Hello from Lovecraft Country!
You know I can’t stay away. And neither can you. We are endlessly fascinated with him and his weirdness, his…oddity.
I’m always spending time here in Lovecraft Country. All of that “when you stare into the abyss, it stares back into you” stuff just thrills me. I’m a weirdo. And I’m a proud one.
On this outing, I have brought back dripping and smelling like seaweed…a couple of pretty cool treasures to share with you: they are two anthologies I swam by that are putting ethnicity and diversity into the ongoing mythos…the prickly “Lovecraftiana” that is like an ugly beauty mark on the face of American fiction.
The “Lovecraft Mythos” (aka. rather erroneously as the “Cthulhu Mythos”) and “Lovecraftian” horror (refer to links below under Further Reading), have been associated since the turn of the twentieth century with the fictional (and now horro-cultural) world created by the late American writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft (HPL).
An early photograph of Howard Phillips Lovecraft (HPL). (Source: Pinterest)
To put a quick point on it, for the sake of this post, HPL has long been discussed in socio-cultural, critically-artistic circles for what appears to be racist views he harbored toward non-Anglo types: urban immigrants crammed into big cities, people of various languages and skin colors.
Basically, HPL seemed averse to anyone/any lifestyle not like him/his own; frightened and as phobic as the child on the playground afraid of catching “cooties” from the other children. As we are aware now, in our way-post-Freudian age of the twenty-first century, the hatred of those different from ourselves has its genesis in no other place than that of complete and utter fear, regardless of it’s acknowledgeability, as inhibitive phobias and fears go (many of which are due to mental illnesses); it will never be mitigated in its inexcusability. What this fear can result in over the generations to which it is passed can be and has been devastating to the human race.
The society and culture in which HPL had been conditioned from his boyhood tightened, rather than loosened, the age-old strictures of fin de siècle New England until, for a sensitive, eccentric, perhaps emotionally and mentally challenged young boy (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) come to mind when reading HPL’s work and letters; as well as shades of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD—all—all known today as mental illnesses): a myopic, crystallized form of xenophobia became a safe, secure (albeit self-serving, non-compassionate) location from which to view “the Other”—much like his very own biplane from which he could fly over and view his own Mountains of Madness”. (I am not of the opinion that HPL’s aversion to those unlike him is of the same cloth as the violent, hate-crime-producing racism that the United States of America has been fighting since the U.S. Civil War of the mid-1860s.) (Ironically, HPL’s Rhode Island town was called “Providence” — and running through its tiny heart like veins were streets named “Angell”, and “Hope”).
I will take the time to note here, though, that 1) this is not a compassionate not a humane way of viewing our fellow human beings; 2) I have never come across another human being, living or dead, who has written about or otherwise communicated having seen anything good, advantageous, or peaceful ever come of a bigoted, “Other”-phobic, narrow-minded viewpoint/way of life; and 3) in no way does The Sanguine Woods support any of the above.
And now, on to the books…
Equal Opportunities Madness, Edited by Michelle Stengel
‘In the depths of the cosmos there is madness to be found and there are stories to be told… The Elder Gods, Cthulhu, Nyarlethotep, and the like have a taste for fear, for madness, for flesh… But over the years they have grown bored with the taste of the standard straight, white male so often portrayed in the tales of the Mythos. Like a human being with a hankering for Thai after a steady diet of steak and potatoes, the Gods of the Mythos are craving something different…”
I almost didn’t go there, but due to a falling out with Edgar Wallace over his African stories, I wrote a story which was a riposte to the colonial white protagonists of Wallace and the cultist white protagonists of Lovecraft. A story of Igbo villagers in 1920s colonial Nigeria, facing yet more disruption to their way of life – and dealing with it on their own…
The dibia looked up. He was thin and naked except for a dirty white cloak which lay over one shoulder. The cloak covered his lap and went down to the torn matting on the ground.
“Nduka son of Onodugo. I did not think to see you.”
