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11 minutes ago, TheEnclave said:

Even still, I don't at all agree with the claim that theists can't write Lovecraftian stories and can only be knockoffs, more or less, because it's totally false. 

Who claimed this, out of curiosity?

13 minutes ago, TheEnclave said:

Derleth is the best example.

"[Author Sandy Petersen] has left out the concept of a "war in heaven" in which the Great Old Ones battled and were defeated by the Elder Gods, supposed deities of good opposed to the cosmic evil of the Great Old Ones. This idea of a cosmic war is never found in Lovecraft's own works; more importantly, it vitiates some of the stark horror found in the original ideas."
~ Call of Cthulhu RPG, "What Was Left Out", all the way back in the 1st Edition, 1981.

Not that Sandy had the last word on the matter, but that's been in every edition of CoC I've ever looked at, including the most recent 7th Ed, and he scores a valid point.  In fact, I more or less paraphrased him earlier by invoking God with a fire extinguisher ready to save the day.  Derleth has his fans, perhaps largely because he introduces hope where Lovecraft offered none.  I did it myself when I was playing CoC as a teenager.  I'd make different choices today.  Different strokes and all that.

!i!

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2 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

Who claimed this, out of curiosity?

Quoting:

8 hours ago, Travern said:

(King doesn't hate christianity. He just hates religious fundamentalism and believes organized religion can be dangerous. Also, he isn't an atheist. He's stated several times that he believes in God as a source of hope and strength. )

Yes, and because of all that, he doesn't truly count as a Lovecraftian author (only a Lovecraft-influenced one).

Continuing:

2 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

Not that Sandy had the last word on the matter, but that's been in every edition of CoC I've ever looked at, including the most recent 7th Ed, and he scores a valid point.  In fact, I more or less paraphrased him earlier by invoking God with a fire extinguisher ready to save the day.  Derleth has his fans, perhaps largely because he introduces hope where Lovecraft offered none.  I did it myself when I was playing CoC as a teenager.  I'd make different choices today.  Different strokes and all that.

2 hours ago, Augusto Antunes said:

I agree with the point you're trying to make, but to be entirely fair, Derleth's not that good of an example. His contributions to the mythos have always been a bit controversial precisely for not being "lovecraftian" enough and drawing too much from christian concepts.

No one's saying everyone has to like Derleth, but his influence is undeniable. Aside from Lovecraft himself he's one of the most recognized mythos writers, a close friend of Lovecraft and something of a writing student under him, and the person to come up with the idea of a Cthulhu Mythos in the first place. He's a very important contributor and component of the mythos as we know it. This isn't to say you have to enjoy or use his works or ideas, you don't. However, it is objectively false to say that you can't write Lovecraftian fiction without being an atheist, when one of the most prominent writers of Lovecraftian fiction, tutored directly by Lovecraft himself, was Catholic. You don't have to explicitly exclude or negate religion and spirituality to have cosmic horror themes, and you don't have to be an atheist to write cosmic horror stories. It's a wide genre with more influences than just Lovecraft himself and more themes than just what's seen in Lovecraft's stories, and that's exactly what he wanted.

Three more things. Derleth wasn't the first to introduce cosmic hope either, that'd be Lovecraft with Nodens. Also, Sandy Petersen, AKA the guy who made the game we're discussing right now, the game that had a major impact on bringing back the popularity of Lovecraft, is a Mormon, not an atheist either.

And, most importantly of all:
Naturally, if these conceptions seem good and well done to the Keeper, use them at will. Call of Cthulhu is your game.
- What Was Left Out

Edited by TheEnclave
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48 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

I thought that at first...

My apologies, really.

49 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

He went on to say constructive stuff afterward, and we were able to set aside our differences.

Oh, c'mon!  I was constructive straight out of the gate.  I was just building a gallows for crap manifestos like "Without a Higher Power there is no morality, only survival of the fittest" that someone thought he could drop uncontested.

!i!

 

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7 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

My apologies, really.

Oh, c'mon!  I was constructive straight out of the gate.  I was just building a gallows for crap manifestos like "Without a Higher Power there is no morality, only survival of the fittest" that someone thought he could drop uncontested.

