People who read horror, fantasy, and occasionally even The New Yorker are probably familiar with author H. P. Lovecraft. Everyone else—not so much. Unlike vampires and zombies, Lovecraftian creations are notoriously unfilmmable as they are more representative of a philosophy of metaphysical defeatism than any of the standard monstrous types which are based on more organic fears of the body, animals, and death.
Lovecraft was also eager to have his friends and epigones add their own stories to his rather loosely organized “mythos”, which means that for the past seventy years or so Lovecraftian themes and imagery have appeared virtually everywhere, from the stories of Joyce Carol Oates, to stapled-together fanzines, to underground comics. Some of Lovecraft’s stuff has leaked into popular culture in a superficial way: if there are tentacles coming out of a vortex in a video game, that’s Lovecraftian. If there’s a mention of a book of an accursed book of magic called The Necronomicon in a movie, that’s Lovecraftian. And if you remember the long speeches of Rust Cohle in True Detective (“time is a flat circle” et al.) that’s Lovecraftian. Lovecraft recently even made it into what we used to call “the canon” without snickering, thanks to both Penguin Classics and Library of America editions of his works.
I’ve been writing Lovecraftian fiction for a while myself—there’s a built-in audience for it, and several opportunities for short fiction anthologies every year, plus a couple of small e-zines dedicated to the stuff. One of them, Innsmouth Free Press, also publishes books and has decided to collect twelve of my stories, and to commission a new one, in order to create The Nickronomicon (note spelling!), which is now up for pre-order direct from the publisher, for a twenty percent discount. (It’s also up for Kindle, NOOK, and Kobo for $5.00.) And it’s illustrated. See?
My own Lovecraftian “gimmick” has been to write about Lovecraftian themes in the voices of other writers. Included in this book are my stories “That of Which We Speak When We Speak of the Unspeakable”, which combines Lovecraft and Raymond Carver, and “Hideous Interview with Brief Man”, which mixes David Foster Wallace with Lovecraft. The free online sample story at the pre-order page, “And Then And Then And Then”, is a remix of Lovecraft and performance poet/memoirist Michelle Tea. They are both from New England, after all…
(I’ve also done novel-length treatments: Move Under Ground is Lovecraft and Kerouac, The Damned Highway is Lovecraft and Hunter S. Thompson, presented as missing chapters to Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.)
Anyway, we’re hoping to hit a couple of hundred pre-orders and the sale ends on November 1st. If Lovecraft, or my work is of interest to you, I’d recommend picking up a discounted copy from the publisher (support the small press!) or pre-ordering the ebook edition of your choice. I’m always happy to talk about Lovecraft at the January residency as well. See you all soon!