With audacious originality and absolute genius, The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society has given us a new audio cd in their Dark Adventure Radio Theatre series. Inspir'd by H. P. Lovecraft's classic tale, "The Call of Cthulhu", Sean Branney has created an outstanding original story and audio script, which is well-served by a cast of fifteen players. Sean himself portrays Inspector John Raymond Legrasse, a character from HPL's original tale. Now, the thing ye need to know about Sean Branney and Andrew Leman is that they are among the world's really superior Lovecraftians--by which I mean that they understand Lovecraft's art intimately and intellectually. Thus The White Tree is authentic in every way, a product of pure Lovecraftian horror, a wondrous display of how H. P. Lovecraft's influence is still so potent in these latter-days, still relevant and still original.
The topic of Lovecraft's racism seems to be all over ye Internet these days, to ye exclusion of other aspects of Lovecraft's personality quirks. As repugnant as that racism is, it in no way diminishes the genius of Lovecraft's art for me--and I am of Jewish and Native American heritage (as a wee babe, people often thought I was a little Eskimo lad), as well as queer-up-ye-arse. Lovecraft may well have been horrified had he met me (although I doubt that I wou'd exist as I am in ye 1930s). The producers of this new cd write, in a paragraph in ye liner notes:
"We know well that Lovecraft's racism is a hot-button topic.
A thorough review of HPL's life, correspondence,
and creative works shows that he was lamentably
but undeniably xenophobic and racist in his personal
beliefs, and it's always been challenging to
appreciate his fictional creations without excusing
his more repugnant real-life attitudes."
I don't know of anyone who has actually tried to excuse or deny Lovecraft's bigotry, although some seem to try and "explain" by saying that Lovecraft was "a man of his time". I have grown weary of discussions of HPL's racism because such discussions try to downplay his genius as an author, combining his racism with complaints of what an "awful" writer Lovecraft was. Excuse me, bitches--Lovecraft was an excellent writer, in every way, as S. T. Joshi has shewn in several of his personal blogs & elsewhere.
Damn it--you see how the topic has derail'd this blog, which is meant only to proclaim my admiration for this amazing new radio drama. The White Tree is one of ye finest Lovecraftian creations I have ever experienced, with performances enhanced by the stunning musical score by Troy Sterling Nies. As with all Dark Radio Theatre kits, this comes with several bonus features: a clipping from the New Orleans Daily Picayune about the original swamp raid on ye Cthulhu Cult; an incident report from the New Orleans police department; a page torn from an unholy book of secret rituals; and coolest of all (I'm holding it in ye photo above) a powerful relic of New Orleans voodoo!
This sublime cd package may be order'd at