HP Lovecraft - Classic Or Dud?

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1. Because Sarah is reading one of his scary booXoR while she convalesces.

2. How on earth did a surname like Lovecraft come to be??

Tom (Groke), Thursday, 6 February 2003 12:33 (eighteen years ago) link

I used to think he was dud but I was a fool.

Tom (Groke), Thursday, 6 February 2003 12:34 (eighteen years ago) link

he is CLASSIC. I mean, he has some duff stories, but the good ones are really good. Part of the fun with Lovecraft is that his narrators are a bit dim, so you can see the scary twist ages before they can, so you know what HORRORE is about to befall them.

I had great fun going around Boston last year looking at Lovecraftian locations.


DV (dirtyvicar), Thursday, 6 February 2003 12:47 (eighteen years ago) link

search:

Pickman's Model

The Shadow Over Innsmouth

At The Mountains Of Madness

The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward

The Thing On The Doorstep

The Whisperer In Darkness

The Picture In The House

DV (dirtyvicar), Thursday, 6 February 2003 12:49 (eighteen years ago) link

he's classique pulp!

nathalie (nathalie), Thursday, 6 February 2003 12:54 (eighteen years ago) link

His stories about mad scientists, 'Charles Dexter Ward' and 'Herbert West', are total classic, the latter one being among the funniest things I've ever read (pitch black humour - could be unintentional).

As for his other writings: he likes long build-ups, and it doesn't always work. As soon as you guess what The Big Secret is, the tension deflates immediately. 'Shadow over Innsmouth' is a dud in that respect but 'The Lurking Fear' works v well.

Wintermute (Wintermute), Thursday, 6 February 2003 12:54 (eighteen years ago) link

The Shadow Over Innsmouth is brilliant! all that stuff about how "they" got to hankering after closer contact with humans, I love it.

DV (dirtyvicar), Thursday, 6 February 2003 13:10 (eighteen years ago) link

lego cthulu here:
http://www.cis.rit.edu/~jerry/Image/lego/cthulu.html

cuddly cthulu here:
http://www.logicalcreativity.com/jon/plush/01.html

andy

koogs, Thursday, 6 February 2003 13:22 (eighteen years ago) link

been so long since i've read this that i can't remember any of the names (there were three long paperback volumes that collected pretty much everything and i think i got about 2/3rds of the way through each). i find the language kinda archaic and hard to read (yes, i know, suits the material exactly but i found them hard going).

nice to be able to understand the cthulu references in swamp thing, hell boy and everything else (simpsons even) that has come since though.

andy

koogs, Thursday, 6 February 2003 13:26 (eighteen years ago) link

http://www.entertainmentearth.com/prodinfo.asp?number=TYVHP005&variation=&lg=1

ph34r!

koogs, Thursday, 6 February 2003 13:30 (eighteen years ago) link

try again:

http://www.toyvault.com/cthulhu/images/cthulhusanta.jpg

http://www.toyvault.com/cthulhu/images/cthulhusanta.jpg (if that doesn't work)

koogs, Thursday, 6 February 2003 13:32 (eighteen years ago) link

The Shadow Over Innsmouth is brilliant! all that stuff about how "they" got to hankering after closer contact with humans, I love it.

Yes, but you learn way too early what "they" are and what their motivation is, and the punchline feels a bit forced. The "lurking fear" remains undisclosed until the very end, and BOY IS IT DISGUSTING!!! AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-hrm-

Are the Cthulhu novels any good?

Wintermute (Wintermute), Thursday, 6 February 2003 13:35 (eighteen years ago) link

classic, although i haven't read any in nearly a decade. i keep meaning to read "supernatural horror in literature" having picked it up cheaply last year.

toby (tsg20), Thursday, 6 February 2003 13:46 (eighteen years ago) link

read them here, it seems: http://www.gizmology.net/lovecraft/works/

toby (tsg20), Thursday, 6 February 2003 13:48 (eighteen years ago) link

...!

Thanks!

