Shall Cthulhu Be Overthrown?

So the Progressive March through Science Fiction and Fantasy continues apace. Not being sated by ensuring the dreaded Sad Puppy slate was skunked (Despite Toni Weisskopf having more 1st place ballots than anyone and clearly meriting the award on more than one occasion. But hey, anyone who doesn’t support the Group Think abrogates all minority status for their evil independent thoughts.), now the Glittering Ones wish to cast down H.P. Lovecraft as the image of the World Fantasy Award and replace him with Octavia Butler. In true Progressive Fashion, they’ve gone to Change.Org, so we can have the White House talk about things other than what truly matters. Because they’ve done so well at handling the economy, foreign policy, and Ferguson.

OK. I get it, H.P. Lovecraft is a very problematic person to uphold as a patron. His racial statements were difficult even in the time, and only become more raw in our over-sensitized age. (I have my own issues with his statements on faith and atheism.) Octavia Butler is a hero of modern Speculative Fiction. Both of them are generational talents, though I think only the most desperate Progressive would claim their proposed replacement’s legacy will ever match the foundational impact of Lovecraft on the genre. Personally, Butler isn’t my cup of tea, but I can respect her talent. I can even concede that as important as Lovecraft might have been, he’s not even, in the modern sense of the term, a Fantasy Author (though closer than Ms. Butler).

The problem is this: Nothing that Butler is known for is related to FANTASY. She wrote Speculative Fiction, Alt-History, and Science Fiction proper. The World Fantasy Award, contrary to the Hugos and Nebulas, is specifically not a blanket Speculative Fiction award. If you want to change the patron, then name a candidate that actually represents the GENRE. Of course, the blog can’t even be bothered to point out this minor problem in the proposal. They’re too busy carrying the water for the long march of the Progressives:

So here, let me share some alternatives, if the politics of Lovecraft and Howard are beyond the pale:

Tolkien? Only the founder of modern fantasy. And he’s the only writer with a larger footprint in the genre than either of the current patron or the proposed successor.

Roger Zelazny? The Amber Chronicles remain relevant, and his legacy is as rich as any.

Terry Prachett? Ok. This one might be a tad controversial. But it’s in the right way. He pokes at everything, and to be fair, Discworld, at its best, did one of the hardest things in writing: Merged coherent story telling (at least internally plausible) with effective satire.

Robert Jordan? I’m not a Wheel of Time fan. But I can’t deny its impact on the genre.

Any of these four, to me, would have been a better alternative, and one that actually fits the criteria of being a patron of Fantasy, than Ms. Butler. If this is actually about embracing the entire community, and not just giving another sop to political correctness, then we should name a candidate ALL of the fantasy community can support. And it’s best to start with someone who actually wrote in the genre, thank you.

6 thoughts on “Shall Cthulhu Be Overthrown?

  1. Honestly, the proper way to do this would have been to petition the change, but not try and dictate who the statue should resemble. Perhaps petition for a committee to take a long look at candidates and make a determination.

    Hell, it could be an abstract piece of art, or a sword in a stone (my own personal take…Arthurian Legend has a definite place in modern fantasy discussions), or anything. But trying to ram Octavia Butler down people’s throats isn’t really going to help their cause nearly as much as they think it will.

    • I agree. And it’s not that I’m consumed by Olivia Butler hate. She doesn’t appear on my radar as a reader at all. But what I *do* find objectionable is in an award that’s blatantly declared to be about Fantasy, and only Fantasy, the Glittering Ones could not be bothered to find a representative Fantasy author.

      Heck, Katherine Kurtz? The Deryni Chronicles? I would’ve put Michael Moorcock on the list too, but I may be a Libertarian, but I’m not an anarchist. Fritz Leiber wouldn’t be the world’s worst choice either. But Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser haven’t aged well, for whatever reason.

      • Agreed, and personally I’m partial to not having anyone’s face on the statue. Seriously, I’m kind of digging the idea of a hunk of rock with a sword sticking out myself.

        Of course, I’m sure that would somehow be interpreted as preference over European culture over other cultures or something.

  2. Reblogged this on The Worlds of Tarien Cole and commented:

    Bringing this back to the front in light of a new wave of Lovecraft hate. I commented on the Dread International Lord of Hate Larry Correia’s blog here: on this subject.

    My original argument still stands: Octavia Butler may have been a moving writer to many people. She did not however, EVER write fantasy. Period. Move along, folks. I’ll entertain renaming the award when you name an author who actually wrote in the genre.

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