H.P. Lovecraft and Podcast Update

Some things to watch out for: we officially launched the YouTube channel here the other week, and now we’re currently finishing up our second story.

One of the things we also plan on doing are some public domain stories, specifically H.P. Lovecraft coming up.

If you don’t know who H.P. Lovecraft is, you’re missing out on a huge section of great horror stories. Along with Poe, he’s probably the greatest American horror writer until King came along. King actually includes tons of references to Lovecraft’s work in most of his stories. (The bad guy in the stand is actually Lovecraft’s Nyarlathotep in a human form. It’s not explicitly stated, but is hinted at through the character’s name and throughout the book.)

H.P. Lovecraft was born Howard Philips Lovecraft in August of 1890. Writing his whole life, the bulk of his work come from the 1920’s up until his death in 1937.

Lovecraft was a strange, but fascinating dude. Inspired by his grandfather’s own horror stories, he began to write his own Gothic horror as influenced by Poe. By the end of his life he had shed most of the mannerisms picked up from Poe and created what has become his life’s defining work: The Cthulhu Mythos.

Cthulhu_sketch_by_Lovecraft
H.P. Lovecraft’s sketch of Cthulhu. Image is public domain in the United States as 75 years have elapsed since its creation.

 

Named after the short story “The Call of Cthulhu” in which the cult of a strange, alien god is investigated, the Cthulhu Mythos squared off creatures and beings of inhuman minds and inconceivable powers, against academic men seeking to unravel the mysteries of the universe. The Cthulhu Mythos is often mind-shattering and unforgiving to the protagonists.

Becoming his pantheon of strange elder gods, Lovecraft openly asked his friends to write their own Mythos tales. His correspondence included that with writer’s Robert Bloch, who wrote Psycho: A Novel, and Robert E. Howard of Conan the Barbarian fame.

People today still write tales set in the Mythos, and the popular RPG which I love,Call of Cthulhu, actively allows players to interact with these mysterious forces. This leaves them like most of Lovecraft’s protagonists: with broken minds or dead.

So, what are you missing? Very detailed stories about dread and the fear of the unknown. A rich tapestry of mythology that is a sickened and diseased parody of a regular godly pantheon. Men fighting against forces of incomprehensible evil, or trying to pick up the pieces of those who have.

What aren’t you missing? Well, for one thing, Lovecraft was a white protestant who grew up around the turn of the century. So, what you’re missing is racism. A lot of his stories feature villains or agents of evil of ‘dark’ or ‘swarthy’ features. You are also missing women. Lovecraft himself had some issues with women, and was described as cold and detached (although his wife called him an adequate lover.) In his stories this manifests through almost 0 female protagonists. The one woman who has a leading role in his short stories is naturally, an antagonist.

So, where can you buy these works? OH WAIT. I mentioned they were public domain, didn’t I? The awesome website, Dagonbytes, has a large collection of his works. Some are better than others, and his wording definitely takes some getting used to. However, I have a few stories to recommend to get you started:

The Haunter of the Dark

The Call of Cthulhu

At the Mountains of Madness (my favorite Lovecraft tale, you can probably see why after reading it.)

and finally, The Shadow Over Innsmouth. This one is also special, because I’m happy to announce that it will be our next podcast project! I love this story, and it’s such a departure from my writing style that both me and the Great Graham, the Sound Engineering Man, are looking forward to recording it.

Let me know what you think!