Sunday, November 8, 2015

I Boycott World Fantasy

I just read this on a thread at Thomas Ligotti Online http://www.ligotti.net :
"...David Hartwell, who was handing out the awards with Gordon Van Gelder, announced that this is the final year the venerable bust of Lovecraft that has always served as the World Fantasy Award trophy will be used. It is now officially retired, and a new design for the statue will be announced sometime next year."

Many of you are aware of the controversy surrounding the Howie award, and the grumblings of people who did not want a grotesque racist like H. P. Lovecraft thus dignified by being ye trophy icon. Another reason for replacing the Lovecraft bust is, some insist, because Lovecraft was such a bad writer. This is a monstrous insult to Lovecraft and Lovecraftians, and thus I here declare my personal boycott of World Fantasy Convention and its award. As a person of Jewish and Native American heritage, I abhor Lovecraft's racism to ye core of my being; yet I idolize E'ch-Pi-El as one of ye greatest artists of ye fantasy/horror/sf genres, and I insist that he is one of American's great Literary Artists in regard to prose style, originality of ideas, and literary influence. It is Lovecraft's great Literary qualities that I insist on emphasizing, while so many others (many of whom have never read much of his fiction and are clueless about that which constitutes good writing) whine about what a horrible freak Lovecraft was, and how bad his writing is. S. T. Joshi, on several of his past blogs, has pointed out his reasons for finding Lovecraft a great writer--but there are those who dismiss these reflections from S. T. and myself because we are, in some way, self-blinded fan-boys. (Never mind ye fact that S. T. is the author/editor of over 200 books, and I have written twenty books of weird fiction. We don't know jack cos we adore Lovecraft.)

My personal boycott means that I will never attend another World Fantasy Convention--and this is a real tragedy for me, because I consider WFC the finest genre convention in existence. And, if ever ye impossible happens and one of my books is listed for ye award, I will insist that my name and book be removed from ye ballot.

And I will continue to write book after book in homage to ye magnificent Art of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Esq. I will be dedicating my new book from Centipede Press to Lovecraft's memory.
Selah.

10 comments:

  1. I'm behind you 100%. What about the John Campbell Award? Well known for his racial bias.

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  2. Americans are strange ... here in Europe we have writers and poets who took sides with fascism and even nazism and are still considered milestones of literature (Ezra Pound, who was American, D'Annunzio and many others ...), studied at school etc., etc., and then we have a polite gentleman who never did a single racist act in his life who gets banned just because he expressed some racist views in private letters. And don't tell me about Lovecraft's fiction: Robinson Crusoe is more racist than the whole of Lovecraft production put together, ok?! Wilum, I suspect that Lovecraft's greatness and influence have a lot more to do with it than his racism. Jealousy, maybe?!?
    Carlo

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  3. One writer/editor of my acquaintance has return'd his two World Fantasy Awards to David Hartwell, insists that nothing of his is ever nominated for ye award in the future, and is calling for a boycott of World Fantasy Convention. I have a feeling that most of those in the fantasy genre community will see this as excessive and extreme, and I doubt if many, if any, others will be returning their Howies to the World Fantasy committee.

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  4. I am uncomfortably reminded of China's Cultural Revolution. This is it, folks; the beginning...

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  5. " As a person of Jewish and Native American heritage, I abhor Lovecraft's racism to ye core of my being; yet I idolize E'ch-Pi-El as one of ye greatest artists of ye fantasy/horror/sf genres, and I insist that he is one of American's great Literary Artists in regard to prose style, originality of ideas, and literary influence."

    Wilum, I share your views on Lovecraft's importance in fantastic literature, and yet I have no problem with the WFA removing Lovecraft's image from the award.

    First of all, it is called the World Fantasy Awards, not the HPL Tribute Awards. Fantasy is a big genre, and it seems inappropriate to me to have the Award in the shape of a single writer, no matter how talented or influential he or she was.

    I greatly admire people like E. T. A. Hoffmann, James Branch Cabell, J.R. R. Tolkien and-yes-Octavia Butler, as well as Lovecraft, but I don't think the WFA should be a representation of any of them.

    And other fiction Awards, such as the Nebula Award or the Gold Dagger award, are shaped as symbols, not images of specific writers.

    As Joyce Carol Oates, one of HPL's biggest champions, put it:

    "Re; Lovecraft/ World Fantasy Award: no need for any individual writer to be attached to this. Avoiding specificity most pragmatic."

    Second, Lovecraft's work hasn't been "banned" by this decision. Last time I checked, people could still go into bookshops and libraries and obtain all the
    HPL books they want. All the creative people influenced by Lovecraft (like Wilum) will continue to produce material influenced by Lovecraft's work.

    Finally, as an admirer of Wilum's fiction, I hope if he wins a WFA, he will consider
    dropping his boycott.

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