Over at Book Riot in honor of Women in Horror Month, Johann Thorsson discusses horror with Ellen Datlow. Not surprisingly her forthcoming anthology Lovecraft’s Monsters came up.
7. You say in your introduction to the forthcoming Lovecraft anthology Lovecraft’s Monsters that Lovecraft stays in so many writer’s imaginations due to the richness of his mythos. Do you see any recent writers creating worlds that will be written about like his years to come?
ED: As I only read horror novels and concentrate on horror short fiction, that’s the only genre for which I can respond. The short answer is no. There are plenty of contemporary writers influenced by earlier writers (H.P. Lovecraft and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle most prominently). Many of the resulting stories are boring pastiches, bringing nothing new to the original characters or worlds they inhabit. A few talented, ambitious writers build on the originals, creating fresh and interesting work. Which in turn may become playgrounds for other writers.
Thomas Ligotti is a good example of someone influenced positively by Lovecraft and other weird writers—the Grimscribe’s Puppets anthology commissioned writers to use Ligotti’s world as a playground for their own interpretations and some very good work came out of this. But will there be other writers mining Ligotti’s work? I doubt it. Ligotti is a wonderful writer and I love his work, but his “world” isn’t as varied as Lovecraft’s. If he continues to write fiction he might expand his universe but unless he does we have what we have. Also, he’s unknown outside of a small band of aficionados of his work.
Laird Barron could be creating an Alaskan mythos of his own but will it catch on with other writers? It’s not an imaginary land, it’s a real one in which he gives his imagination full play, which is very different from Lovecraft. I think Lovecraft’s worlds are less grounded in actuality, but in his neuroses.
I’ve never been comfortable predicting trends in fiction – I know nothing more than any other educated reader.
For the rest of the fascinating interview, visit Book Riot.
For more information on Lovecraft’s Monsters, visit the Tachyon site.
Cover by John Coulthart.