the creatures we'll never even guess at boggles the mind. We suspect venomous dinosaurs-certainly, the capability is in the reptile genetics, but may never know for sure.

      Lovecraft also played artfully on the feeling of being lost.

      Please remember, good friends, that HPL was a pioneer, drawing together diverse threads to weave a new fabric. This has gotten overdone, perhaps, still it's kinda new. Or was.

      And as to Lovecraft mellowing a bit after returning from New York-ever hear of growing up?

      Comment


      • Originally posted by krakenten View Post
        ...I wonder what Harlan Ellison's Mythos tale might be?
        He said the story's title is "Roderick Yog-Sothoth's Main Squeeze" and it's about the girl friend of one of the great old ones. I don't think it's been published. The really good news is this means work on "I Have A Mouth But I Still Can't Pronounce Y'yssidrithidcll Properly" can proceed apace.

        Originally posted by krakenten View Post
        ...
        As we go forward, think of the horrors that deep time might conceal. Lost civilizations, other dominant races besides Homo sap. Gives a person pause.
        To quote (out of context, naturally) HPL himself: Pardon the “bah!” I feel several “bahs!,” but out of courtesy I only say one. But it is all so very childish. I cannot help taking exception to a philosophy that would force this rubbish down my throat.

        Okay, so there's no force feeding, but isn't deep time alone enough to give a person pause? Does it really need to be a veil for hidden horrors?

        Originally posted by krakenten View Post
        We also must contemplate structures like Macchu Pichu and Nan Midol-how they were made is a bit of a poser. There are explanations, but those are subject to serious doubts. What do we really know for certain?
        See the bahs previously cited. This is latter day Von Danikenism. And, yes, I know you've criticized Von D, but you're still swimming in the same pool. The realities of "archaeological mysteries" are usually far more prosaic than this "In Search Of" type stuff.

        Originally posted by krakenten View Post
        ...
        And as to Lovecraft mellowing a bit after returning from New York-ever hear of growing up?
        This has not been established as indisputable fact. His ex-wife didn't think his attitude to Jews changed. ST Joshi seems to think Lovecraft's racism was fairly constant throughout his adult life. It's fairly easy to find racist quotes from his letters and work pretty much at any stage in his writing career, but I've yet to see one quote demonstrating that he had reconsidered his racist attitudes in any way whatsoever.
        Last edited by Heresiologist; 03-09-2015, 11:41 AM.

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        • I don't think anyone has posted these:

          Cthulhu fhtagn: In Defense of H.P. Lovecraft, George R.R. Martin, and Other Bad Writers

          Kind of a backhanded compliment.

          The Hideous Unknown of H.P. Lovecraft

          A 'worth reading' endorsement following a long exploration of flaws. Note the link to letters and reply at the end.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
            The realities of "archaeological mysteries" are usually far more prosaic.
            Stone, wood, ropes, levers, and sweat.

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            • summa youse guys don't know when you're being kidded!

              I realize that the rope, leavers, rollers and sweat are indeed the most logical explanations for these structures.....but when you think that some of these structures are so very precise(not to mention the elevation of Machu Pichu!) there is room for some wonder.

              I also think about the time invested-of course, there isn't much to do on Ponape, it might have been a fun community thing. Bean soup at the end of the day, dancing and breaking wind at night.

              And as for dressing up deep time, well, otherwise, where is the entertainment value?

              von D is a charlatan, no doubt. He did time in Switzerland for fraud. I've seen him on TV, and I wouldn't trust him with a used match.

              But I keep an open mind for wonders-there may be some, out there. Explaning them is fun, so is collecting them and sharing them with others.

              Occam's Razor is fine-I bring it out every time a mystery is presented.

              I'm still hoping for a phone call from Azathoth.

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              • Originally posted by krakenten View Post
                summa youse guys don't know when you're being kidded!
                Alright, you got me. But I still think you're only a quarter or so kidding. Then again I also suspect you're not in Baltimore but somewhere in Russia, near some WW2 era Nazi bunkers, wearing a pope hat crowned with an octopoid thing, leading a sect of believers in that Lovecraft religion you keep mentioning.
                Last edited by Heresiologist; 03-09-2015, 09:56 PM.

