Lovecraftian Tales Written By or Featuring Women and/or People of color

It’s no secret that H.P. Lovecraft was a racist; it’s rightly brought up whenever he and his works are discussed. Such beliefs make Lovecraft’s works, at best, problematic stories for readers of color. The same can be said for women. Of all the characters Lovecraft wrote only three of them were women, and only one of them can be called a ‘main’ character (but even that’s complicated). Despite his legacy, his stories have inspired many women and people of color to write stories featuring Lovecraftian elements and themes. I suggest starting with these novellas.

Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw

A Lovecraftian-Noir tale set in contemporary London, hard boiled P.I. John Persons is hired by an eleven-year-old boy to murder his stepfather, who’s been abusing his mother. Persons has seen just about everything, and is the guy you turn to when you think you’re dealing with monsters, because Persons is a monster himself. The only question is how monstrous Persons will need to be to solve the case.

 

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

A re-telling of The Horror at Red Hook, LaValle takes its setting (Jazz Age New York), plot, and main characters and flips it all on its head. Tommy Tester is an African-American from Harlem who smuggles magical items throughout New York. After Tommy meets a reclusive mystic, Robert Suydam, the story’s perspective shifts to Detective Malone, a cop who has a history with Tommy. Suydam has plans, and Malone might be the only one who can stop him. But he’ll also need to face Suydam’s newest lieutenant, a man folks call Black Tom.

Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan

An investigation of a cult led by a government agent known as the Signalman leads to a horrifying discovery in a cabin at Salton Sea, California. The next day, NASA’s Deep Horizons interplanetary probe goes silent beyond Pluto. A week later, the agency, spooked and needing answers after connecting the dots, orders the Signalman to exchange information about the incident with Immacolata Sexton, a woman with a sinister reputation working for a rival agency. While the Signalman investigates, and Immacolata explores time for solutions, a young woman from the cabin is transported to Area 51. A chilling mix of spy thriller and horror told in a series of loose but related flashbacks, and one flash forward.

Other Lovecraftian stories written by women and/or people of color:

The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson

Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

Lovecraft Country by Matthew Ruff (I’m cheating a little, but this novel will be a Jordan Peele-produced HBO series)

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