sailles Treaty), but he did apparently repudiaternHitler in late 1936 when hernheard from an acquaintance who hadrnjust returned from Germany how thernNazi regime was treating the Jews. Rememberrnthat Lovecraft died in 1937,rnlong before the true horrors of the Nazirnregime were revealed. Incidentally, Mr.rnFrancis is diametrically wrong in sayingrnthat I maintain that “Lovecraft’s racialismrnwas largely irrelevant to his writing”;rnI have long believed that Lovecraft’srnracial views are critical to understandingrnmuch of his literary work, and I explorernthis in detail in my biography. What Irndo maintain is that the intellectual errorrnof racism does not necessarily vitiate thernrest of Lovecraft’s philosophy, which hasrnsubstantial merits of its own.rnIt does not appear that Mr. Francis isrnvery familiar with Lovecraft beyondrnwhat he has found in the books under review.rnLovecraft is indeed a very difficultrnwriter and thinker to assimilate, and Mr.rnFrancis will pardon me if I say that he hasrnplenty of homework to do. Still, his diligencernat least is to be commended.rn—S.T. ]oshirnNew York, NYrnDr. Francis Replies:rnI have to admit that it is a rare complimentrnto be praised for my “diligence” byrna man who has spent his life writingrna 700-page biography of Lovecraft,rnreediting four volumes of the stories ofrnLovecraft, coediting at least five morernvolumes of the letters of Lovecraft, compilingrna bibliography of Lovecraft, editingrntwo collections of essays about Lovecraft,rnediting another collection ofrnthe journalism of Lovecraft, writing arnmonograph about Lovecraft, and editingrnseveral anthologies of the fiction ofrnLovecraft. I am always prepared to be instructedrnin my “homework” on Lovecraftrnby such a scholar, even if the frequentlyrncrippled prose and thought ofrnthe man who is clearly the only subjectrnMr. Joshi can talk about is a bit too “difficult”rnfor such beginners as me.rnIn fact, I read all of Lovecraft’s storiesrn30-some years ago, and have reread thernbetter of them over the years since, asrnwell as De Camp’s biography and variousrnportions of Lovecraft’s letters. While Irnreadily recognize that Mr. Joshi is withoutrnpeer in the World’s Greatest H.P.rnLovecraft Expert contest, I think I knowrna little about his subject and have longrnmaintained an interest in it.rnI do not see how the life and writingrncareer of a man and professional writerrnwho was unable to complete high school,rnunable to hold a job, unable to sustain arnmarriage to a woman who loved him, unablernto support himself by his writing,rnunable to attract serious critical attention,rnand unable to publish a single bookrnduring his lifetime can be judged anythingrnbut failures. Nor do I see any contradictionrnbetween that judgment andrnmy conclusion that Lovecraft’s best workrnwill survive as long as people read thernkind of stories he wrote. Lovecraft’s lifernand career were failures; his writing itself,rnat least at its best, was not.rnI do not “have a difficult time withrnLovecraft’s philosophy,” but someonernshould explain to Mr. Joshi that the beliefrnthat the universe and human life arernmeaningless is neither new nor unquestioned.rnFor that matter, while Mr. joshirnmay find this view of life invigorating,rnmost people do indeed regard it as “dismal,”rnwhether it is true or not.rnLovecraft seems to have been fond ofrntrotting out his philosophy whenever hernwas at the point of retreating from somernpersonal challenge that ordinary peoplerndo not usually find difficult. That is onernreason I suggested it was a “crutch” forrnhis obviously abnormal personality; byrndenying that life has any meaning, Lovecraftrncould absolve himself of conventionalrnsocial and personal responsibilities.rnBut I also made clear my view thatrnLovecraft’s worldview was a serious onernthat he held, expressed, and developedrnin a serious way.rnI did not quite call Lovecraft a “Nazi.”rnI wrote that he was “an extreme reactionaryrnand racialist, if not an outrightrnNazi.” I qualified this description preciselyrnbecause I recognize that Lovecraft’srnattitude toward Hitler and thernNazis was complicated, but it is hardlyrn”absurd” to say that “one . . . who welcomedrnHitler’s rise to power in 1933″rnwas a Nazi. What else would Mr. Joshirncall a person who welcomed Hitler’s risernto power?rnMr. Joshi says Lovecraft repudiatedrnHitler “in late 1936,” and so he did, as Irnmentioned in the review. But Lovecraftrndied in March 1937, which means thatrnfor most of the time Hitler was in powerrnduring Lovecraft’s life, he had not repudiatedrnhim. Lovecraft did express concernrnabout the Versailles Treaty, and herndisliked the brutishness of the Nazis, butrnwhat mainly attracted him to Hitlerrnwas the ideological content of GermanrnNational Socialism—its authoritarianism,rnits elitism, its racialism, its anti-rnSemitism, and its socialism. His sympathyrnfor these doctrines was such that itrnwould be perfectly reasonable to callrnhim a Nazi, and on that basis alone hernwould certainly be so described today,rnregardless of whatever reservations hernexpressed about Hitler and his policies.rnIn any case, I do not and did not judgernLovecraft or anyone else on the validityrnof his beliefs but on his personal conduct,rnand whatever he believed or wheneverrnhe believed it, I see no moral flaw inrnLovecraft simply for holding a particularrnopinion, whether the opinion was rightrnor wrong. Perhaps when Mr. Joshi completesrnhis expeditions into the life, letters,rnand laundry lists of his favorite subject,rnhe will find time to peruse myrnreview with as much attention as he hasrndevoted to his hero.rnOn Science Fiction,rnR.I.P.rnI don’t think I disagree with any ofrnThomas Bertonneau’s negative remarksrn(“Science Fiction, R.I.P.,” May)rnabout what is passed off as science fictionrntoday. But the situation is far lessrngloomy than he fears. There are plentyrnof hard science fiction writers, with arnsound backing in science and philosophy,rnand genuinely spiritual concerns.rnConsider, for example, Stephen Baxter,rnGregory Benford, C.J. Cherryh, C.A.rnEffinger, Peter Hamilton, John Varley.rnThere are even some excellent fantasyrnwriters who evade Thomas Bertonneau’srnstrictures: John Crowley, Patricia McKillip,rnSheri Tepper. Even Robert Jordan,rnwhose work is generally classified as junk,rnactually writes intelligently, and absorbingly,rnabout treachery and temptation.rnThe Stapleton Archive is housed herernat the University of Liverpool, along withrnthe Science Fiction Foundation Library.rnInquiries from would-be scholars of thernsubject are welcomed.rn—Stephen R.L. Clark,rnDean, Faculty of ArtsrnUniversity of LiverpoolrnLiverpool, Englandrn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn