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    Introduction: Adapting Lovecraft in Weird Times

    Germaine, Chloe ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5187-8815 and Dodd, Kerry (2021) Introduction: Adapting Lovecraft in Weird Times. Studies in Gothic Fiction, 7. pp. 4-8. ISSN 2156-2407

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    In 1974 Angela Carter declared “we live in gothic times” (133). It is perhaps more apposite these days to suggest that we live in weird times. This is not to say that the Weird (as a literary mode) has superseded the Gothic; rather that it comprises a polymorphous outgrowing emanating from and intertwining with it. What does it mean to say we live in weird times? Perhaps it is a pervasive sense of unreality, or a reality that has been fractured. Certainly, the ecological moment is one of ontological shock as widespread extinction and the effects of climate change prompt pleas across the globe for governments to declare an emergency. Meanwhile, the stranger monsters and specters of the gothic mode, in particular the uncanny appendage of the tentacle, have proliferated across cultural media, especially in the West. In his essay on Supernatural Horror in Literature (1927), writer of weird tales, H. P. Lovecraft suggests that “[t]he appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from every-day life” (n.p.). Contrary to Lovecraft, we are surrounded by weird intrusions every day. These are not only to be found in playful and referential cephalopodic literary fiction, including Kraken (2010) by China Miéville, but in a wider range of fictions drawing on multiple cultural narratives, such as Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti series (2015-2018). In popular culture, the weird manifests in unlikely places. In the opening credits of the recent James Bond film, Spectre (2015), for example, the tentacular becomes emblematic for the unseen machinations of conglomerate control.

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