!i!

 

I meant in that specific comment, you're comments generally are always constructive:) And I feel we are moving off topic...

Edited by Dethstrok9
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I don't see much hostility towards religions here, just an interesting conversation, and that's much pleasant. Just a few more points, for the pleasure of conversation :

  • 9 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

    I dunno -- can a man write believable female dialogue?

    I think about D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley - the author is a man and he has written one of the most important stories about women's sexual pleasure - the very first story that claims their right to have some, and from a woman point of view (third person). So yes, a man can write believable female dialogue and even feelings. Not any man, for sure, but some can.

  • I do believe you can enjoy an author without being agree with his beliefs. For example, I'm rather found of both Louis-Ferdinand Céline who is politically indefensible but probably the greatest french writer of the 20th century (Bukowski agrees with that in Pulp) and Norman Spinrad - relentless anarchist ever... The first is humanely a swine, the second shows an empathy (in my own cosmogony the most important human vertue ever) so intense towards people that it is catching and almost makes me crying (oops! I think you know now for whom my human beliefs tend to...). And still Céline as Spinrad have modern and deep writings I would recommend to anyone (just advertising on Céline... and do not read Bagatelle pour un massacre - this is crap in every way).

  • I am atheistic. I write short stories and some magazines and anthologies publish them. As far as I can remember, I never talked about it in my stories. But maybe some attentive readers can see it through my writing? I don't know. I have no intent about it, and I just don't care. I like to think I am tolerant (I married at church for respect of my wife's beliefs). I just write stories I intent to enjoy myself (when writing) and maybe a few others (when reading). And I hope they are not so bad... 🥴

  • Anout HPL and christianism, I read somewhere (can't remember where - an essay, maybe Houellebecq's) that in Dunwich horror, the final death of the son of Yog-Sothoth at the top of a hill, with his shout "F... FATHER..." looked quite a bit at the Golgotha's scene with Jesus wondering "Eli, Eli, sabaknati...". That's an interesting point, wether you agree with it or not. You can be atheistic and still catch some inspiration from your undeniable cultural - and religious - background, conscienciously or not. And I don't think HPL's intention is to jerk christianity here (I'm even not sure he's aware of this possible comparison), but just catching the intensity of a scene, maybe an image that stroke him in his youth and remained in his mind. As I said I am atheistic, but I won't deny the evocative strength of some Bible passages I read. In my opinion, the debate about can you write cosmic horror if you are theist or not is specious. Little tags, again, both on stories and individuals... 😉

  • Going back to Stephen King (after all, he's the subject of this topic). I don't have the cultural keys to understand King's beliefs as you can do. I'm french, and religious matters are quite different here. Few christian believers, especially in my birth area, which is one of the most atheistics - for several historical reasons. We are certainly wrong, but here we see King (and I'm talking about people who do enjoy King's stories) like a conservative man - not reactionary, of course. Do you see him that way? Differences of points of view from one place to another is much interesting...

Sorry for this long long post... and for the many faults I certainly made... ☺️

Edited by Loïc
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Regarding Lovecraftian Horror, the bleakness and futility of it all reflects, for me, the childlike feeling that "Oh no, I am going to die and there is nothing I can do to stop it, I won't exist anymore", but expanded to the whole cosmos. Nothing you do matters. Add in some Cosmic super-powered entities to whom humanity is completely insignificant and you have the basis of Lovecraftian Horror.

 

Edited by soltakss
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13 hours ago, TheEnclave said:

This is completely wrong. August Derleth was a major contributor to the Lovecraft mythos as we know it, and he was a devout Catholic.

Funnily enough, "completely wrong" is how a lot of people regard Derleth's Mythos contributions, particularly his attempt to introduce a systematized quasi-Catholic moral framework to the contest between the Elder Gods and the Outer Gods as a struggle between good and evil.  Lovecraft philosophically grounded his cosmic horror in Neitzsche and Schopenhauer, not the Old and New Testaments.  (Just look at the fun he had applying the adjective "blasphemous" to everything.)  I'm perfectly content with a purist approach to the Mythos, even if it's necessarily narrower in scope.

