Looking for Lovecraftian Fiction that Engages with Racism
June 19, 2016 2:38 PM   Subscribe

I just finished Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country (verdict: pretty good, although it's more a set of linked short stories than a novel), and I read (or rather listened to) Victor LaVelle's The Ballad of Black Tom earlier this year (verdict: very good, but too short), and I'm looking for other fiction (preferably novels) that build on Lovecraft's influence but also addresses racism.

I seem to remember a novel from last year or early this year that had (I think) a Black protagonist dealing with a weird cult or medical experiment, maybe in Oregon, but it's eluding me (or I dreamed it), finding that would be great, but other suggestions also appreciated.
posted by GenjiandProust to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism?
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:47 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Litany of Earth is amazing, and Ruthanna Emrys has a novel set in the same world coming out soon.
posted by hobgadling at 2:50 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism?

That is the one! Thanks!

As a second request, I remember an FPP about a rediscovered pulp series about a Black mad genius at war with the West -- anybody remember this? The site search is not helping today.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:58 PM on June 19, 2016

Spawn of the winds is second or third generation Lovecraftian fiction. I am not sure if it has enough of the elements of racism in it to fit the bill, but I think it may work for you. I read it eons ago, so the details are sketchy. The title refers to the half human daughter of the Windwalker, raised by what I believe would be some kind of indigenous peoples.

It is my all time favorite Lovecraftian piece.
posted by Michele in California at 3:02 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Shoggoth in Bloom, by Elizabeth Bear!
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:06 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

No answer to your pulp question, but a couple of avenues you could pursue...

Before Delany, before Butler

Light Ahead for the Negro...

"Racism and Science Fiction"
: "In 1936 and 1938, under the pen name “Samuel I. Brooks,” Schuyler had two long stories published in some 63 weekly installments in The Pittsburgh Courier, a black Pennsylvania newspaper, about a black organization, lead by a black Dr. Belsidus, who plots to take over the world..."
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:33 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, here it is: Dieselpunk: Myth and Metaphor
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:35 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Six Gun Tarot does touch on hate and racism in its Western gun-slinger milieu - although these are not the main plot points, they do shape the plot quite significantly.
posted by ninazer0 at 3:35 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Alan Moore's Lovecraft series (The Courtyard, Neonomicon and Providence) take on Lovecraft and explicitly racism and other ills. Not a bad essay on it here: American Dread: Alan Moore and the Racism of H. P. Lovecraft, plus there's an interview here and another article on Providence which also rounds up some more links and notes how some people find Neonomicon problematic. [I don't, for what it's worth, but can appreciate the viewpoint of those who do]
posted by Hartster at 8:49 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: In the interest of answering my own question, I've just discovered that Golden Goblin Press has a volume of short stories challenging Lovecraft's racism planned for release by the end of the year. It's called Heroes of Red Hook, and its editorial statement says:
Our stories put the spotlight on ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants, independent free thinking women, those with special needs, and members of the LGBT community. This collection features people struggling to overcome not only the horrors beyond mankind’s understanding, but an oppressive society seeking to deny them basic human rights.
The brief blurbs make the majority of stories sound more pulp/adventure than horror, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The book is kickstarting now, but I assume at least pdf copies will be generally available by the end of the year.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:07 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Ballad of Black Tom, which came out in 2016, explicitly engages with Lovecraft's racism. Just saw this question and thought i'd add it to the list!
posted by adrienneleigh at 8:54 PM on January 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

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