The Next Lovecraft

  1. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    422
    As far as I know there are no more great writers, not since Lovecraft, not since Poe. I have not read very much Poe, I should actually read one of his stories tonight, but I looked at a bit of it a long time ago and I heard that he was a great writer.

    I'm half wondering if I might have to write a few stories myself and maybe try to compete especially if nobody else is going to do it. This generation is going to hell if we can't match up to the past. Now I'm supposed to start writing even though I don't know anything.
     
    Mar 5, 2010
    #1
  2. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Knivesout no more

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Messages:
    4,044
    Location:
    Bangalore, India
    Two responses:

    First, yes, if you feel inspired to do so, you must write! That's how the world of literature stays alive.

    Second: there have been many worthy writers of the weird, before, since and contemporary to Lovecraft. Perhaps this site can help you discover some of them. :)
     
    Mar 5, 2010
    #2
  3. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,883
    There seem to be several things going on here.... First, I don't think there can ever be another Lovecraft, any more than there can be another Tolkien (though many have tried), or another Poe, or another... well, you get the idea. A truly unique and "original" writer (i.e., one who, while using pre-existing materials and having influences from older writers, has an entirely personal vision which permeates and informs his/her work) is simply irreplaceable. They may have imitators, but that's not the same thing.

    And, when it comes to Lovecraft (and Tolkien), we aren't likely to see too many writers who spend as much time not only writing the work, but rewriting, revising, rethinking, and simply being so incredibly painstaking in looking for the mot juste or the precise way to present the material or the scene to present. Certainly no professional writer would spend that much time at it... it would mean they'd starve to death, unless they had some form of independent means.

    However, this does not mean we don't have some damn' fine writers among us even now; we do, and we seem to be favored with a growing number of them over the past ten or twenty years or so; at least as far as the fantasy and horror fields are concerned. (I am referring more to fantasy that steps outside the "usual" idea of that genre here.) China Mieville; Thomas Ligotti; W. H. Pugmire; Caitlin R. Kiernan; Ramsey Campbell; Joe Pulver, Jr.; Michael Shea; Anne K. Schwader... just to name a few off the top of my head. There are many more, as well; writers I've read and have not yet had the pleasure of reading, or have only read a tiny portion of their work (and am therefore unable to comment on their overall quality). Some of these have worked in the Lovecraftian vein; most are influenced in one way or another by him; but all are original voices, and all have turned out stupendous stuff. (Note: Mieville is not quite as much to my personal taste, but as far as quality goes, he must be considered high on the list of fine writers working today. The man is bloody brilliant.) So, while we can't have someone like Lovecraft, or perhaps even someone as important as Lovecraft (though we aren't likely to know that until long after the fact), we do have a number of writers who can easily stand with the best which has gone before.

    As for Poe... indeed, he was a great writer. I'm not sure I'd like to have known the man, having read a fair amount both about him and of his correspondence, but he remains unique and unsurpassed. He all but invented the short story in its modern form; he was one of the creators of both the pure tale of horror and the detective tale; he has influenced, in one way or another, every writer in either of those fields who has followed; many of his works (though not all) remain among the greatest of their kind, and their power can still be felt in full force today. He was also America's first great critic, and much of his critical thinking remains as acute and stimulating today as when it was first published. He also remains one of our greatest poets, both for some of his eerie verse and for many of his more lyrical works, as well as some of his more pensive pieces. Who can forget such a passage (or image) as those following, from his early piece, "Spirits of the Dead":

    And this is one of his lesser efforts....

    Lovecraft called him his "God of Fiction", as Poe was the one who influenced him most throughout his life, and in whose shadow he always felt he walked.

    So yes, I would suggest you look up more of Poe. If you are only interested in his weird pieces, take a look at those suggested by HPL in his Supernatural Horror in Literature essay. (Poe is the only writer to receive a full chapter devoted to him alone; chapter VII.) Here is a link, to facilitate your looking it up, should you be interested:

    HPLA - "Supernatural Horror in Literature" by H. P. Lovecraft

    As for your own writing... by all means, pursue it. But always strive to learn and improve; not only in the narrow field of horror, but in every aspect of learning you can. The wider (and deeper) your knowledge, the more you can bring to your writing, and the richer it will be (in time), as you learn to harness that learning to your imagination.
     
