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Books & Authors, History & Biography

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 - March 15, 1937)

Today is the 125th birthday of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the renowned horror writer hailed by Stephen King as "the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale". Best known for his grim tales of an insignificant human race menaced by ancient beings beyond human comprehension—including the infamous Cthulhu—Lovecraft labored in obscurity before dying at age 46 in utter poverty. Yet in the years since his death he has exerted what Joyce Carol Oates called "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction".

Lovecraft's influence is found in the work of writers like Neil Gaiman, Joanna Russ, Michel Houellebecq, Arthur C. Clarke, Caitlin Kiernan, China Miéville, Alan Moore, Guillermo del Toro, Mike Mignola, Stephen King, Laird Barron and Thomas Ligotti. His work is analyzed in philosophers Deleuze and Guattari's landmark A Thousand Plateaus and by contemporary philosophers Eugene Thacker, Nick Land and Graham Harman. Popular culture's embrace of the Lovecraftian is evinced by countless musicians, filmmakers and game designers. After a public vote, the International Astronomical Union has been petitioned to name a dark region of Pluto after Cthulhu, Lovecraft's most famous creation. If you'd like to explore the work of Lovecraft and those influenced by him, take a look at the items below.

By Lovecraft





Inspired by Lovecraft

 Kraken: An Anatomy by China Miéville

Being chased by cults, a maniac and the sorcerers of the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit, cephalopod specialist Billy Harrow inadvertently learns that he holds the key to finding a missing squid—a squid that just happens to be an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was and ever shall be.

 Move Under Ground by Nick Mamatas

The year is nineteen-sixty-something and, after endless millennia of watery sleep, the stars are finally right. Old R'lyeh rises out of the Pacific, ready to cast its damned shadow over the primitive human world. The first to see its peaks: an alcoholic, paranoid Jack Kerouac. Now Jack must get on the road to find Neal Cassady, the holy fool whose letters hint of a world brought to its knees in worship of the Elder God Cthulhu.

 The Ammonite Violin and Others by Caitlín R. Kiernan

In The Ammonite Violin and Others, you'll discover a dazzling suite of stories situated on the borderlands between the unspeakable and the erotic, the grotesque and the sublime. Here are stories of dream and metamorphosis, strange lands and beings existing beyond the veil of death and beyond this earth. Here are dreams, nightmares and worse things yet.

 Occultation by Laird Barron

Pitting ordinary men and women against a carnivorous, chaotic cosmos, Occultation's eight tales of terror include the Theodore Sturgeon and Shirley Jackson Award-nominated story "The Forest" and Shirley Jackson Award nominee "The Lagerstatte." The collection brings more of the spine-chillingly sublime cosmic horror Barron's fans have come to expect.

 The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross

Alan Turing, father of computer science, completes esoteric mathematical computations that, when carried out, have side effects that leak through the Cosmos. Out there in the multiverse are "listeners" who can be coerced into opening gates. In 1945, Nazi Germany's SS performs just such a summoning. But their summoning brings forth more than they bargained for—an evil, patiently waiting, now poises to lunch on Earth.

 Necronomicon: The Wanderings of Alhazred by Donald Tyson

Fans of Lovecraftian fiction will delight in Necronomicon, based upon Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. This grimoire traces the wanderings of Abdul Alhazred, a Yemeni necromancer, on his search for arcane wisdom and magic. Alhazred's adventures lead him to the Arabian desert, the lost city of Irem, ruins of Babylon, lands of the Old Ones and Damascus, where he encounters a variety of strange creatures and accrues necromantic secrets.

Lovecraftian Nonfiction

 Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos by Bobby Derie

In this pioneering study, Bobby Derie has presented an objective and scholarly analysis of the significant uses of love, gender and sex in the work of H. P. Lovecraft and later writers of the Lovecraft tradition. Derie also considers Lovecraftian work in other venues, such as occultism, manga and anime and even fan fiction.

Online Resources

H.P. Lovecraft* from St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers via Biography in Context

H.P. Lovecraft* from Encyclopedia of World Biography via Biography in Context


* Library card required for use outside the Library

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