Wintermute (Wintermute), Thursday, 6 February 2003 13:55 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic, classic. His prose style is, objectively, horrible, but it is so unique and weird and fits his themes so well that it is actually good. My favourite story would be the obvious "The Call of Cthulhu"

>Are the Cthulhu novels any good?

?. Lovecraft wrote only three very-very-short novels, none of which feature Cthulhu. Anything w/ Cthulhu not written by HP is guaranteed to suck.



fletrejet, Thursday, 6 February 2003 13:55 (eighteen years ago) link

So, no one is going to bring up that he was an EVIL HORRIBLE RACIST?

fletrejet, Thursday, 6 February 2003 13:56 (eighteen years ago) link

Um, make that "stories including Cthulhu" then.

And I always thought HPL was a misogynist.

Wintermute (Wintermute), Thursday, 6 February 2003 14:00 (eighteen years ago) link

>Um, make that "stories including Cthulhu" then.

The only story that the Big C makes a personal appearance in is "Call of Cthulhu." If by Cthulhu you mean the "Cthulhu mythos", as in the pantheon of dieties including Cthulhu, then yes, they are good, you've already read a few (e.g "Shadow over Innsmouth").

>And I always thought HPL was a misogynist.

He was that too, but since women hardly ever appear in his stories, its not really obvious in his writing. (exception = "thingie on the doorstep")

fletrejet, Thursday, 6 February 2003 14:08 (eighteen years ago) link

His surname is almost classic.

Graham (graham), Thursday, 6 February 2003 14:09 (eighteen years ago) link

He was clearly a case and a half (and somewhere Avram Davidson, god among men, has an essay about how Lovecraft was little more than an evil nerd).

Still an amazingly effective writer, though -- fitting in brutalist materialism into the realm of the 'supernatural' (and seeing how he modified the subjects of his stories over time) = classic. Go for the annotated collections from S. T. Joshi if you can find them.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 6 February 2003 14:11 (eighteen years ago) link

responsible for the words to the Metallica song that my 8th-grade friend Dmitri called "The Song That Should Not Be"

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Thursday, 6 February 2003 14:16 (eighteen years ago) link

Lovecraft wrote only three very-very-short novels, none of which feature Cthulhu. Anything w/ Cthulhu not written by HP is guaranteed to suck.

very few of his stories actually mention Cthulhu. both short novels "The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward" and "At The Mountains Of Madness" probably mention Him in passing, but they are still canonical 'cthulhu mythos' stories. And crackers.

amusingly, popular comic "Vertigo Pop: London" is essentially a ripoff of a Lovecraft story.

and yes, Lovecraft was racist, misogynist, snobbish and ultra-conservative.

DV (dirtyvicar), Thursday, 6 February 2003 14:39 (eighteen years ago) link

It's a ripoff in the same sense as Freaky Friday was, yes?

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Thursday, 6 February 2003 14:42 (eighteen years ago) link

How come it's the Cthulhu Mythos if Cthulhu hardly appears?

Tom (Groke), Thursday, 6 February 2003 14:43 (eighteen years ago) link

Totally classic, DV's list is pretty on the money. Case of Charles Dexter Ward is my personal favourite.

Ronan (Ronan), Thursday, 6 February 2003 14:58 (eighteen years ago) link

It's the Cthulhu mythos because for some reason The Call Of Cthulhu is seen as the quintessential Lovecraft story, as it features deranged cultists, monstrous gods from before the dawn of history, and the sense of the human race being like ants compared to the true rulers of the world.

DV (dirtyvicar), Thursday, 6 February 2003 14:59 (eighteen years ago) link

Yes, people really latched onto Cthulhu. He's such a likeable Old One. I was introduced to Lovecraft by the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. Where you had a character for a while, then they slowly went insane and you lost control of them. Or they died a horrible death quickly. Fun game!

