Preparing to Explore Weird Fiction in Lovecraft Country

By | August 13, 2020
Screenshot of characters in the HBO show Lovecraft Country
Image courtesy of HBO

Based on a novel by the same name, Lovecraft Country is a drama-horror series set to premiere on HBO this weekend. The story will take you back to the 1950s as you follow Atticus Black (Jonathan Majors), his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) through Jim Crow America in search of Atticus’s missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams). But as the characters embark on an unexpected road trip, they encounter a whole new world of terrifying mysteries. The show tackles issues of discrimination and violence during the dawn of the civil rights movement and intermixes these concepts with a fantastical storyline and supernatural beings “that could be ripped from an H.P. Lovecraft paperback.

This interplay between historical racism in America and magical horror fiction, or weird fiction, opens more doors for conversations around prejudice and the racial biases that still exist today. It’s continually important to provide social commentary across all genres and mediums and to analyze what each author, artist, or creator is trying to accomplish by presenting their work to the public. Our book, The American Weird, does just that as scholars around the world discuss a range of writings, music, and media all operating within the weird fiction space.

Usually defined as a subgenre of speculative fiction, the weird has morphed into a category all its own and found a foothold within a broad spectrum of artistic practices and expressions including fiction, film, television, photography, music, and visual and performance art. Common characteristics of weird fiction include a blending of horror, fantasy, and science fiction ideas and the reimagining of monsters and mythical creaturesThe American Weird will be the perfect precursor to Lovecraft Country as it is the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary study of the weird and covers a variety of content including an examination of Lovecraft’s own work and an in-depth discussion on Jordan Peele’s film Get Out. With Peele producing Lovecraft Country, alongside J. J. Abrams, it’ll be interesting to see how his thoughts will translate to the television series and what new ideas he will bring to the genre.

Cover of The American Weird

Pre-order your copy of The American Weird now, check out our other books on Lovecraft and get ready for Lovecraft Country, a show that will undoubtedly provide further opportunities to analyze the weird in contemporary media.

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