The Guardian is reporting that the board of the World Fantasy Awards is “in discussion” about the award statuette, an image of H.P. Lovecraft, because a number of authors, including past winners, have said it’s awkward to receive and display the bust of a flagrant racist.
Yet at the same time, a new Lovecraft Bar is opening in New York on Avenue B. On September 20, Gordon Linzer’s “Eldritch Pub Crawl” will stop there, and at two other haunted pubs with literary associations (The Library, and KGB), plus some haunted sites in-between.
Obviously this is not the week to be looking for a unanimous opinion about Lovecraft in the fantasy field.
Also, The Lovecraft Bar in Portland, Oregon stresses on its website that they have no connection with the New York establishment.
But it’s apparently not bad for business to name a place after HPL.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]
When the story about Marion Zimmer Bradley surfaced a few moths ago, I predicted this. The Knee Jerk PC Police. They’re here and everywhere.
Nope, not seeing the connection Robert. The unease about the Lovecraft statue has been around for awhile. It might be different if the award was actually called the Lovecraft Award, I don’t know, but there is actually no real reason to have the statue in his image, it was a choice, and a new one can be made.
Even if the the statue remains one of H. P. Lovecraft, at least there possibly should be a change in the award’s physical design — this is, and I apologize to the artist, probably the ugliest award statuette I have ever seen. To be frank, I’ve seen tacky bowling trophies which were better looking.
Mr. Lovecraft, judging from photographs I’ve seen, was not so unattractive in appearance in real life — no Hollywood leading man, but not looking like a character in one of his stories, either (although perhaps that is the point the artist was trying to make, that with exaggeration he could look like one, in which case I withdraw my objection).
Maybe the compromise plan would be to give the award winner a little paper sack they can put over Lovecraft’s head.
And under the circumstances, we should all be thanking the Goddess worshipped in The Mists of Avalon that it isn’t the “Marion Zimmer Bradley World Fantasy Award”.
For what it’s worth, the current version of the Wikipedia page about her as of the time I’m writing this says the following:
The First World Fantasy Convention was held in Providence Rhode Island. That is why it has HPL’s head as an award. I know it looks like it is made of butter and about to melt.
I was in attendence there….
Regarding the statuette. I like it. It has a Primitivist look to it, and reminds me of both the Easter Island heads and an sf book cover illo the title of which I am currently unable to recall. It was this sweet woodcut head in profile.
Anyway, I think it is perfectly suited to a depiction of HPL, and very much of its time.
Shorter myself: No sack required.