Christopher (Christopher), Thursday, 6 February 2003 15:03 (eighteen years ago) link

He's buried about a half-mile away from where I live now.. off Blackistone Boulevard in Providence, Rhode Island. he's one of the most famous Rhode Islanders (besides the pirates), & lots of his stories are set in College Hill and around the city. fans put up a tombstone w/the inscription "I AM PROVIDENCE".

daria g, Thursday, 6 February 2003 16:18 (eighteen years ago) link

there was a great BBC radio documentary about him called "Man of Providence", which did end by claiming that he was Providence.

all this talk of Lovecraft makes me want to go up to Vermont on my next US trip.

DV (dirtyvicar), Thursday, 6 February 2003 16:23 (eighteen years ago) link

The Shadow Over Innsmouth is so scary... when he is being chased through the town by THEM... brrrrr!

DV (dirtyvicar), Thursday, 6 February 2003 17:36 (eighteen years ago) link

>he Shadow Over Innsmouth is so scary... when he is being chased through the town by THEM... brrrrr!

Actually the true horror is when he learns.... he is one of THEM!

fletrejet, Thursday, 6 February 2003 17:48 (eighteen years ago) link

Hey!

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Thursday, 6 February 2003 19:34 (eighteen years ago) link

daria g: wow a fellow Rhode Islander...


I picked up one of the collections when I was in high school and absolutely loved it.

"Mountains of Madness" = Totally awesome!

Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Thursday, 6 February 2003 20:18 (eighteen years ago) link

Specifically, the description of the terrible landscapes, setting the mood.

Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Thursday, 6 February 2003 20:19 (eighteen years ago) link

Yeah no spoilers - Starry will be straight on this thread when she gets into work tomorrow and she's only read Dagon.

Tom (Groke), Thursday, 6 February 2003 20:20 (eighteen years ago) link

I liked clark Ashton Smith's books much, much better. I liked michael Moorcock's comment re H P Lovecraft - his books were effective because his writing was so bad that you could imagine all the horrors better than he could!!

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 6 February 2003 20:24 (eighteen years ago) link

You only want to read the word "squamous" so often, is my view.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 6 February 2003 20:35 (eighteen years ago) link

I apologize for the "spoilers", the mods may delete the post.

Clark Ashton Smith - He was a much better writer in the traditional sense than HPL, but he didn't have the ideas that Lovecraft had. Still, "The City of the Singing Flame" and "The Master of the Asteroid" are classic.

fletrejet, Thursday, 6 February 2003 20:40 (eighteen years ago) link

the thing to remember about Lovecraft stories is the twist ending is only a twist to the narrator. Although the spoiled one above is just great for its IA! IA! ness.

what do people think of the "Call Of Cthulhu" roleplaying game?

DV (dirtyvicar), Thursday, 6 February 2003 21:04 (eighteen years ago) link

I enjoyed the game. My first character was a hard-headed private eye, very Spade/Marlowe, who thought it was all bollocks. He went insane almost immediately. My second was a twisted middle-aged doctor with social aspirations who was obsessed with communicating with his dead wife. He ended up joining the evil cult, because it was full of the wealthiest and most respectable people in town. The DM was very annoyed, as these people were no help at all in the adventures, but I found them fascinating as character play.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 6 February 2003 21:11 (eighteen years ago) link

The game ruled -- very good way to kill time in 1990.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 6 February 2003 21:41 (eighteen years ago) link

My first character was an Indiana Jones clone. He went insane when he went too deep into a tomb.. good times.

Christopher (Christopher), Thursday, 6 February 2003 21:44 (eighteen years ago) link

s'funny i had a hankering and was googling to see if i could find any cheap rulebooks and stuff for the roleplaying game of this today.

i'd certainly go for classicness. The case of charles dexter ward is grateness. At the mountains of madness is pretty good and they do a great roleplaying one based on that too but i don't think they have one based on charles dexter ward.

