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HP Lovecraft and His Work

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  • I also really hope GdT goes through with his intended production of Mountains of Madness, cause I think that would be pretty spectacular
    Last edited by SeeDoubleYou; 10-30-2014, 12:36 AM.
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    • To those who only see Lovecraft's racial quirk, look deeper.

      "The Thing on the Doorstep" is terrific story-and just in time for our current zombie craze. He actually has characters in that one.

      HPL grew up in a comfortable world, with his Grandfather's library as a refuge. Then his father went crazy from syphilis(he was a traveling man, streetwalkers and brothels were not unknown to him.)

      Really virulent racists often are scapegoating-they blame some group for their poverty and troubles(somebody has to be blamed, I learned that early on).

      Read Flannery O'Conner's "The Artificial Nigger"-two hilljacks go to the city and get lost. As they wander, they become more and more enraged at the blacks they pass- I had a similar experience in Hong Kong, and the Chinese were not my favorite people that day. Reflection later brought me to see the error of my ways.

      The Germans(and others) scapegoated the Jews for the lost war and depression. We see where that went. The fact that Wilhelm pretty much brought the war on, singlehanded(he had a withered arm)got lost.

      And even though German Jewery was the best assimilated in Europe, there was always an undercurrent of Jew baiting in Europe. Eastern Europe was bad, and France was always ready for some cruelty-ask Dreyfus.

      Lovecraft was a man of his time and place. Hate the sin, but love the sinner.

      When Lovecraft died, it was noted that he was malnourished. He paid the price.

      Yes, he was a gifted hack. His flaws as a writer are numerous.

      Still, his Mythos lived on. Its given birth to several actual cults, one in Russia accused of cannibalism, a couple of Starry Wisdom sects(wonder what they use for the Shining Trapezohedron, maybe a salt shaker?).

      Many of us look at life and ask, "is that all there is?". As children, life was full of mysteries, then they were all gone.

      The Mythos offers us a set of mysteries for adulthood. YOLO, guys, I find a certain satisfaction in the Mythos, even though I know it's all hokum.

      With the recent discoveries in physics, maybe Lovecraft was on to something?

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      • Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
        The universe doesn't care. Evidently. All the more reason to care for one another.
        Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Michael Moorcock.

        Mike, if you never wrote another line...!

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        • Originally posted by krakenten View Post
          To those who only see Lovecraft's racial quirk, look deeper.

          "The Thing on the Doorstep" is terrific story-and just in time for our current zombie craze. He actually has characters in that one.
          ah yes - his one story with a female main character - the one where he swaps his racial quirk for his misogynist quirk...

          I'm joking, I love that story. And Asenath was possessed by her evil father anyway IIRC.

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          • Her father was a fiend.....who could name an innocent child 'Asenath'? It's child abuse! She'd be called 'Asenine' for her whole life.

            A test of the Lovecraft concept is that it can be adapted to so many settings. Where have we seen Cthulhu and the gang? From pole to pole and round about, from the stone age to the space age.

            In fact, I'm thinking of a reboot of my series of tales from York Co. PA and Baltimore-where the strange repository is part of the Foundation, tasked to oppose the Great Old Ones, and their minions(oooh, those nasty minions!).

            I started it a bit before Stross gave us his wonderful Laundry Files-it was a monthly feature in 'Fantastic Horror', a volunteer on line magazine that had a three year run.

            My stories are more achedemic than bureaucratic-Stross catches the world of Civil Service perfectly, mine are more Bulldog Drummond-y

            Maybe....

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            • Originally posted by SeeDoubleYou View Post
              I also really hope GdT goes through with his intended production of Mountains of Madness, cause I think that would be pretty spectacular
              Agreed that would be a spectacular film. There are very few well produced and accurate films based on Lovecraft's work, although I have to admit even the one's loosely based on his books are fun to watch. Have you seen the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's production of "The Call Of Cthulhu" and "Whisperer In Darkness"? In my opinion the two best films ever made based on Lovecraft's tales.

              http://www.cthulhulives.org/store/st...s/coc-dvd.html
              http://www.cthulhulives.org/store/st...perer-dvd.html
              "He found a coin in his pocket, flipped it. She called: 'Incubus!'
              'Succubus,' he said. 'Lucky old me.'" - Michael Moorcock The Final Programme

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              • The Historical Society films are great, I own both.

                The revised ''Whisperer in Darkness'' is just a ripping film. It looks totally authentic, if it was n after midnight, it could pass for a Republic or Universal release.

