The Wizard of Northampton in dialog with John Higgs, author of Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century, describing HP Lovecraft's curious, twisted grasp of the awful anxieties of 20th century America, and how this created the racist, horror-flecked prose that resonates even today. (via m1k3y)
"1910-1915 America discovers science fiction in the form of Tom Swift. And it is a different thing altogether. It is not about giving dire warnings for the future, it is about saying: look how great America is going to be in the future. It's almost… I suspect like… the tendency in older nations, when we wanna big ourselves up is to reach back to the past… to something imaginary past, like King Arthur or something like that. America hasn't got that amount of history to deal with so in some ways what America needs is science fiction. When we're trying to say "look at what we were" then America more or less has to say "look at what we will be." And so their science fiction from the 1920s with the boom of the pulp magazines it was all of this bright, optimistic New Frontier stuff. Where it was going to be Cowboys & Indians all over again, only it was going to be Earthman & Neptunians. But you could just go through all of the entire tropes of the Western genre and pioneer fiction, but in space. And it became this… in my opinion it was probably one of the worst things to ever happen to Science Fiction…"
John Higgs – author of Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century – talks to Alan Moore about how the 20th Century has been portrayed in his work – in particular From Hell, Providence and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century. [Youtube]