I like reading his short stories and stuff late at night when i'm too tired to decipher poe, not that' they're really grately similar i guess. except for the whole slow build, terror brimming at the seams kind of thing.

jeffrey (Danny), Thursday, 6 February 2003 22:42 (eighteen years ago) link

HP Lovecraft used to live in Providence RI and his house is gone but there are still these old spooky stone steps in what used to be his front yard, leading up into.... nothing!

the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep (tracerhand), Thursday, 6 February 2003 22:54 (eighteen years ago) link

yeah i was going to mention that he was a racist, he lived out in the country 'cause he hated cities 'cause they were full of black people & foreigners.

duane (doorag), Friday, 7 February 2003 00:05 (eighteen years ago) link

his house was right off Benefit Street, near Prospect Park; Providence at that time was chock-a-block with foreigners and crazies of every persuasion since it was the only place guaranteeing absolute religious freedom - not saying i don't believe you, dz

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Friday, 7 February 2003 01:03 (eighteen years ago) link

oh ok i don't even remember where i got that "fact" from

duane, Friday, 7 February 2003 01:21 (eighteen years ago) link

"Lovecraft met Sonia Haft Greene, a Russian Jew seven years his senior, shortly thereafter at a writers convention and they married in 1924. As THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FANTASY puts it, '...the marriage lasted only until 1926, breaking up largely because HPL disliked sex; the fact that she was Jewish and he was prone to antisemitic rants cannot have helped.' After two years of married life in New York City (which he abhorred and where he became even more intolerantly racist) he returned to his beloved Providence."

www.darkecho.com/darkecho/horroronline/lovecraft.html

in googling that i found a drinking game! maybe Sarah can add to it?

...uses more than one adjective in a row, i.e.: "Molded by the dead brain of a hybrid nightmare, would not such a vaporous terror constitute in all loathsome truth the exquisitely, the shriekingly unnamable?" ("The Unnamable")

...uses a purposely vague description. (i.e. "unspeakable horror")

...refers to an other-worldy location. (i.e., Sarnath, Kadath in the Cold Waste, and the like. "The Dream-Quest of the Unknown Kadath" will put you under the table easily.)

...refers to an other-worldy entity by proper name. (Remember, Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep are proper names of single entities, but Mi-Go and shoggoth are not; they are types of entities.)

...states anything racist, sexist, fascist, or generally non-PC. This rule makes "The Horror at Red Hook" particularly nasty to get through. Don't debate too much about what is racist or sexist, though... When in doubt, drink.

...uses the "British" spelling of any word, such as "colour" or "favour".

...any time a character winds up at a temple or church.

...any time a "forbidden" book is mentioned in the story. This includes De Vermis Mysteris, Unaussprechlichen Kulten, and, of course, The Necronomicon, among others.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Friday, 7 February 2003 01:34 (eighteen years ago) link

the BBC documentary I heard asserted that Greene and Lovecraft separated amicably. It also suggested that a lot of his racism was based on ignorance and collapsed when confronted with reality - eg he was rabidly antisemitic but still married a Jewish woman.

the funniest bit in the documentary is the letter Lovecraft wrote before going to volunteer for the first world war ("The blood of the fjords flows through me!") and then the letter he wrote after being classed as permanently unfit for any military service.

DV (dirtyvicar), Friday, 7 February 2003 13:21 (eighteen years ago) link

There is more to writing than style.

Why, I would make a fantastic Nero! (PBKR), Saturday, 14 March 2020 13:18 (one year ago) link

In this guy’s case I can’t get past it. Anyway post spoilers if you’re gonna talk about the twist being good imo like I said I’m not giving it another go personally.

silby, Saturday, 14 March 2020 13:21 (one year ago) link

But I shouldn’t try to argue really

silby, Saturday, 14 March 2020 13:21 (one year ago) link

SPOILERS TO 90 YEAR OLD BOOK: Narrator recounts his visit to creepy New England port town where he discovers stories of the Deep Ones, a race of fishy humanoids who live in the sea and breed with humans. The half-breeds start out mostly human and become progressively more fishy as they age. Narrator narrowly escapes the town as he is chased by Deep Ones and their cult. Years later, narrator finds his ancestors came from the town and he notices not so subtle changes in his appearance. Narrator accepts his transformation and returns to the town to swim beneath the sea with his Deep One brethren forever more.

