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Thread: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

  1. #1

    Default HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary...outofspace.htm

    Recently, I've started to read through some of Lovecraft's short stories and have found them pretty interesting. Of course, they also are pretty racist but in at least once story, "The Color Out of Space", it doesn't show up at all. However, the story features an environment that undergoes extreme changes and degradation from some sort of eldritch being. While reading it, many of the descriptions of those changes sounded somewhat familiar.

    About a year previously, I read Silent Spring which describes the degradation of the environment through pesticides. While she was taking her examples from real life, is it possible she had read "The Color Out of Space" and used language from it? Or is it more likely that their styles converged for other reasons?

  2. #2
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    Lovecraft racist? Can't see where that's comming from, he is mostlly obsessed with acient evils and decay. The Color out of space is his most horrifying story imho, gave me nightmares about my limbs crumbling

  3. #3
    the angry, angry elephantid Member wooly_mammoth's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    Indeed, I remember reading that story in a beautiful summer day and being chilled to the marrow.

    No idea why anyone would find Lovecraft racist, but then again, in this day and age, I guess that anything that isn't 100% unwavering and everlasting praise to non-whites automatically qualifies you as a racist monster spawned in the cosmic planes by the scourge of Azathoth.

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    Lovecraft kinda creeps up on you, can't decide who's better, Lovecraft or Poe. Poe is arguably a better writer but Lovecraft really scares.

  5. #5
    the angry, angry elephantid Member wooly_mammoth's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    I tend to agree, but I like Lovecraft's topics more than Poe's. I've never been too much in touch with this genre of literature, so I have no idea if there's any other Lovecraft-like stuff out there.

    And since we are on topic, I think the old Alone in the Dark game made by Infogrames in the early 90s is the best Lovecraft themed horror game I've ever played, and certainly the best one in the (now so tired and confused) series.

  6. #6
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    I would nominate Eternal Darkness on the Gamecube for the Lovecraft-award, got all the ingredients. Ancient evil, insanity, decay. Obviously made by Lovecraft-fans

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    master of the wierd people Member Ibrahim's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    Lovecraft kinda creeps up on you, can't decide who's better, Lovecraft or Poe. Poe is arguably a better writer but Lovecraft really scares.
    yeah, I personally prefer Poe, but lovecraft has his moments.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    Probably my favorite of Poe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLSmhpwLdEQ

    It isn't disturbing in the way Lovecraft is, but the writing is better imho, so dark

  9. #9

    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    Much of Lovecraft's fiction is quite blatantly racist, given that it explicitly sets up Jews and blacks and islanders as degenerate primitives and the like, privy to evil inhuman secrets that the innocent Anglo-Man cannot grasp without losing all sanity.

    In fact, that's precisely why Lovecraft is so interesting; his work before 1925 is mostly rubbish, but after that he began to write more thematically-interesting stories that didn't rely on the device of monstrous non-Anglos. Indeed, in the late '20s and early '30s he began to publicly disavow the kind of thinking that drove his earlier stories.
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  10. #10
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    Never looked at it like that, just as ancient cults. Could be a metaphore I suppose but it seems a bit far-fetched. Been a while since I read Lovecraft though so I'm not saying it's not true

  11. #11
    the angry, angry elephantid Member wooly_mammoth's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    Likewise, I haven't re-read his stories in a while, but seriously, you'd expect cult worshiping religious fanatics to be part of a primitive society in a remote part of the world, so I can't really understand how that makes him racist. Isn't that roughly how things went down in history?

    He does have several stories about inbreeding and degeneracy among noble families of white folks and, in any case, it's usually the white guy that actually taffs everything up and conjures the horrors from beyond the void, not the "degenerate niggers". Maybe someone will start shouting "Why doesn't the black guy get to summon Satan? That's racist!"
    Last edited by wooly_mammoth; 09-20-2015 at 06:11.

  12. #12

    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    you'd expect cult worshiping religious fanatics to be part of a primitive society in a remote part of the world, so I can't really understand how that makes him racist.
    Uh...

    He does have several stories about inbreeding and degeneracy among noble families of white folks
    Wherein the dread-inducing parts are, for example:

    Dutch people are "white trash", and one of their noble families literally become ape-creatures over 200 years.

    Anglo man discovers his grandfather actually mated with a Negroid ape-creature, meaning that his own nature is evil and so he struggles between succumbing to his inherent evil and committing suicide.