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                • I love all those 'ancient alien' books and other fake archaeology books. Mixed with the fun BS there are genuine anomalies, even if the explanations are way off base. When the anomalies build up, you can get a revolution. But as far as building techniques, ancient and neolithic architecture, etc. I think it's all pretty straightforward - people are strong, smart, industrious, and build amazing things.

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                  • [QUOTE=Heresiologist;281901]
                    Originally posted by krakenten View Post
                    This has not been established as indisputable fact. His ex-wife didn't think his attitude to Jews changed. ST Joshi seems to think Lovecraft's racism was fairly constant throughout his adult life. It's fairly easy to find racist quotes from his letters and work pretty much at any stage in his writing career, but I've yet to see one quote demonstrating that he had reconsidered his racist attitudes in any way whatsoever.
                    There is, for example, his positive comments on Rabbi Weiss and his speech on the New Deal in his unfinished letter to James F. Morton, accompanied by his disparaging comment on "the polite Nazis" of Wall Street. I'd think he got better over his life, but certainly not good enough. If he had had another ten years... who knows?

                    As for his ex-wife -- I think they didn't have much contact after they parted ways. She certainly didn't know that he had died until several years after the fact.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Ningauble View Post
                      Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
                      Originally posted by krakenten View Post
                      This has not been established as indisputable fact. His ex-wife didn't think his attitude to Jews changed. ST Joshi seems to think Lovecraft's racism was fairly constant throughout his adult life. It's fairly easy to find racist quotes from his letters and work pretty much at any stage in his writing career, but I've yet to see one quote demonstrating that he had reconsidered his racist attitudes in any way whatsoever.
                      There is, for example, his positive comments on Rabbi Weiss and his speech on the New Deal in his unfinished letter to James F. Morton, accompanied by his disparaging comment on "the polite Nazis" of Wall Street. I'd think he got better over his life, but certainly not good enough. If he had had another ten years... who knows?

                      As for his ex-wife -- I think they didn't have much contact after they parted ways. She certainly didn't know that he had died until several years after the fact.
                      Yes, agreed. My impression is that, when it comes to race, he seems to go back and forth a lot, making comments that seem solidly in the "man of his day" vein, but also many that are much more extreme.

                      Like most of us, guy was complicated. Especially, it seems, when it comes to Jews, what with his appreciation of Einstein and Freud's works, as well as working with Houdini and marrying Sonia Greene.

                      I thought he and his wife maintained better contact, but a quick glance at Wikipedia confirms yet again that memory is often faulty. I'll have to downgrade somewhat the weight I've assigned to those letters of hers.

                      Still, what I was after was some sort of mea culpa or otherwise direct statement of reconsideration. All the arguments for the later mellowing seem essentially based on reading between the lines. Of course, given the nature of the evidence we have, that's often all there is.

                      Since this thread has had me re-excavating into the man's life, what's recently surprised me is HPL's rather naive seeming appreciation for the KKK. I would have otherwise thought his correspondence with REH (especially the infamous letter which saw REH pretty much say he knew the smell of roasted human) might have led him to at least have some doubts about KKK violence not being just the actions of a few bad apples. But that's probably down to the nature of the evidence as well. The KKK boosting preceded his correspondence with REH by 10-15 years.

                      I've read that some of Lovecraft's friends questioned his racism in the letters they wrote him. I'd really like to get a look at some of those. Similarly, I've read he received criticism from Weird Tales readers, maybe even some of it due to the racism. Again, assuming it really exists, I'd really like to know more about the nature of that criticism.

                      As for the "what if he lived another 10 years" question, it's not concerned with the social impact of WW2, but how about Fritz Leiber thinking about if HP had lived until the 1960s:
                      http://cthulhuwho1.com/2010/10/07/fr...el-in-phoenix/

                      I like that he thinks HPL would have been a UFO skeptic.
                      Last edited by Heresiologist; 03-10-2015, 02:39 PM. Reason: Had to revise the "burning flesh" phrase as it quickly led to misinterpretation

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                      • Burning flesh? I've smelled a lot of it. And not just from a malfunction in my George Foreman Grill!

