12 April 2012


For this year's A-Z challenge, I'm posting juicy tidbits of researchy goodness for your interest and edification. I intend to use these as story prompts for the terrifying writing challenge Story a Day in May. You may use them however you wish.

This is the first of these postings I'm writing in response to a call for stories, specifically, Brian M. Sammons's and Glynn Owen Barrass's Steampunk Cthulhu anthology, deadline coming up July 31. According to the Snell's Market Scoop interview, they're looking for feel bad stories that seamlessly blend the steampunk aesthetic with elements from the Cthulhu mythos. Pro tip: just because it's steampunk, don't feel that you have to limit yourself to a Victorian British setting. They're looking for tales outside of that setting also.

by Don Kenn, drawn on a post-it

How fun is that? I don't know about you, but I love writing stories for super specific anthologies, the weirder, the better. Something about limitations gets my imagination working overtime.

From Kevin Weir's Flux Machine

To prime the pump a little, here's a wee bit from the opening of "The Call of Cthulhu," the first of Lovecraft's Cthulhu stories (or at least, the first story in which he mentioned Cthulhu by name - the mythos includes some earlier tales). "Call" was first published in Weird Tales in 1928.
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

Birth of Cthulhu
by Cyril van der Haegen
Complete list of awesome Lovecraft in-jokes here

p.s. If you are a Lovecraft noob, but want to read more, Cthulhu Chick assembled the complete works into a handy document with a smexy cover so we could all enjoy it. No copyright violations here: Lovecraft's stuff is all public domain. pdf or versions for your Nook or Kindle are yours for a few clicks. While you're there, consider sending her some warm wishes for her healing journey - she's waiting to recover from a work-related injury so she can once again take up her hobby of crocheting cthulhus. (If you download the collection and you've got a couple of dollars to spare, slide her those too - she put some time and effort into that eBook.)


Amanda Heitler said...

See, I always knew seafood was dangerous.

In agreement on limitations. I find them much more a help than a hindrance.

Also slightly in love with the notion of someone who crochets cthulus.

Bushman said...

Man is that opener ever a thinker. I've copied it for later so I can sit and ponder.

Susan Kane said...

Those photos and drawings are inspiring. :)

Kern Windwraith said...

That is one deliciously specific set of criteria for a story anthology--made me smile A LOT. I'm so impressed that you've signed up for the story a day challenge in May. I hadn't heard of that one, and I'm pretty sure I won't be participating. Although...never say never.

I love a good dose of Lovecraft prose. Thanks for the reminder to go re-read!

Elizabeth Twist said...

I'm allergic to writing about Cthulhu going to give me hives?

The tragedy is that Cthulhu Chick's injuries have caused her to stop filling her etsy shop with crocheted monsters. I hope she gets back into it at some point.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Awesome, right? I think it is the opposite of the truth, but it is so succinctly and clearly stated, it feels like truth, and it encapsulates Lovecraft's world view well.

Elizabeth Twist said...

People are doing amazing things out there. I especially love looking at Kevin Weir's gif manipulations of old photos.

Elizabeth Twist said...

If you're at all inclined to do the challenge, Kern, you should. I found it rocketed my plotting skills right up into the stratosphere.