Cultural Gutter: Punching Cthulhu in the Face

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My latest on The Cultural Gutter is Punching Cthulhu in the Face. Pulp fiction writer Robert E. Howard is best known as the creator of Conan the Barbarian. How does Lovecraft’s style of vague dread and horror experienced by perpetually terrified academics hold up when the main player is, say, a skull-cracking Pictish king who laughs at the eldritch horror of the Elder Gods?

“Worms of the Earth” was published in Weird Tales in November of 1932 and is one of Howard’s best Bran Mak Morn stories, and one of his best attempts at the Lovecraft mythos while failing utterly to grasp what it was Lovecraft was aiming for. The main character of the story is a man for whom feeling fear is utterly foreign. When confronted with the unholy witch spawn of man and the ancient races who inhabited the world before the ascendency of humanity, he responds not with terror, but by tossing the witch across the room and making sweet, sweet love to her.

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