Life Log

The Tentacled Monster Here is Racism: Lovecraft Country Episode 1

HBO PR reached out to me about seeing Lovecraft Country, first episode dropping tonight. As a mixed race SF author I have a complicated relationship with Lovecraft, but the trailers intrigued. Mostly Black cast? Black writer-producer? Yes please!

Check Lovecraft Country out not just because HBO gave me a goody bag and a free view, but because the first episode is gangbusters. If that continues, it’s in a short list of favorites for me this year. Next to Watchmen.

First of all, the first episode is rich with Black points of view and some very honest discussions about science fiction’s complications for me. One the one hand: such imaginations. On the other, authors and characters who despise my existence.

The first minute of Lovecraft Country sets the tone, though, as one of Lovecraft’s Cthuloid monster’s rises to the camera, and is cut in half by Jackie Robinson with a baseball bat. Fuck yeah, I’m in.

As two black characters in urban Chicago debated whether one could enjoy flawed art like A Princess of Mars when the ‘hero’ is an ex-confederate soldier, I felt incredible kinship. “You can’t just put that back in the box…” Yeah. I feel that.

This show grapples with the contradictions of America. A land citizens needed a Green Book of safe places to navigate the country. If you hated Green Book the movie, Lovecraft Country’s first episode is Green Book the episode we really deserved.

The horror tropes are not the most recent, and I bet some horror fans will say ‘we’ve seen this already.’ But you haven’t. You have never seen it from this point of view, and that filled my soul with a great deal of happiness.

It’s a show that, in that episode, knew its origins, complications, flaws of history and literature, and explores them with pulp horror joy. Racism is a horror, as creeping as any tentacled monster-god. And there is a pulp joy in surviving it.

I expected nothing less of Misha Green, who helmed Underground, another series that I deeply loved, and was canceled all too soon. I can’t wait to see what people think tonight of Lovecraft Country.

Thought: Lovecraft Country’s first episode is not ‘1950’s America misery tourism’ it’s ‘a full breadth of experience through the lens of horror.’

So often joy is not rewarded in mainstream consumption of Black media. I expect the joy in LC might not land for some. It did for me

Check out the trailer: