Bookmarking the necronomicon

This week’s guest post is from Kevin Hurtack, a fellow author using the awesome site ‘Scribophile.’ He’s got an e-book out at present, entitled ‘A lurker among the dead,’ which blends western themes with horror in a quite unique cocktail. He’s chosen the iconic author, H.P. Lovecraft as his topic – an author who scared the bejeezus out of me as a teenager with his collection ‘The lurking fear.’ I’ll leave Kevin to explain Lovecraft’s influence in his own words.

Lurking fear

I first encountered H.P. Lovecraft’s work when I was attending Buffalo State college. There was this indie book store a few blocks down that I habitually walked to whenever I had free time. The kinda place that had a heady aroma of old paper. At the time, Del Rey had put out a series of paperback collections of his work and one of them had a quote from Stephen King, who was a personal favorite at the time. That quote along with the slick macabre artwork lured me in. I suppose I was just another sucker in regards to their packaging/marketing scheme, but what really caught hold of my imagination was Lovecraft’s stories and themes.

The appeal of his writing was that it involved the banal world, but underneath it lurked something completely inhuman and evil. His pantheon of the Elder Gods and the concept that something ‘else’ held dominion over earth prior to humanity and would one day return to reclaim it while destroying us, was a dark and brilliant idea. The fact that he also used the world of academia as well as artists (e.g. Pickman’s Model, The Music of Eric Zahn) to explore his ideas was right in step with my college career. One of Lovecraft’s recurring themes was the forbidden knowledge of Elder Gods. This was right up my street as I was an art major and spent a great deal of my time in libraries and museums/galleries.

Although his stories were set in the 1920s his characters and settings were familiar and comfortable. They easily drew me in just as much as his bizarre creatures and gods repulsed me. The elaborate histories and back stories of towns like Innsmouth and the nefarious tome of the Necronomicon are quite brilliant, and on a par with anything Tolkien wrote, or indeed any other author’s fictional world.

The other aspect of Lovecraft that sparked my imagination was the fact that his stories didn’t always have happy endings. The characters tended to go mad from their experiences with the Elder Gods or would end up dead as a result. His writing delved into the fine line drawn between reality and madness. The idea of the truth being so terrible that it could drive a man mad from discovering it was a brilliant twist.

Lovecraft has had a profound influence on my own writing and artwork. I tend to shy away from writing fan-fic or ‘Mythos’ stories of my own, but continue to be affected by his themes and twist them in my own way. I never really had any mentor in my college career, but I feel that H.P. Lovecraft’s writings were the next closest thing for me. I’ve read plenty of authors and genres over the years and become infatuated with them, but none of them, other than Poe, have really stuck with me.

In a lot of ways, H.P. Lovecraft is the grandfather of ‘weird’ fiction and it’s because of his work that I fell in love with the genre and discovered more authors and artists in this vein. Despite this fact, no one around me really ‘got’ my own work, yet I knew I wasn’t alone in this approach to art or writing. The legacy of Lovecraft legitimized ‘the weird’ and gave me the confidence to continue, and the inspiration to delve deeper into the lurking shadows on the threshold of reality.

Kevin Hurtack’s book ‘A lurker among the dead’ can be purchased from:

http://amzn.to/1jI0BDZ   (US readers)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lurker-Among-Dead-Callahan-Files-ebook/dp/B015AR3RZ2 (UK readers)

Kevin Hurtack’s blog, Gunsmoke and ghouls can be found at kevinhurtack.wordpress.com

Kevin also contributes to a zarjaz site, ‘Thy demon’s be scribblin’ – another blending project that fuses the world of heavy metal with horror/suspense literature. Check it out at: http://www.thydemonsbescribblin.com

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: