This thesis comprises an original work of Weird fiction, entitled The Adventures of Kunstlicht in the Netherworld, and a commentary which explores its relationship to the fiction and writing practices of the American Weird fantasy author, H. P. Lovecraft. The novel is the first person narrative account of Christian Blackwood’s experiences with his goth band, Kunstlicht, their pursuit by politically motivated occultists, and encounters with serial killers, avant-garde artists, revenant Nazis and supernatural folkloric monsters. The majority of the story unfolds retrospectively in conversations with the former police officer Wade. The final section shows the band’s own attempt to perform practical magic and their meeting with a resurrected pagan god. The commentary opens with an introductory examination of the extent of Lovecraft’s influence on fantasy (and especially horror) fiction since his death, the general rationale for using him as model, and the specific thematic issues relevant to this novel. There follow three chapters. The first chapter discusses the realist tendencies in Lovecraft’s work, his world-building strategies and those in recent Weird fiction. It then shows how Lovecraft’s prescriptions were applied in this novel, and how this affected the novel’s narrative and tone. The second chapter examines the connection between his work – and that of his predecessors – and the cultural, scientific and occult thought of his time, showing how these elements were combined to give depth to his corpus. I then explain how this approach was applied and updated in my own novel. In the third chapter I explore Lovecraft’s extensive synthetic mythology, its relationship to existing folklore and myth, and to a folkloric interpretation of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. I then explain how I combined occult and Nietzschean elements with the Lovecraftian to produce a more complex Weird novel. In the concluding section, I briefly examine how the novel fits with other recent Lovecraft-inspired work, and assess to what extent it succeeds as Weird fiction.
|Publication status||In preparation - Oct 2015|