What influence did H.P. Lovecraft have on science fiction?

  1. The main part of the question explicitly asks "can HPL be considered SciFi?"

  2. The title was edited by Gilles to be ontopic, but it doesn't match ANYTHING in the body of the question

    Importantly, it ALSO doesn't match any of the answers provided (every answer that was written was an opinion about genre classification, NOT "influence").

Genre Classification / "Is this SciFi" is considered offtopic for SFF, so this question should be closed.

Please note that this Q was previously discussed on Meta, but the discussion amounted to "Keen explained that it should be closed and did so; then Gilles said that he edited it and re-opened unilaterally". This meta question I'm asking pertains to situation AFTER Gilles' edit - I feel that a combination of his edit (title only was fixed) and a mess of genre classification answers do not warrant re-opening.

P.S. IMHO, the question that Gilles wanted to ask, about influences, should be asked as a brand new question so it can be answered instead of languishing in a legacy question with 4 existing non-matching answers.

  • possible duplicate of Shouldn't this question be closed as Off Topic?
    – NominSim
    Jul 14, 2013 at 18:06
  • @NominSim - whichy part of "The question pertains to AFTERMATH of Gilles' answer/changes as discussed in the original question" wasn't clear as per bolded text? The original question asked about before Gilles' edit. Jul 15, 2013 at 0:24
  • Should we have a separate discussion whenever something happens to a question or continue the discussion on the original post? If it gets re-closed will we see another question "What was this question closed/reopened/closed/reopened?"
    – NominSim
    Jul 15, 2013 at 0:51
  • @NominSim - we don't have all that many questions unilaterally re-opened by a mod with a binding vote after an edit by that same mod and zero community discussion. I don't see a forthcoming tidal wave of such discussions. Jul 15, 2013 at 1:01
  • Why don't we simply consult the genre assignment authority to decide of HPL belongs to the rigid and closely guarded society of card-carrying SciFi authors? Jul 17, 2013 at 16:39
  • @GorchestopherH - 4.9, 5.6, 5.3, and 6.0 from East German judge for sarcastic score :) Jul 17, 2013 at 17:16
  • @DVK This question asks (1) who was influenced by HPL and (2) does HPL "fit" into the SciFi genre. A genre is just a tag used to describe a work. Appearing to fit means that it fits. I don't see why either question needed to be saved. Jul 18, 2013 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


I edited the title to salvage this question in order to preserve the answers.

The question originally asked “Can Howard Phillips Lovecraft be considered a sci-fi author?”, which is purely a matter of opinion. We found early on in the history of this site that every single question of the form “is X science fiction” came down to two things:

  • a definition of “science fiction”, usually one of the many alternatives listed on Wikipedia;
  • a subjective decision by the author of the answer to pick one definition and make the work fit or not fit.

None of these questions led to interesting answers since you could pick a different definition and make your case for or against.

However, if we unask the question and posit that Lovecraft may or may not have been an SF author, we can study more objectively how his work relates to science fiction in general. Most of the answers to that question went along this track:

As I wrote in my meta answer at the time: “I edited it to make it ostensibly not about defining the genre, but about Lovecraft's influence, which is what the answers mostly dwelt about anyway”.

  • I guess where I disagree strongly is on the quality and relevance of the answers. (1) "Are genre's forefathers" - random opinion not backed up by ANY details or facts. (2) "“concept (…) that smacks of classic sf” - How is this relevant to influence on the genre? Purely about classification. (3) “the heir to Lovecraft's horror was” - this one lists one flimsy fact (someone was of an opinion that some specific SF writer was a heir to HPL. No proof, just far-fetched comparison with no details again). Jul 14, 2013 at 16:13
  • Basically, none of the answers seem worth belonging on "What was HPL's influence" question - and they prevent better answers from being generated since they are old and upvoted. Jul 14, 2013 at 16:14
  • 2
    IMHO, the question should be closed (and may be rolled back) and you should ask a separate well thought out influence question (to which I'd love to see answers - e.g. Alien should figure there). Jul 14, 2013 at 16:15
  • Never mind Alien, Adept's Gambit by Fritz Leiber should be the starting point (it's a curious fact that the Fafhrd/Mouser stories were originally deeply rooted in the Cthulhu Mythos).
    – user8719
    Jul 19, 2013 at 19:18

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