The legacy of racists like Lovecraft is still very much in play in contemporary society, from the Obama birthers to the Ferguson cops and most points between... and the discussion as to how to contain that legacy is far from over. In a perverse way, Lovecraft's retrograde views on race may be his most socially relevant contribution to 20th century weird literature... not as an advocate of his views, not by any means, but as an example of where we've been and what too many of us still share, an opportunity to critique those views through the lens of cosmic horror and alien gods.
Monday, 25 August 2014
A Row About Lovecraft
The World Fantasy Award is a little statuette of H.P. Lovecraft, who was intensely racist. Some people think this a bad thing and want to change the award. Others claim Lovecraft's racism was no big deal at the time and that we shouldn't just a writer of the inter-war years by modern standards anyway. I disagree with this - to me, as an admirer of Lovecraft, racism is obviously central to his artistic world-view. If they don't change the award now, they'll only have to repeat this debate in few years when a sufficiently high-profile writer rejects it, or refuses to be nominated in the first place. But someone says it far better than me here. Well done David Nickle (an author new to me) for summing things up so well.