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HP Lovecraft and His Work

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  • Wow, sounds like a grown up "X, Y and Z, fish detectives". Damn I loved that book when I was a little tacker...
    Will have to check out the grown up version!

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    • HP Lovecraft and His Work

      Thanks.
      A more recent one, LINT, is up for a prize ("Spread the Word" prize for obscure books that should be better known, or something along those lines). The short-short-list is by vote. You can vote for it here, if you want -
      http://www.worldbookday.com/spreadth....asp?BookID=70

      (If ya do, after registering in, use the link again to get back to the LINT page otherwise you'll never find it again (the site navigation is terrible))
      Steve A

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      • HP Lovecraft and His Work

        Hi, Steve --

        Quick story for you -- I'm over here in San Antonio, Texas and every time I fly off to a convention I'll usually ask a few of my sf friends if they need any signatures or want any of their books signed by any of the assorted guests. This one particular friend almost always has the following response: "Will Aylett be there?" In every case so far (World Fantasy Con / Worldcon / World Horror Con / etc.), my usual response is "Nope....no Aylett at this one." And he'll reply with, "Nah. No one I really want then."

        Needless to say, he's a devoted reader of your work (an understatement). Just thought you'd like to know.....
        Website | Blog | Online Store

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        • HP Lovecraft and His Work

          That's nice. (Tell him about that damn voting site maybe.)
          No, i never get invited to those things - or very rarely, and then can't afford to travel or something. Put him in touch with me if you want, through my site or whatever.
          Cheers.
          Steve A

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          • On Lovecraft, I’ve never been comfortable discussing Lovecraft as though his mythos was the only legacy with which we should appreciate and/or understand the late writer. I’m not a huge fan of his work on a personal level, but I see his works as a fascination with the alien and otherworldly as it relates to the human, and to describe his work as horror is to miss the point entirely.

            On punk, Gogol Bordello is one example of a punk band with musical mastery of a heady level most bands should aspire to.

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            • Originally posted by Chironnup View Post
              On Lovecraft, I’ve never been comfortable discussing Lovecraft as though his mythos was the only legacy with which we should appreciate and/or understand the late writer. I’m not a huge fan of his work on a personal level, but I see his works as a fascination with the alien and otherworldly as it relates to the human, and to describe his work as horror is to miss the point entirely.

              On punk, Gogol Bordello is one example of a punk band with musical mastery of a heady level most bands should aspire to.
              I agree whole-heartedly with everything you say in both paragraphs.
              My Facebook; My Band; My Radio Show; My Flickr Page; Science Fiction Message Board

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              • Originally posted by Chironnup View Post
                On Lovecraft, I’ve never been comfortable discussing Lovecraft as though his mythos was the only legacy with which we should appreciate and/or understand the late writer. I’m not a huge fan of his work on a personal level, but I see his works as a fascination with the alien and otherworldly as it relates to the human, and to describe his work as horror is to miss the point entirely.

                On punk, Gogol Bordello is one example of a punk band with musical mastery of a heady level most bands should aspire to.
                As usual I agree with Dead Air on this - HPL has always been to me Strange rather than horror. Depending on mood, I actually prefer his Dunsany inspired stuff to his Cthulhu ouvre.

                Re Gogol Bordello, you may want to check out Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen - though they describe themselves as more Kabaret Noir than punk (although "Mikelangelo" was originally lead singer of Prik Harness and The Great Muldavio was clarinetist in The Gadflys...). Makes the perfect accompaniment to Byzantium Endures and the first half of the The Laughter of Carthage.... I'll stop now before I go completely OT!
                Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
                Bakunin

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                • Article on the New Statesman site, by 'political philosopher', John Gray, on Lovecraft.

                  John Gray on the moral universe of H P Lovecraft
                  John Gray explores the philosophy of horror created by American writer H P Lovecraft.


                  Worth a read.

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                  • Originally posted by Pietro_Mercurios View Post
                    Very good piece IMHO.
                    This new volume sounds worth a look. Essay by Alan Moore therein.
                    Gray emphasises Lovecraft's loss of father, mother's mental illness and his own anxiety condition. All v relevant I agree.
                    And his philosophy of the universe's total indifference etc is well elucidated here.
                    Very much of his time. In the 1920s the term multiverse in the William James sense was being used a fair bit to sum up this view of a chaotic uncaring (godless, usually) universe, at least in the UK. Amusingly the only good evidence that I have found so far for this is the writings of churchmen attacking this POV.
                    They had a catchphrase, "We live in a Universe, not a Multiverse."
                    It's a shame Lovecraft didn't pick up on the term, in a way. I think he would have liked it!

                    I think Gray might be wrong to say "Fortunately, the core of his work has nothing to do with his social and racial resentments."
                    I would suggest that his psychological difficulties tied in strongly with his social and racial resentments, and all three underlie the core of the work. A distaste for the Other including the female of his own species seems to be pretty much at the very "core". I'd be surprised if Alan Moore didn't bring that out in his introduction, having read Moore's Neonomicon.
                    Gray is arguably very good on the "empty universe" angle, less so on the "empty heart," though he doesn't ignore it.
                    He states that he thinks HPL wasn't a misanthrope though surely he was damn close!
                    Definitely worth reading and I'm pleased that HPL is at least getting written about at this level of intelligence.
                    Not because I particularly love the stories, but they are undoubtedly important for fantastika in general.

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                    • I guess I'm in the Lovecraft wasn't such a misanthrope camp. There are just too many anecdotes about him being a swell, highly talkative, guy to too many people. Not to mention what kind of misanthrope devotes so much time to being a penpal with so many people?