    Mar 5, 2010
    #3
  4. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    422
    I would write only because there is no choice. How am I supposed to proceed if I am going to read/study/admire any of this! I certainly see that Lovecraft did work and rework his ideas and stories until they were completed, if they ever were, and modern writers don't write that way at all. That is why I can say that one or another story of his was not a story but a little more than a conception of what was realized later by some other story of his.

    Yes, I will want to look into Poe but I don't understand those quoted excerpts. Oh and these authors including Bram Stoker, they seemed to know a lot more about the world in a way that people can not understand it today. It must be a different world. The question than is what horror will I bring into writing, not that I care to. Now these guys were educated. That is their advantage.
     
    Mar 5, 2010
    #4
  5. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    422
    ...or actually he was not educated, but he found things out for himself. That is what happened. Well it is almost time to start "The Statement of Randolph Carter" now that I have "Dagon" beat.
     
    Mar 5, 2010
    #5
  6. Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,482
    Two words: Thomas Ligotti.

    No, he's not quite like Lovecraft, he is unique in his own way but he is definitely writing ina similar vein. If you haven't already, I strongly recommend you check this guy out (if you get your hands on any of his books).
     
    Mar 5, 2010
    #6
  7. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    422
    I'm going to get one of Thomas Ligotti's books from the Sony Store and read it coming up. His will be the contemporary horror author that I will try to read along with the old writers; Lovecraft and Poe.

    I finished Lovecraft's Randolph Carter and it was fine, but it was very short. Still it used some nice language but was also a bit silly when there is the light of modern technological comforts to shield our sensibilities. Back than people had to step outside to go to the washroom. That story must have been a terrible one.
     
    Mar 5, 2010
    #7
  8. w h pugmire esq

    w h pugmire esq Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    403
    Location:
    I linger within ye shadows of Sesqua Valley, dream
    When I was editing Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, I had a submission from a bloke who, in his cover letter, stated that he hoped to "become the next Lovecraft." But his approach to this was, in some cases, to rewrite Lovecraft. I believe he had one story professionally published, and it was nothing but a complete ripoff rewrite of "The White Ship." The manuscript he sent me was an extremely dull story about a scientist who discovers a daemon star -- and it seemed more like something Derleth would write. I don't remember what I told him when I rejected his story, but I hope I pointed out that to be "the next Lovecraft" one has to create work that is far removed from Lovecraft's -- that is original in a unique way for this time as Lovecraft's was for his.

    Thomas Ligotti is as great as Lovecraft, as compelling, an author to whom I return again and again.
     
    Mar 5, 2010
    #8
  9. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    422
    Sometimes I feel like I should write but I don't know how and I don't actually care to write but I might have to. It has something to do with being ambi dexterous and thus my dark humor at times. I also feel demonic at times, as if I have a mouth full of fangs or sharp teeth, and that would be the time to write, but it only happens when I do certain things which I don't care to necessarily repeat. I'm not trying to accomplish anything. You never know, I might write, and I would do it for relief, just to get stuff out of my system, not to emulate anyone. I believe however that Lovecraft is not a bad influence and neither is Poe and I'll try out Ligotti. Wow, Poe was nuts, he should work where I work, he would fit right in.
     
    Mar 5, 2010
    #9
  10. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    422
    Actually I was writing a story outline for that one story in the other thread. I might go for it and finish it. I think I have enough ability to do it properly. It is a complex story. It would not be very easy to outline.

    The other type of writing that I did not start yet is my own writing that would be totally new stuff. Who knows though. If this other author, Ligotti is a good writer than maybe there isn't any need to write at all because someone else is taking up the mantle.
     
    Mar 5, 2010
    #10
  11. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,883
    Oh, Ligotti is considerably more than "good". His work is very well crafted; extremely disturbing, and it, too, "gets under your skin" quite effectively and haunts. His books are often hard to find, but they more than repay the search.

