Monday, June 30, 2008

Lovecraft Conversation at Hypericon Nashville

Well, I suppose I felt a bit like Mr. Lovecraft when he went to his first amateur journalism convention. I certainly felt like a fish out of water. I'd never been to a convention before.

Yes, while I do go to trade shows all the time - big ones at the Sands, McCormick - but I'd never taken in a horror convention.

It was strange. People that I e-mail, and people whose books I read, I actually got to meet in person. I think that that's probably the impulse that Lovecraft got. All those 1 cent stamps and all those scribbled out letters he mailed, but he'd never MET anyone before.

And, amazingly to my complete surprise, people knew ME! I was on my cell phone, and someone rushed by on the way to a meeting, looked at my name tag, pointed at me, and said, "Hey! I know YOU. I'll catch you later!"

They'd either seen my stories at the +Horror Library+ and other publications, read my book reviews at Horror Mall, my posts at the T-12 blog, or best yet, they read the HPL blog. Very cool.

But I promised I'd tell you about Joe R. Lansdale.

He was the featured guest of honor at Hypericon and was there to talk about his new book Leather Maiden from Knopf.

He talked to me about Mr. Lovecraft and his circle.

Mr. Lansdale is well acquainted with Lovecraft, and more so with Robert E. Howard having often written stories reminiscent of Two-Gun Bob, written introductions and prefaces that discuss Howard.

So, we discussed the legacy of Mr. Lovecraft for a bit. After saying nice things about Mr. Lovecraft, he said he agreed that, "...he's the most important writer of horror after Poe."

I said that I've found that readers either like Lovecraft or they don't. Many don't.

We agreed that Lovecraft had a unique and old way of writing. Antiquarian. We laughed that even in Lovecraft's day his writing was considered old fashioned. That's when Mr. Lansdale stated that Lovecraft is one of those writers that when you read him, his story actually transcends the way he writes, transcends the words on the page, that you get past his style to the impact of the story itself, and that was his strength.

We both felt that while Lovecraft was arguably the more important writer, it was HPL's buddy, Robert E. Howard, that was the more pure story-teller.

That was all the time we had to talk, though.

I had to hurry off to talk to other people (like Fran Friel, my Stoker nominee & T-12 friend; publisher Jason Sizemore of Apex Magazine; Steven Shrewsbury author of Hawg; and Shane Moore), while there were many other folks who wanted to talk to Mr. Lansdale.

And, yes, Mr. Lansdale was a terrific, warm, nice guy. You'll have to meet him sometime.

1 comment:

Fran Friel said...

It was a highlight of Hypericon for me to get to hang out with you, Chris. And I'm thrilled that you got to meet Joe. I was also surprised to find that the two of you were fellow HPL experts.

One of these days you need to get up on those panels and share your HPL and writing wisdom. It's obvious folks are hungry for it.



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