                There is a third one in the works, however, I am honor bound to say no more. I predict a dilly!

                The Society also sells a production of 'Cool Air' with an apearance by Dukey Flyswatter. And yes, the story is a rehash of M. Valdemar. Deal with it.

                And they say Lovecraft can't be filmed? Faugh!

                The films are done by veterans of the Hollywood Crafts unions-they started by making props for live action role playing games. Production values are exquisite.

                And in a head-to-head writing contest, Lovecraft vs. Moorcock?

                Moorcock, hands down. Larger, more varied output, better dialog, more complex plots.

                It's a mismatch, Lovecraft goes down in the first round, by a knockout.

                Yet, Lovecraft has his reputation. He has two tombstones, just like Poe(one is a Lovecraft cenotaph, a cenotaph, where two demented college kids spent hours digging. No one is quite sure if the body in the Poe tomb really is Poe, though most of the evidence says it is).

                (should you visit Baltimore, stop by Poe's graves, the graveyard is worthy of a Hammer production, there are catacombs,too. Besides, it's hard by Lexington Market , where there are good eats to be had. The Poe Museum has closed, alas, but the Walters Museum, Peabody Museum and several quaint churches are close. The Museum of Modern Art is a short bus ride up Charles Street. If you visit the Inner Horror, oops, Harbor, there's a Ripley's museum, the Science Center and Port Discovery, a highbrow kid's attraction.

                And the National Aquarium, too.! Such a deal!)

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                • Also loved how South Park used their Cthulhu/Totoro homage
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                  • Originally posted by krakenten View Post
                    There is a third one in the works, however, I am honor bound to say no more. I predict a dilly!
                    Oooo a third H.P.L. Historical Society film in the works? I can hardly wait! Wonder what it will be? I would love to see them do At The Mountains Of Madness, The Dunwich Horror, or The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward. The Society's attention to detail and filming style is impeccable and they have some really cool items for sale in their shop. I just wish I had jumped on buying one of the miniature trees they had used in The Whisperer In Darkness, would have looked nice on my Lovecraft shelf on my bookcase.
                    "He found a coin in his pocket, flipped it. She called: 'Incubus!'
                    'Succubus,' he said. 'Lucky old me.'" - Michael Moorcock The Final Programme

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
                      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.
                      I guess I'm in a whole different camp. I'm a big fan of separating the author from the work, the artist from the painting. (Not the musician from the song, the two are intertwined in space/time.)

                      Lovecraft is a fascinating psychological study. Obviously, he was tweaked. That's sad. However, his writing survives, continues in print and causes people to talk to each other. Is that not a good thing?

                      I've been working on a theory for a while (e.g. years) that, as yet, has no name. The basic idea is this: When we take in and learn incorrect and/or outmoded/obsolete information as an infant or child, we retain this and build on this misinformation as Fact. Examples would be thinking people are inferior/superior due to skin melanin content; assuming the particulars / details / rituals of your religion are not only the "only" one, but has such power as to demand all people who do not believe precisely the same way you do are to be killed; that the world is flat; that cucumbers feel pain (they don't, it's an electrostatic phenomena); that "math is hard" - come on, we can all come up with a thousand examples. The thing is, some folks get so ego-involved with their own interpretation of reality that they never manage to go back and examine the foundation of their "house". Or do not apply insight when the same bad things keep happening.

                      As much as I love and respect my parents, to this day I'm going back and fixing some idiotic something-or-another that latched itself to my brain and replacing it with something that works. My folks were older when they had me (mom was 39, dad mid-50's - we were never sure, he flat-out kept lying about his age and got away with it), so "obsolete" or "outmoded" might be the kindest way to phrase it. Some was sheer and utter crap, and have had to be replaced in the whole cloth.

                      Call it Miqque's Misinformation Maxim or whatever's clever. Remember, this is a psychological theory with social aspects - so no bringing up nasty neurology! It's certainly not "my" idea, actually what got me thinking was a couple of places in the Bible (KJV) about building one's house on sand when it should be built on rock. (Not The Rock, Duane would be annoyed, but a reference to Jesus as The Rock. An early nick.) It seems to me that this is a real good general principle; examine the site, plan, then build a solid foundation. What is not said, but is also a good idea, is to go back and do some maintenance on a regular basis! I've found all kinds of crumbling concrete, termites, bugaboos and closet monsters while examining my own psyche. Get rid of them! Bad construction! Do the rebuild yourself and it's free! (It helps to have a wee bit of experience. And training. And back-up!)

