It’s no secret that the main characters in Lovecraft Country are book-loving geeks. Atticus dreams about slaying aliens. Leti is a former member of South Side Futurist Science Fiction Club. Uncle George loves Dracula and all things horror. Hippolyta peers into a telescope to see if she can spot Cassiopeia. And George’s daughter Dee is a bonafide comic creator with her own adventures.
Their invaluable knowledge comes in handy when Atticus and Uncle George deduce a way to defeat some seriously scary monsters in the woods. If we had to choose fictional characters for great book recommendations, they are at the top of the list.
Here’s an ongoing list of all the real-life sci-fi, horror, and fantasy title references in Lovecraft Country:
From episode one, “Sundown”
A Princess of Mars (1912)
Frank E. Schoonover/A.C. McClurg
Atticus is reading science fantasy novel A Princess of Mars on his ride home to Chicago. He explains the plot to a fellow traveler who isn’t a fan of the main character. The Edgar Rice Burroughs story follows John Carter, a Confederate veteran who strikes gold, runs from Apaches, and ends up in a cave that transports him to Mars.
The Outsider and Others (1939)
It’s no surprise that this book shows up considering the Lovecraft Country novel and show are inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s work. The Outsider and Others is a collection of strange fictional fantasy stories. The publisher, Arkham House, inspires the name of Ardham, where Atticus goes to find his father. Uncle George says horror is usually his thing but Atticus is ready to get back into those stories.
The Count of Monte Cristo (1955)
Atticus grabs yet another book while perusing his father’s apartment. Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo was originally published in English in the 1840s, but his father’s edition appears to be one from 1955. The iconic French tale details a man’s journey after he is falsely imprisoned on a grim French island.
Barnes & Noble
Children of the night… what music they make! It didn’t take long for Uncle George to realize that the monsters surrounding the cabin are similar to vampires. Light is bad for them and a bite or attack by one is bad for you. There are many versions of this iconic vampire story but there’s nothing quite like the original horror novel by Bram Stoker.
From episode two, “Whitey’s on the Moon”
The House on the Borderlands
Flame Tree Publishing
The Ardham Lodge is obviously a too-good-to-be-true setup. Uncle George is in a room with several of his favorite books and authors. He selects The House on the Borderlands off the shelf and surprise, it leads to a secret passageway of an even larger selection of books. Interestingly, the William Hope Hodgson novel is about a protagonist who has hallucinations at a remote house – exactly what happens to Atticus and company.
The Holy Bible
Christian Art Publishers
This is a controversial add to the list. Many people view the religious texts’ events as a sacred truth. But others, including Leti, see it as fantasy fiction. There are seemingly impossible feats, miracles, and great parables about war, triumph, and life lessons. In the episode, she says the book is filled with demons and monsters that are just stories.
The Holy Bible is discussed at length by Tic, Christina, and Samuel as they talk about Genesis 2:19. The verse refers to God bringing all the animals he created to Adam, the first (and only) man, so he could name them. Tic concludes that Adam “put everything in it’s place” while Christina says “biblical literalism is for the simple.” Samuel calls himself Adam and eventually reveals his plan to use Tic in a “Sons of Adam” ritual to unlock the gateway to the Garden of Eden. Needless to say that this episode is quite a knockout punch.
From episode 3, “Holy Ghost”
This episode didn’t include any new book references. Dracula makes two more appearances as a tool to showcase Hippolyta’s grief over Uncle George’s demise. Is there another reason why this book keeps coming up outside of it being Uncle George’s favorite book? Perhaps. Maybe Uncle George will be resurrected in some way in a future episode.
The Count of Monte Cristo is also seen once again in Montrose’s apartment. The story is all about wrongful imprisonment and getting revenge. Montrose connects to this story and seems to be in a mental/social prison of sorts as he deals with family trauma. The episode heavily hints that Montrose may be a gay man who is keeping his sexuality private. Hopefully, a deeper look into the life (and maybe liberation) of Montrose is on the way.
From episode 4, “A History of Violence”
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Tic, Montrose, and Leti turn into explorers as they break into a Boston museum to find papers in Titus’ vault. But, before they set off on this adventure, Tic and Leti continually interrupt a young boy reading Journey to the Center of the Earth in a library. The 19th century French sci-fi novel by Jules Verne follows an eccentric professor who believes there are tubes that go to the center of the Earth.
He takes a worldwide journey with his nephew and a guide as they encounter threats from nature and monsters. In this show, Atticus is almost the eccentric scientist of sorts with a wild plan to dive deep into the depths of an unknown place. They find dangers, dead bodies, a connection to Leti’s house, and more along the way.
From episode 5, “Strange Cases”
Sorry book fans. There are no new additions in this episode because we (mostly) took a step away from Tic and Leti’s ongoing investigations. Leti is seen reading The Holy Bible while taking a bath, which further confirms her relationship with the text. And, as hinted in a previous episode, Montrose’s relationship with Sammy is confirmed. Both he and Leti’s sister Ruby get significant breakthroughs that will certainly impact their future arcs.
We didn’t see Hippolyta this week but we know she’s on her way to Ardham for answers. Perhaps a book (or three) will pop up in episode six.
From episode 6, “Meet Me in Daegu”
Well, this certainly is an entertaining episode. There are no new book references but, once again, Lovecraft Country is using previous books to tell its story. Tic and Ji-Ah connect over The Count of Monte Cristo.
She is familiar with the movie but he encourages her to explore the end of the book with him for a better ending where Edmond and Mercedes don’t end up together. Their shared desire to get away from their realities helps them cement a romantic relationship. Of course, Tic identifies with Edmond as a man who deals with years of oppression and later gets his vengeance. But what will Tic’s journey to redemption cost him?
From episode 7, “I Am”
You have to love a self-referential show. “I Am” primarily focuses on Hippolyta’s liberating journey through a portal but she wasn’t the only person to take a trip. Tic also went through and he came back with a book in hand. Lovecraft Country (2016) by Matt Ruff is obviously the source material for the series which tells the story of Tic, Leti, Montrose, Riby, and the Braithwhites.
However, this book is written by George Freeman. We don’t get an explanation in this episode but perhaps the version of Uncle George that Hippolyta encounters is the author.
From episode 8, “Jig-a-Bobo”
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
John P. Jewett and Company
Dee Freeman’s big solo episode leans heavily on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The 1852 novel follows the story of Uncle Tom, a saintly enslaved man who befriends his owner’s white daughter. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a controversial book because while it tries to humanize enslaved people and speak against the institution of slavery, it also enforces harmful stereotypes about Black people.
Dee’s encounter with Lancaster leads to her being chased by two entities who seem like they are straight out of a Nightmare on Elm Street saga complete with little girls singing ominously. But, the girls are actually based on Topsy, a minor character from this book who made a much larger social impact. It seems like the evil girls may have gotten the best of Dee at the end but anything is possible in this story.
Viewers also learn that Tic’s future son, George Freeman, is the author behind this universe’s Lovecraft Country!
From episode 9, “Rewind 1921”
There are no direct real-life book references in this episode. However, several books that exist in their universe are the crux of the story. There’s Dee Freeman’s Orynthia Blue comic which Hippolyta fully channels as she holds open the portal.
And, of course, there’s always the Book of Names that the Freeman and Lewis families can use to create some magic of their own. Now more than ever, we really wanna read Dee’s epic comic.
More to come…
Featured Image: Elizabeth Morris/HBO