From Modern Mythology:
From his days as a cyber-gothic acolyte of Leftist thinker Gilles Deleuze to his reinvention as an Austro-libertarian Sithlord heralding a Right-wing “Neoreaction” (NRx), the controversial English philosopher Nick Land has been obsessed with horror. So much so, in fact, that he has taken to writing what he calls “Abstract Horror” as one of his primary projects. In both his theory and fiction, which deliberately overlap one other, the echoes of H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horror permeates his texts. In this way, an examination of Land’s work, regardless of what one thinks of his worldview, can provide fruitful insight into the assumptions and logic of the “weird horror” genre.
In his now infamous essay “The Dark Enlightenment”, Land made official his rightward shift by seemingly embracing the concerns of white separatists and ethno-nationalists. That is until the essay’s final portion, which takes an unexpected turn in addressing transhumanism. This futurist movement argues that emerging technologies will eventually allow for mutations, leading to a post-human future. Land speaks of this in terms of an “approaching bionic horizon”. In doing so he offers a new monster for Western traditionalists to fear that far eclipses racial and cultural heterogeneity. “Miscegenation doesn’t get close to the issue,” he quips, “Think face tentacles.”
“Face tentacles” is an obvious nod to HP Lovecraft and his most famous monstrosity, Cthulhu. Throughout the early 20th century, Lovecraft wrote tales of cosmic horror in which otherworldly beings brought terror upon men living in a cold, uncaring, indifferent universe. His most famous stories even form a mythos, continued by modern writers, involving a slew of ancient, malevolent creatures such as the aforementioned Cthulhu. He was also, as it turns out, a virulent racist.
“Why the hell would you want Lovecraft’s life? Didn’t he have a fucked-up marriage and die young? Wasn’t he afraid of everything? Black people, brown people, the ocean, shellfish, the sky, the dark, women, everything?” — Jim Payne, “The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft” by Nick Mamatas
Lovecraft’s intense prejudices, which express themselves throughout his work and perhaps most infamously in “The Horror at Red Hook”, are a strong indicator as to why he was drawn to weird horror fiction. The genre, by its nature, is fueled by a fear of Otherness, or, to borrow a term Nick Land is fond of, Outsideness. The Weird is an invasion by the Outside, which ultimately leads to disfiguration for those unlucky enough to come in contact with it. A prime example of this is John Carpenter’s 1982 cult film “The Thing,” in which an extraterrestrial parasite infects the human crew members of research facility in Antarctica. Upon infection the parasite assimilates the host and imitates it leading to scenes of body-horror in which flesh is stretched, torn, and twisted in violently abnormal ways.
Of course, this is only one type of invasion found within the genre. In many of Lovecraft’s stories, for example, the disfiguration caused by invasion manifests psychologically rather than physically. In other words, Lovecraft’s doomed protagonists are often driven to madness by their experiences with the dreaded Outside.
(Read the rest of this essay on Modern Mythology)
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