    Anglo communities of New England are corrupted by mariners who intermix too much with evil, subhuman islanders and introduce Cthulhu-worship and whatnot.

    New York City is full of demon-worshipping immigrants from Portugal, Italy, and various other sub-Anglo societies. They ruin all the old 19th-century buildings with their foul corruption. They speak not in English but in strange barbarian tongues.

    Look back and you will see that most of his early stories are focused on the horrors of racial-mixing. Often, non-Anglos serve as gateway-races that lead to the Anglo protagonist's loss of innocence. The non-Anglos are "lower" and therefore certainly consorting with unspeakable eldritch intelligences and working to lure the protagonists into quasi-sin/damnation.
    Vitiate Man.

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    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  13. #13
    the angry, angry elephantid Member wooly_mammoth's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    What I wanted to say in the initial part that you quoted is that fantasizing about the practice of primitive cults wouldn't make much sense for civilized characters, since civilization tends to erode belief in such things. The fact that he imagined Haitian negroes or eskimos to indulge in dubious ritual is partly based on reality (Haitians still practice voodoo to this day, right?) and partly because it's a pretty damn cool fantasy (like chanting to the cthulhu spawn under the northern lights and whatnot). I think that some stories did include anglo hillbillies dabbling in forbidden rites (maybe the Dunwich Horror or Dreams in the Witch-House), which again makes sense since they are uneducated and superstitious characters.

    I can agree with you on the breed mixing part, but not on calling him racist because he imagined a community of Portuguese demon worshipers. That's just fantasy. Otherwise every writer ever who imagined a foreign character being the harbinger of something bad could be qualified as a racist?

  14. #14
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Uh...



    Wherein the dread-inducing parts are, for example:

    Dutch people are "white trash", and one of their noble families literally become ape-creatures over 200 years.

    Anglo man discovers his grandfather actually mated with a Negroid ape-creature, meaning that his own nature is evil and so he struggles between succumbing to his inherent evil and committing suicide.

    Anglo communities of New England are corrupted by mariners who intermix too much with evil, subhuman islanders and introduce Cthulhu-worship and whatnot.

    New York City is full of demon-worshipping immigrants from Portugal, Italy, and various other sub-Anglo societies. They ruin all the old 19th-century buildings with their foul corruption. They speak not in English but in strange barbarian tongues.

    Look back and you will see that most of his early stories are focused on the horrors of racial-mixing. Often, non-Anglos serve as gateway-races that lead to the Anglo protagonist's loss of innocence. The non-Anglos are "lower" and therefore certainly consorting with unspeakable eldritch intelligences and working to lure the protagonists into quasi-sin/damnation.
    I can honestly can't see anything wrong with any of that, even if I am Dutch. What is wrong with mystification, nobody complains when it's about voodoo or the Ashram(Indonesian mytholigy), it's just interesting and good writing material for a good horror-story. I wouldn't look any further
    Last edited by Fragony; 09-20-2015 at 11:27.

  15. #15

    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    Quote Originally Posted by wooly_mammoth View Post
    What I wanted to say in the initial part that you quoted is that fantasizing about the practice of primitive cults wouldn't make much sense for civilized characters, since civilization tends to erode belief in such things. The fact that he imagined Haitian negroes or eskimos to indulge in dubious ritual is partly based on reality (Haitians still practice voodoo to this day, right?) and partly because it's a pretty damn cool fantasy (like chanting to the cthulhu spawn under the northern lights and whatnot). I think that some stories did include anglo hillbillies dabbling in forbidden rites (maybe the Dunwich Horror or Dreams in the Witch-House), which again makes sense since they are uneducated and superstitious characters.
    "Civilized" cultures also have had some pretty wacky beliefs too.


    Quote Originally Posted by wooly_mammoth View Post
    I can agree with you on the breed mixing part, but not on calling him racist because he imagined a community of Portuguese demon worshipers. That's just fantasy. Otherwise every writer ever who imagined a foreign character being the harbinger of something bad could be qualified as a racist?
    I think it's more of a problem that foreigners never seen to be portrayed positively or with decent characterization.

  16. #16
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: HP Lovecraft and Rachel Carson

    Quote Originally Posted by Noncommunist View Post
    I think it's more of a problem that foreigners never seen to be portrayed positively or with decent characterization.
    I don't see the problem with that, should they be. The US has a young history, I wouldn't go any furthed than an obsessesion with ancient history that drive his fiction.

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