[Kalisa’s Note: Hello, and welcome to my very first guest post! Woo! This podcast review is brought to you by the nimble fingers of Kristopher Reisz who is fresh off the release of his latest novel, The Drowned Forest. You can find more information about him at the end of the review, and trust me, he’s worth the looksie-loo. Enjoy the review!]
H. P.Lovecraft Literary Podcast
H. P. Lovecraft is one of the patriarchs of horror literature; however, delving into his stories can be a prickly endeavor.
Writing during the 1920s and 30s but admiring the authors of the 1880s and 1890s, Lovecraft merged a florid Victorian prose style with a pessimistic, post-World War I outlook. What’s more, his stories don’t have much, well, story-ness. They lack a lot of the things we expect from stories like character development or rising and falling action. Instead, his stories center around accounts–letters, half-remembered dreams–of a vast, interconnected pantheon of alien god-monsters.
So why do fans of an odd, obtuse author continually reinterpret his creations through novels, movies, music, RPGs, clothing, video games, and any other medium you could name? That’s what the H. P.Lovecraft Literary Podcast wants to help you understand.
Most episodes of the H. P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast (it’s friends call it HPLLP) focus on a single Lovecraft tale. (Some of his longer stories get a series of episodes.) The hosts, Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer, walk listeners through the plot–accompanied by dramatic readings of choice sections–pausing frequently to explore the more literary aspects of the story: symbolism, possible inspiration, how the story fits into the larger Cthulhu Mythos, etc. Sometimes they bring in guests like Lovecraft biographer S. T. Joshi or theologian Robert M. Price to up the pointy-headedness of the discussion. Lackey and Fifer have a relaxed, chatty style that comes as a relief when you’re struggling through Lovecraft’s archaic language and tangled plot structures. (The dude loved to tell a story-within-a-story. Sometimes he tells a story-within-a-story-within-a-story.) They have excellent taste in dramatic readers and special guests as well, using both to highlight what makes Lovecraft’s work so unique and disquieting.
The HPLLP boys have been at this for awhile now, and they’ve worked through nearly all of Lovecraft’s stories. They’ve moved on to reading weird fiction from other writers like Ambrose Bierce and Guy de Mauspassant. They’ve also moved to a subscription model, offering access to their newest stories for the death metal-tastic price of $6.66 for four months. However, several years worth of their older, Lovecraft-themed episodes remain available for free.
Content Rating: Caution suggested. Lackey and Fifer don’t work blue often, but they do let the occasional cuss word slip. Also, they are talking about terrible beings whose merest glance strips a man of his sanity the same way the hunter skins a rabbit. So. . . there is that.
Average Episode Length: Between 30 and 45 minutes, with some shorter mini-episodes sprinkled in between.
Drinking Game: Sip whenever Lovecraft describes something as “eldritch,” “blasphemous,” or “fungoid.” Chug every time the narrator faints in horror.
Release Schedule: Once a week, more or less.
Unintentionally Good Part: Lackey and Fifer struggling to pronounce names like Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, and Celephaïs.
Unintentionally Bad Part: The hosts hemming and hawing and tying themselves up in philosophical knots before finally admitting
that, yeah, Lovecraft was pretty racist.
Unrelated Rating: Seven non-Euclidean angles out of five
Who Are You, Kind Stranger?: I’m Kristopher Reisz, an urban fantasy writer! My novel The Drowned Forest is out now. It’s about Jane, whose best friend drowns in the Tennessee River. When her friend comes back, twisted and wrong, Jane has to put her to rest while figuring out how to move on from the tragedy herself. You can learn more and read an excerpt at my website.