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Taking Submissions: Swords v. Cthulhu

March 1, 2015


Deadline: March 1st, 2015
Payment: 5 cents per word up to 5000

Stone Skin Press is proud to announce our newest anthology, Swords v. Cthulhu. As you might have guessed from the title, this project is a spiritual successor to our previous Shotguns v. Cthulhu, but while Shotguns featured mostly modern or futuristic settings for its action-heavy eldritch tales, this tome will collect stories of a historical or fantastical bent. Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington will be co-editing the project.

If you’re simply an excited reader then there’s nothing more to report at present. But! If you’re interested in potentially submitting a story, there will be an open reading period for a few of the slots in Swords v. Cthulhu. Read on for the full guidelines…

The brass tacks (or red nails, as the case may be):

We are paying five (5) cents a word for original works of fiction of up to 5,000 words.

No poetry. No reprints.

No multiple submissions. No simultaneous submissions.

The open reading period for story submissions will be from February 1st to March 1st, 2015. All submissions will be answered by the end of March.

During the reading period, all submissions should be sent as a double-spaced word document in standard manuscript format to [email protected]. Please address the subject line SVC Submission: “Story Title.” Any stories submitted before or after the open reading period will be deleted unread.

To fulfill the promise of the title, we want at least a few adventure romps in which sinewy muscle and cold steel are pitted against the minions of the Great Old Ones. That said, we’d also like some stories combining movement and violence with the existential despair at the heart of Lovecraft’s work. What we want to see is the cerebral cohabitating with rowdy action sequences.

“Action sequence” could, among other things, evoke the spirit of:

  •  The adventures and escapes in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
  •  Robert E. Howard’s two-fisted mythos tales, especially the Kull and Bran Mak Morn tales
  • The perils of Jirel of Joiry, C.L. Moore’s proto-Red Sonja
  • Ashitaka’s mounted combat against the demon boar in Princess Mononoke
  • The bloody-handed heroics of Charles Saunders’s Imaro
  • The Clark Ashton Smith school of sword and sorcery (inherited by Jack Vance & Michael Shea)
  • Or that of Fritz Leiber
  • The sword & planet stylings of Leigh Brackett
  • The epic battle sequences from Tolkien or Burroughs (or their film adaptations)
  • The doomed hero standing alone against a greater demon in the Dark Souls video game series
  • or the tight-knit party beset by hordes in the Dragon Age franchise
  • That over-the-top Dungeons and Dragons game you ran when you were thirteen and had just discovered HPL, REH, and the rest of the Weird Tales crew…

These are just a few of the potential interpretations we’re hoping to see represented when we compile our Table of Contents. So long as there’s an action sequence of some sort and a Mythos element, you’ve met the minimum criteria. Stories can be set in any real or imagined setting, so long as melee weapons are the order of the day as opposed to firearms and futuristic technology. Prehistory, historical, fantasy, and science fantastical (you know, like Krull) settings are all fair game. Be aware that historical European settings will be a much harder sell than other eras or locales—we’d like to see a diverse array of landscapes and cultures.

And speaking of diversity, Lovecraftiana—historical and modern—has a somewhat-deserved reputation as being a tentacle club, and a fairly pasty one at that. We would like to see that continue to change, and strongly encourage any and all interested women, people of color, LGBT individuals, and other historical outsiders to the Mythos to submit their fiction. While both of the editors are enthusiastic about Lovecraft’s writing, we are also committed to doing our part to expand the Mythos beyond Lovecraft’s interpretation of who belongs, and in what roles. No matter if your mashup is a cautionary tale, a romance, or a straight-up wish fulfillment fantasy, we want stories that embrace difference, rather than shun or punish it.

Also, while Lovecraft’s work has fallen ambiguously into the public domain, the works of other writers who derived from him have not. To steer clear of rights issues, please reference only the stories of H.P. Lovecraft himself or texts that are unequivocally in the public domain. Do not derive from material appearing only in Howard, Lumley, or Campbell, et al.

Please feel free to ask any relevant questions in the comments below. If you would like to have a better idea of what sorts of tales the editors are looking for, consider picking up copies of Stone Skin Press’s previous anthologies Letters to Lovecraft and Shotguns v. Cthulhu. Best of luck, and we look forward to reading your stories!

Via: Stone Skin Press.


March 1, 2015