Honestly, though, the question of authorial intent and reader interpretation has been going on for a very long time (see the adage from Lawrence above), and it will outlast this thread.  By all means, please continue your discussion, but please don't infer hostility or "edginess" on my part.

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11 hours ago, Loïc said:

We are certainly wrong, but here we see King (and I'm talking about people who do enjoy King's stories) like a conservative man - not reactionary, of course. Do you see him that way?

Oh, absolutely not. Although I certainly wouldn't call him a blind follower of either side, I think most americans definitely see King as a left-leaning liberal - and I'd guess that's also how he sees himself. In fact, that's why actual conservatives usually spew out nonsense about him such as "the man hates christianity, I mean, why doesn't he write an evil buddhist for a change", which has a lot more to do with them showing their own political agendas, prejudices and insecurities than with King's actual writing.

Edited by Augusto Antunes
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27 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

If I begin reading King, what should I start with? I've heard that they all go together somehow... Is there a chronological order?

I wouldn't worry too much about the connections or chronology initially. It usually doesn't matter for the story you're reading, as most of them are pretty self-contained even if they sometimes reference characters and locations from other stories. I would probably start with any of the self-contained classics: The Shining, Pet Sematary, Misery, Christine, Cujo, The Dead Zone, Carrie, 'Salem's Lot... Actually, maybe any of the short story anthologies would be an even better place to start. I'd avoid IT or the Dark Tower saga as a starting point, as they demand a little more commitment. Those are a bit of a deeper dive. My personal favorite is Pet Sematary.

Edited by Augusto Antunes

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5 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

If I begin reading King, what should I start with? I've heard that they all go together somehow... Is there a chronological order?

Chronological order would be fine.  Starting out with Carrie and his short story collection Night Shift, King hit the ground running as a horror writer, and 'Salem's Lot and The Shining are tremendous follow-ups.  (I'm less inclined to recommend beginning with King's later work, once his editors basically stopped red-pencilling him, but there's still good stuff there, such as The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.)

And King retroactively decided to start linking everything together in a grand design.  That's just the sort of authorial intent I'd advise ignoring.

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2 minutes ago, Augusto Antunes said:

I'd avoid IT or the Dark Tower saga as a starting point, as they demand a little more commitment.

Heheh... My bookshelf has broken down many tines over by the overwhelming weight of content. I read constantly, but I will still take your advice and start smaller to see if I like it.

 

2 minutes ago, Travern said:

And King retroactively decided to start linking everything together in a grand design.  That's just the sort of authorial intent I'd advise ignoring.

Um, interesting perspective... I personally love the idea behind that though, linking everything together. But just my opinion, maybe it'll change when I actually read it:)

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I don't quite know King, as I said when starting this thread.. ^_^

But from the movies and book I can remember (and movies are 1 step away from books) my favourites (both from movie watching) would be The Dark Tower and Doctor Sleep.

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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14 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

I personally love the idea behind that though, linking everything together. But just my opinion, maybe it'll change when I actually read it:)

That kind of grand design works better as when instituted from the start.  Deciding to embark on this overarching creative project part way through a literary career means going back to earlier works and shoehorning them into the scheme retroactively.  Different tones and genres among the works also presents complications.  Letting a grand design emerge organically has a better chance of success.

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5 hours ago, Travern said:

Funnily enough, "completely wrong" is how a lot of people regard Derleth's Mythos contributions

And a lot of people greatly enjoy Derleth's contributions and admire his work in preserving and building on Lovecraft's legacy. Without his and Wandrei's work, a lot of Lovecraft fiction would've fallen into complete obscurity or been lost altogether. Those two preserved, and in many ways formed, the fiction we're discussing today. Liking or disliking Derleth's writings is opinion, but his influence on the genre is fact. Without Derleth, the "Cthulhu Mythos" wouldn't be what it is today.

5 hours ago, Travern said:

his attempt to introduce a systematized quasi-Catholic moral framework to the contest between the Elder Gods and the Outer Gods as a struggle between good and evil.

