Lovecraft Country is a television series on HBO. It is the adaptation of the book of the same name. The plot concerns several African-Americans struggling with weird shit and the racism of the 50’s. The evil in this show is vile, disgusting and horrific, and that is just the racists.
I got to tell you, I am a bit burned out on H.P. Lovecraft. He had great ideas, but these ideas had their genesis in his racism and fear of outside cultures. As I get older, that root racism becomes more and more obvious. I am a big fan of how he created new mythologies and horrors, but I find most fiction written about his universe to be predictable and too familiar. In short, I think I am over him.
So I was pleasantly surprised when Lovecraft Country decides early on to explore some of Lovecraft’s themes without direct references to his fiction. This is Lovecraft Adjacent, or like the title says, in the same country as his fiction, but not a slavish recreation. In other words, the monsters, mythology and horrors are in a similar vein, but completely original.
And of course, the biggest change is having African-American heroes. Holy shit, i feel I have waited my whole live for African-American pulp heroes. Not only are they tough and sexy, but most of the heroes are outright nerds. It is their mastery of knowledge as well as their bravery that carries them through. Lovecraft would have died of fright at the notion.
In the world that this takes place, the heroes better be brave because America is racist as fuck. The first episode is about three African-Americans travelling the northeast of America encountering cruel hostility and outright attempts at murder. The sickening thing is how similar these period piece acts of racial aggression are not all that different from what you encounter today.
The big difference is that at five episodes in, the racists have suffered some pretty terrible fates. This is not a show about black people suffering. This is a show about black people TRIUMPHING and I am all here for that.
I highly recommend this show and when the season ends, I’ll be buying the book. The mythology is cool and the heroes are cooler. I can easily see these stories being the gateway for a generation of fans into the worlds of pulp.