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"

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