Monday, February 26, 2018
The Lovecaftian Thing a Day (2018) No.57: Kij Johnson’s ‘The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe’.
In further celebration of Women in Horror Month, today we present Kij Johson’s wonderful and evocative The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, in which the eponymous mathematics professor from Ulthar has to go in search of one of her students - the granddaughter of a sleeping god - in order to save the Dreamlands from possible destruction. There is much here which fans of Lovecaft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath will recognise and delight in - especially those scenes of chthonic horror involving gugs, ghouls and ghasts; but, as with yesterday’s offering, Johnson also undermines the staidness of traditional Lovecraftian horror not only by placing women front and centre within the narrative, but also via an unexpected plot twist which sees the return of a character familiar to fans of the Lovecaft canon, and whose presence comes to problematize the bigotry informing so much of Lovecraft’s earlier writing. The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe is a strong recommend for those interested in the New Lovecraftian Weird.