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H.P. Lovecraft

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Is anybody familiar with Howard Phillips Lovecraft fiction? One of America`s earliest(and still best!) horror and cosmic fiction authors. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe were contemporaries.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, known then simply as weird fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror; the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a series of loosely interconnected fiction featuring a pantheon of human-nullifying entities, as well as the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works were deeply pessimistic and cynical, challenging the values of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Christian humanism.[1][2] Lovecraft's protagonists usually achieve the mirror-opposite of traditional gnosis and mysticism by momentarily glimpsing the horror of ultimate reality.

Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his life, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now commonly regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century, who together with Edgar Allan Poe has exerted "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction".[3] Stephen King has called Lovecraft "the twentieth Century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."[4][5]

H. P. Lovecraft's name is synonymous with horror fiction; his writing, particularly the "Cthulhu Mythos", has influenced fiction authors worldwide, and Lovecraftian elements may be found in novels, movies, music, comic books and cartoons. Many modern horror writers, including Stephen King, Bentley Little, Joe R. Lansdale, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, have cited Lovecraft as one of their primary influences.

Lovecraft himself, though, was relatively unknown during his own time. While his stories appeared in the pages of prominent pulp magazines such as Weird Tales (often eliciting letters of outrage from regular readers of the magazines), not many people knew his name. He did, however, correspond regularly with other contemporary writers, such as Clark Ashton Smith and August Derleth, people who became good friends of his, even though they never met in person. This group of correspondents became known as the "Lovecraft Circle", since they all freely borrowed elements of Lovecraft's stories—the mysterious books with disturbing names, the pantheon of ancient alien gods, such as Cthulhu and Azathoth, and eldritch places, such as the New England town of Arkham and its Miskatonic University—for use in their own works (with Lovecraft's blessing and encouragement).

After Lovecraft's death, the Lovecraft Circle carried on. August Derleth was probably the most prolific of these writers, having added to and expanded on Lovecraft's vision. Derleth's contributions have been controversial to say the least; while Lovecraft never considered his pantheon of alien gods more than a mere plot device, Derleth created an entire cosmology, complete with a war between the 'good' "Elder Gods" and the 'evil' "Outer Gods" (such as Cthulhu and his ilk), which the 'good' Gods were supposed to have won, locking Cthulhu and others up beneath the earth, in the ocean etc., and went on to associate different gods with the traditional four elements.

Just in case somebody is interested.

Reading H.P. Lovecraft`s fiction gave me this weird uneasy feeling.His work is subtle and strongly dated,but not uncomfortably so.No other horror writer has given me the deep-down heeby jeebies that Lovecraft has.Please do not give H.P. Lovecraft books to people diagnosed with emotional or mental health problems.

Hey,just throwing it out there if anyone is seeking something different and cool.Plus reading some Lovecraft will earn you major bonus points from egg heads and nerds alike.Goths too probably.
post #2 of 10
I have not actually read any of H.P. Lovecraft's novels or short stories, but he is a sort of cult icon among gamers and geeky kids, particularly because of Cthulu. One of my favorite game designers and comics (John Kovalic) designed some hilarious Cthulu toys that you might get a kick of of: Mythos Buddies.
post #3 of 10
Read Lovecraft and Poe long ago, later discovered Brian Lumley who is a bit Tolkienesque in his inventiveness - Lovecraft was one of his favorite authors.
post #4 of 10
I'm a big fan of Lovecraft! My husband has all of his works and I read them all when we lived in New England. I was SOOO creeped out (no offense to anybody in/from New England) but he describes the people there perfectly and makes it all seem so real. It was an experience; consuming all of his stories while living where he lived, and where such terrifying stories took place! Poor guy had terrible nightmares on a cosmic scale.

Have you checked out the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society? Their Very Scary Solstice is one of our family favorite CDs at Christmas. Definitely worth checking out their stuff.

