July 11, 2012

Behind the Scenes on Shotguns v. Cthulhu

Yesterday I revealed the Shotguns v. Cthulhu Table of Contents. Today I thought I’d draw back the squamous curtain and share project brief I sent to our impressive roster of New Cthulhuvians. Here’s the meat of it, shorn of the boring business stuff.

The premise: a story of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos which includes at least one action sequence.

“Action sequence” could, among other things, evoke the spirit of:

  • Robert E. Howard’s two-fisted mythos tales

  • the rooftop chase from Shadow Over Innsmouth

  • Ludlumesque technothriller meets cosmic horror

  • that loopy, tommy-gun heavy Call of Cthulhu game you ran when you were thirteen

To fulfill the promise of the title, I need at least some adventure romps in which sinewy muscle and/or high-powered weaponry prevail against the minions of the Great Old Ones. That said, I’d also like to see stories combining movement and violence with the existential despair at the heart of Lovecraft’s work. There might be some room for the oddball or deconstructive takes on HPL; I’m not looking for outright spoof or parody.

Stories can be set in any period. If anything, I’m resistant to pieces that revel in the 1920s and 1930s as a wellspring of the quaint and old-timey. Prehistorical, historical, contemporary, futuristic are all possibilities.

I’ll also be skeptical of stories that include Lovecraft himself or his works as part of the fictional reality. Unless you have some stunning new take on it, the idea that HPL’s work masked an awareness of actual occult forces that more or less resemble the mythos has already been thoroughly explored.

I am in no way, shape or form looking for pastiches of Lovecraft’s style. We all know how painful that can be. Write the story in a voice of your own that’s appropriate to the piece.

You will note that this is a simpler concept than The New Hero, and thus, a much briefer brief. As you'll see when you pick up the book (which at present you can do through the Kickstarter for the Stone Skin Press launch), the writers came through with guns blazing, with exercises in clammy unease easily outnumbering the romps.