Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Getting Cozy with Cosmic Horror

Cosmic horror that's cozy? Is such a concept possible? Thirty-three authors answer that question in a forthcoming anthology of cozy cosmic horror stories and verse from Underland Press, The Cozy Cosmic, edited by Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito and Mark Teppo.

I'm one of those thirty-three authors. You can read my short story "The Purple Emperor" in the book when it goes on sale October 10. Order before publication here.

"The Purple Emperor" follows an elderly female gardener into a world of seemingly endless bedrooms. Will she ever find a way out of this strange and eerie world? Perhaps, but only after she confronts the unexpected secret at the world's heart.

I'm perfectly content to read cozies, though I'd never set out to write one. Some cosmic horror I've enjoyed, some I haven't. The stories of H. P. Lovecraft, considered the premiere author of cosmic horror, often leave me unimpressed, though I enjoyed The Mountains of Madness and his short story "In the Walls of Eryx." My taste in horror runs more along the less-than-cosmic lines of work by William Hope Hodgson, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and Bram Stoker. When it comes to cosmic horror, I prefer the book The King in Yellow by Lovecraft's predecessor Robert W. Chambers, considered by many to be proto-cosmic horror. 

In writing my story "The Purple Emperor," I tried to catch as much a hint of Chambers as I did of Lovecraft. I chose the title "The Purple Emperor" as a sort of play on words of The King in Yellow--then realized, after I'd finished the story, that Chambers himself wrote a story with an identical title, a story I'd heard years ago. However, the similarity seems to end there. Chambers's title refers to a type of butterfly, while my title refers to a type of rose. My idea to build a fantastical world of endless bedrooms owes a debt to Chambers's name. Bedrooms--chambers. Get it? Heavy-handed, I admit, but the story itself doesn't draw attention to the wordplay.

Order The Cozy Cosmic direct from Underland Press by clicking here. To whet your appetite, check out the table of contents:

John Shirley ~ "Death, in Two"

Tais Teng ~ "On Hearing the First Shoggoth in Spring"

Tyler Battaglia ~ "What the Sea Provides"

Ellis Bray ~ "My Grandmother’s Sacristy"

E. E. Marshall ~ "Right and Bright"

Devan Barlow ~ "Dinner, Overlooking the Sea"

Scotty Milder ~ "A Little God in Their Hands"

Maxwell I. Gold ~ "Great Cosmic Itch"

Remy Nakamura ~ "Wet Dreams in R’lyeh"

Andrew S. Fuller ~ "A Perfectly Fine Hobby"

Kiera Lesley ~ "Obsolescent"

Kurt Newton ~ "A Mournful Melancholia of Things Forever Lost"

J. B. Kish ~ "Lo-Fi Chocolate Cake"

Rajiv Moté ~ "Carrisa and Kevin Gaze into the Abyss"

Daniel David Froid ~ "In Another Distant Land, in a Luminescent Land"

Kate Ristau ~ "Shine"

Erik Grove ~ "Fuzzy Fuzzy Kitty Kitties"

William J. Connell ~ "Poe’s Guys Respond to Their Significant Others"

Paul Jessup ~ "The Museum of Endless Summer"

Ngô Bình Anh Khoa ~ "Through Life and Death, Forevermore"

Jonathan Wood ~ "Javapocalypse"

L. E. Daniels ~ "Final Cycle"

Ken Hueler ~ "The Unknowable Ones"

Tania Chen ~ "A Study of Metamorphosis Calamity"

Eric Shanower ~ "The Purple Emperor"

Kevin Wetmore ~ "A Child’s Christmas in Innsmouth"

Megan Lee Beals ~ "Splinterbone"

Corinne Hughes ~ "The Sheep Rancher’s Husband"

Shanna Germain ~ "A Napkin Upon Your Glass"

Simone Cooper ~ "Gnocchi"

Jessie Kwak ~ "Blood and Glitter"

Cody T Luff ~ "Den Mother"

R. Ostermeier ~ "The Dark Young"

Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.

Tik-Tokking to You

At last! My three volumes on The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, the 1913 stage musical by L. Frank Baum and Louis F. Gottschalk, were published at the end of July by Hungry Tiger Press.

They're all available here.

First is All Wound Up: The Making of The Tik-Tok Man of Oz. This hefty softcover volume of 440 full-color pages contains the complete history of the show with a generous load of images and photographs. It also includes L. Frank Baum's complete, newly-discovered 1913 script for The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, Baum's complete 1909 scenario titled The Rainbow's Daughter, a full biography of composer Louis F. Gottschalk, an account of Hank the Mule's career across the world, and more. 

I'm delighted to say that All Wound Up has been garnering praise from those who see it. You can purchase the book by clicking here.

Next is The Tik-Tok Man of Oz Performance Script. This 114 page volume features the script I synthesized from Baum's surviving materials to create a version that can be performed today. The words are L. Frank Baum's in this two-act musical play for nine principal roles, three minor roles, and a chorus, in a running time of about 2 hours. You can purchase the script by clicking here

The third book is The Tik-Tok Man of Oz Piano-Vocal Score. Its 194 pages hold 26 core musical numbers by Gottschalk/Baum and Schertzinger/Morosco, originally written for the show. Also included are 2 optional numbers by Cowles/Wulschner and Waters/West, interpolated into the 1913 production. The music is arranged for piano. You can purchase the score by clicking here.

All three volumes are offered as a set with a $10 discount off the total price. Click here for the complete set.

Whether you want to act, sing, or just read about Tik-Tok, the copper clockwork man of Oz, here's your chance.

Copyright © 2023 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.