Tor.com content by

Ruthanna Emrys

Fiction and Excerpts [9]
All

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.

How Not to Handle Rejection Letters: M.R. James’s “Casting the Runes”

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 M. R. James’s “Casting the Runes,” first published in 1911 in his More Ghost Stories collection. Spoilers ahead.

[“Dear Sir, I am requested by the Council of the ___ Association to return to you the draft of a paper on The Truth of Alchemy…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

The Void is a Harsh Critic: John Glasby’s “Drawn From 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 John Glasby’s “Drawn From Life,” first published in the Michaelmas 1989 issue of Crypt of Cthulhu. Spoilers ahead.

[“And the music! It rose and fell in wild, tormented shrieks and cadences…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of… Um: Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette’s “Boojum”

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 Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette’s “Boojum,” first published in Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s Fast Ships, Black Sails anthology in 2008. Spoilers ahead.

[“Black Alice was on duty when the Lavinia Whateley spotted prey…”]

Cthulhu and Sons: Lin Carter’s “The Winfield Heritance”

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 Lin Carter’s “The Winfield Heritance” (unless it’s “Heritage” or “Inheritance,” sources differ), first published in 1981 in Weird Tales #3 (an anthology, edited by Carter himself, not a magazine). Spoilers ahead.

[“The coiling stone stair did not end, but it vanished into a black pool of slimy liquid mud…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

The Cthulhu Whisperer: Brian Hodge’s “The Same Deep Waters As You”

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 Brian Hodge’s “The Same Deep Waters As You,” first published in 2013 in Stephen Jones’s Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth anthology. Spoilers ahead.

[“At first it was soothing, a muted drone both airy and deep…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

One-Star Reviews Have Consequences: S.P. Miskowski’s “Strange is the Night”

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 S.P. Miskowski’s “Strange is the Night,” first published in 2015 in Joseph S. Pulver’s Cassilda’s Song anthology. Spoilers ahead.

[“A growl of thunder overhead and Pierce imagined the ceiling cracking open…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Glamour Shot With Dog Skull: Caitlín Kiernan’s “Pickman’s Other Model”

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 Caitlín Kiernan’s “Pickman’s Other Model (1929),” first published in March 2008 in Sirenia Digest. Spoilers ahead.

[“Thurber and I used to argue about the validity of first-person narration as an effective literary device…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

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…