Author Topic: Other-Writer Lovecraftian Recs  (Read 31166 times)

davedoty

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on: October 30, 2008, 10:45:56 AM
You can't throw a rock without hitting Lovecraft homages, but too much of it (for my tastes) seems to treat Lovecraft's work like fantasy more than horror: it focuses on figuring out how Lovecraft's mythology fits together, fleshing out various figures and theories and so forth.  I'd like some good fiction that focuses more on the themes and atmosphere than expanding on the fantastical aspects.  I would include fiction that doesn't use any specific creature from Lovecraft lore, but use the sorts of ideas he might have come up with, in a sort of story he might have written.

Any good suggestions?



deflective

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Reply #1 on: October 30, 2008, 09:15:13 PM
cthulhu podcast

you get a variety of stories but some are distinctly lovecraftian in nature.



Anarkey

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Reply #2 on: October 30, 2008, 09:16:49 PM
My best recommendation in this arena is Caitlín R. Kiernan.  I would start with her novel "Threshold".  It's got theme and atmosphere in spades.  She's a paleontologist, so she has an understanding of geologic time that runs (if you'll pardon the pun) bone deep.  It really shows in her writing.  

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DKT

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Reply #3 on: October 30, 2008, 09:25:38 PM
Has anyone here read Nick Mamatas' Move Under Ground?  The thought of Chutulu vs. Jack Kerouac is very appealing, even though I'm not really that big on Kerouac.


Sgarre1

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Reply #4 on: November 01, 2008, 07:01:06 PM
Get thee to Thomas Ligotti, stat!!!

You're absolutely right, BTW.  I'm finding myself wistful for the 70's and 80's when Lovecraft was mostly unknown and one only had to suffer through the occasional ham-fisted pastiche over modern times where he seems ready-made to be raided as some kind of RPG identi-kit horror mythology that lends young writers unearned "deep" cred.

The beauty of Lovecraft was not the details, but what was implied.  Explanations not only defuse the power, they miss the point entirely.



davedoty

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Reply #5 on: November 01, 2008, 10:31:40 PM
Thanks to all for the suggestions!



Ben Phillips

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Reply #6 on: November 08, 2008, 11:34:36 AM
See also China Mieville's story "Details" in Children of Cthulhu and in his collection Looking for Jake, which itself also has other fine examples of capturing the spirit as opposed to the trivial specifics -- "Different Skies" is a favorite of mine, although there are plenty others in there.  In fact, I have attempted to contact Mieville's agent regarding these but never heard back; so if anyone runs into Mieville, please put in a good word for sending submissions to Pseudopod!



Sgarre1

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Reply #7 on: November 08, 2008, 04:00:52 PM
And while there are a ton of Lovecraft themed comps out there (coming soon, HE'S SO ELDRITCH! TWEENER LOVECRAFT STORIES, no doubt), I would suggest tracking down THE STARRY WISDOM: A TRIBUTE TO HP LOVECRAFT.

Not everything in it works (some make the mistake of being not close enough to Lovecraft's themes to warrant inclusion in the comp, good stories on their own though they might be) but it does contain some real gems like David Conway's "Black Static", Alan Moore's "The Courtyard" and Grant Morrison's "Lovecraft In Heaven".  The WSB piece is very nice as well and there' s John Coulthart's beautifully illustrated version of "Call Of Cthulhu" included as well.

Try bookfinder.com.

Thanks for listening



deflective

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Reply #8 on: November 10, 2008, 01:31:03 AM
actually, the online comic/audiobook for Stephen King's N. had an eldritch feel to it.

the player is user-unfriendly but the story is ok, just gotta get used to manually starting and skipping the extended intros & outros.



davedoty

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Reply #9 on: November 10, 2008, 03:05:28 AM
Thanks again, everybody, for more great suggestions.



Anarkey

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Reply #10 on: November 10, 2008, 03:49:52 PM
See also China Mieville's story "Details"

I love that story!  Huh, I never thought of it as Lovecraftian, but yeah, I can see that.  It's a great story.

Davedoty, I'm also partial to Laird Barron who did an awesome Lovecraft/Old West thing in "Skins" and another more recent story I really liked called "Hallucigenia".

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stePH

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Reply #11 on: November 11, 2008, 05:06:18 PM
How about the other members of the "Lovecraft Circle" such as Clark Ashton Smith, August Dereleth, and Robert Bloch?

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davedoty

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Reply #12 on: November 12, 2008, 07:03:57 AM
Isn't Derleth the guy credited/blamed for being one of the first to try to work all of Lovecraft's mythos into a comprehensive system?  That's pretty much the opposite of what I want.  I should try Clark Ashton Smith, a name I've heard but never actually sampled his work.  I wasn't aware of Robert Bloch's association.

I have read and enjoyed some of Robert E Howard's Conan stories, whose occult elements are of course very Lovecraftian, despite the fantasy setting.



stePH

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Reply #13 on: November 12, 2008, 02:14:02 PM
Isn't Derleth the guy credited/blamed for being one of the first to try to work all of Lovecraft's mythos into a comprehensive system?  That's pretty much the opposite of what I want.  I should try Clark Ashton Smith, a name I've heard but never actually sampled his work.  I wasn't aware of Robert Bloch's association.

Okay, give Dereleth a miss then.  I haven't read him, nor have I read Smith, but the Wikipedia entry says that Dereleth expanded on the mythos and invented the war between the Elder Gods and the Great Old Ones/Outer Gods.  Bloch was a member of the "circle" and wrote several short stories in the mythos, plus a novel, Strange Eons, in which some people begin to discover that Lovecraft wasn't writing fiction.

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Sgarre1

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Reply #14 on: November 13, 2008, 12:36:06 AM
Clark Ashton Smith is generally in the vein of weird fantasy so if you like Robert E. Howard you might like him. "The Plutonian Drug" is one of his very Lovecraft-esque mindbenders.

Derleth's Lovecraft pastiches are generally weak but he had a nice hand at rural and rustic dark fantasy.  "The Drifting Snow" and "The Lonesome Place" are worth reading if you dig that atmospheric approach, but they have no connection to Lovecraft.

Robert Bloch is kind of an odd case. "The Shadow From The Steeple" is a direct sequel to "The Haunter In The Dark" by Lovecraft.  Some of his other good Lovecraftian tales are "Notebook Found In A Deserted House" and "Terror In Cut-Throat Cove".  But there's a LOT of really weak Robert Bloch - he fell into a writing pattern for a while where every story is a TALES FROM THE CRYPT pastiche, all hinging on a bad/gruesome pun at the end.  He can be a really solid horror writer, as gems like "Enoch", "The Feast In The Abbey", "A Return To The Sabbath", "The Traveling Salesman" and the always classic "Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper" prove.  STRANGE EONS is pretty good and noteworthy for ending the way all Lovecraft fans always kinda wanted to see a Cthulhu story end.

There is a paperback containing all of Robert E. Howard's Lovecraftian stories called CTHULHU: THE MYTHOS & KINDRED HORRORS edited by David Drake from 1987 (holy crap, that 21 years ago!)



stePH

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Reply #15 on: November 13, 2008, 01:40:24 AM
Derleth's Lovecraft pastiches ....

Do they count as "pastiches"?  I thought the "Lovecraft circle", being HPL himself and a handful of writers in correspondence with him, made the thing sort of a "shared universe", kind of like Aspirin's "Thieves World" would be later on.

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Sgarre1

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Reply #16 on: November 13, 2008, 04:03:14 AM
I don't think they really count as a shared universe, my memory of Lovecraft's correspondence (and, granted, this is from reading a collection of letters back in the mid 1980's, so it could just be failing memory) and an audio interview with Frank Belknap Long is that his younger writer friends would write letters and ask if they could borrow and reuse some of his strange names.  Derleth later attempted to knit these pieces together into something larger in his own stories but, I think, this was after Lovecraft's death (again, might be wrong about that).

Derleth came up with occultic correlations like corresponding the Old Ones to the classical elements (Cthulhu-Water, Hastur-Air, Shub-Niggurath-Earth and I think Derleth invented Cthuga to take the empty Fire slot.), etc.  But none of this was any kind of "universe" that Lovecraft planned or maintained (or, at least, therein lies the controversy), at best it was just a skeleton of associations/concepts and names he liked.

So, as a hodgepodge or patchwork, "pastiche" doesn't seem too strong to apply to Derleth works like MASK OF CTHULHU.

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« Last Edit: November 13, 2008, 04:06:36 AM by Sgarre1 »



gelee

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Reply #17 on: December 19, 2008, 02:33:12 PM
I have a recomendation:
The Cthulhu Podcast, hosted by EA Forum goer FNH.  Quite good, and includes music and "current events" from HPL's lifetime to give the listener a better understanding of era in which Lovecraft did his work.
http://cthulhupodcast.blogspot.com/



lowky

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Reply #18 on: March 28, 2009, 03:46:21 PM
I wasn't aware of Robert Bloch's association.
If memory serves Bloch was one of the youngest of the lovecraft circle I think he was 15 when he started corresponding with Lovecraft.
and also I think Clark Ashton Smith and Lovecraft actually included each other in some of their stories.  Something like Klarkash Tonsmith or something and Louve Keraph.  There are many sites that detail all of this on the net (at least there were about 5 years ago when I was trying  to track down some of these earlier writers material.) 

Quote
I have read and enjoyed some of Robert E Howard's Conan stories, whose occult elements are of course very Lovecraftian, despite the fantasy setting.
I seem to recall a collection of Howard's Lovecraftian stories being published in paperback too.


