“When I was a kid, I read Robert A. Heinlein, I read H.P. Lovecraft, I read Robert E. Howard, and then later Tolkien. Some of these would be classified as fantasy, some as horror and some as science fiction. To me, they were all stories, they were imaginative stories that took me to other worlds, other times, or other planets or dimensions or what have you, and I enjoyed the hell out of them. I didn’t see these as totally different things. I still don’t. I think these distinctions are largely false ones.”
Sean Fitzgerald offers a sympathetic evaluation of the great-great granddaddy of detective fiction, with revealing insights into Poe’s other work:
Edgar Allan Poe’s “great continuous convulsion” speaks very naturally and very intensely to the adolescent spirit: passion, love, hatred, murder, primal desires and fears, a desperate pursuit for meaning in a corrupt world. The tales of Edgar Allan Poe capture a universal adolescent essence, and few things deserve to be taken as seriously as adolescence. Adolescence is a search. Adulthood is dealing with the discovery.
What Fitzgerald says about Poe is also true of other works of speculative fiction. Though dismissed by some as frivolous, if not lowbrow, speculative fiction often brilliantly tackles difficult, universal issues in a way that is both entertaining and enlightening. Poe was a pioneer of the genre who blazed the trail for many others, including H.P Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Stephen King.