For those unfamiliar, the World Fantasy Awards are pretty high honors in the field of fantasy fiction, and Nnedi Okorafor won this year’s award for Best Novel for her book Who Fears Death. The award itself is a bust of H P Lovecraft.
On Sunday, a friend of mine wanted to see my World Fantasy Award statuette. When he saw it, he was taken aback. He looked like he’d seen an ugly ghost.
“That’s a bust of LOVECRAFT!” he said.
“Yeah, so?” I said. I had a bad feeling.
Then he showed me a nice little poem that Mr. Lovecraft wrote about our people…
So, I too knew Lovecraft was racist — it’s a little obvious from his fiction — but holy fucking shit was I not aware. I would say “I can’t believe this guy’s head is an award, still” but you know, given so much other crap in genre, I totally can believe it. Sadface.
But I really like what Okorafor had to say about the award and her thoughts on it, and I also appreciate the quotes from Mieville she included.
I was made aware of Lovecraft’s racism about two years ago and like many greats I once enjoyed—C.S. Lewis, Orson Scott Card, Joseph Conrad—I was not only furious but betrayed. God, I felt like I’d been tricked into believing they were Great Authors who deserved Love and Admiration Forever. the WORST.
Anyway, heads up if you didn’t know that H.P. Lovecraft was a disgusting racist. Read that commentary at the link from China Mieville: you cannot separate Lovecraft’s racism from his stories. That’s what they’re based on.
bummer to the max, but the guy would have hated me for being brown, so whatever.