I love Lovecraft – and not because we both have a deep love affair with the city of Providence, Rhode Island. It’s not because of his style, which is easily parodied and now somewhat dated. It’s not camp-love, based on the predictability of his drab titles, the mindless lurking horror, etc. Nor is it a purely literary love, blind to his faults as an author. It’s not because he’s emerged as an oddly important historical writer, as something of the father of the modern American horror writers like Stephen King. In fact, without Lovecraft, there would be no X-Files (a good way to think of which is Holmes and Watson (Mulder and Scully - the parallels are numerous) lost in a Lovecraftian universe.)
No, my love for Lovecraft springs out of two fonts – his generosity and his self-improvement.
Most people don’t know that Lovecraft, in addition to being a pulp writer and the creator of the Cthulhu Mythos, wrote literally tens of thousands of letters to other writers (a close correspondent was Robert Howard– author of Conan), most young and struggling writers. In a way, that circle of correspondence predates what’s currently happening on the internet with various writing groups and workshops.
While it’s easy to pick up on Lovecraft’s great class and race anxieties in his early works, (actually, one could just say he’s xenophobic), it’s just as easy to forget that Lovecraft, after much exposure to people of all classes, races, and religions, blossomed into an embracing human being by the end of his short life.
Here’s a classic short story: The Call of Cthulhu