Image: HBO

Lovecraft Country starts with a dream. A Black man fights on a battlefield, but we can’t see who he and his fellows are clashing with. The reveal is spectacular: aliens, monsters, and a princess of Mars. The soldier stares down a menagerie of impossible beings from the works of Wells and Burroughs, white writers who only ever thought to send white men off on adventures to face these creatures. In this dream though, the Black soldier is Atticus Freeman, confronting them with some help from a hero of his own: Jackie Robinson. Then he wakes up — back to the reality of the 1950s where white men are entitled to the world, the paperback on his chest where white authors lay claim to fantasy, and the racism that barely lets him exist in either.

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