Post by cauldronbrewer on Apr 26, 2018 18:05:11 GMT
Both Lovecraft fans and Lovecraft haters may find something to like about Victor LaValle's short novel, The Ballad of Black Tom (2016, tor.com). It takes one of HPL's worst--and most racist--stories, "The Horror at Red Hook," and turns it inside out. I think the first section (which follows the perspective of a Harlem guitarist who becomes entangled in cosmic horror) is stronger than the second (which follows the detective hero of the original story), but two parts combine at the end in a satisfying way.
From an NPR interview in which LaValle discusses the book's origin:
[HPL] was one of the four foundational writers probably of my youth. I think I picked him up at about the age of 10 or 11. And I would say it was him, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson and Clive Barker were these four writers - all horror writers - who meant the world to me. And Lovecraft stood out in a way because he was the most - well, he was the oldest of all of them. He had written the earliest, but also he was the strangest ... When I was 10 or 11 and I read these stories, I read them only for the wild and outlandish plots and the large cosmic dread sort of thing. And in a way, I was naive and I could overlook what should have been blatant clues about the uglier sides of H.P. Lovecraft's personality and his ideas ... And then when I was about 15 or 16, I started being like what is this dude - what did he just say? ... And yet by this point, I already loved the stories, so it made for these very conflicted feelings.
All of this led to The Ballad of Black Tom, which works both as a tribute to and critique of Lovecraft--a neat trick.