Remember that it was Lovecraft, not Derleth, that introduced the Elder Gods, and even before Derleth's work, where they became expressly benevolent, they still were considered the enemy of the Outer Gods and Great Old Ones, many of whom Lovecraft described as wholly evil and wicked beings. Nodens being an enemy of Nyarlathotep, one willing to directly aid humanity to oppose him, is all written by Lovecraft himself, so while he may not have conceived of a full-fledged War in Heaven, the idea of there being a conflict between malevolent and benevolent (or at least benign) entities is very much his own creation.

5 hours ago, Travern said:

Lovecraft philosophically grounded his cosmic horror in Neitzsche and Schopenhauer, not the Old and New Testaments.

Lovecraft drew from a very wide array of influences and sources to make his work, and he encouraged others to do the same. He absolutely wanted people to play in his world and make up worlds of their own. Selling Lovecraft as just scifi Nietzsche not only undercuts the work of all other Lovecraftian authors, but it undercuts Lovecraft himself.

5 hours ago, Travern said:

Honestly, though, the question of authorial intent and reader interpretation has been going on for a very long time (see the adage from Lawrence above), and it will outlast this thread.  By all means, please continue your discussion, but please don't infer hostility or "edginess" on my part.

Authorial intent and reader interpretation is one thing, but I find it disingenuous to advise, to an aspiring author no less, that if you aren't an atheist then you can never be a true Lovecraftian writer. That's not an interpretation, it's an absurd falsehood. Factually, theists like Derleth and Petersen have immensely contributed to the Cthulhu Mythos and Lovecraftian fiction as we know it. Factually, a devout Catholic was seen as a close friend and talented pupil by the staunch atheist that fathered cosmic horror. Factually, these guys and many others, be they theists or atheists, have contributed to Lovecraftian fiction in great amounts, and that's exactly what Lovecraft wanted. I call it pretentious because that's how I see it, claiming to know better about Lovecraftian fiction than Lovecraft himself did. If theists can't be "proper" and "pure" Lovecraftian writers, why did Lovecraft have so many theist friends that he eagerly encouraged to write fiction in his worlds with? Why did he mentor Derleth to write cosmic horror? I wonder how he'd have reacted if someone told him that only atheists could write his stories the "right" way, and that theists could never be "true" cosmic horror authors. I don't see any hostility from you, but I do get the sense of a strong bias against religion and/or theism, enough to tell someone asking a genuine question that, no, they can't actually be a cosmic horror writer because they aren't atheist, and Stephen King actually never wrote Lovecraftian fiction, because he too isn't an atheist. It's as ridiculous a claim as saying every Lovecraftian story must involve the Cthulhu Mythos and that anything else isn't "pure" Lovecraft, another statement I've run into before (not from you). Claims like that aren't and never will be true, objectively and factually speaking. I don't at all begrudge you for whatever personal preferences, beliefs, or opinions you hold, but to claim what you've claimed goes beyond preference and into straight-up giving false advice. Cosmic horror and the ability to write it, play it, and enjoy it does not in any way hinge on or have prerequisities of your personal beliefs, whatever they may be.

1 hour ago, Augusto Antunes said:

Oh, absolutely not. Although I certainly wouldn't call him a blind follower of either side, I think most americans definitely see King as a left-leaning liberal - and I'd guess that's also how he sees himself. In fact, that's why actual conservatives usually spew out nonsense about him such as "the man hates christianity, I mean, why doesn't he write an evil buddhist for a change", which has a lot more to do with them showing their own political leaning, prejudices and insecurities than with King's actual writing.

You're referring to earlier posts, but you're not refuting his point. Do you disagree that political correctness is why we don't see more villainous Buddhists, Shintoists, Shamanists, and the like? Why is the go-to good guy in a lot of modern fantasy stories so often the wise Native American elder and the villain so often the cruel, power-hungry Western priest? His claim wasn't talking about King either, not that I can tell, but more of, in general, there's a lot more placement of Christianity in the villainous role, and comparatively little of other religions, and why that doesn't seem very consistent or fair, and is disingenuous to do in the name of political correctness. I may be wrong, but that's what I gathered from his post.

Edited by TheEnclave
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2 hours ago, Dethstrok9 said:

If I begin reading King, what should I start with? I've heard that they all go together somehow... Is there a chronological order?

