H.P. Lovecraft, 1890
The Wikipedia says Lovecraft “achieved posthumous fame,” a fitting outcome to the career of a master of eldritch horror.
Yet fame is fleeting, and right now the trend is to handle the author with tongs. Charles Stross just won a Hugo for “Equoid,” a novella where Lovecraft’s fantasies are treated as sourced in extraterrestrial reality, but Lovecraft himself is a figure handicapped by naive Victorian sexual weirdness.
Then, over at Tor.com, Leah Schnelbach is celebrating Lovecraft’s birthday by attempting to do to him on purpose what she did to Marion Zimmer Bradley by accident — topple the writer from the literary pantheon.
So what does it say when one of the most prestigious awards you can win as a writer within that community honors a man with a complicated relationship to race and gender? It’s a reminder that many of the writers whom we revere as the founders of speculative fiction held beliefs that are damaging, and frankly repellent.
Schnelbach ends her essay by calling on readers to click a link to Daniel José Older’s petition to redesign the World Fantasy Award by replacing Lovecraft with an image of Octavia Butler.