Persistence of Lovecraft

HPL filmWhat is your take on Lovecraft?

As World Fantasy Con approaches some authors are suffering paroxysms of disgust at the prospect of winning an award in the likeness of notorious racist H.P. Lovecraft.

Meanwhile, others are planning to spend the September 26 weekend celebrating HPL’s impact on the horror genre at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & ChthulhuCon in Los Angeles.

The fifth annual festival takes place at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, CA. This year’s theme is “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” Writers Anthony Parker, Cody Goodfellow, Gary Myers, John Shirley, Joshua Hoffine, Leslie S. Klinger, Michael Tice and Nancy Holder will be on hand.

The LA event is an offshoot of a festival that started almost 20 years ago in Portland, Oregon. It’s locally sponsored by the San Pedro Historic Waterfront Business Improvement District (PBID), the Grand Vision Foundation, and Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles.

Besides films, on Sunday there will be a “sanity-blasting Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast” led by the High Priest of the Esoteric Order of Dagon. Those who survive will spend the balance of the day playing Lovecraft-themed games.

HPL prayer breakfast SMALL


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7 thoughts on “Persistence of Lovecraft

  1. I’m at a loss to figure out how that is a rebuttal to complaints about Lovecraft’s racism.

  2. It’s not all that difficult to acknowledge Lovecraft’s influence on horror and fantasy, like his stories (with some reservations) and acknowledge the deep seated racism and bigotry that forms an intrisic part of his cosmology, enough to make it uncomfortable to have a major award named after him.

    You could of course say roughly the same of John W. Campbell.

  3. Historically (from the French Revolution, through the Russian Revolution, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, or in religion, from the Christian religious wars to ISIS, etc.), whenever the existing Political Correctness crowd bullies its way into power, it begins to get rid of people. Eventually, it decides that almost EVERYONE is impure (of course, being human beings, they would be), and mass executions, Reigns of Terror, and genocide follow. Ultimately, but far too late, the average folk catch on, and the Robespierres are subjected to their own guillotines…. If the SF/F professional and fannish world are foolish to allow the Lunatic Left to take over and begin literary purges, the same thing will happen to writers’ careers and our hobby…….

  4. Context, context, context. HPL’s Victorian views on many things were already out of sync even while he was still alive, though many of his views were still shared with a broad spectrum of Americans. But, as I understand it, the travels he undertook later in his life made serious inroads against his old attitudes. It’s much easier to believe something when you’ve not really been exposed to the reality of it — though I suppose his marriage and time in NYC should have taught him something, but maybe the big city was too cruel for his sensitive soul? But when HPL went south he saw and experienced many things that were quite foreign to his conservative Rhode Island life and those trips really seemed to open his eyes. I don’t think he felt the same way at the end of his life about many of these subjects.

    Still, I’d happily take one of those dandy awards, especially if they’re still handing out the trophy sculpted by Gahan Wilson. Not accepting it would be to reject the voter’s sincere appreciation for what you do and that’s an insult to them. And besides, the award has nothing more to do with HPL’s notorious attitudes than the Nobel Peace Prize is all about explosives manufacturing.

    As for the Lovecraft Film Festival, well, when it was going on here in Portland it was within walking distance of my house and brought many interesting people to town. When the local founder retired he gave or sold the name to the guys who took it to Los Angeles, where most of the time and energy is invested. They still have a shadow version of the HPLFF up here, but it is a pale ghost of its former self. *sigh*

  5. Given racisms history, should we destroy all icons of “great men” (and women) of the past?

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