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Taking Submissions: Atomic Age Cthulhu

October 1, 2012

Deadline: October 1st 2012
Payment: 3 cents per word, 3 complementary contributor copies, and the option to purchase more at a 50% discount.

A 1950’s Lovecraft/Cthulhu Mythos anthology has been green lit by Chaosium to correspond with their release of the ATOMIC AGE CTHULHU book for their RPG. This will have a very short and hard deadline of October 1st. We do this because the plan is to have this book come out around the same time as the AAC RPG book. This will make for good cross promotion and hopefully make both books sell better. This means that you will have to do a story for us fast, which means perhaps bumping it up past some of your other writing duties. So if you’re down for that, and we hope you are, welcome to our nuclear family of crazed cultists.

So why bring Lovecraftian horror to the 1950’s? Because few other points in history seem so tailor-made for the paranoia and fear that is so important to the Cthulhu Mythos. While many places in the world were still recovering and rebuilding from the Second World War, this was a good time for America in many ways. The economy and industry was roaring, the nation was filled with pride over a hard won victory, the middle class exploded and it seemed like everyone could own their own home, car, or perhaps even one of those new amazing televisions. Very few other decades are remembered more fondly, and viewed through thicker rose-colored glasses, than the 1950’s is for Americans. It was a time of innocence where the music, movies, cars, and everything was just so much better than anything before or since. And yet, all that was largely a façade. Just below the shiny surface of “everything is great” was the festering fear that wrapped its clammy tentacles around everyone regardless of race, sex, or age.

Never before in history did the world face a global threat as it did in the shadow of the A-bombs, and later the even more devastating H-bombs. Educational films were made to show how to survive a nuclear blast, and at the movie theatres the classic monsters of the 30s and 40s were replaced by the horrors spawned from that atom. Children were instructed to crawl under their school desks if “The Bomb” was dropped, as if an inch of wood would make any difference, and many regular families either had new bomb shelters dug into their back yards, or converted existing basements or storm cellars for a more grim purpose.

Then there were the unseen dangers, the enemies that were everywhere, even in our midst. There were the usual cultural threats, exemplified in this decade by devilish rock n’ roll, morally corrupt books like Lolita, and Catcher in the Rye, disgusting nudie magazines like Playboy, and then there were the sinister comic books that were corrupting the minds of the youngest readers. But books and movies were one thing, the threat of a very real unknown army of people, striving to overthrow the entire government and strip away all personal freedom, was quite another. This cabal of evildoers were everywhere, could be anyone including your neighbours, friends, and maybe even your family members. Of course I’m talking about the dreaded Red Menace, the godless communists. Those dastardly Reds had to be stopped by any means necessary, lest the good people of America lose everything.

So you have everyone thinking that everything is A-OK, but in reality you’ve got a global threat that could change the world as we know it, one that can’t be fought against and if ever unleashed, just barely survived. There’s an insidious corruption growing, spreading, influencing the young and easily lead. Not to mention a cult of secretive people working in the shadows to their own nefarious ends. Yep, sounds like Lovecraft to us.

We want stories that blend the happy world of ‘Leave it to Beaver’ and ‘Father Knows Best’ with the cold dread of cosmic horror. Thankfully the 1950’s has much to offer an author to play with. The ever present threat of nuclear annihilation, the spreading red menace that can be anywhere and anyone, the McCarthy witch hunt to combat that menace, the division of Europe and the Iron Curtain, China becoming communist, the birth of the Cold War, a very hot war in Korea, the beginning of the space race, UFO hysteria, rock n’ roll, television, the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency (the ‘comic books are evil’ crowd), sci-fi movies, drive ins, the growth of the suburbs, an American nightmare that would be the influence for some of horror’s greatest books and movies for years to come (Ed Gein), greasers, beatniks, hotrods, vets home from the most devastating war in history, Nazis in South America, man mastering (or attempting to) new scientific marvels, and so much more. So go wild, explore, for you non-US authors out there, feel free to set stories in your home countries and show what it was like over there during this decade, and how life there becomes influenced and corrupted by Lovecraftian horrors. Just remember, every story must be set between 1950 and 1959. You can mention past events, like World War II, but the majority of your story must be set in the 1950s.

Now for the technical stuff.

Submissions open: NOW
Submissions close: Midnight 1st October 2012
Word Limit: 3000 – 7000 words FIRM.
Pay Rate: 3 cents per word, 3 complementary contributor copies, and the option to purchase more at a 50% discount.
Format: Standard Manuscript Format, an example of proper formatting can be found here: http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html
In the subject line include the name of the anthology, your full name and story title.
We do not accept reprints, multiple or simultaneous submissions.
Submit in either .RTF or .DOC format (no docx) to Brian M. Sammons [email protected] and Glynn Owen Barrass [email protected]
Response: after deadline, do not query before.
Any submission not adhering to these guidelines will be unread.

So in closing, welcome, please get started as soon as possible (remember that deadline) and thanks so much for submitting something to us. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

[via: Atomic Age Cthulhu Sub Info.]


October 1, 2012