H P Lovecraft

WebEschatology

Well-known member
I think about this video that compares him to Clark Ashton Smith from time to time
especially the perspective on how Lovecrafts stories always tend to take people out equasion where as Ashton Smith's still keeps them in there and how HP's idea of a cataclysmic end is very much an adolescent one the realisation that world isn't fair and on the other hand Ashton Smith's view on it is more akin to middle age and how it gradualy happens over time.
 

WebEschatology

Well-known member
Speaking of the film, yeah, it certainly looks and sounds good (or rather, horrible, which of course is the point), and you've got Nic Cage going full Nic Cage in the way that only he can, but it's badly let down by the stupid decision to make the daughter some sort of wiccan occultist, which is completely contrary to the spirit of the story. And her copy of the Necronomicon looks like it came from Amazon and has a front cover that might be the logo of a band that was Marilyn Manson's support act in 1998! I mean, FFS, there are supposed to be about four copies in existence, all of them centuries old and written in mediaeval Latin, roughly the size and mass of a tombstone and bound in human skin. Come on, this basic stuff!
Me i enjoyed the movie as it went on and honestly compared to other movies this was a more restrianed Nic Cage performance where he wasn't shouting himself hoarse (his status as a human meme has really restricted and stifled the way people talk about him as an actor for a long time and i'm glad that people are finally moving away from that)

The thing with the daughter being a goth occultist didn't bug me as much as much as it did you considering how many metalheads have taken lovecraft stories wholesale and made a career out of it although the fact that she was listening to Burzum of all bands in one scene in the movie i thought was funny. Like it made sense to me considering it's a "modern" retelling and these details you take issue with are indeed "basic" stuff basic in the sense that they don't have anything to do with the actual core of the story and more so how it's presented it's no different from comic book nerds who kick up dust over how they got a characters costume wrong or how they shouldn't have let Judge Dredd take off the helmet.

(related note: Varg Vikernes should never be given any kind of movie money,its wild that there was so much handwringing and "mystique" over him for years about wether he was some kind of genius or a total moron and that it took for him making youtube videos and getting on twitter to prove the latter right)
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
@Corpsey @Mr. Tea reading back through what you two said about lovecraft and cthulhu not being scary i'm reminded that a friend of mine she said how the big underpinning behind every Lovecraft story is the fear that you are not at the center of the universe, that beyond the stars is some great unknowable literal "alien" being or celestial force that's greater than you in a way that you can't possibly fathom and that you're but a mere spec in the face of them.

For the people who made up much of the ethnic and class groups that he loathed even after he tempered them over time they're consistently reminded that they are not at the center of the universe in many direct and indirect ways that leave them open to cruetly and mistreatment aswell as being blocked out of many structures or assistances that can give them some semblence of protection so this great twist is like "ok what else is new?"

Whereas for him a self sylised out of time 18th century gentleman who grew up in Providence around that time in America when being "blue blooded" was still considered a source of pride, its cataclysmic and sudden.
You're absolutely right - HPL's great fears are very much the fears of an upper-class white man in the USA in the early 20th century (and, crucially, one without the wealth that could otherwise have used to insulate himself both from the swarthy hordes and from constant, crushing financial insecurity).

TBH I can't really imagine what it must be like to read HPL as a non-white person, although it's interesting that the world's uncontested top Lovecraft scholar is originally from India.

You ever read Michel Houellebecq's book, Against the World, Against Life?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
This is worth reading re. Lovecraft and racism too - some links in it I haven't checked out yet, look interesting though.

 

WebEschatology

Well-known member
You're absolutely right - HPL's great fears are very much the fears of an upper-class white man in the USA in the early 20th century (and, crucially, one without the wealth that could otherwise have used to insulate himself both from the swarthy hordes and from constant, crushing financial insecurity).

TBH I can't really imagine what it must be like to read HPL as a non-white person, although it's interesting that the world's uncontested top Lovecraft scholar is originally from India.

You ever read Michel Houellebecq's book, Against the World, Against Life?
i haven't i've only partially read one of his books (which was Whatever) and i just found myself rolling my eyes at it

like yeah alright man 60s free love ruined society "apprently" meanwhile he's pondering what kind of g-string the woman one of the women in his office is wearing,is this Against the world any better?
 

WebEschatology

Well-known member
@Mr. Tea i agree that it is interesting but sometimes i feel like S.T. Joshi is a little too forgiving of my mans bullshit.

It reminds me of certain people who are really into old cartoons who swear that something like "coal black and de sebben dwarfs" is one of the best animations ever made but when you point out the obvious they get awkwardly defensive or accuse you of being the real racist.
 

catalog

Well-known member
I've read the houellebeq book about lovecraft. I thought it was OK for what it was but nothing very striking. By that I mean I can remember nothing from it and took no notes.

BUT I've read little or no lovecraft so it was probably a daft idea to read the critique first anyway.

I did enjoy Alan Moores big thing, providence, although it Peters away a bit, plus he does these annoying text digressions. and has this one really quite disturbing bit. Good ratcheting of tension in bits tho, would recommend.
 

WebEschatology

Well-known member
also @Mr. Tea i can tell you from my own experience my introduction of all things was the trailer for a PS2 game that was made about his writing when i was like 14-15 never got around to playing it but thatwas the spark and i didn't actually read anything of his until a couple years later a tutor of mine lent me a collection that had like 4 stories the main one being at the mountain of madness and keep it a buck i found his writing hard going just because it was so florid i couldn't really get into it.