                      However, I am in the his racism was egregious camp. And I'd tend to agree the racism was one of the foundations for much of his writings.

                      I've read that the divorce papers cite his virulent anti-semitism as one the main reasons for the split. I haven't found a primary source though.

                      But I did come across an interesting blog post (http://chrisperridas.blogspot.ca/200...a-surface.html) about some letters his ex-wife wrote.

                      In a June 1949 letter she wrote:
                      My expose of Howard's anti-semitism was very mild in comparison to its real force. I did not tell everything. Tho' Derleth insists that in his later yrs. H. P. changed his mind considerably in his attitude toward the Jewish people. Personally, I don't believe he did.
                      And in an October 1950 letter:
                      I would not be at all surprised to find that HP had taught all or most of his gentile and Christian correspondents, also, to hate Jews and giving these correspondents reasons for wiping them out, a la Hitler.
                      But I'm sure the Derlethian derived view that his racism diminished in his later years will continue to dominate.
                      Last edited by Heresiologist; 10-25-2014, 08:38 PM.

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                      • The thing I have to admit is,his paranoia against other cultures gives a lot of the effect in his work, his work is much scarier than it would be written by someone who sees everyone as human. Someone I knew wrote a good defence of her reasons for reading him, I can't word it as well myself but basically, it was that his bigotry is part of the horror and you have to be a non bigoted reader to get the effect of that. One thing I would say is that, I sense a self criticism in his stories. His racist protagonists are not tough, admirable heroes but often weak, confused men. His and his characters fear of other cultures is not shown in a good light, IMO. That's why I would defend them over a book where a cool hero is killing foreign people.

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                        • Ouch!

                          As one who admires Lovecraft for his greasy paranoia and his realization that we as a species are soooo boned I am sadly in agreement.

                          Lovecraft lived in a racist world(I grew up in a similar world)and had more than a bit of the mental illness of racisim-that strange mentality that has one hating the others in an abstract context. I've known this type to be so confused that they invite black or Jewish friends to share their views. They don't hate individuals, just groups of people, and those people they don't know!

                          They say, "Some of my best friends are-insert-" and it's true.

                          Remember that HPL's mother and father both died insane(syphillis) and that he was "tetched" himself.

                          But don't miss his point, cosmic horror-the Universe is neither hostile nor friendly, it gives not a fig for mankind or his works.

                          In among the apostrophes, hyphens and silent letters, this is the true philosophy of Mr. Lovecraft. He lifted plots(Herbert West is Frankenstein, "Out of the Ages" is 'The Mummy', there are many others), but his message is simple-the Universe doesn't care.

                          That and the universal truth that we live by chance, and die the same way. Cthulhu and his friends(or is that fiends?) are lurking about, much diminished, but still dangerous and ready to fix our wagons.

                          Just like Moby Dick, go looking for him, and you'll be sorry. Or run into him by chance, and be just as sorry.

                          Just the thing for those who ask, "Is that all there is?".

                          Sure,there's more. But you won't like it.

                          I close by applauding you for excoriating Heinlein-the man was a crypto-fascist and a foot fetishist, too!-but did you mean to speak ill of "Watership Down" and those cute bunny wabbits?

                          My late wife-who was not the sentimental type-loved that book so much she often used Lapinese in conversation.

                          Do as you will with the rest of his work, but spare those put-upon bunnies!

                          (a lot of 'Starship Troopers' came from Heinlein's brief stint in the Navy-those Mobile Infantry types were a lot like China Marines.

                          Say what you will, those hardcases, unloved and untutored, stopped the Japanese juggernaut long enough for the USA to get rolling-and few people have a lot of sympathy for the Black Dragons and their monsterous ideas.)

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                          • The universe doesn't care. Evidently. All the more reason to care for one another.
                            I don't find that observation re the uncaring universe particularly profound or troubling. I believe we all dance on the edge of the abyss. How we dance is the important thing. It's the only effect we can, most of the time, hope for.
                            I have admitted this before, but I find HPL pretty much unreadable. About the only story I finished was At the Mountains of Madness which I believe is untypical. Antisemitism can put me off even the greatest writers but of course I wouldn't ban it. It's an historical record. If the tree's poisoned, we need to know the contents of the soil and try to make sure we get that poison out of the soil. Some people seem to think they can keep the tree healthy by adding more and different poison.

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                            • I'm right now reading one of HPL's favourites - Algernon Blackwood for the first time and really enjoying his stories. More interesting and better written than HPL in my opinion, and so far free of that old "I just bumped into a scary black person and looked them in the eye and now a curse is on me" trope.

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                              • Maybe the universe doesn't care because that's what we want? Maybe it doesn't care because it really cares?
                                I too only read the Mountains of Madness, though I've yet to finish it. I was first introduced to Lovecraft peripherally by the Illuminatus Trilogy scene in which his Old Gods were used, and I remember the sense of claustrophobia about it...I love how other people tend to use his mythology, like Stross's Laundry Files series.
                                If the underlying theme is that he's a racist/bigot, etc., I really don't care cause, in my opinion, such things are a kind of way to expose this rot amongst all people who share that feeling (also, considering where and when he was born and raised, etc., I think I can give him a bit of compassionate-clearance for being that way). Allowing yourself and others to gently change your mind about things that this engenders and exposes and which lingers, maybe, just below the surface.
                                I think whether it's poison or rot in the soil is a matter of perspective cause ultimately, the universe doesn't care.
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