Caveat: I haven't read much of King for decades, but for awhile there I was an ardent follower (basically until people stopped editing him and his books got bloated and painful to read -- maybe he got better).

Anyway, Pet Sematary was pretty dark and disturbing, and for awhile was my favorite King novel. Salem's Lot and Shining are also good. You might also try some of the short stories from books like Night Shift and Skeleton Crew.

As others have suggested, I'd avoid tackling things like The Stand and the Dark Tower series, as they are pretty long treks, and if you've gotten through a few King books you'll probably notice more of the easter eggs in the Dark Tower series. Skip The Tommyknockers altogether -- watch the 1960s Hammer film Quatermass and the Pit/Five Million Years to Earth, as that's where Stevie got the idea -- and Nigel Kneale did a helluva lot better.

Edited by kross
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2 hours ago, Dethstrok9 said:

If I begin reading King, what should I start with? I've heard that they all go together somehow... Is there a chronological order?

Carrie is good, as it is really stripped down. The original film is excellent but the remake has far better special effects.

I would definitely read the earlier stuff, Salem's Lot is good, The Shining is powerful as a book and film, The Stand is excellent, The Dead Zone is a bit better than the film but the film was excellent, I really enjoyed the Firestarter book, Cujo and Christine were OK but I didn't read much of his after that, as I had migrated to James Herbert by then and he was wrote far more visceral horror.

Writing as Richard Bachman, The Running Man is very good, as is Thinner. I don't recognise the other stuff, so might not have read them.

Edited by soltakss
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Night Shift, a collection of short stories, might be a good place to start.  That way you can sample King in small bites and decide whether you like him (be careful when you bite; he can afford expensive lawyers!).  The beginning of Firestarter is a real grabber as I mentioned earlier.

King spent 15 years teaching high school English and publishing short stories in small magazines under a pseudonym.  He became an "overnight success" in 1973 when his novel Carrie was published and he never looked back.  Whether he is a successor to Lovecraft or not, his works have suffered from the "Lovecraft curse"  when adapted to film.  Sometimes his written vision just doesn't translate even when he's heavily involved in the project.  He's cried all the way to the bank nonetheless.

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32 minutes ago, TheEnclave said:

I find it disingenuous to advise, to an aspiring author no less, that if you aren't an atheist then you can never be a true Lovecraftian writer.

I said, specifically, that cosmic horror is fundamentally atheistic (it's also philosophically pessimistic).  Trying to force it into a theistic (or optimistic) framework breaks the genre.

49 minutes ago, TheEnclave said:

Lovecraft drew from a very wide array of influences and sources to make his work, and he encouraged others to do the same. He absolutely wanted people to play in his world and make up worlds of their own. Selling Lovecraft as just scifi Nietzsche not only undercuts the work of all other Lovecraftian authors, but it undercuts Lovecraft himself.

 Lovecraft was a scientifically-minded materialist who was profoundly influenced by Nietzsche early in his life.  Recasting him as some kind of heterodox dilettante is just bizarre.

38 minutes ago, TheEnclave said:

Cosmic horror and the ability to write it, play it, and enjoy it does not in any way hinge on or have prerequisities of your personal beliefs, whatever they may be.

No, but one must suspend ones personal beliefs in, say, some kind of benign deity or human significance if one is going to engage in cosmic horror, where they have no place.  King has a whole pantheon of benevolent deities in his overarching Dark Tower series and children defeating an eldritch entity through the power of friendship in It.

Honestly, though, you seem to be taking this discussion entirely too much to heart.  You're fighting battles in Lovecraft criticism that subsided long ago.

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2 hours ago, TheEnclave said:

And a lot of people greatly enjoy Derleth's contributions and admire his work in preserving and building on Lovecraft's legacy. Without his and Wandrei's work, a lot of Lovecraft fiction would've fallen into complete obscurity or been lost altogether. Those two preserved, and in many ways formed, the fiction we're discussing today. Liking or disliking Derleth's writings is opinion, but his influence on the genre is fact. Without Derleth, the "Cthulhu Mythos" wouldn't be what it is today.

