Ross. E. Lockhart, over at Night Shade blog, muses on Cthulhupunk, in which a short-lived attempt was seemingly made to fuse SF cyberpunk with Lovecraftian tabletop RPG games in the 1990s.
I can see the many points of connection with Lovecraft’s original fiction: isolated alienated semi-powerless not-really-heroes with a mystery to solve; underground routes in the cultural landscape that lead to forbidden knowledge when hacked; blurring at the boundary of the real/unreal; a ‘reality’ that is outside the code of language; alternate/multiple planes of existence; flying around through weird multi-coloured glowing geometries; a degraded contemporary society stratified by class and race; mind transfer and personality augmentation; unknowable artificial intelligences pulling the strings behind the scenes and projecting their avatars into the real world. Throw in some bio-engineering and gene-splicing ‘gone wrong’ for sea-dwelling humans… could be awesome. Lots of literary potential for crossovers and mash-ups there, I’d say.
Perhaps the failure was more of a market failure on the side of the RPG game marketeers in their rather constricted “durh, Lovcraft iz black magik?” market, than a failure of the imagination on the part of writers? Correct me if I’m wrong (I’ve been away from literary SF for a while) but literary writers have never really had a go at such a melding?