Why, I would make a fantastic Nero! (PBKR), Saturday, 14 March 2020 13:39 (one year ago) link

His fans admit he’s a poor stylist and I’m like…ok…

― silby, Saturday, March 14, 2020 1:14 PM

Not really. Despite some awkwardness that gets to be a pain and an over-usage of certain words, I think he's a good stylist; the atmosphere and gnarly ornamental physicality of the prose is a big part of what makes the stories beautiful and memorable. I find it amazing that some "fans" miss this but a lot of fantasy fans want their prose as transparent as possible and think Joss Whedon is exemplary. Yet I don't think he would be nearly so popular if he'd gone for a plain style.

I haven't read everything yet but I think Innsmouth is one of his greatest achievements.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:16 (one year ago) link

counterpoint: he only used the word squamous once but the world never shuts up abt it

i'm in the "important figure couldn't write for fuck" camp and have always found him exhausting (joshi is worse tho lol): a reason why he counts as "important (if unreadable)" is that his descriptions (even and perhaps especially the bad ones) created lots of unrealised visualisable space for comic book art which took his ball and ran with it (in less racist directions) (mostly)

mark s, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:21 (one year ago) link

Lovecraft’s prose style is kinda like Kirby’s drawing style imo - full of force and power and barely able to contain groundbreaking ideas, sort of crude and rough and bizarrely grotesque, but also capable of beauty and awe. both foundational figures.

Οὖτις, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:28 (one year ago) link

(running w mark s ref to comics there)

Οὖτις, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:29 (one year ago) link

Technically both did a lot of things “wrong”, but it doesnt matter ultimately

Οὖτις, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:30 (one year ago) link

I know that he didnt use sqamous much but then his fans read his letters too and he might have used it more in them.

The visuals were already there in many cases. Again, "Shadow Over Innsmouth" is lovely.

Even worse: I fear that many fantasy readers get impatient with visual description and carefully created textures and believe that's what movie adaptations are there for.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:31 (one year ago) link

Also should have noted one of his greatest strengths: descriptions of settings. MMmmmm… terraces and gambrel roofs.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:41 (one year ago) link

That's one area even a lot of my favorite writers disappoint me. But I don't feel I can give examples until I've read at least the majority of any given writer.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:45 (one year ago) link

at Hoover Dam recently I had the experience of sighting down a massive structure with angles that were just a little wrong. it’s disorienting af

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:47 (one year ago) link

Of Lovecraft’s antecedents - Poe is def a better stylist, but his ideas are more earthbound. Dunsany is unreadable imo. Machen is frustrating. RW Chambers is occasionally incredible, but v inconsistent. Lovecraft surpasses them all.

Οὖτις, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:48 (one year ago) link

he doesn't surpass m.r. james :D

(never read chambers, agree on all the others)

mark s, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:49 (one year ago) link

The titular story in King in Yellow is just chefskiss.jpg, perfect

Οὖτις, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:54 (one year ago) link

I always wonder if Nabokov read it, cf Pale Fire

Οὖτις, Saturday, 14 March 2020 14:54 (one year ago) link

I think all in all, Machen and Dunsany are much better prose writers but debatable whether they more worthwhile.

I'm surprised you found Dunsany unreadable. I've only read his Time And The Gods collection (not the omnibus) so far but despite the occasional mannerism I didn't like, I thought he was terrific.

MR James can be annoying as any of these writers at times.

It's strange that Poe can be such an easy read, but there are a bunch of his stories that I've found more difficult than anything else I've read.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 14 March 2020 15:18 (one year ago) link

seven months pass...

Algernon Blackwood, according to editor David Hartwell in this big Dark Descent horror anthology I'm (still) reading, didn't rate Lovecraft (even tho Lovecraft thought Blackwood was the v tops) - MR James was similarly sniffy abt Lovecraft - what's going on here? A reaction against Lovecraft's vulgarity? Fathers disowning their most loyal son? Literary snobbery - or acute critical discrimination? Has Lovecraft improved over time (readerly time, cosmic time)?

