Category Archives: HP Lovecraft

HP Lovecraft | Inspired by Darkness by Scott Roche

H P Lovecraft

I’ve been a fan of HP Lovecraft’s fiction and perhaps more importantly of adaptations of his fiction since grade school. This probably goes a long way towards explaining the quirks in my personality. Regardless of his effect on my psychology, his effect on my writing has been profound. And I’m not the only one he’s touched. I recently received a copy of Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions by Guillermo del Toro. It’s not surprising that del Toro was also influenced by Lovecraft, to the point that he has a life sized and very lifelike statue of the author in one of his libraries.

In that first sentence up there you may notice that I put supreme importance on the adaptations of Lovecraft’s work. There are countless movies, books, games, and graphic novels that have used either his mythology or his direct writings as a jumping off point. If anyone has influenced my writing more than Lovecraft, it’s writers like Brian Lumley, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. Without the founder of the Cthulu mythos, we arguably wouldn’t have those three gents as we know them.

The impact of an artist on the world goes far beyond just the first generation of writers and readers they inspire. I can only hope that the style that I’m honing will cause future Metallicas to write music taking my lines of prose. If there’s an artist like HR Giger who takes my works and gives it three literal dimensions I would be absolutely tickled even though I, like H.P., wouldn’t likely be around to see it. And that’s even more impressive. The man died at the tender age of forty-six. He’s been dead for just over seventy five years, and he continues to inspire creators.

I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising. I did a little digging and the breadth and depth of what HP Lovecraft wrote is staggering. In addition to his short fiction and novels, he wrote a staggering amount of poetry. He also has a large body of non-fiction work in the form of letters, scientific and philosophical articles, and editorials. I likely haven’t read even one percent of everything he produced in his lifetime. When you’re as smart and/or as prolific as he was, there’s bound to be something in there worth thinking about.

The other, and to me even more interesting, thing about HP Lovecraft is that he was typically published in pulps. His writing was far from popular in his own day. He received rejections because his works were often seen as controversial, and I suspect because they were in many cases very non-traditional. As a writer who struggles to make my career take off, I take some comfort in knowing that, even if that never happens, we as writers can attain varying degrees of immortality through our work.

So how did HP Lovecraft impact my writing?

One of the things I appreciate most in the Cthulu mythos is that evil is often inexplicable and ultimate. Bad things happen in his worlds and the human beings that they happen to are tossed around like bowling pins. They lose their lives or their sanity or both in confronting the evil. I love playing around with Big Evil in my stories. It will often use human beings as pawns, much like in Lovecraft’s works. The important thing for me and the thing that stands out, perhaps more in those works influenced by him, is that no matter how dark things get or how high the odds are stacked against them the heroes of the story fight to their last breath. They may not always win, and even if they do the victory may be small or temporary, but they strive.

His heroes and mine also have a few things in common. The men and women in my stories are usually very much the products of our modern times. They don’t believe that there are things hiding behind the surface of the world that want to, can, and will eat their souls. They barely want to acknowledge the mundane “evils” of our present world, much less the ancient and perhaps unknowable evils that exist on its fringes. The supernatural conflicts that occur in my stories remove that choice from them. The heroes must look upon the face of that evil and change or die. The evil presence and the magic it uses in my stories are also often of a primitive and visceral nature.

Don’t get me wrong. As a person he may have been absolutely horrid, or perhaps just a product of his time. I don’t know. He certainly had views on women, people of other races, and religion that I vigorously disagree with. I am not and will not defend those things. The measure of a great artist transcends these things in my mind though. I don’t have to admire an artist as a person in order to appreciate the art and its impact. Whatever you think about him and the more controversial aspects of his life, I don’t think you can deny that the impact of HP Lovecraft’s thoughts and writings will echo through our culture for decades to come.

About Scott Roche:

Scott RocheSome creatures feed on blood and revel in the screams of their prey. Scott Roche craves only caffeine and the clacking of keys. He pays his bills doing the grunt work no one else wants to take, bringing dead electronics back to life and working arcane wonders with software. His true passion is hammering out words that become anything from tales that terrify to futuristic worlds of wonder. All that and turning three children into a private mercenary army make for a life filled with adventure.

 

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HP Lovecraft | Horror Feminae by Bea Embers

HP Lovecraft

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear – HP Lovecraft.

It’s no secret that HP Lovecraft, one of the most renowned horror authors of our time, had a long list of fears himself.

Not least of all was an ever present dread of the unknown, wherein lay his Thalassophobia, or fear of the sea – an abhorrence that extended to sea food and the smell of fish. He fed those fears and used them to create the fantastical and bizarre creatures he left behind after his death.

