Lovecraft and Pedantry

I took a visit to Waterstones today.

Huddersfield has two.  One in the town centre and one in the Kingsgate Shopping centre – the former being a far better store.

Whilst in the top Waterstones I noticed that the layout had been altered since my last visit.

This led to an enjoyable re-exploration of the store; more so as friends of mine work there.

I was recently given a book token as a gift and so was looking for anything interesting that might jump out.

I have a fairly predictable routine in book stores.

Science Fiction Fantasy, then horror, then graphic novels and roleplaying games and finally philosophy, spirituality and occult.

A lot of stores don’t have the latter but the better of Huddersfield’s Waterstones does.

Whilst attempting to move from the science fiction/fantasy section to horror, I was blocked by two young gentlemen.

They looked like students and roleplayers to boot.  (It takes one to know one).

Rather than bully them out of the way (as I did later in the day when looking for a Rider/Waite Tarot deck in the Kingsgate Waterstones) I stood and waited for them to finish browsing.

On the shelf were two impressive, black bound hardcover compilations of stories by H. P. Lovecraft.

Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft: The Best Weird Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (Gollancz S.F.)

Eldritch Tales: A Miscellany of the Macabre

I have both, I’m quite a fan of Lovecraft as are many that people I know.  These two compilations are really well put together and part of a set covering the works of a number of other similar authors.

It was with horror that I listened in on the conversation the two were having.
Oh look, Lovecraft
Exclaims the first.
Hurr Hurr … I LOVE Lovecraft
His friend replies.  The first reaches to take the black bound compilation entitled “Necronomicon”.
What’s that… the necmuh  erm necromah… erm neh…
Without turning the first chap replies,
‘Necronomicon’
His friend leans over and nods,
Oh yeah… that’s his best one isn’t it, the Necronomicon?
The first chap looks at his friend in shock.  As do I.  I mean, the Necronomicon is a reference to the fictional book that has played a part in so many mythos stories and spin offs… it’s hardly Lovecraft’s “best one”.
Really?
The first one replies
I quite like ‘The Raven’
It is at this point I decide it is best I leave before my inner pedant, Saint Patrony himself, lets loose on the pair.  I’m not quick enough though, I still manage to hear his friend’s final response.
Yeah, that’s his best work… the Raven.
I’m still seething now…
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3 thoughts on “Lovecraft and Pedantry

  1. It could be worse. At least he suspects there’s a Poe connection. According to surveys, four out of five people in the USA think H.P. Lovecraft is a brand of boat-builder…

    “recent surveys reveal four out of five Americans think Oscar Wilde makes hot dogs, HP Lovecraft manufactures fiberglass boats,”

    Which means a fifth of people actually know he was a writer, which is sort of encouraging.

    • Thanks for the comment Borrowind, I would agree, 20% can’t be all that bad.

      Lovecraft is something of a niche author and I can see how folks in the UKmight confuse him with Poe. I’m sure more people have heard of Lovecraft than many of his contemporariness or successors; August Derleth or Brian Lumley for example.

      It could indeed be worse.

      A friend, who read this post yesterday, remarked that a younger member of his AD&D gaming group had accused Lord of the Rings of plagiarising the Elder Scrolls. Apparently the games pre-date the films and therefore can lay claim to concepts such as Elves and Mithril.

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