Providence celebrates its famed native author H.P. Lovecraft this week, with dozens of events at the convention known as Necromomicon.
This year’s celebration falls on the 125th anniversary of the horror and science-fiction author’s birthday.
If you’re not familiar with H.P. Lovecraft, you’re not alone. Lovecraft was born in Providence in 1890. He died in 1937, and never received the attention enjoyed by similar writers, like Edgar Allen Poe.
Today however, the writer of dark and disturbing stories has a growing following. There’s even an organization devoted to all things Lovecraft.
Niels Hobbs is one of the directors of the Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council. He runs the council’s storefront in downtown Providence. The room has the feel of a Victorian library. Books stuffed into dark wood shelves, rest alongside skulls and scrimshaw. Sitting atop one bookcase, a taxidermy raccoon bares its fangs at incoming customers.
“The mascot-slash-guard raccoon for the store,” explains Hobbs.“That’s probably the most normal thing we have in here I think.”
Hobbs said it wasn’t until the past decade that Lovecraft garnered a worldwide following. It may be that Lovecraft gloomy worldview appeals to today’s pop culture. Hobbs said Lovecraft’s ideas are borrowed by modern authors like Stephen King, and many film directors.
“Even Ridley Scott making the movie Alien very commonly credits Lovecraft as an inspiration,” said Hobbs.
Lovecraft didn’t deal in serial killers, or local monsters. His horror is often far more sinister says Hobbs.
“The general concepts that Lovecraft brings up are ones of cosmic horror if you will,” said Hobbs. “There are things out in the universe that don’t really care for us at best, or actually wish us ill at worst.”
Those concepts will be discussed and dissected at panels and lectures during this year’s Necronomicon. There’s even a session that will address questions of racism in Lovecraft’s writing. The event is expected to draw a few thousand people into the city over the next four days.
A full listing of Necronomicon events can be found here.
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