Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bookmonkey x Penguin Horror Day 14: My Introduction to Lovecraft

As I begin to read the new Penguin Horror imprint of The Thing on the Doorstep and other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft (and only now do I realize how I should have spent a little more time thinking of a title for this post),  I think of all the ways I could tackle this post - about how his writing was one of the first examples of horror I came across in my teens that really, seriously terrified me, or perhaps how, as a biracial reader, his all-too-common references to the evils of interbreeding really kind of make me sick, or maybe just how sad it must have been to have lived as hermetic a life as he did.

Let's go back to the beginning, where as an eighth-grader I came across my first example of his writing in an anthology of horror stories.  The story "Polaris" (1918) which not only terrified me in its implicitly, but in the fact that (sorry for the 96-year-old spoiler) it turned my understanding of how a story worked on its head.  The twist (and I don't want to wreck it if you haven't read the story) is something I've now seen in other places, but never as effectively, and as a kid the concept sat with me for weeks, insidiously eating at my mind while I tried to read other stories and ensured that I would continue to visit and revisit Lovecraft's work for the rest of my life.

In the end, I can't think of another writer who so strongly grabbed my attention, and introduced me to just how terrifying horror fiction can be.

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