DKT

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Reply #19 on: March 30, 2009, 03:56:23 PM
See also China Mieville's story "Details" in Children of Cthulhu and in his collection Looking for Jake, which itself also has other fine examples of capturing the spirit as opposed to the trivial specifics -- "Different Skies" is a favorite of mine, although there are plenty others in there.  In fact, I have attempted to contact Mieville's agent regarding these but never heard back; so if anyone runs into Mieville, please put in a good word for sending submissions to Pseudopod!

Hey, Ben, any chance we'll ever hear some of Mieville's stuff on PP?


davedoty

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Reply #20 on: March 31, 2009, 12:50:28 PM
Louve Keraph.

Okay, in my head, this came out "Love Carafe."  I can't even figure out how that's dirty, but it is.



Ben Phillips

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Reply #21 on: April 01, 2009, 09:02:53 AM
Notchyet.  The big fish may be easier to shoot at, but once they're so big it's harder to get them to notice when you do.



Fenrix

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Reply #22 on: December 02, 2009, 05:13:40 PM
You can't throw a rock without hitting Lovecraft homages, but too much of it (for my tastes) seems to treat Lovecraft's work like fantasy more than horror: it focuses on figuring out how Lovecraft's mythology fits together, fleshing out various figures and theories and so forth.  I'd like some good fiction that focuses more on the themes and atmosphere than expanding on the fantastical aspects.  I would include fiction that doesn't use any specific creature from Lovecraft lore, but use the sorts of ideas he might have come up with, in a sort of story he might have written.

Any good suggestions?

Since this thread was referenced elsewhere, I figured I would necro it properly.

Although this does not satisfy the original intent, I would like to throw out the Titus Crow stuff by Brian Lumley. Although it does the fantasy bit of expanding the mythos and showing the monsters more, I have enjoyed the mythos stories like The Burrowers Beneath. I still don't care for the Dream Cycle, updated or not. Lumley has also written a fair amount of short fiction that should scratch the Lovecraft itch. Part of Lumley's philosophy referenced below is something I find appealing.

Quote from: Brian Lumley
I have trouble relating to people who faint at the hint of a bad smell. A meep or glibber doesn't cut it with me. (I love meeps and glibbers, don't get me wrong, but I go looking for what made them!) That's the main difference between my stories...and HPL's. My guys fight back. Also, they like to have a laugh along the way.

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eytanz

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Reply #23 on: December 02, 2009, 05:44:04 PM
Although this does not satisfy the original intent, I would like to throw out the Titus Crow stuff by Brian Lumley. Although it does the fantasy bit of expanding the mythos and showing the monsters more, I have enjoyed the mythos stories like The Burrowers Beneath. I still don't care for the Dream Cycle, updated or not. Lumley has also written a fair amount of short fiction that should scratch the Lovecraft itch. Part of Lumley's philosophy referenced below is something I find appealing.

Quote from: Brian Lumley
I have trouble relating to people who faint at the hint of a bad smell. A meep or glibber doesn't cut it with me. (I love meeps and glibbers, don't get me wrong, but I go looking for what made them!) That's the main difference between my stories...and HPL's. My guys fight back. Also, they like to have a laugh along the way.

See, that just seems wrong to me. I mean, nothing wrong with that attitude in itself, but if that's your philosophy, there are plenty of other settings to put them in. Why work with something so antithetical to the original intent of the Lovecraftian setting?

That's sort of like saying "I really like LoTR, but I find it hard to relate to all the war. All those lives destroyed! In my Middle Earth stories, the characters deal with post-traumatic stress disorders and find it difficult to re-adjust into normal, productive lives, while the rulers of the land deal with the ravaged economies. Also, we explore the racial undertones of the different hobbit clans".

I get it when someone deliberately places a story in an incongruent setting in order to clash expectations, but I expect authors who just want to tell their own kind of stories to do the extra work and develop a setting, not just buy one wholesale and then change everything that is basic about it.




Fenrix

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Reply #24 on: December 03, 2009, 02:39:31 PM
See, that just seems wrong to me. I mean, nothing wrong with that attitude in itself, but if that's your philosophy, there are plenty of other settings to put them in. Why work with something so antithetical to the original intent of the Lovecraftian setting?

It's interesting to see what different people get from the same material. I would consider the core of Lovecraft's work the setting, the mood, and the style. I don't consider the core that the action happens offscreen and that men are overcome with overwhelming fear. My favorite piece of Lovecraft's work is Herbert West - Reanimator and I think this is largely in part due to some of the happening actually being on screen and that the characters tried to act. And I derive little enjoyment from a character seeing something horrific (that we don't) and he is reduced to a quivering mass, and is probably devoured.

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