September 3rd Meeting – Why Lovecraft?

Before I begin I just want to thank everyone that came out for our first meeting last night. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves and I’m already looking forward to next month! 

September 3rd Recap…

Weird_Tales_January_1942For our first meeting I decided to approach the introduction of H.P. Lovecraft from a different point of view. Instead of giving a boring lecture on Lovecraft’s life I thought it would be more interesting to explain why… Why host a book club on H. P. Lovecraft in the first place?

Why not Poe or Stoker or Hawthorne? Why not, King or Koontz or Barker? Why Lovecraft? The more I thought about it the more I began to realize that the, why, was just as important as the history of H.P. Lovecraft. In the end I was able to boil it all down to a couple of different reasons.

First being the fact that H.P. Lovecraft occupies a strange corner in the world of Horror and Weird Fiction. Unlike the above mentioned authors Lovecraft was not a celebrated writer during his lifetime. He was, at best, an amateur writer of pulp horror who enjoyed some limited success. You can ask almost anyone who Edger Allen Poe was and they will immediately tell you he was a writer, they may even make mention of The Raven or The Pitt and the Pendulum. Writers like Poe have become household names and for some of us, Poe was required reading in high school. To the best of my knowledge Lovecraft was never a reading assignment when I was in school.

Authors like Steven King have a commanding presence in popular culture and are synonymous with horror fiction. Ask someone to name a horror writer and I would be willing to bet 9 times out of 10, Steven King will be the first name that comes to mind.

Yet Lovecraft himself remains obscure outside of certain circles. Or does he? What makes Lovecraft so unique is that even people, who don’t know him, know him through his creations. We see Lovecraft’s influence all around us. He is visible in the movies Alien and Evil Dead. Many people know what the Necronomicon is and some even believe it to be real. Ask a South Park fan who or what Cthulhu is and they will be able to tell you. I’ve known people who have played the Call of Cthulhu role playing game for years and never read a Lovecraft story. Almost everyone knows Lovecraft… They just don’t know it.

The other reason for having a group is because Lovecraft can be difficult to read at times. To be honest the first time I read Lovecraft I hated it. I was probably 13 or 14 years old and I don’t think I made it through the first few pages of The Call of Cthulhu before I gave up. A few months later I gave it another shot, this time with, The Outsider, and I have been hooked ever since.

The truth is that for some people Lovecraft’s writing has a certain “unapproachable” quality to it that can be overwhelming. Over the years I’ve been asked by a number of people, where do I start? What is a good first story? Why does he write like this? What the hell does cyclopean mean? Mix in the fact that there are dozens and dozens of different publishers all putting out different collections of his work. It can seem a little daunting to a newcomer.

So to answer the question. This book club was created to give people an easy and accessible way to learn about and enjoy Lovecraft in a way that might be unavailable to them otherwise. By providing a group of people who are all reading the same stories and discussing the same topics but sharing their thoughts, ideas and opinions with everyone so that we can all better understand and appreciate the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.

Where to start?

I presented the group with two different ideas on how to approach Lovecraft’s work. The first one I like to call Lovecraft’s Greatest Hits. Each month we would select one of his more popular stories, such as The Rats in the Walls or The Dunwich Horror and then work our way through his writing, skipping over some of the lesser known works and just enjoying a more light and relaxed reading experience.

Or we could go with the second option… We start at the beginning and watch the evolution of Lovecraft as his writing evolves over the years. We examine each story in as much detail as we can and really dig into the world of H.P. Lovecraft…

The group unanimously chose the second option.

Exploring Lovecraft…

Towards the end of the meeting we discussed a few of the things that we could do as a group that would add to the overall experience and make things more interesting. Here are a few of the ideas that were brought up.

  • Watch the HPLHS films, The Call of Cthulhu and Whisper In the Darkness.
  • Listen to the Dark Adventure Theatre Radio Plays.
  • Write our own short stories set in the Mythos.
  • Run a short Call of Cthulhu Role Playing Game.

These are just a few of the ideas that were mentioned at the first meeting and hopefully over time we will accomplish all of them.

Our First Story…

Since we have decided to start at the beginning we will be reading The Tomb for our October meeting. Our next meeting will be on October 1st at 6:00 P.M. at the library. In the meanwhile I would like to invite everyone to discuss Lovecraft on our Facebook page or here on the blog. For those of you who were not able to attend the meeting feel free to join in the online discussion and let us know of any thoughts or ideas you might have as well.

-Clint

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Published in: on September 4, 2014 at 1:14 PM  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. For some of us, H. P. Lovecraft becomes a lifestyle. He is part of the air we breathe in, delicious and required. The more we study the weird fiction of H. P. Lovecraft, from our own reading of it or in reading the critical studies of which more and more are being published, we see that Lovecraft’s writing is excellent in every way, that his beautiful prose is outstanding, that his genius is immortal. When we study his life, we see that he was, in almost every way, entirely admirable. I look forward to our study of his magnificent fiction.

  2. […] September 3rd Meeting – Why Lovecraft? […]


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