Lovecraft Country: the Big Idea

by Matt Ruff on February 17, 2017

I wrote an essay about Lovecraft Country for The Big Idea over at John Scalzi’s Whatever blog. It’s up today, and you can read it here. (And if you’re feeling nostalgic, you can also check out my 2012 Big Idea essay for The Mirage.) Thanks to John for the space!

Also:

Last night’s reading at Third Place Books in Seward Park was a lot of fun. If you missed it, your next chance to see me live will be on Tuesday, March 21, at 7 PM, when I’ll be appearing “in conversation” with my friend Nisi Shawl, author of Everfair, at Elliott Bay Book Company.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Chronos February 17, 2017 at 8:32 am

Just seems like another black cultural appropriation by a white author.

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Matt Ruff February 17, 2017 at 9:02 am

If you’d prefer to read a book by a black author that’s in the same thematic ballpark, Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom is definitely worth your time.

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Chronos February 17, 2017 at 10:56 am

I just think of the better sales The Ballad of Black Tom would have if a more privileged white writer hadn’t usurped La Valle’s “thematic ballpark.”

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Matt Ruff February 17, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Eh, “usurped.” I wrote the book I wanted to write, and Victor wrote the book he wanted to write. To the extent that we’re writing about the same thing, I think our books complement each other rather than being part of some zero-sum competition. And of course neither of us comes close to exhausting the possibilities of the subject matter. There’s still plenty of room in the ballpark for other artists who want to play.

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JOHN T SHEA February 17, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Sounds both interesting and timely. And I love pre-distressed covers!

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Matt Ruff February 17, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Yeah, the jacket designer’s name is Jarrod Taylor. You can see some of his other work here, including an alternate cover concept for The Mirage:

http://jarrodtaylordesign.com/

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JOHN T SHEA February 17, 2017 at 1:35 pm

I see such ‘thematic ballparks’ as complementary and additive rather than competitive and subtractive. I’d be inclined to buy and read both books. And diversity certainly is not served by discouraging authors from creating characters of a different race than themselves.

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