“I did not think to come.” Nduka sat cross-legged opposite the dibia. “Until today. But a dead man once told me that you speak to the gods.”
“It has been known.” The dibia smiled, showing broken teeth.’
Equal Opportunities Madness Table of Contents
- Scars of a Certain Value by Christine Lucas
- The Horror of the Atoll by DJ Tyrer
- With the Dark and the Storm by John Linwood Grant
- The Sisters Derleth by Michelle D. Sonnier
- A Singular Event, in Several Courses by Kris Dikeman
- The Bath, Bottle, and Bar’nyeth Party by Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi
- Innsmouth Blues by Jean Roberta
- The Black Magnolia on the Bank of the Night’s River by Gordon White
- The Thing at Akeley Farm by A.Z. Louise
- But Who Can Catch Leviathan? by Chris Pearce
- North Bronx Nightmare by Andrea Stanet
- The P’tulpa Cult by Daniel S. Duvall
- Golem by Jennifer R. Povey
- Dreidel of Dread: The Very Cthulhu Chanukah by Alex Shvartsman
Equal Opportunities Madness is available in print at Amazon, and as an ebook from Smashwords:
Heroes of Red Hook, Edited by Brian M. Sammons & Oscar Rios
“Heroes of Red Hook is a collection of eighteen cosmic horror tales taking place during the Jazz Era with a very specific focus. Our heroes and heroines are the outsiders who are most often blamed (wrongly so) for the actions of various alien horrors of the mythos. Our heroes and heroines are members of ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants, independent free thinking women, those with special needs, and members of the LGBT community. This collection features people struggling to overcome not only the horrors beyond mankind’s understanding, but an oppressive society seeking to deny them basic human rights. “
Heroes of Red Hook Table of Contents
- A True Telling of the Terror that Came to Red Hook by William Meikle
- Ivan and the Hurting Doll by Mercedes M. Yardley
- A Gentleman of Darkness by Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire
- Hungry Ghosts by Cody Goodfellow
- Tell Me No Lies by Sam Stone
- O Friend and Companion of Night by Vincent Kovar
- Across a River of Stars by Scott R. Jones
- Old Time Religion by Paula R. Stiles
- Men and Women by Oscar Rios
- The Eye of Infinity by Sam Gafford
- Lords of Karma by Glynn Owen Barrass and Juliana Quartaroli
- A Ghastly Detestable Pallor by Penelope Love
- Crossing the Line by Tom Lynch
- The Guilt of Nikki Cotton by Pete Rawlik
- Brickwalk Mollies by Christine Morgan
- The Backwards Man by Tim Waggoner
- Beyond the Black Arcade by Edward M. Erdelac
- Shadows Upon the Matanzas by Lee Clark Zumpe
Heroes of Red Hook is available here:
We acknowledge and thank the following for the content/images shared above; as well as the various Internet sites listed under Further Reading below.
Image from the cover of a novel by Matt Ruff.
For more information on HPL, his relevant views, and his powerful fiction, the widespread reading of which I do heartily advocate, visit these sites. I encourage you to do your own research as well beginning with the fiction, then the letters, then other viewpoints like those in the articles listed below, which are none-too-lacking on the Internet.
[Please Note: By sharing the following, The Sanguine Woods is not suggesting an accord with any of the ideas these articles or their writers share here; our sharing these viewpoints in no way suggests we advocate the ideologies supporters or detractors of these viewpoints purport.]
Who Is This HPL Guy Anyway?
The Complete Lovecraft Archive: http://www.hplovecraft.com
What Is the Lovecraft (aka. the Cthulhu) “Mythos”?
What Is Meant by the Term “Lovecratian” & “Cosmic” Horror?
A more recent work of “Lovecraftian” fiction, the novella The Ballad of Black Tom has received strong reviews.
Moving Further into the Mire & Mythos…
About the Charges of Xenophobia & Racism…
Read HPL’s story “The Horror at Red Hook” free, here:
And then some…
Always thoughtful, always honest, always engrossed in the utterly horrifying.