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 20 October 2020 21:55 (one year ago) link

in his piece on LeFanu, James makes a point of trash-talking Poe, so I can see him not getting Lovecraft at all, especially on the basis of early HPL stories

Blackwood must have enjoyed Lovecraft's praise for "The Willows" in Supernatural Horror in Literature but I can imagine him wanting to keep his distance ... HPL's fiction is not much like Blackwood's

for me, Lovecraft has not improved over time, but it seems appropriate that he's canonical now

Brad C., Tuesday, 20 October 2020 22:47 (one year ago) link

It might just be a complete disregard for American authors in general... and Blackwood & James were academics, Lovecraft was a pulp magazine writer.

Andy the Grasshopper, Tuesday, 20 October 2020 22:54 (one year ago) link

pretty easy to imagine any given reader not grooving on Lovecraft tbh

Covidiots from UHF (sic), Tuesday, 20 October 2020 23:02 (one year ago) link

when I was a young science fiction fiend Lovecraft's rep felt checkered on aesthetic grounds. like, when people would ref him, they'd say he was nuts before they got into anything about the stories. when I started getting more into horror it became clear that to some people he was an absolute giant, but those people still seemed like a sort of those-guys-with-their-obsession sub-category within the broader world of weird fiction. it is interesting to me that the particulars of his imagined cosmos have such broad reach.

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Wednesday, 21 October 2020 01:30 (one year ago) link

Yeah, I feel like MR James's thing was ghost stories and within that frame of reference Lovecraft could easily be seen as just some deranged american sci-fi thing.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 10:03 (one year ago) link

I think it was perhaps in correspondence with (Lovecraft's disciple) August Derleth that Blackwood said there was too much love of rotting flesh and not enough spirituality in Lovecraft. He was very polite about it.

Who knows with MR James, he seems like any number of things could make him bristle.

Continuing my evaluation of prose from above, I think Blackwood is often a stunning writer, a lot more deft and agile than Lovecraft, but his longwindedness and belaboring can be irritating.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 17:39 (one year ago) link

man, going back through this thread and seeing the "everybody back then was racist" defense being trotted out by one of the worst people ever to post here really brings me back

shout-out to his family (DJP), Wednesday, 21 October 2020 17:44 (one year ago) link

Still enjoying Dunsany quite a bit, coming to more of a love/hate point with Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E Howard, too often a slog but still some of my favorite stuff ever. Despite so much boring work, William Hope Hodgson never grates that much stylistically, my love for him hasn't taken much of a hit yet.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 17:46 (one year ago) link

Maybe reading the complete works of most worthwhile writers will make you hate them a little bit?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 17:54 (one year ago) link

it is interesting to me that the particulars of his imagined cosmos have such broad reach.

Critics like Clute and Monleon describe the horror/fantasy/sf genres as emerging in reaction to Enlightenment concepts of reason and a rational universe, and Lovecraft, who saw himself as a kind of 18th century philosophe, was a firm believer in that worldview ... despite his gestures toward esotericism, he seems much more skeptical about traditional beliefs in the sacred and transcendent than earlier horror writers were ... that outlook gives his revival of the sacred and transcendent in negative forms a weird SF charge

tl;dr in spite of his archaic style he's a modernist and his cosmic nihilism gets to modern audiences in a way traditional gothic stuff usually doesn't

I'm not sure how Cthulhu plush toys fit into this

Brad C., Wednesday, 21 October 2020 18:34 (one year ago) link

Despite my fondness for this stuff it utterly baffles me why people are still so impressed by the cosmic horror concept.

Jess Nevins yet again
http://jessnevins.com/blog/?p=956

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 18:43 (one year ago) link

Maybe reading the complete works of most worthwhile writers will make you hate them a little bit?

― Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, October 21, 2020 12:54 PM (fifty-one minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

I didn't really appreciate Picasso until I took a class devoted entirely to his work and realized that a lot of his work that made its way into the world wasn't actually intended for public consumption and resulted in kinda watering down his genius.

I'm actually working my way through the complete Lovecraft atm and, yeah, I can see why he wasn't big on releasing some of his juvenilia.

