Future Treasures: Cthulhu Lies Dreaming edited by Salomé Jones

Future Treasures: Cthulhu Lies Dreaming edited by Salomé Jones

Cthulhu Lies Dreaming-smallIn her article for us last February, The Making of a Dark Fantasy Anthology, Salomé Jones talked about the creation of her first fantasy anthology, the Lovecraftian volume Cthulhu Lives! Her second, Cthulhu Lies Dreaming: Twenty-Three Tales of the Weird and Cosmic, is due later this month from Ghostwoods Books.

I asked Salomé about the challenges of putting together a follow-up to a successful anthology, and she gave us a peak behind the curtain at what it took to create the eye-catching cover at right.

We had a massive amount of trouble with this cover. It’s like it was cursed. For the first book, Cthulhu Lives!, we used a photo of a special edition amulet by Jason McKittrick, Lovecraftian sculptor. We wanted to create something that would be recognizable to readers of that book, so we went back to Jason to look for a sculpture to photograph.

Because we needed a very high res image for print, I had the sculpture sent to a photographer in London. But through various contortions of fate, he wasn’t able to get a photo of it that worked. After eight months of waiting, I ordered a new copy of the sculpture, this time sent to a photographer in California. To my great surprise, months passed and still no photo. In the meantime, I started getting cold feet about the whole idea.

Gábor, our designer, contacted me and said he’d found a possibility — a sculpture by Hollywood prosthetics designer and sculptor Lee Joyner. I very nervously contacted him. He turned out to be extremely nice and we came to an agreement. And this is the result.

Pay attention, all you aspiring cover designers. This is how patience and determination — not to mention a little risk-taking — can pay off.

Cthulhu Lies Dreaming: Twenty-three Tales of the Weird and Cosmic contains stories by A. Leeman Kessler, Lynne Hardy, Pete Rawlik, Yma Johnson, Mike Davis, Lucy Brady, Lynnea Glasser, William Couper, Thord D. Hedengren, Samuel Morningstar, Salomé Jones, Matthew J. Hockey, Matthew Chabin, Marc Reichardt, M. S. Swift, Gethin A. Lynes, Greg Stolze, G.K. Lomax, Evey Brett, E. Dane Anderson, Daniel Marc Chant, Brian Fatah Steele, Morris Kenyon, and Saul Quint.

Cthulhu Lives-smallHere’s the book description.

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”*

The classic American horror author H. P. Lovecraft coined the term ‘weird fiction’ in the 1920s. Even today, in our rational world of wonder, his legacy of cosmic horror slumbers on. Deep in the recesses of our unconscious minds, we suspect it to be the truth – that we begin to glance the shape of true reality, and it is not to our liking. Not at all.

Modern science, with its experts and specialities, is a fragmentary thing. In this, it reflects the human mind. We keep our thoughts in boxes, broken into digestible shards. It is safer. Cosmic horror warns us that what we fondly imagine to be reality is just a thin skin of light and substance over endless gulfs of insanity. Gather too much knowledge, make the wrong connections, and the truth can no longer be denied.

The amazing tales lovingly collected in *Cthulhu Lies Dreaming* are fragments of that truth. Treat them with the caution that they deserve. Each will offer you glimpses behind the skin of the world, leading you closer and closer to the edge of the abyss. Knowledge may bring wisdom, but it also offers far darker gifts to the curious.

The truth is indeed out there – and it hungers.

Cthulhu Lies Dreaming will be published by Ghostwoods Books on February 25, 2015. It is priced at $16 in trade paperback; no word yet on a digital edition. The cover is by Gábor Csigás. Read more at the Ghostwoods website.

See all of our coverage of the best in upcoming fantasy fiction here.

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CMR

I was getting pretty burnt out on Cthulhu books when I got “Cthulhu Lives!”. Most of the anthologies I have read in the past few years haven’t been that great. I didn’t have very high expectations going into it, so I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Even though I tend to avoid Cthulhu anthologies these days, I will happily get the sequel.

Salome Jones

Thanks, CMR. I’m very glad you liked it. I think Cthulhu Lies Dreaming is as good or better, though different than Cthulhu Lives! I’ll be excited to hear what you think of it.

(It’s actually a bit mind-bending. At some point I felt like I was on drugs while reading it. See if you get that, too.)

James McGlothlin

I’m with you CMR. My experience with Cthulhu-like anthologies has been one of overall disappointment. I get it that seeing “Lovecraft” or “Cthulhu” on a book helps to sell it. I don’t resent that. I understand that up and coming writers style stories, and even experienced editors, market books in order to sell them. If Cthulhu-themed stuff still does that, more power to them.

My biggest hope for these sorts of anthologies (I suppose any sort of anthology) is that occasionally you find some real gems within them–no matter how tangentially shoe-horned they seem to fit with the anthology’s theme.

Thus, I appreciate outlets like Black Gate letting me know about such anthologies. I keep them on my radar and keep my ears up to see what people might be saying about them. So, I appreciate your comment CMR.

Wild Ape

I think Cthulhu is, like sword and sorcery, difficult for many writers to master. It is a special kind of horror that most can’t pass off. That is why you have a lot of mediocrity in the stories and then a few that stand out as top shelf stuff.

I think the best Cthulu anthology was Shadows Over Baker Street. It is the Cthulu mythos meeting Sherlock Holmes. There are several stories that are haunting and memorable.

CMR

There were plenty of mediocre stories padding out some volumes, but my biggest gripe would be that there are a lot of books that simply don’t belong under the Cthulhu banner. Many were more like modern “weird” stories. Cthulhu just seems to be something to put on the cover in order to sell books these days.

I also think there are lots of writers that can write good Cthulhu stories, but the genre has gotten so over saturated they are hard to find.

Wild Ape

@CMR–You are bringing Cthulu down man. You are going to hurt his feelings and make him go back to sleep. Don’t be such a Cthulu hater.

CMR

Ha ha, I love Cthulhu stories. I just there were more of them. :p

Salome

I think you’re right, Jame McGlothlin. Cthulhu is now a marketing term. This book is more “Weird” but it’s also cosmic. This isn’t because I wanted to disrespect Lovecraft’s work but because what is essential to me, personally, about it is its weirdness. My aim with these books is to give the modern reader access to that weird little shiver that Lovecraft’s early readers must have received. We’re so inured to horror now, but Weirdness, not so much.

Let me know if you’d like a review copy. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Salome

Sorry, James.*

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