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H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft
H.P. Lovecraft

August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937

Howard Phillips Lovecraft inspired a new genre of fiction—a hybrid of science fiction and horror that he called “cosmic horror.” His shared fictional universe, the Cthulhu Mythos, has inspired successive generations of authors, filmmakers, game creators, and artists.

Lovecraft spent most of his life in Providence, Rhode Island, and although he rarely made public appearances, he kept up a prolific correspondence with other authors and friends including Robert Bloch and Robert E. Howard. He began writing fiction in 1914 when he joined the United Amateur Press Association, placing stories in various amateur magazines. His first professional sale was to Weird Tales in 1922 with the serialized Herbert West—Reanimator.

In 1928 he wrote “The Call of Cthulhu,” one of his first short stories set in the Cthulhu Mythos—a world that has many horrific aspects but is ultimately science fiction, as the monsters and otherworldly elements are aliens or beings from other dimensions.

It is the Cthulhu Mythos that Lovecraft is best known for, both in his own work and because he encouraged other authors to contribute to it. It stands now as a distinct subgenre sometimes called cosmic horror. Shades of it can be found in the work of Jorge Luis Borges, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Mike Mignola, Alan Moore, Sam Raimi, and many others.