Lovecraft Country, Tarzan of the Apes, and What is and isn’t Racism?

lovecraft

Promotional image for the HBO series “Lovecraft Country”

Every once in a while, I visit Mike Glyer’s File 770 SciFi fanzine. I used to follow them and get email updates of new posts, but either due to an accidental technical glitch or me being deliberately booted off for being an “undesirable,” those notices stopped.

Anyway, I was scrolling through Pixel Scroll 8/15/20 To Clickfinity And Beyond! and came across a link to HBO’s ‘Lovecraft Country’ Brings Viewers To A World Of Monsters, Magic and Racism.

I didn’t learn about famed horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s racism until this last round of Hugos when he was denounced along with a lot of other dead white men.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Lovecraft’s monsters and his racism have both been twisted into a show set in the 1950s which features both:

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Science Fiction and OPPs (Other People’s Priorities)

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Image found at K. Tempest Bradford’s blog

I’d heard of K. Tempest Bradford before, but only tangentially. So far, she hasn’t blocked me on twitter, but I expect that to change any time now.

I came across her blog post I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year thanks to a notice posted on Facebook by Louis Antonelli (I’m aware that Louis can be quite controversial, but on the other hand, he’s frequented by a favorite SciFi author of mine Neal Asher).

Among other things, Bradford has “issues” with Antonelli, particularly with his current bid for the Presidency of the SFWA board.

Here’s part of what she wrote on her blog:

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The New Adventures of Tarzan

hotel henry berrisford

© JS Brand

The Ape Man prowled as a stealthy jaguar through the Guatemalan jungle. Ahead, the enemy agent Raglan had the Green Goddess idol containing a terrible weapon. Now that his friend D’Arnot has been freed, he had to lead his party to recover the idol and escape before the tribesmen attacked.

“Cut. That’s a wrap. Great work, Herman.”

Tarzan stepped out of character and became actor Herman Brix again. “Think Burroughs will like it, Ed?”

“He’s said your Tarzan is the closest to what’s in his books. Look. Sun’s setting. Let’s get back to the Berrisford and get cleaned up.”

I authored this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as an inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

I could see the dilapidated hotel in the photo was the Hotel Henry Berrisford. A quick Google search said it was located in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. In looking at that Wikipedia page, I discovered one of the most interesting things about the place was that in 1935, the twelve-part movie serial The New Adventures of Tarzan starring Harold Brix (later known as Bruce Bennett) was filmed there.

The serial was co-produced by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs along with Aston Dearholt and George W. Stout, and Brix’s Tarzan, unlike most other film depictions up to that time, was more in keeping with the Tarzan in the novels, who was a cultured and well-educated gentleman.

I’ve always been a Tarzan fan, so this bit of historical trivia was fun for me, though of course, the dialogue and much of the circumstances are fictional. The “Ed” mentioned is director Edward Kull.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Outside-In World

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Pellucidar artwork by J. Allen St. John

“Dani?” Eight-year-old Landon’s brain figuratively froze at the thought that his two-and-a-half-year-old sister could wake up over ten years older than she went to sleep. Further, she was dressed in animal skins like what Grandpa might call a “refugee from an old Tarzan movie,” whoever “Tarzan” was.

“I know this is a shock Landon, but I’m the only one who can help accomplish your mission and put the evil spirit back where it belongs.”

Landon just blinked and stared, unable to process the fact that his sister was now older than he was by about five or six years.

“Sorry about the shock old boy,” Gerlilanum added. “I guess I should have given you some warning, but I wasn’t sure the spell would work.”

“Spell?”

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