HP Lovecraft did, however, have fears and anxieties many would consider to be irrational, perhaps most interestingly his supposed and often disputed Genophobia and Gynophobia.

Genophobia is defined as the abnormal fear of women and gynophobia as the physical or psychological fear of sexual relations or sexual intercourse and many today believe that, despite his short marriage to Sonia Greene, he suffered from both, perhaps sprouting from his overly anxious, obsessive mind and an overbearing, domineering Mother. She repeatedly told him he was hideous, an opinion which he carried through to later life, and she herself had a history of hysteria, a condition often characterized by overwhelming fear.

We can clearly see that Lovecraft had a tendency to nurture his horrors, revelling in his own madness. He shaped his fear of the unknown to create the Elder Gods and a host of other horrors, his dread of the sea spawning his most famous creation, Cthulhu. So it would stand to reason that, by looking at his works, we would find the same emphasis on women and sexual relations if they were truly two of his fears.

But HP Lovecraft seemed to try and ignore women and sex entirely within his works, regardless of the storyline. Perhaps the best example of this is the unfortunate Lavinia Whateley in The Dunwich Horror. Described as a somewhat deformed, unattractive albino woman, she was mother to the children of Yog-Sothoth, an extra-dimensional creature who impregnated her after being summoned by her father (and perhaps Lavinia herself.) It seems safe to assume that the unholy coupling would get a mention and that Lavinia’s feelings on the matter would be voiced as part of the story.

Nope.

Lavinia doesn’t have much focus in the story, despite having such an important role to play. She, like most of the women in Lovecaft’s works, becomes nothing more than a vessel by which the more important, male characters are brought into the tale. She vanishes without a trace and everybody seems to forget about her.

Some use points like the above to claim that Lovecraft simply had little time for women, seeing them as lower beings (an opinion that wasn’t uncommon at the time), and that, if he had a deep rooted fear, he would have included it more in his works instead of just shoving it to one side.

It’s a widely known fact that many of HP Lovecraft’s opinions were as hideous as the works he penned (he made no secrets of his racism and homophobia) and that women may just have been of no interest to him. He certainly spent his time almost exclusively in male company.

The same is said for his aversion to sex, some going as far to suggest Lovecraft was asexual. He once described the act as: Purely animal in nature and separate from such things as intellect and beauty.

It is worth noting that whenever sex is an important part of his work, death and destruction follow close behind it. In the Dunwich Horror a creature of terrible power is born from Lavinia, trampling people as it ambles along the countryside and in Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family, upon discovering an admittedly uncomfortable truth about his ancestry, Arthur Jermyn runs out onto the moors and sets himself on fire.

Although Lovecraft is known for having a fear of pretty much everything, he’s also known for disliking almost everyone who wasn’t a straight, white male, making it difficult to distinguish his fears from his prejudices.

Indeed, in Lovecraft’s case, his fears and prejudices often seem to become so inextricably entangled they become impossible to separate. Perhaps Gynophobia and Genophobia are two more phobias to add to his already lengthy list.

About Bea Embers

“I am an author of melancholy books & poetry for creepy Teens.  My work was included as part of the Poe cottage restoration project. My piece ‘Night & day’ is safely bricked up inside one of the old walls in the Poe cottage. From there I wrote The Girl With Glass Eyes, a children’s horror book with smatterings of poetry throughout.  I’m currently working on my first full-length novel, Ashdown Asylum. I’m a lover of all things macabre, haunting & grotesque. I’m also a nerd for villains. I know they do bad things, but they do them so stylishly.”

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HP Lovecraft | Guest Blogs Needed

I want to run a series of blogs on HP Lovecraft over the next few months and I’m looking for some esteemed “guests” to impart their wisdom on this much-loved and widely-read giant of fantasy and horror fiction.

I read somewhere recently that Lovecraft shuffled off this mortal coil firmly believing that he had been a failure as a writer. I wonder how he would feel about his enduring popularity if he was here today.

If you would like to write a guest post for The Feckless Goblin I’ve put in a few suggestions below but if you want to do something different then please knock yourself out.

In return for your hard work I can offer a short biography and a link to your site/latest novel/a picture of your Aunt Mimi’s feet…whichever takes your fancy.

Guest blog suggestions:

  • A critique of your favourite HP Lovecraft story
  • How HP influences your work/the work of a famous author
  • The life and times of Lovecraft
  • Lovecraft’s take on horror writing

If you would like to submit something then  DM me on @ziggykinsella and I will forward the email address to send it to.