Friday, April 01, 2005

A Fun Guy from Yuggoth

Was it Spider Robinson who said "Lovecraft leaves me cold. Actually, Lovecraft *fails* to leave me cold?"

Despite his "portentous, overblown, corny" style, H. P. Lovecraft became "iconic and influential." Michael Dirda reviews the Library of America's H. P. Lovecraft: Tales, and concludes
This once little-known horror writer has reached out from beyond the grave to claim his rightful place as a grand master of visionary fiction.
Dirda includes some surprising biographical tidbits:
He actually competed in an ice-cream eating contest and was reportedly offered the editorship of a periodical called the Magazine of Fun.
Lovecraft editing the Magazine of Fun? Doesn't that sound like a perfect companion to Paul di Filippo's Lost Pages story "Campbell's World" -- where Joseph Campbell becomes editor of Astounding Stories ?

And Lovecraft in an ice-cream eating contest? Doesn't that call out (in clotted gutturals unutterable by any human) for Gahan Wilson's deliquescent blobularities?


Blogger skippy said...

hearing robinson's dissing of lovecraft, i am reminded of when george harrison put down some rapper, i believe it was snoop dogg, who replied, "who cares what he thinks? now, if it had been john lennon or paul mccartney..."

i very recently picked up robinson's latest, remembering the days when he was the hottest thing in sci-fi (oh those many decades ago).

not only was it treacly, unfocused, and difficult to wade through, the end of the plot had one character suddenly killing the bad guy with some new found power he (and the readers) never knew he had.

woah. talk about a surprise ending! i was surprised i read it that far.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Mark H. Foxwell said...

skippy, are you saying you've found some Lovecraft that is any good?

Mind you, the Lovecraft _mythos_ is pretty important. It's just that in my experience it fares a lot better in just about anyone _else's_ hands.

10:22 PM  
Blogger scott said...

skippy, you're right -- Robinson has gone downhill. I haven't read VERY BAD DEATHS yet -- Robinson slid down my urgency list from hardcover to paperback, and your depreccomendation knocks VBD down to used-paperback.

But there's always hope. Larry Niven was in an extended blah period, but RINGWORLD'S CHILDREN is his best novel in twenty years.

I have some hope for Robinson's forthcoming ROBERT A. HEINLEIN'S VARIABLE STAR -- based on an "outline and notes completed by Heinlein in 1955" (when RAH was near his peak, IMHO) (

Besides, I feel some obligation. SR's past work has faded to "what have you done for me lately?" But I still have some residual goodwill from all the books he reviewed (and when will those reviews be collected?).

2:38 AM  

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