                      What I'm talking about is NOT psychotherapy, but I cannot think of much that is more therapeutic. Growing up in Hollywood, we had some of just about every type of person around. There was rampant prejudice globally
                      against blacks (then called colored) and homosexuals - although no one would define the terms like "faggot" in any way a kid might make sense of. Same for drunks, hobos, Jews, Baptists, people with red or no hair - the list goes on. The Fifties were a hotbed of hate. I clearly remember Dr. King being called a "rabble-rouser" by adults, and as a kid I guess I took it as true, although the emotion attached was confusion and a bit of frustration for not being able to phrase the confusion. My buddy Tim and I were walking near Beverly and Western where there was a news stand and two vendors we knew. They we hawking the headline that Dr. King had been assassinated. We started to talk about it, and Tim mentioned also hearing the term "rabble-rouser". (This is one of the clearest memories I have, and my memory is pretty good.) I stopped dead to think. It took a few long moments, and I came to a decision. I was "rabble", and I was roused! Angry! So very angry! (I was home sick the day JFK was shot, and it was traumatic. He's still a hero of mine, despite the negative stuff.) That may well have been my first application of ejecting "learning" and insertion of "fact". Goodbye prejudice against blacks. Actually, something that took longer and was more difficult was stopping telling Polack "jokes". I knew people of Polish descent, and they certainly did not seem anywhere near as stupid as the jokes might suggest. Some of the ideas, though, were funny. It took growing some sophistication to realize that, and stop using "Polack". (I substituted "dumb guy" - as there were many times I was the dumb guy and could add a bit of self-deprecation so everybody could enjoy the joke and not feel bad. Later, the whole lot were re-issued by the U.S. Department of Comedy and Taxation as blonde jokes. Misogynistic they were, as the blonde was typically a she, but at least there was the comedy underneath, and telling such jokes cleverly by using "he" frequently helped. (Hey! It helped me, at least!) (Did you hear about the blonde who locked himself in his convertible?)

                      I still have prejudices and some bias, the goal is to be aware of them and never inflict them. Mine tend to be behavioral biases; I simply disapprove of certain behavior(s). Mostly, this has basis in facts, but I constantly find some sort of bad info or attitudinal garbage that has to go to the landfill.

                      This is much of what I think of Lovecraft. (btw, my nick in college became "Lovecraft", as my surname is Loveland and I wrote bunches of fantasy and sci-fi, so my writing/English prof tagged me with the Lovecraft thing.) None of us actually met HP, so there are no direct reports. That, to me, is critical in any sort of diagnosis. What was said about him was obviously tainted, so far as facts go. It would be like me making assumptions about Mike, instead of simply asking him. Not only would it be wrong, it's obviously rude. Clear reports from an unbiased observer (yeah, I know there ain't no sich critter) would be helpful. Best, though, would be an interview. It's a bit late for that. We could also dissect his works from the view of bibliotherapy. (That's using books in a therapeutic setting. I was a "supervising facilitator" for the Poetry Therapy Institute for years, my mentor and friend a honcho in the field. Poetry therapy is an adjunctive therapy, like music therapy or physical therapy; it lights up different areas of the brain on a PET scan. My contribution was using song lyrics - obvious, maybe, to you and I, but nearly heretical to the fundamentalists doing therapies. Thank God for Bob Dylan!) Bibliotherapy is different from analyzing a book or body of work, the idea is to use the material that triggers/associates with something that is then approached therapeutically. It's not profiling, as the subject is usually dead and therefore incapable of future crimes, so it is often the whole body of work that is examined.

                      The times in school we closely studied literature it was common to talk about the life and times of the author so we could learn about the person and their work in a holistic manner. With Dickens, for example, the rampant poverty and severe crowding in London at the time was critical to know about, as this was germane to the type of stories he wrote, why the characters were as they were and how this all affected Dickens as a writer. The same could pretty much be said for all authors and writers. There is the rare person who can and does write about something completely different from their internal self, but I can't think of one.

                      This is certainly one long post! I am curious, very curious, about what you, Mike, and the other bright folks here think about my little theory. Do these musings help separate, in the mind, the author from the work? Or do you believe them permanently entwined? Heck, I'm even going to do a thread subscription so I can reply in a timely manner. (I so rarely do that!) Thanks for listening!

                      And ... Happy Hallowe'en!

                      (Or Spectacular Samhain, whate'er floats yer boat. )
                      Miqque
                      ... just another sailor on the seas of Fate, dogpaddling desperately ...

