Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How People Love Craft . . .

H. P. Lovecraft
Wikipedia

I was just today reflecting on my debt to H. P. Lovecraft's works for my Bottomless Bottle of Beer novella, and what should I come across in my daily newspaper reading, but none other than a report on NecronomiCon, "the largest celebration ever of his work and influence"! You, too, can read about this -- if you dare -- in the Associated Press report, "NecronomiCon to celebrate work, influence of early 20th century horror writer HP Lovecraft" (Washington Post, August 2013), by Michelle R. Smith:
Lovecraft's fans want to give the writer his due, and this month are holding what they say is the largest celebration ever of his work and influence. It's billed the "NecronomiCon," named after a Lovecraft creation: a book that was so dark and terrible that a person could barely read a few pages before going insane. The Aug. 22-25 convention is being held in Providence, where he lived and died -- poor and obscure -- at age 46 in 1937 . . . . He combined horror with science fiction and developed what is commonly referred to as cosmicism, the idea that man is inconsequential in the universe, that there are forces that defy human understanding in the cosmos, represented by gods or creatures who are far more powerful than us but also indifferent to us. To them, we are like ants or specks of dust. When we get in their way, we will be destroyed.
Some of these Lovecraftian ideas appear in my novella:
Mr. Webster explained, "Lovecraft, of course . . . . When I was reading his stories, I looked him up in Providence. He knew of me through Stephen Benét, a friend of mine, so he was willing to meet. That was during the time of my research on horror stories. Howard intrigued me because of his obsession with forbidden knowledge. He felt, and I use this word advisedly, he felt with his entire being that some knowledge was deadly. To know it is to be fatally marked. I recognized the connection to the scriptural story of forbidden fruit, though Howard always claimed a more direct genealogy to the Prometheus myth. But I gather you aren't very familiar with these old stories," he observed, lowering upon me a critical eye. I shook my head. "Well, that's unfortunate. Anyway, I learned that many of Howard's stories originated in dreams, and he considered those dreams -- nightmares, really -- to be inklings of forbidden truths. He died young, so perhaps he was on to something there." Mr. Webster shook his head at that unhappy thought and changed the subject.
And, of course, the central obscure object of desire in my novella -- Shoggoth's Old Peculiar -- comes from Lovecraft by way of Neal Gaiman. Anyway, I only learned of this convention on the 20th of August (2013), Seoul Time, so I wouldn't be able to make the convention even if I were the sociable sort, for it's coming up too soon, and hey, this is crazy, but here's the website, so call them maybe.

But even if not, Cthulhu will be calling you . . .

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8 Comments:

At 5:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no comment about Lovecraft, however; Elmore Leonard passed away today at age 87. Not a literary giant, but always an enjoyable read.

Jay

 
At 5:46 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I've not read him, but I know his writing has been praised.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:17 AM, Blogger dhr said...

Just today I happened to read a couple of HPL stories that weren't the 'usual' Cthulhu ones. "The Horror at Red Hook" provides a very interesting insight into the evolution of society in New York City in the 1920s --- though from a racist standpoint; it would be useless to deny it.

 
At 4:47 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, Lovecraft shared many racist and anti-immigrant sentiments with the general population, but his imagination took those views further -- in fact, his fantasies probably fed upon those views and were nourished by them.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:58 PM, Blogger dhr said...

Yes, in fact. But in this case, unlike in "The Shadow over Innsmouth" etc., it was interesting to find a direct, 'unmasked' description of this.

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'll have to take a look.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:12 PM, Blogger dhr said...

among the 'sub-human, devilish' immigrants, Italians also are included :-) a part of our history we tend / try to forget . . .

 
At 6:55 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Blame it on Dante . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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