Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.56: Ruthanna Emrys’ Winter Tide

In celebration of Women in Horror Month, today we present Ruthanna Emrys’ Winter Tide: the novel-length follow up to her highly-regarded The Litany of Earth (available to read here). I’m currently about a quarter of the way through Winter Tide, so can’t offer a comprehensive overview of the novel, other than to say that it continues the tale of Aphra Marsh: a Deep One hybrid and survivor of both the US government’s raid on Innsmouth and her subsequent imprisonment in the same camps used for the internment of Japanese-American citizens. In this respect, Emrys’ work constitutes part of the rising tide (pun intended) of the New Lovecraftian Weird which seeks to subvert (and offer a politically-informed contemporary counternarrative to) the conservatism, racism and misogyny intrinsic to so much of the Cthulhu mythos as envisaged by Lovecraft himself.

To this end, Emrys manages to evoke a sense of the cosmic sublime at the same time as offering a sympathetic view of the Cthulhu mythos from ‘within’; in doing so, Winter Tide unsettles the problematic assumption that the mythos is somehow ‘external’ and antagonistic to humanity, inferring instead that the human condition is as much a part of it as Deep Ones, shoggoths, and all the rest. In any case, Winter Tide is an excellent inroad into a new and politically-engaged reframing and reconceptualising the Cthulhu mythos.

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