In life, you would’ve most likely never heard of him, but travel up through New England and you can see the towns, buildings and eerie fog that influenced his work. His name was Howard Philips Lovecraft, a slender man who dreamed up cosmic horrors that have touched us all. He has, since his passing, become a master of horror, with his alien monsters, tentacled creations and horrors of other dimensions. Lovecraft’s work has inspired countless films, television shows, video games, and features in scores of comic books. And so it is only natural for us to want to know more about the mysterious man, who in life was largely unknown outside a small circle of horror writers. Lately, however, that circle is growing to a kind of a Lovecraftian renaissance.
Professor W. Scott Poole, in a new book, has written about not only H. P. Lovecraft's life, but also about how his work continues to inspire and impact our culture today. "I did not want to write another Lovecraft biography. There is . . . already a 1,200-page two-volume biography of Lovecraft and then there are three or four other short biographies in the traditional sense of 'this thing happened to this person and then this thing happened,'” Poole said. "I absolutely wanted to tell his story because one of the things that makes him so interesting is that there's maybe as much interest in him as in his stories. But at the same time, the world didn't need another traditional biography."
Reading any of Lovecraft's work, the reader may be shocked to discover that rarely does good triumphing over evil. There is a sense that the hero will fail and that the horror will remain, and the story is simply a warning not to delve into an investigation of the horrific events; there’s no happy ending. This “cosmic indifference” that Lovecraft used was his world view that he spread throughout his work and it is a world view that is exists in a large number of people who are fans of Lovecraft’s work and don’t even know it, until they begin to search backwards. " [T]hen you read the stories, and finally, you're like, 'Oh wait, I recognize this.' And it seems like that's what is happening and that's exciting for me as somebody who loves books. That's an exciting thing," says Poole.
Poole’s book, In the Mountains of Madness: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft releases Tuesday September 13. This is one, I will want to pick up for some Fall reading.