Saturday, April 23, 2011

For the Love of Lovecraft and More Poe News

I discovered H.P. Lovecraft in my early teens when Ballentine Books began publishing a fantasy line reintroducing to the public works from authors like George MacDonald, E.R. Eddison, Mervyn Peake, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith and yes, even J.R.R. Tolkien among others. The Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series was the vision of Betty Ballantine and her husband Ian. Lin Carter took on the role of editor and was also later responsible for editing Robert E. Howard's Conan series for Lancer Books. If it weren't for Betty Ballentine and Lin Carter, many fine works of high fantasy would remain in obscurity.

I remember seeing my first Lovecraft book in the local drug store in the paperback book rack. The cover was an eye catching oddity by surrealist Gervasio Gallardo and I was immediately intrigued and became a Lovecraft fan ever since. There was something about his world filled with unseen alien dread and elder gods that lay dreaming on the edge of reality that fired my imagination and kept me lying awake at night staring at the ceiling wondering what cosmic horrors lay behind the stars.

I was quick to recognize even then that Lovecraft channeled Poe in much of his prose and that made me admire him even more. Lovecraft went a step further and created a mythos that still inspires horror authors today like Clive Barker and even Stephen King admitted that Lovecraft was the greatest horror writer of the 20th Century. This inspiration was given recognition by several authors and film directors in a recent documentary called Lovecraft Fear of the Unknown. The documentary supports a full cast of heavyweights that include Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, Ramsey Cambell and directors John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon and Guillermo Del Toro. Each discuss not only their inspirations from Lovecraft but also his neurotic sensibilities and the contridictions that made up his life. For instance it has become common knowledge that Lovecraft was xenophobic yet he married Sonia Greene, a woman with Jewish heritage who was very independent for a lady of that time period. Their nine year marriage ended in an amiable divorce that Lovecraft never finalized.

If you are a fan of Lovecraft and have an interested in his somewhat neurotic and complex life as well as his influence on modern horror, then is a must see.

For a bibliography of the Ballentine Adult Fantasy line as well a collection of photos of the covers check 

Seems that Poe continues to pop up in the news. Already there are two movies with Poe as a character in the works as well as a television series, Poe seems to be everywhere. All the more reason to support a petition that is being circulated on the net. It seems that the City of Baltimore will cease funding for Poe's house and museum and will close it in 2012.  Here is the link to the petition

Grim Machinations

Recently finished this piece, Grim Machinations. Postcards and photo prints are available at deviant art and post cards as well as T-shirts at zazzle.

Grim Machinations Final by *PoeticCrow on deviantART