                        Those old pulpistas often had a grandiose opinion of their own macho, sometimes they forgot that they wrote this stuff, they didn't experience it.

                        All that bravado and ferocity was moonshine, Hells' fire, HPL lived off his aunties, Howard killed himself when his Mama died-real tough guys, eh?

                        I can see Howard yerking his guts out at the sight of a sword wound, and HPL soiling himself in an ancient tomb. It's a lot easier to imagine than to experience first hand.

                        These guys were writers, fictioneers, imaginary adventurers.

                        That does not change the stirring nature of REH's prose or the deep dread Lovecraft could conjure. Just don't confuse it with reality.

                        This was escapist fiction, written to make the masses forget the real cares of the world. It did that pretty well, and does it still.

                        "I sing of tentacles and the man!"

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                        • Maybe I don't write about those things because I've done most of them? Got my allergies set off big time crawling around an old tomb. Gone spelunking. Hunted the Sasquatch in the Great North Woods. Went downstairs to find out what "that noise" was in the middle of the night. Smelled burned flesh. Sewn cut flesh. Moved out at sixteen. Relatives lived off me. Fought the Great Opossum in my own back yard. Found serpents hiding beneath the credenza.

                          I don't feel eldritch at all.

                          And the stupid word-speller doesn't recognize "eldritch"!

                          Lovecraft could never write with one of these spell-checky thingies!
                          Miqque
                          ... just another sailor on the seas of Fate, dogpaddling desperately ...

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                          • Originally posted by krakenten View Post
                            Burning flesh? I've smelled a lot of it. And not just from a malfunction in my George Foreman Grill!

                            Those old pulpistas often had a grandiose opinion of their own macho, sometimes they forgot that they wrote this stuff, they didn't experience it.

                            All that bravado and ferocity was moonshine, Hells' fire, HPL lived off his aunties, Howard killed himself when his Mama died-real tough guys, eh?

                            I can see Howard yerking his guts out at the sight of a sword wound, and HPL soiling himself in an ancient tomb. It's a lot easier to imagine than to experience first hand.

                            These guys were writers, fictioneers, imaginary adventurers.

                            That does not change the stirring nature of REH's prose or the deep dread Lovecraft could conjure. Just don't confuse it with reality.

                            This was escapist fiction, written to make the masses forget the real cares of the world. It did that pretty well, and does it still.

                            "I sing of tentacles and the man!"
                            If it was the stench of overcooked burgers, do you think it would be an infamous quote?

                            But point taken, I should have been more specific and not assumed familiarity or willingness to look the quote up. So here it is:
                            I don't know whether an Oriental smells any different than a nigger when he's roasting, but I'm willing to bet the aroma of scorching hide would have the same chastening effect on his surviving tribesman.
                            The context is REH and HPL discussing a trial in Hawaii involving some natives accused of rape.

                            Nobody said it changes the stirring nature of REH's prose (but I know for a fact that for some people it certainly does). And it was only escapist fiction written for the masses in the case of REH. Lovecraft wrote repeatedly about not writing for the sake of the rabble. Not to mention REH was presenting a certain point of view of how the world and the people in it work.

                            Also, I'm not so sure either guy's writing does as good a job these days as you think. You may call it presentism, but these days a lot of people just don't care to read around the racism. And why should they when there's pretty much an embarrassment of riches when it comes to SF&F?
                            Last edited by Heresiologist; 03-10-2015, 02:36 PM.

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                            • Tastes change.

                              Literature, even pulp fiction, changes with time, it progresses, finds new tropes, adapts to new discoveries.

                              I'm about to start writing Lovecraftian fiction again, after a long break. I won't be slinging the tar brush, but there are always ethnic/racial issues involved in such works.

                              Lovecraft seemed to save special spleen for mixed race people-sadly typical of racists. People of mixed ethniciy are often outcasts, unless they're really pretty, like Shannyn Sossimon, and outcasts are a big part of the Cult.

                              Have to see what happens

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