Tuesday, December 10, 2013

RIP Colin Wilson

Lost in the hullabaloo of Nelson Mandela's death last Thursday was the death the same day of prolific nonfiction writer, biographer, and novelist Colin Wilson, at the age of 82. Wilson had famously trashed HP Lovecraft as a "bad writer" and said of him:
"The underlying spirit of Lovecraft (is) the revolt against civilisation, the feeling that the material success by which the modern world justifies itself is the shallowest of all standards; like Nietzsche, he felt that democracy is the rise of botchers and bunglers and mediocrities against the superior type of man."
Wilson wrote scores of novels, many in the mystery genre, as well as some Mythos stories of his own, such as The Mind Parasites. One of his novels, The Space Vampires, was turned into the just-plain-awful film Lifeforce (1985), which Wilson himself hated.

Wilson was a prolific student of mysticism and the occult, with one of his seminal nonfiction works being The Occult: A History. He also wrote a biography of Aleister Crowley which was rather critical, and was himself interested in telepathy, poltergeists, cryptozoology, UFOs, and the occult in general.

One of his earlier works, The Outsider, is still considered one of the great treatments on the subject of the psychological and social implications of the outsider as a literary and social figure and the concept of alienation in general.

Colin Wilson was a prolific man of letters and a writer of wide experience, and his loss is deeply felt.

3 comments:

Darnizhaan said...

Funny that he was so critical of Lovecraft as you say. I recall reading The Mind Parasites and thinking to myself "this guy really gets Lovecraft". He was a very good writer, I can say that.

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Joseph Bloch said...

Apparently that was written as a dare by August Derleth after he had criticized Lovecraft, to prove that he could do it as well or better.

Timothy Brannan said...

That's too bad. I always liked his stuff.