    Besides... how could you not be intrigued by a man who has titles such as Songs of a Dead Dreamer, Grimscribe: His Lives and Works, The Nightmare Factory, or The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein and Other Gothic Tales....

    Here, for your edification and entertainment, is a review of Grimscribe:

    http://trashotron.com/agony/reviews/ligotti-grimscribe.htm
     
    Mar 6, 2010
    #11
  12. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    422
    I am absolutely willing to try one of Thomas Ligotti's novels. I expect to get one soon.

    I read "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family" and it sounded a lot like "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", because he is now organizing his stories the same way. Actually it also sounded a bit like Michael Crichton's "Congo".

    This brings Lovecraft a step down for me, but I don't mind because I would have loved to read this story done again but the full version of it. It had the trappings of a very cool story and Lovecraft seems to make sense unlike Poe. I have not read a lot of Poe but he is difficult to understand, all full of emotion.
     
    Mar 6, 2010
    #12
  13. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    422
    Well Thomas Ligotti is following the same pattern as Lovecraft because there is nothing on the Sony Store under that author.
     
    Mar 6, 2010
    #13
  14. Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,482
    Tinsel, which country are you in?

    There's a couple of his books available at amazon.co.uk (I've read both and they're both excellent): Teatro Grottesco and My Work is Not Yet Done.

    "Teatro Grottesco" is a collection of short stories and "My Work is Not Yet Done" features one novella and a couple of short stories.
     
    Mar 6, 2010
    #14
  15. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,883
    In some ways, "Innsmouth" is a reworking of the themes of "Arthur Jermyn", just as "The Call of Cthulhu" is a reworking of "Dagon". In each case, the latter is the earlier tale. And, as has been noted, Lovecraft was indeed a writer of the idée fixe....
     
    Mar 6, 2010
    #15
  16. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    422
    I'm in Canada but I can get books off of either amazon dot ca or amazon dot com

    I am trying to stay with the Reader though, and I don't have a Kindle. What I ended up doing is getting Bram Stokers complete works for the Reader, which does look nice.
     
    Mar 6, 2010
    #16
  17. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    422
    I can see the similarity between those two stories, but he could have developed "...Arthur Jermyn" into a full story that diverged enough from Innsmouth, and that would have been a great work. As it is, it is an interesting small story that leaves me wanting more.
     
    Mar 6, 2010
    #17
  18. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,883
    I can see where you are coming from, but from my point of view, "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family" is an almost perfectly-developed tale. It intimates a great deal more than it says, and the scope of the horror there, if one reads it carefully, is much, much broader than many have seemed to realize. That first paragraph as much as tells you that this is far from an isolated case, nor only one among many; that "if separate species we be", along with other hints in the story, make it plain he is dealing with a very vast concept, and a very unnerving one. I also find the tone of the authorial voice here -- quiet and even laconic at times, making the actual material of the tale itself all the more ghastly in contrast -- exquisitely handled. I can't help but wonder if this was, indeed, a bit of a poke at Sherwood Anderson, whose Winesburg, Ohio, inspired the thing....
     
    Mar 6, 2010
    #18
  19. w h pugmire esq

    w h pugmire esq Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    403
    Location:
    I linger within ye shadows of Sesqua Valley, dream
    It has always perplexed me that no one has filmed "Arthur Jermyn," when there are so many "Outider" and "Statement of Randolph Carter" adaptations at ye Lovecraft Film Festival years after year.
     
    Mar 6, 2010
    #19
  20. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    422
    So just imagine how much is implied in "The Shadow Over Innsmouth". It brewed for over 10 years before it was written. After I finish one of his stories I feel like turning to a different author and than coming back to Lovecraft. He does create a deep atmosphere that I want to be able to understand but I can only accomplish that by leaving it and than returning. Since the Innsmouth story was longer, it make the Jermyn story less attractive and it is too bad that it is complete but not the the extent of Anne Rice.
     
    Mar 7, 2010
    #20
Loading...

Share This Page