You're missing the point. Derleth's influence in preserving Lovecraft's legacy and expanding the mythos isn't being questioned. I actually happen to like some of his stuff. What we're talking about is the actual tone of his creative contributions and how it clashed with what is usually defined as "lovecraftian" cosmic horror. I already said I agree with you completely that an author doesn't have to be an atheist to understand and write cosmic/lovecraftian horror - in fact, I'd say it could actually enhance their understanding and lead to some very interesting places. We're only saying Derleth is not the best example of this, as it is generally agreed upon that his contributions veered away from Lovecraft's brand of cosmic horror and were absolutely reflective of his catholic view of the world.
 

2 hours ago, TheEnclave said:

You're referring to earlier posts, but you're not refuting his point. Do you disagree that political correctness is why we don't see more villainous Buddhists, Shintoists, Shamanists, and the like? Why is the go-to good guy in a lot of modern fantasy stories so often the wise Native American elder and the villain so often the cruel, power-hungry Western priest? His claim wasn't talking about King either, not that I can tell, but more of, in general, there's a lot more placement of Christianity in the villainous role, and comparatively little of other religions, and why that doesn't seem very consistent or fair, and is disingenuous to do in the name of political correctness. I may be wrong, but that's what I gathered from his post.

Yes, I disagree, and I already expanded on why the subversion of christianity is more powerful, more common and makes more sense in modern american horror - and particularly in King's work - than the subversion of other religions. It deals with a completely different kind of fear. What christianity represents as a symbol is different from what most of those other religions represent - specially to western cultures and to christians themselves.

By the way, since you brought the subject up, I'm reminded that the source of the supernatural evil in Pet Sematary is native american.

Edited by Augusto Antunes

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1 hour ago, Travern said:

No, but one must suspend ones personal beliefs in, say, some kind of benign deity or human significance if one is going to engage in cosmic horror, where they have no place.

What about a story of horror where the god believed they were working toward the greater good (and was therefore benevolent), but the actions they took were horrifying? What if a god wanted what was best for you, and by that token tested you in ways similar to Jigsaw from SAW, but the god's goal was "helping"? That still fits the bill you spoke of, toward how cosmic horror works (note this is purely hypothetical as I already outlined that I as you say "suspend my beliefs" when writing cosmic horror). It seems as though one would be putting a subgenre in a rather narrow box with these generalizations.

Edited by Dethstrok9

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38 minutes ago, Travern said:

I said, specifically, that cosmic horror is fundamentally atheistic (it's also philosophically pessimistic).  Trying to force it into a theistic (or optimistic) framework breaks the genre.

It isn't fundamenetally atheistic, nor is it fundamentally antireligious. The existence of Outer and Elder Gods of blatant supernatural power constitutes as theistic in and of itself. There's a philosophical pessimism to the idea that we're a tiny part of an infinite universe, yes, but that's the only point of cosmic horror, or Lovecraftian fiction in general. Lovecraft wrote numerous stories that had nothing to do with anything cosmic or nihilistic, and he wasn't always pessimistic either. Nodens, a benevolent Elder God who fights against Nyarlathotep and will give aid to mortals fighting him, is a note of optimism, and one made entirely by Lovecraft. The genre is way more than a single note or single theme. If it was, it'd get stale very quickly.

52 minutes ago, Travern said:

Lovecraft was a scientifically-minded materialist who was profoundly influenced by Nietzsche early in his life.  Recasting him as some kind of heterodox dilettante is just bizarre.

He held a wide array of people as influential to his work, from gothic horror to mystery to adventure authors. He also praised religion, quite frequently, for its additions to art and culture, and he was a sucker for good art, strong metaphor, and epic stories. He enjoyed history greatly and philosophy as well. To call him nothing more than a rigid materialist with no other interests is, again, false, and undercuts the depth of a fantastic author and turns him into a mediocre one-note wonder.

54 minutes ago, Travern said:

No, but one must suspend ones personal beliefs in, say, some kind of benign deity or human significance if one is going to engage in cosmic horror, where they have no place.

