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Jonathan L. Howard

Fiction and Excerpts [3]
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Fiction and Excerpts [3]

A Long Spoon

, || You may have heard of Johannes Cabal; he is a necromancer and a little infamous. He is also very sensitive to attempts on his life. When a murder of crows tries to... well, murder him, and the contents of his bath are transmuted into hot nitric acid, he suspects someone may mean him harm. The trail leads to one of the less travelled parts of Hell itself, and there Cabal will need a guide.

The Brothers Cabal (Excerpt)

, || Horst Cabal has risen from the dead. Again. Horst, the most affable vampire one is ever likely to meet, is resurrected by an occult conspiracy that wants him as a general in a monstrous army. Their plan: to create a country of horrors, a supernatural homeland. As Horst sees the lengths to which they are prepared to go and the evil they cultivate, he realizes that he cannot fight them alone. What he really needs on his side is a sarcastic, amoral, heavily armed necromancer. As luck would have it, this exactly describes his brother.

What is This Strange Planet You Call “America”?

My seventh novel is titled Carter & Lovecraft and marks something of a departure for me in a variety of ways. Firstly, it is contemporary and fits into what you might call “Urban Fantasy.” Secondly, it’s a work-for-hire gig insofar as, while I get royalties (thank heavens), I don’t own the copyright. I’ve worked in the video games industry, so I’m quite used to not owning copyright on a project, but this is the first time I’ve written a novel like that. It’s a strange feeling, looking at the rights page in the book and not seeing my name there. Thirdly, the novel is set in a sort of shared fantasy world called “America.” You may have heard of it.

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A Long Spoon

You may have heard of Johannes Cabal; he is a necromancer and a little infamous. He is also very sensitive to attempts on his life. When a murder of crows tries to . . . well, murder him, and the contents of his bath are transmuted into hot nitric acid, he suspects someone may mean him harm. The trail leads to one of the less travelled parts of Hell itself, and there Cabal will need a guide.

As Dante had his Virgil, so Cabal employs the services of a devil who is a monster, a predator, and—most alien of all to Cabal—a woman. The devil Zarenyia and he delve deep into Hell, even into Satan’s greatest mistake, to confront challenges quite outside the ken of any mortal. But one should always use a long spoon when supping with a devil, and Cabal soon realises the unthinkable, a horror beyond his experience. He is actually beginning to like her.

This novelette was acquired and edited for Tor.com by St. Martin’s Press editor Peter Joseph.

[Read “A Long Spoon” by Jonathan L. Howard]

The Brothers Cabal (Excerpt)

Horst Cabal has risen from the dead. Again. Horst, the most affable vampire one is ever likely to meet, is resurrected by an occult conspiracy that wants him as a general in a monstrous army. Their plan: to create a country of horrors, a supernatural homeland. As Horst sees the lengths to which they are prepared to go and the evil they cultivate, he realizes that he cannot fight them alone. What he really needs on his side is a sarcastic, amoral, heavily armed necromancer.

As luck would have it, this exactly describes his brother.

Join the brothers Cabal as they fearlessly lie quietly in bed, fight dreadful monsters from beyond reality, make soup, feel slightly sorry for zombies, banter lightly with secret societies that wish to destroy them, and—in passing—set out to save the world.

Read an excerpt below from The Brothers Cabal, the fourth installment in Jonathan L. Howard’s Johannes Cabal series—available September 30th from Thomas Dunne Books!

[Read an excerpt]

The Dreamlands: Playing in H.P. Lovecraft’s Sandbox

I’m not sure at what point I decided to set the third Johannes Cabal novel—Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute—in the Dreamlands of H.P.Lovecraft, but I do know that once I’d thought of it, I was very engaged by the idea. The previous novels had followed different… I hesitate to say genres or tropes, but shall we say styles of story—Johannes Cabal the Necromancer being a picaresque tale of the “evil carnival” sort, but told from the point of view of the poor schmuck who is in charge of such an enterprise, and Johannes Cabal the Detective being a golden age locked room murder seen through the prism of a faux Victorian/Edwardian setting with a few “steampunk” trappings.

I wanted the third book to have some swashbuckling and high fantasy, but Cabal’s world was not a perfect fit for such a story. Happily, there was one impinging upon it, and, I like to think, every other fictional world regardless of genre—the Dreamlands.

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Backing Into Lovecraft

Hmmm, not sure I like that title now. It sounds like one of the more melancholy sixties West End farces, or possibly a direction from the greatest Carry On film never made. Carry On Cthulhu starring Kenneth Williams as the mild-mannered Rhode Islander H.P. Lovecraft, Sid James as Robert E. Howard, Charles Hawtrey as Great Cthulhu, and a guest appearance by Jon Pertwee as the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred. My gods, it could have worked. They’d already demonstrated their uncannily convincing American accents in Carry On Cowboy, so…

But I digress.

[I do that a lot]

Series: December Belongs To Cthulhu