Tuesday, August 21, 2012

H.P. AND ME

My interest in the life and works of weird fiction writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft goes back a long way. I was a young teenager not yet in high school. It was the middle of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius (at least to some), and everything that was archaic, or in Lovecraftian terminology -- eldritch -- was new again.

The classice horror authors were one by one being reintroduced to a new generation of dazed and confused hippies and pop culture freaks. While a couple of years too young to be declared an official "hippie", I was definitely a card-carrying member of pop culture fandom.

I had heard word and seen these crazy paperback book covers with stories by an author that had the same name as a psychedelic rock group at the time. My curiosity got the best of me and I tried one.


While reading the Ballantine Books edition of THE DOOM THAT CAME TO SARNATH, I found out that the fellow that wrote these far-out tales of strange fantasy and fright had actually been alive and writing 30 or 40 years before.


Well, it didn't take but to devour but a handful of stories and I was hooked like a gillman off Devil Reef. My eye noticed a few Arkham House hardcover books at the local library, so the next tome that I burned my retinas on was DAGON AND OTHER MACABRE TALES.


After that, the next Ballantine paperback that I shelled out my hard-earned allowance on was FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH AND OTHER POEMS. Yes, I know, it was poetry, but it was weird poetry! And when I landed Lin Carter's bio of Lovecraft, A LOOK BEHIND THE CTHULHU MYTHOS, I finally found out a lot about who this guy Lovecraft really was. Granted, some Lovecraftian scholars don't give Carter (or even de Camp) high marks as a Lovecraft biographer, but I always thought besides making his living writing and editing, Mr. Carter was also equal parts fan.


And, that folks, is my story of how I met Howard Phillips Lovecraft, a finer crafter of weird and science fiction from the golden age as one could ever hope to be!

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