Subject: How about...
Posted on: 2021-08-20 07:16:59 UTC
...reading horror literature that builds on Lovecraft's legacy or works with similar themes, but without all the horrific Unfortunate Implications polluting even his better stories? To give you just a few ideas of what I mean:
- Algernon Blackwood - his story The Willows is one of the very early examples of cosmic horror literature out there, it's chilling, it's well-written, and it's not racist!
- Caitlín R. Kiernan - absolutely excellent horror and dark fantasy fiction, a lot of it in the cosmic horror or cult horror territory, such as The Red Tree or Houses Under the Sea, by a gay genderfluid author who is also a paleontologist (they're so cool, folks)
- Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
- Thomas Ligotti - bleak, enigmatic weird fiction and horror written in baroque prose, so basically a contemporary version of Lovecraft if you want to be really reductive, but a lot fresher and less out-there Urple (I don't not like Lovecraftian horror, but I have a lot of salt about his writing style)
- The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers - an absolute gem of early cosmic horror literature with great imagery that all too often gets reduced to a part of the Lovecraft-verse with sequels and rewrites, but it deserves to be enjoyed on its own merits
- Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado - not cosmic horror per se, but award-winning weird fiction by a queer female author (The Husband Stitch is an excellent short story, highly recommended)
- The Night Wire by H. F. Arnold - a nice and nasty little short story that is one of the real hidden gems of the weird fiction era, with one heck of a twist ending
- The Cipher by Kathe Koja - this was one of the groundbreaking horror novels of the 90s, the first entry in the legendary Dell/Abyss experimental horror line, and as far as I'm aware it is classified as weird fiction/Lovecraftian in influence
Look these authors and works up at your own discretion, because they work with various disturbing themes, but they're all really worth seeking out. H. P. Lovecraft was an important figure in horror literature, yes, but he just... wasn't a great person. So maybe instead of celebrating his birthday, how about we seek out forgotten classics that need more love, or support contemporary authors who are actively working to make the horror and weird fiction scene a more colorful, thoughtful and socially conscious place? Just a thought.