Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Saturday, August 1, 2020

HBO Lovecraft Country

We talk a lot about H.P. Lovecraft in Dieselpunk. It seems like every time we have an opportunity, we’re showering him with praise. But let’s be clear about something.

H.P. Lovecraft was racist, anti-Semitic, and a vocal supporter of white supremacy.

Try reading his stories, and it’ll become readily apparent. Some of his stories are difficult to read because the racism is so explicit. He wrote an entire poem in 1912 about how the gods created blacks in a state of being in-between humans and beasts. Once he proclaimed, “the Negro is fundament, ally the biological inferior of all White and even Mongolian races.” And his letters include references to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and praise for Hitler.

We can’t just write this serious character flaw off as Lovecraft being a “product of his times” as we’re told to do so often. While I find the excuse questionable in the first place, Lovecraft’s views were so extreme that, according to Paul Guran, editor of The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu, he was worse than many of his era. 

How should we handle Lovecraft in light of this? Should we throw his work out and make him persona non grata? Thankfully, such extreme steps aren’t necessary. There are other solutions. HBO has one answer. It’s called Lovecraft Country.

Lovecraft Country is a series developed by Misha Green based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Matt Ruff. The cast of Lovecraft Country includes Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Jonathan Majors, Aunjanue Ellis, and Abbey Lee. One, of its executive producers, is J. J. Abrams, who’s famous for screwing up movies such as Star Trek and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

According to Deadline Hollywood, the series follows "Atticus Black as he joins up with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback."

It is set to premiere on August 16, 2020, on HBO.

No comments: