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Ruthanna Emrys

Fiction and Excerpts [9]
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Fiction and Excerpts [9]

Winter Tide: Chapter 5

, || After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.

Winter Tide: Chapter 4

, || After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.

Bad Solutions For Writer’s Block: Henry Kuttner’s “The Salem Horror”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Henry Kuttner’s “The Salem Horror,” first published in the May 1937 issue of Weird Tales. Spoilers ahead.

[“He became conscious that he was standing in the exact center of the chamber…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

When You Wish Upon Yog Sothoth: Martha Wells’s “The Dark Gates”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Martha Wells’s “The Dark Gates,” first published in 2015 in Aaron J. French’s The Gods of H. P. Lovecraft. Spoilers ahead.

[“Steps sounded from somewhere below, heavy, slapping steps as if a large man in swim fins stalked across the tiles.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Create Your Own Lovecraft Horror: Knitting the Great Race of Yith

I have terrible luck with SFnal toys. It’s not just the usual issue with the female action figures being impossible to find, though I’m as grumpy as anyone about the difficulty of tracking down an Aeowyn or Rey. But whether it’s a hallucigenia or an Andorian with antennae that don’t look like bike horns, I inevitably fix my passion on whatever aspect of a franchise (or paleontological find) is least appealing to manufacturers.

If you’re fond of Lovecraftian critters, you can easily obtain a plush Nyarlathotep, shoggoth, or Hound of Tindalos. You can get Cthulhu Itself in whatever color, size, and outfit floats your boat. Even the elder things occasionally rear their five-lobed bodies. But the Great Race of Yith—my very favorite body-snatching librarians—are impossible to find.

[So why not make our own?]

The Best of Both Forms: Hypertextuality and Serial Storytelling in Shadow Unit

Shadow Unit is the best TV show never filmed. If it had been filmed, it would’ve been pitched as “Criminal Minds meets The X-Files.” The Anomalous Crimes Task Force investigates the aftermath when the little-understood “anomaly” turns ordinary humans into (magically? psychically?) empowered monsters. Some members of the ACTF—the WTF if you’re feeling affectionate—are at risk of becoming monsters themselves.

Technically speaking, Shadow Unit is a now-complete online hypertext serial, written by some of the best authors in the business. Elizabeth Bear, Emma Bull, Amanda Downum, and Sarah Monette are at the top of the credits, and brought in several impressive guest writers along the way.  There are four seasons of 8 to 13 episodes, each episode a novella broken down into a teaser and three acts. There are Easter eggs—click on the right word and you’ll find a bonus scene with fun bits of character development and occasional foreshadowing of massive plot points. The characters had blogs on a separate platform (LiveJournals, if anyone remembers those). The blogs came out in real time, while episodes were usually released a few weeks after they were set, so posts might drop oblique references to events you’d only learn about later. After one major reveal, several months’ worth of private posts suddenly became visible, shedding new light on the events leading up to it.

[Read more]

Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

Where Are the Rugose Cones I Was Promised? Duane Rimel’s “Dreams of Yith”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Duane Rimel’s “Dreams of Yith,” first published in the July 1934 issue of The Fantasy Fan. Spoilers ahead.

[“High in the ebon skies on scaly wings / Dread bat-like beasts soar past those towers gray…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Absolute Beginners: The Joy of Being a Dilettante

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

One of my early T’ai Chi teachers explained their equivalent of belt colors: a scale starting with “I think I’ve almost got it” and going all the way up to “I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.” By that standard, I am absolutely brilliant. Many people glide through this meditative martial art with jaw-dropping grace and diligence. I am not those people. I’ve managed to keep my form shoddy through two decades of sporadic practice. This is not entirely an accident.

There are advantages to being bad at something…

[Read more]

Art That Challenges Your Assumptions: Ann K. Schwader’s “Objects From the Gilman-Waite Collection”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Ann K. Schwader’s “Objects From the Gilman-Waite Collection,” first published in 2003 in Strange Stars and Alien Shadows: The Dark Fiction of Ann K. Schwader. Spoilers ahead.

[“What he had taken at first for arabesques now appeared as lithe, androgynous figures.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Five Books That Tell the Monster’s Story

Monsters fascinate. There’s something in the shadows that you don’t understand, can’t quite make out the shape of—something that can eat you. Something that can steal your children, spoil your crops, or worst of all turn you into a monster yourself, so that you’ll no longer be welcome in the warm places where we tell stories about monsters.

That warm place started as a small campfire in the dark night, surrounded by very real predators. Beside that fire, you could lay down your spear and basket and feel almost safe for the night. We keep fearing monsters even as the shadows retreat and the campfires grow, even now when light pollution banishes them to the few remaining dark corners, where they must surely shiver and tell stories about our advance.

Mustn’t they?

[Read more]

Series: Five Books About…

H.P. Lovecraft and the Chamber of Secrets: Lovecraft and William Lumley’s “The Diary of Alonzo Typer”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Lovecraft and William Lumley’s “The Diary of Alonzo Typer,” first published in the February 1938 issue of Weird Tales. Spoilers ahead.

[“I turned to flee, but found that vision of the titan paws before me…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Bad Ways to Pick Up Barbarians: C. L. Moore’s “Black God’s Kiss”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at C. L. Moore’s “Black God’s Kiss,” first published in the October 1934 issue of Weird Tales. Spoilers ahead.

[“No human travelers had worn the sides of the spiral so smooth…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

World’s Most Terrifying Pillow Book: Livia Llewellyn’s “The Low, Dark Edge of Life”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Livia Llewellyn’s “The Low, Dark Edge of Life,” first published in Nightmare magazine in December 2016. It is seriously not safe for work, don’t click on that link unless you’re over 18. But if you are over 18, go read it now, because it’s awesome. Spoilers ahead.

[“Even with my black-tinted glasses, even with my eyelids shut tight, the fertility of the land shimmers in my sight…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Top Ten Reasons to Summon an Elder God: David Drake’s “Than Curse the Darkness”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at David Drake’s “Than Curse the Darkness,” first published in 1980 in Ramsey Campbell’s New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos collection. Spoilers ahead.

[“The trees of the rain forest lowered huge and black above the village, dwarfing it and the group of men in its center.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Extradimensional Monsters Against Gentrification: Kage Baker’s “Calamari Curls”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Kage Baker’s “Calamari Curls,” first published in 2006 in her Dark Mondays collection. Spoilers ahead.

[“Holy water, prayer and police tape had done all they could do…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Urban Legends of Ancient Egypt: Gene Wolfe’s “Lord of the Land”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Gene Wolfe’s “Lord of the Land,” first published in 1990 in his Starwater Strains collection. Spoilers ahead.

[“Something moved when he switched off the light.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Ia! I’ll Show Them All! Lovecraft and Adolphe de Castro’s “The Electric Executioner”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at “The Electric Executioner,” a collaboration between Lovecraft and Adolphe de Castro first published in the August 1930 issue of Weird Tales. Spoilers ahead.

[“You are fortunate, sir. I shall use you first of all…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread