from the into-the-darkness dept.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow4408
In the realm where science fiction, horror and fantasy meet lives the work of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, who endures as one of the world's most imaginative writers. His mythos of interstellar deities and sinister forces has inspired generations of storytellers, with the word "Lovecraftian" used today to describe a specific, chilling tale. As with most people who are posthumously labeled geniuses in their fields, Lovecraft's work never took off during his short lifetime. Only after his death in 1937 did he gain the kind of popularity that's made him one of the most famous writers in the world.
[...] He created the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts, and the fictional Miskatonic University, which show up again and again in his stories about the Necronomicon, a forbidden book of dark magic, and the Old Ones — the most famous of which, Cthulhu, is practically a meme. His stories appeared in pulp magazines like Weird Tales, sometimes serialized, never particularly popular while he lived, and he died having used up the remains of an inheritance down to the last penny. He was a visionary (with, uh, documented racist views); his work was influenced by a post-World War I awareness of the horrors men can inflict on other men, which inspired his darkest, most chilling tales of murder, suspense, and otherworldly evil.
Lovecraft was a pioneer of the "speculative fiction" genre, and started the Cosmicism movement, which is marked by the belief that there are interstellar beings far outside the realm of human perception, and humans are an insignificant part of a very large, very terrifying universe. His narrators are unreliable, often addicted to substances, their minds altered and broken by the horrors they've witnessed. Lovecraft's work traditionally features humans catching glimpses of a bigger universe our minds were never built to comprehend.
If you've ever wanted to dip a toe into this universe but never knew where to start, we've compiled a list of Lovecraft's best, weirdest, and most iconic tales to keep you up at night, questioning the nature of what's real and what's just your imagination.