OrificeMax (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 21 October 2020 18:48 (one year ago) link

Despite my fondness for this stuff it utterly baffles me why people are still so impressed by the cosmic horror concept.

I wonder if it's a lack of satisfaction. The core of cosmic horror is a physical sensation I think most people have felt - a rock at the pit of your stomach, a momentary loss of self, flash attacks of fear and anxiety. The inability of anyone to translate that sensation perfectly into text keeps it alive.

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Wednesday, 21 October 2020 18:54 (one year ago) link

FTR, I find a lot of his stuff effectively creepy in a sui generis way few writers seem able to replicate but his overreliance on xenophobic tropes is easily (and obviously) his weakest point. Beyond even those moments of jaw-droppingly racist shit, it's just this tendency to depict his protagonists as horrified specifically by the physical qualities of some 'monstrous' entity without offering much in the way of non-material reasons for the terror on display. 'It...it's so gross-looking! Ew!'

OrificeMax (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 21 October 2020 18:57 (one year ago) link

It's more that I don't get why cosmic horror still seems so new and novel to so many people, even just the idea of there being no god to look after you. This should be a more familiar idea than it seems to be.
I remember people talking about how stoic in the face of grimness the norse myths/old beliefs are I guess not every religion had the idea that the gods are your friends or will do you any favors?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 19:08 (one year ago) link

If I was encountering some typical monster of this genre, I think the physical fear and disgust may overwhelm any philosophical horrors.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 19:10 (one year ago) link

In the canonical stories, Conan remarks in conversation that it is best to avoid doing anything that would draw Crom's attention, as he hands out only dooms and trouble...

Crom kinda the same way as Cthulu... not much of an ally.

Andy the Grasshopper, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 19:12 (one year ago) link

Handled deftly in the first film:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVFpy5UwsAU

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 19:14 (one year ago) link

And there's so much repetitive formula in horror like this, part of the feeling that I'm slogging through these writers at this point is that there isn't many real surprises after a certain point. Curious to see who will keep it unpredictable. Dunsany really isn't the same though, he changes the mode of his stories more.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 19:20 (one year ago) link

I was going to get them later but I just bought Jess Nevins two books on horror, woohoo!

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 20:15 (one year ago) link

I see in Lovecraft a sort of anti-gnosticism; rather than knowledge bringing power, it brings dread and unspeakable horror. We're really better off not knowing about seafood cults and Mad Arabs.

Andy the Grasshopper, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 21:04 (one year ago) link

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

DT, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 22:16 (one year ago) link

I pretty much still think everything that I used to think about HP Lovecraft, though I am now perhaps more conscious of his problematic racism.

The New Dirty Vicar, Thursday, 22 October 2020 19:51 (one year ago) link

seafood cults

Dread Lobster

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Thursday, 22 October 2020 19:52 (one year ago) link

On a random whim, I started reading the Illuminatus! trilogy after skipping it all my life and there’s a surprisingly amount of Lovecraft in it. He must have been having a moment in the mid-70s

Glower, Disruption & Pies (kingfish), Thursday, 22 October 2020 21:50 (one year ago) link

in the early-mid 70s Ballantine published almost all of Lovecraft's fiction in paperbacks ... prior to that I think most of it was available only in pricey Arkham House editions

Brad C., Thursday, 22 October 2020 22:07 (one year ago) link

I think my first ever was this paperback:

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51VdU2lrV0L._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Andy the Grasshopper, Thursday, 22 October 2020 22:10 (one year ago) link

A friend of mine who has a kid says that Cthulhu is now in the Beano, which is something.

The New Dirty Vicar, Friday, 23 October 2020 22:27 (one year ago) link

Can never wrap my head around kawaii + Lovecraftian grotesque
https://imgur.com/gallery/L76LU

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 28 October 2020 18:25 (one year ago) link

three weeks pass...

this SCP short, SCP Overlord, (i couldn't find an SCP thread on ilx) is a v good mix of tactical warfare, videocam supernatural perception (think Ringu), and modernised, new england lovecraft:

trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrZUj1fNQL8

Fizzles, Monday, 23 November 2020 16:34 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

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