Who says they have no place? Lovecraft doesn't, he says the opposite with Nodens and the Elder Gods, long before Derleth expanded on them as well. The Call of Cthulhu game for example mentions incorporating any real-world religions you want and giving them as much impact and meaning as you want. The point of the mythos is to be vast and unknownable, and to dillute it by ruling out anything that isn't the Outer Gods is, in my view, antithetical to what Lovecraft intended. He didn't even intend a single cohesive universe to begin with, that was Derleth's work. Lovecraft simply wrote what came to mind and tied it together with plot devices and writing styles. Cosmic horror is a great many things, not just one specific thing. An example I like is if someone were to say all D&D has to be Dark Sun and can't be anything else. Genres of dark fantasy, cosmic horror, sci-fi horror, sci-fi adventure, gothic horror, action-adventure, and so on, all prevalent genres in Lovecraftian fiction, are broad and varied, not restricted to one singular thing or one singular narrative. This is by Lovecraft's design. It isn't accidental or some hindsight interpretation, it's literally how he wanted his stories to be and the worlds they took place in to develop.

58 minutes ago, Travern said:

King has a whole pantheon of benevolent deities in his overarching Dark Tower series and children defeating an eldritch entity through the power of friendship in It.

And cosmic horror can't? The most common hook of Call of Cthulhu is a group of nobodies banding together to face otherworldly horrors. Sure, you don't have to go Captain Planet on it and have friendship alone win the day, but cosmic horror isn't some utterly nihilistic slog where there's nothing but unending demise and doom for those involved. Lovecraft wouldn't have made use of humor and in-jokes had that been the case. Lovecraft also designed a loose pantheon of Elder Gods, who are at best benevolent and at worst ambivalent, and that was later expanded on, so such a thing is present in Lovecraftian fiction, again by Lovecraft's design.

1 hour ago, Travern said:

Honestly, though, you seem to be taking this discussion entirely too much to heart.  You're fighting battles in Lovecraft criticism that subsided long ago.

I take it to heart because I enjoy Lovecraft's work and the Lovecraft mythos, and I see people way too often making claims as fact, like "you have to be atheist to write proper cosmic horror", that aren't just their taste or intepretation, but completely, objectively wrong statements. I care about the truth, and when claims like this pop up, in this case to somebody genuinely interested in writing professional cosmic horror fiction, or in cases like Call of Cthulhu where, for example, someone may say "there is no combat ever in Call of Cthulhu and any combat rules were invented by 7th edition which is bad", they can actively damage the genre and the game by chasing off prospective writers and players, and if people were turned off from it by truthful aspects, that'd be one thing, but it's completely different when the statements being made are totally false and those without prior knowledge may not know any different than what they're being told.

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5 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

What about a story of horror where the god believed they were working toward the greater good (and was therefore benevolent), but the actions they took were horrifying?

That's more personal horror, regardless of the catalyst.

6 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

What if a god wanted what was best for you, and by that token tested you in ways similar to Jigsaw from SAW, but the god's goal was "helping"? 

You mean like the Book of Job?  In all honesty, I love that story, but it's still not cosmic horror.  Job's stuck piggy-in-the-middle between God and His QC analyst, and he doesn't understand why any of this is happening, but he still understands his place in the divine hierarchy.  And then there's that inexplicable happy ending.

10 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

It seems as though you are putting a subgenre in a rather narrow box, when not all things apply to this generalization.

It's a matter of where the author (and reader) chooses to draw the line, yes.  Providing an exit strategy is like tacking on a happy ending -- some feel that it undermines the integrity of the "horror".  Cosmic catharsis, maybe, but not "horror".

!i!

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9 minutes ago, TheEnclave said:

...I see people way too often making claims as fact...

In all fairness, we're seeing you attributing those claims to people who didn't actually make them.

!i!

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1 minute ago, Ian Absentia said:

It's a matter of where the author (and reader) chooses to draw the line, yes

That was indeed my point.

 

2 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Providing an exit strategy is like tacking on a happy ending -- some feel that it undermines the integrity of the "horror".  Cosmic catharsis, maybe, but not "horror".

Oh but now my gears are turning with that story idea, and there would be no happy ending or escape...

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