Then i borrowed a penguin collection (The call of cthulhu and other stories) in sixth form and that felt like a better entry point some better than others but yes as far as his racism its like...i dunno what else to say its there its a flaw of the man but its a facet of his writing and the same goes for some of his peers aswell what with Robert E Howard ascribing personality characteristics to the race of characters and stuff like that.


There's stuff in terms of tropes and ideas with those old stories that feel really far reaching and strange that i dig and often they weren't able to really go further because their writing wasn't up to par (sunken continents/city,weird ancient magic and things from way way beyond the stars etc) that i'm into because i like old stuff but i'm not an eediat it's right there infront of me its what it is regardless of whether he tempered it over time or not and my feelings on race are just the same for the kind of romantic gentlemen he idolised AND the kind of blue bloods he so deeply wished to be a part of.

In some ways his great reveals in stories that they discover they got African ancestry or now they know what great horror lurks beyond the stars they'll now be in a permanat state of paranoia as to who could be out there ready to kill them and how they look different(this like i said including some poor white people aswell cause hey he wanted to be English) is comedy to me.
 

WebEschatology

Well-known member
BUT I've read little or no lovecraft so it was probably a daft idea to read the critique first anyway.

I did enjoy Alan Moores big thing, providence, although it Peters away a bit, plus he does these annoying text digressions. and has this one really quite disturbing bit. Good ratcheting of tension in bits tho, would recommend.
yeah you need to rectify that its not like his stories are hard to find online since if i remember right they are public domain sources (hence why there's so much fan stuff based on his work)

but its what it is for me, i feel like in order for this thread to go further we might have to go and dig into like some of the writing and novella stuff from fans after he died i could see some people in here digging say W.H. Pugmire for instance, he's dead now and if you find any photos/videos of him from a few years back he did not look well but a gay mormon horror writer come on there's more than enough things to dig into there
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
i haven't i've only partially read one of his books (which was Whatever) and i just found myself rolling my eyes at it

like yeah alright man 60s free love ruined society "apprently" meanwhile he's pondering what kind of g-string the woman one of the women in his office is wearing,is this Against the world any better?
For my part, that's the only Houellebecq book I've read. It's about Lovecraft, more like an extended essay than a biography or anything like that. It's worth reading if you're into HPL, but if you're not, then it's probably not.
 

catalog

Well-known member
yeah you need to rectify that its not like his stories are hard to find online since if i remember right they are public domain sources (hence why there's so much fan stuff based on his work)
I did have a moment a few years back where he was on my radar everywhere I went (eg Moore, who I still keep up to date with on almost everything he does, also that Richard Stanley film that someone I know was trying to work on, the interest in some tree shapes, some other mentions I cannot remember now, maybe D&G?) so I made a concerted effort with a story but never went further. I think it's the overt ghostness/weird supernatural creature element that I cannot really take. And I know it's not really about that so much as the terror of it. But it felt a little out of my bounds of believability as in I was unable to get on board.

But if you or tea tell me a single one to read, I will have a go and try to give a clear reflection as per what I've been doing with aickman.

One thing that happened is I got sidetracked early on by Machen who I now really love.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
@WebEschatology Howard is an interesting case, because he was of Irish descent at a time when they faced a lot of prejudice from WASP types in America, and were even regarded as being not quite 'proper' white people in the racial pseudoscience of the era, so his racism comes from a somewhat different place than HPL's.

He was also something of an incel, I think - very close relationship with his mother, to the extend that he killed himself after she died - and, reading between the lines in a lot of his stories (which are drenched in sex, in total contrast to HPL), I think he was probably bi, with all the self-loathing that would come along with that in an intensely homophobic society.

Lovecraft, of course, was very much a volcel outside of his brief marriage to Sonia Green, what with being about 95% asexual.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
But if you or tea tell me a single one to read, I will have a go and try to give a clear reflection as per what I've been doing with aickman.
Sorry, I've lost track a bit - you talking about Lovecraft or Moore? I've not read anything by the latter. For Lovecraft, The Colour out of Space is easily his best single story, but maybe don't read that one first, in order to avoid finding the others disappointing. His late, more science-fictional novellas are good: try At The Mountains of Madness and The Shadow out of Time.

Among his shorter/earlier stories, The Music of Erich Zann is decent, very atmospheric, and a rare example of a story in which, if anything, he errs on the side of showing the reader too little instead of too much. It's really the first story where he finds his own voice as a writer and isn't just aping Poe or Dunsany.

Speaking of Machen, what's your favourite? I really liked 'The Terror'.
 

catalog

Well-known member
Talking about lovecraft not Moore. Can't beleive you've not read any Moore! Re Machen, N is very good, Hill of dreams also excellent, London adventure as well. Not read the terror.

OK so knowing me as you do which of all those lovecraft please
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Talking about lovecraft not Moore. Can't beleive you've not read any Moore! Re Machen, N is very good, Hill of dreams also excellent, London adventure as well. Not read the terror.

OK so knowing me as you do which of all those lovecraft please
I know I should read some Moore, I mean in theory he's right up my street.

Start with Mountains of Madness, it's great.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
'Rats' is a good shout, although the narrator's cat has a name that would definitely get you thrown off a creative writing course.
 
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