Book Review: 'The Curious Case of H.P. Lovecraft' - Paul Roland (Plexus Publishing) Print E-mail
Written by Gaz Tidey   
Sunday, 02 August 2015 04:00

'The Curious Case of H.P. Lovecraft' - Paul Roland (Plexus Publishing Limited)

 

The life of Paul Roland, author of this impressive book on the life, work and influence of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the American author who gained posthumous plaudits for his horror fiction, is a curious case in itself.

 

Born in 1959, Roland has written for the likes of Kerrang! and Sounds, recorded numerous albums since his 1980 debut, 'The Werewolf of London', and been called everything from the "male Kate Bush" to the "Godfather of Steampunk." Past managers, when he flirted with the constraints of the music business rather than go it alone, included Roxy Music manager David Enthoven and June Bolan, widow of Marc Bolan.

 

He has written around forty books with topics ranging from mysticism, crime and the occult, to good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. On his bibliography you'll find rock and pop guides nestled alongside books on the Third Reich, tomes dedicated to reincarnation alongside his Bolan biography, 'Cosmic Dancer - The Life and Music of Marc Bolan'. His latest book, 'The Curious Case of H.P. Lovecraft' follows 2014's 'Steampunk - Back to the Future with the New Victorians', and is an exhaustively researched joy to read.

 

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It's not just Roland's musical background that guarantees Uber Rock coverage of this book, however: no, this book not only dissects H.P. Lovecraft's life and written works, but also his influence on several forms of popular culture.

 

There are sections of the book dedicated towards cinematic and cathode ray works of art based on his writings, to comic-books heavy of influence, console games too. It is, of course, the music section that will no doubt be the main point of interest to Uber Rockers.

 

Mark E. Smith of The Fall, and members of Manilla Road, Celtic Frost and Electric Wizard are quoted in regards to their channelling of influence, and the checklist of bands and their albums named as having worshipped at the HPL altar is certainly interesting if not as thorough as the book's main body of writing; The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing a seemingly glaring omission, for example, especially given the writer's steampunk knowledge.

 

Credit, though, must go to Paul Roland for even attempting to write a book dedicated to Lovecraft. A quick look at customer reviews on the internet sadly highlights HPL fans questioning why he even bothered as more definitive works were already available. How rude.

 

The research of Lovecraft's backstory must have been a painstaking task, but it certainly works within the context of the book, never really feeling like a quagmire of necessary text that has to be waded through to get to the guts of the tale, and, while this curious case is several rungs above entry level writing on the subject, it would certainly be a great introductory book for anyone keen to find out more about the man described by Neil Gaiman in the preface as "where the darkness starts."

 

To pick up your copy of 'The Curious Case of H. P. Lovecraft' - CLICK HERE