John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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Happy Birthday, HPL!

Happy Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft!

Today would have been H.P. Lovecraft's 125th birthday. So I thought that I would acknowledge this writer's influences on me here today, and just offer up another comment or two.

As most folks (and perhaps some of the other readers of this blog) who know me are aware, I'm not a fan of horror. I don't read very much of it, I'm not a horror movie fan, and so forth. That said, I was exposed to the works of H.P. Lovecraft back when I was in my late teens, and read several of his works, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and The Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories, the first two works of his that I read. I thought the writing was interesting, though in some cases it bored me to tears, but the doom and gloom of his work was one of the things that didn't inspire me to read a lot more of his works.

And then in 1981, I discovered the horror roleplaying game, Call of Cthulhu, in its first edition. While I wasn't enamoured of the genre even then, I liked the game enough that I would run it on and off for several years, and through a couple of other editions (up to the 4th Edition, iirc), though my players at the time were not thrilled at the fact that it simulated the player character outcomes typical of Lovecraft's works. That all changed in 1984, when a new horror roleplaying game, Chill: Adventures into the Unknown, appeared on the gaming scene. It was a completely different game, emphasising more a more world culture approach to horror, rather than the Cthulhu Mythos, and had a very Hammer Horror films feel to it that I (and my players) adored. While I looked at a couple of later editions of the Call of Cthulhu game, I never went back to it as my "go to" horror rpg; for me that was always Chill.

I read more, a lot more, of H.P. Lovecraft's material during the years as a result of that first exposure to his works and the Call of Cthulhu RPG, and it gave me a bit more perspective on the horror genre (though I've read some other types of horror fiction over the years since then), but HPL was the writer that first introduced me to the genre. Since then, there's been Clive Barker, Robert Bloch, Ambrose Bierce, Ramsey Campbell, Nick Mamatas, Dan Simmons, and Nancy A. Collins, to name a few. But H.P. Lovecraft was my first.

So, Happy Birthday, HPL! Thanks for all the great nightmares your work has given me over the years, and for some of the great horror gaming moments that I've experienced as well. :)
Tags: birthday, books, horror, media hut, reading hut, rpg hut

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