We gave our daughter a stuffed Cthulhu when she was two, she called it Woo-Who. We haven't let her read Lovecraft yet (she's 11 and she's watching Buffy Vampire Slayer but I think Lovecraft is still too scary for her.)

Lovecraft's story that freaks me out the most is The Rats in the Walls. I've been a fan of horror since I was a young child but Lovecraft's by far the scariest stuff!
post #5 of 10
My favorite one was the one about the library...I think it was called "Out of Time."

I grew up in Salem, MA and always appreciated the fact that some of the best horror fiction writers were New England based - in Poe's case, as least for part of his life.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Nice to meet some fellow Lovecraftians here. I read all of H.P. Lovecrafts stories and longer works while in high school.You just can`t describe that nagging,lurking feeling of dread that falls over you when submerged in his writing.Try doing a Lovecraft marathon like I did. Honestly it was too much.My mood was sullen and morose.Lovecraft only when one is feelilng stabile and well-adjusted,please!

Swampy,have you read "The Cats of Ulthar"? Not his best work but certainly worth the read.About some not-so-nice kitties. I absolutely love that turn of the century-explorer-on-the-trail quasi-detective mix of horror and science fiction.Nobody else could pull that off in a million years! H.P. made it believable and disturbing to boot!

I`m kind of a purist so I enjoy the original HPL canon the most--the first generation of The Cthulhu Mythos (when directly influenced by HPL)is also superb.Ok,trivia time! Name the title of the only "hard" science fiction story written by Lovecraft. HPL also had a co-author for this story by the name of Kenneth Sterling. This is actually a great story!

Dang! You people have good taste.
post #7 of 10

I've been accused of having a convoluted writing style to mimic Lovecraft

My favorite is "Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath". Followed closely by "The Dunwich Horror" and "The Colour out of Space". I like "Pickman's Model", "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", "The Cats of Ulthar", "Dagon", oh heck almost all of his stories.

It's amazing how in his time, he could hardly find anyone to publish his work, but is now a "cult icon".

I think what I like most about his stories is how the envelop your imagination and make you a part of the story. His writing makes you feel the fear, horror and wonder of his worlds. Alot of people tell me they could never read his work because of his convoluted and expressive writing style, I call that dumbing down and lack of appreciation for fine work and expressive writing. I don't like the "4 sentences per paragraph and not more than 10 words per sentence, any more than that is too hard to make sense of" style alot of people learned in school.

The only "hard" sci-fi story co-authored by Sterling - That would be "In the Walls of Eryx", correct?
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
You ROCK Lovecraftian Old One! Human sacrafice in your honor under the next full moon!!

Yep.You are as much an HPL drone as I am. Man,I need to build up a respectable HPL library again. Have you seen that $$ huge coffee table book filled with painted illustrations of selected Lovecraft works?The samples I saw gave me a disturbed feeling.They really are bone chilling.

What`s up with the string of B movies they peddle as an H.P. Lovecraft Film?
By far the best screen adaption of an HPL story was "Dagon" which aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. That was pretty faithful. "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" has always been one of my favorite stories.


Oh,you are right about "Walls of Eryx". Cool story,is`nt it?
post #9 of 10
I've never seen any of the screen adaptations! Then again I really don't watch alot of TV. House M.D., Scrubs, Star Trek of any flavor, NCIS/JAG, Boston Legal ... those are the only shows I can really think of that I ever got in to and followed. I have a hard time paying attention to the boob-tube. I can't sit still through many movies, I lose interest in flickering images fairly quickly.

And that coffee table book is just stellar. I don't have it but I have flipped through it before. The copies I have of Lovecraft's stories have some B & W illustrations in them, too. But he doesn't really need illustrations. His writing style brings the stories to life very well as is!

Cthulhu reminds me of the concept for "Forgotten Realms" race of illithids, on a smaller scale.
post #10 of 10
i've read most of Lovecraft's works and all of Brian Lumley's. love both of them
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