My contributor copy of Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2 has arrived. It contains 10 stories*, as the title suggests, drawing inspiration from Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, all set in the southern hemisphere.
Peter Rawlik, in his generous and knowledgeable introduction, describes the yarns as “unique and vibrant interpretations of the weird, the cosmic, the Lovecraftian Cthulhu, even in his absence”.
So there are two stories to my story in this anthology.
The first, is that this three-volume set being published by IFWG arose out of a crowd-funded megavolume called Cthulhu Deep Down Under (it’s great to see a couple of the illustrations from that delicious volume reproduced here) that came out in 2015. My story in that original was a reprint, in which I proposed an occult cause for the disappearance of skindiving prime minister Harold Holt off a Victorian beach. But a reprint wasn’t cutting the mustard for this revamped three-book set. A new story, please.
Which leads me to the second story, the story of the second story. Okay? Cool.
CDDU Vol 2 is now available for pre-order, and goes on sale on August 1. Vol 1 is in the wild!
The earliest version of ‘Slither’ on my hard drive harks back to 2003. I remember it being critiqued at a Vision critique group meeting in Brisbane … sometime. But it never sang. I’d revisit it on and off over the years, trying to work out what was wrong with it. Brought in a second character, changed the focus … I ended up with a second version that’s quite different, might even have legs of its own. But this version, this intense single POV and intensely personal version, just wouldn’t behave.
Until CDDU2 hit me up for a new story.
Maybe a little pressure was all it needed. I straightened out the narrative, finally framed the ending in a way I was happy with … I think it works. The editors certainly think so (whew!). Your mileage may vary. But I’m grateful that story is finally at some kind of rest, after all these years of haunting the periphery, its little black tentacles reaching out, refusing to be forgotten, begging to be set free.
So now I’m wondering, what else is lurking in folders of unfinished work? No doubt some will be, rightfully, left to lie dormant, but what others are just awaiting the right spark to bring them to life?
* It’s worth noting among this splendid company is one Kirstyn McDermott, an uncommon occasion in which we share a table of contents of original fiction.