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                      • Originally posted by Jack Of Shadows View Post
                        Originally posted by krakenten View Post
                        There is a third one in the works, however, I am honor bound to say no more. I predict a dilly!
                        Oooo a third H.P.L. Historical Society film in the works? I can hardly wait! Wonder what it will be? I would love to see them do At The Mountains Of Madness, The Dunwich Horror, or The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward. The Society's attention to detail and filming style is impeccable and they have some really cool items for sale in their shop. I just wish I had jumped on buying one of the miniature trees they had used in The Whisperer In Darkness, would have looked nice on my Lovecraft shelf on my bookcase.
                        The Dunwich Horror has been done, with Dean Stockwell.
                        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065669/combined

                        Also, there are some episodes of Rod Serling's Night Gallery that if not Lovecraft, were Lovecraft-inspired. Was Charles Dexter Ward one?
                        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065327/...=ttep_ep_sn_nx "Miss Lovecraft Sent Me", "Professor Peabody's Last Lecture", "Lagoda's Heads" (maybe) (these are Season 2).
                        Just a couple of examples, but Lovecraft's creations tend to wander all over the media landscapes.

                        Even in nature!



                        (Hope that shows up. It's Election Time, and Cthulhu is out stumping.)
                        Miqque
                        ... just another sailor on the seas of Fate, dogpaddling desperately ...

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                        • A miniature tree?

                          Don't be a piker, get the ''Bag f Cthulhu'', a collection g small Cthulhu idols, intended for board games.

                          Regretfully,the artist who made many of the Historical Society's Cthulhu idols has died. The good news? I HAVE ALL OF THEM! GLOAT!

                          Just search 'Bag of Cthulhu' for the little fellows.

                          With 3D printers becoming so affordableonce the question of rights is settled, I'm sure ol' calimari puss will be around for quite a while.

                          So you cultists can put away your crying towels.

                          (I just bought the new Godzilla movie. It's rather good. The fire breath is neutron blue. Nice touch. The Big Green Guy is on our side again! Hurrah!)

                          9in 10 cephalopds fund this post useful!

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                          • Howard Phillips Lovecraft, heaven knows, had a talent for writing which was of no means proportion: only what he did with this talent was a shame, and a caution and an eldritch horror. If he'd only gotten the hell out of his aunties' attic and obtained a job with the federal writer's project of the WPA, he could have turned out guidebooks that would have been classics and joys to read forever. Only he stayed up there muffled up to the tip of his long gaunt New England chin against the cold (which lay more in his heart than in his thermometer), living on 19 cents worth of beans a day, rewriting (for pennies) the crappy manuscripts of writers whose complete illiteracy would have been a boon to all mankind --ah, but life is a boon-- and producing ghastly, grisly, ghoulish, and horrifying works of his own as well --of maneating things which foraged in graveyards, of human/beastie crosses which grew beastlier and beastlier as they grew older, of gibbering Shoggoths and Elder beings which smelt real bad and were always trying to break through thresholds and take over; rugous, squamous, amorphous nasties abbetted by thin, gaunt New England eccentrics who dwelt in attics and who were eventually never seen or heard from again. Serve them damn well right, I say. In short, Howard was a twitch, boys and girls, and that's all there is to it.
                            - Twitch by Rudimentary Peni (AKA some old punk band you ain't never heard of)

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                            • Everybody knows Lovecraft was a train wreck.

                              Did he produce deathless prose? It hasn't died yet!

                              When I was actively writing Mythos, one thing puzzled me-what do these damn things want? People tried to write weird for the sake of weird in those days, but it never seemed to work very well.

                              So, I decided that they wanted our planet because it produced magical energy, which they wanted to use in a war with the Elder Gods.

                              I wrote the GOO like they were gangsters, ever at war with the Elder Gods.
                              Owning the Earth again would provide them great advantage.

                              I thought it was pretty good, but people ignored it in droves. Heigh-ho.

                              I did manage to score perhaps a thousand reads, so 'twas not all in vane.

                              Lovecraft was a pioneer-his work has been adapted to many genres and time periods-with varying success.

                              But I love it. The suggestion of something more, another layer to life, mostly hidden, singularly unattractive and very dangerous strikes a note in me, as it has ever since I read 'The Horror in the Museum'.

                              "Laugha while you can, monkey boy!"

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                              • Your gangster GOOs dilute the Mythos with a rather Derlethian hand.

                                If you're going to play the "but think of the grandeur of his cosmic vision" card, best not turn his baddies into stumbling mountain versions of human criminals.

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