Memorial Hall Library

Lovecraftian Horror - hold the racism, please!

It is an undeniable fact that H.P. Lovecraft has had an huge influence on horror fiction and film today. It is also an undeniable fact - and an easily confirmable one by looking at his own writings - that he held white supremacist and racist views. This can make today's readers of cosmic horror  look for other books. Luckily, there are plenty of authors who write cosmic and even so-called Lovecraftian horror who can scratch that itch without the upsetting views. Many of these authors have taken to writing in these genres specifically because they enjoy the non-racist aspects and themes of Lovecraft's writing while wanting to address and even redress his white supremacist views.

Of course, reading Lovecraft doesn't make you a racist. But knowing about his beliefs is important background knowledge that can only enrich your reading of his works. Writer Philip Eil says in The Atlantic

"My feelings on Lovecraft—as a bibliophile, a lover of Providence history, a Jew, a fan of his writing, a teacher who assigns his stories—are complicated. At their best, his tales achieve a visceral eeriness, or fling the reader’s imagination to the furthest depths of outer space. Once you develop a taste for his maximalist style, these stories become addictive. But my admiration is always coupled with the knowledge that Lovecraft would have found my Jewish heritage repugnant, and that he saw our shared hometown as a haven from the waves of immigrants he saw as infecting other cities. (“America has lost New York to the mongrels, but the sun shines just as brightly over Providence,” he wrote to a friend in 1926.)"

Since here in Andover we are living in Lovecraft Country - the part of Massachusetts and Rhode Island where Lovecraft set most of his stories - it makes sense to take a look this October at some recent releases in Lovecraftian and cosmic horror. Some authors, particularly authors of color, engage with Lovecraft's racism directly such as Victor LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom; others confront racism more obliquely. We hope that there is something on this list that will appease all lovers of the weird, uncanny, and indescribable.


	The ballad of Black Tom
The ballad of Black Tom
by Victor D. LaValle

In jazz age New York City, Charles Thomas Tester delivers an occult book to a reclusive sorceress in Queens that opens the door to deeper realm of magic, and in the process gets the unwanted attention of things that should not be disturbed.

	Lovecraft country : a novel
Lovecraft country : a novel
by Matt Ruff

Blends multiple genres in a visceral exploration of the Jim Crow era and its legacy, tracing the story of young Army vet Atticus Turner, who in 1954 Chicago travels with his publisher uncle and childhood friend to search for his missing father only to encounter human and supernatural terrors at the estate of a descendant of slave owners. 25,000 first printing.

	Meddling kids
Meddling kids
by Edgar Cantero

The surviving members of a forgotten teen detective club and their dog reunite as broken adults to embark on an effort to solve a terrifying cold case that ruined them all and sent the wrong man to prison.

	White is for witching
White is for witching
by Helen Oyeyemi

Suffering from pica, a malady that causes her to eat nonedible items, sixteen-year-old Miranda helps to run the family bed-and-breakfast while witnessing her community's hostilities toward outsiders, a malice that erupts in violent and destructive ways.

	The rook : a novel
The rook : a novel
by Daniel O'Malley

A high-ranking member of a secret organization that battles supernatural forces wakes up in a London park with no memory, no idea who she is and with a letter that provides instructions to help her uncover a far-reaching conspiracy. 

	Locke & key : welcome to Lovecraft
Locke & key : welcome to Lovecraft
by Joe Hill

 Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode encounter a sinister creature in Keyhouse who does everything in its power to unlock the mansion's mysterious doors, which transform all who dare to enter.

	Through the woods : Stories
Through the woods : Stories
by Emily Carroll

A collection of five spine-tingling illustrated short stories.

	Agents of dreamland
Agents of dreamland
by Caitlín R Kiernan

After haunting events occur at a cult compound, two intelligence agents meet in Arizona to exchange information about what happened, while contact is lost with one of NASA's interplanetary probes and something beyond Pluto's orbit makes contact.

	Annihilation
Annihilation
by Jeff VanderMeer

Describes the 12th expedition to “Area X,” a region cut off from the continent for decades, by a group of intrepid women scientists who try to ignore the high mortality rates of those on the previous 11 missions. 

	The Good House
The Good House
by Tananarive Due

Working to rebuild her law practice after her son commits suicide, Angela Toussaint journeys to the family home where the suicide took place, hoping for answers, and discovers an invisible, evil force that is driving locals to acts of violence.
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