Joe Monson and The Horror at Pooh Corner
Joe Monson and The Horror at Pooh Corner
By Angelique Fawns
The Hundred Acre Wood has delighted children and readers since 1926. Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Christopher Robin, and Alan Milne’s other characters have dealt with things like honey jar shortages, blustery days, those scary Heffalumps. These tales were bright and innocent.
On January 1st, 2022, Winnie-the-Pooh entered the public domain. Hemelein Publications has taken the opportunity to create an anthology that tells the darker stories.
“The dark truth of heffalumps and woozles, what the bees are really hiding, what happened to all the adults, the story behind Pooh’s obsession with hunny, what caused Eeyore’s gloomy outlook, why Piglet is horribly afraid all the time, why Kanga and Roo really came to the Hundred Acre Wood, what Pooh and Christopher Robin discovered at the North Pole, why Eeyore’s tail must be kept attached, the significance of red birthday balloons, what caused the great flooding of the Wood, the true purpose for Pooh poetry compositions, the story of Owl’s Uncle Robert, and more.”
The anthology is full of stories from established and up-and-coming authors in the speculative fiction world like Jonathan Maberry, Brad. R. Torgersen, Jody Lynn Nye, Lee Allred, Gustavo Bondoni, D.J. Butler, Michaelbrent Collings, Kary English, and Esther Friesner to name a few.
Check out the Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hemelein/the-horror-at-pooh-corner.
I asked Joe Monson, the editor of The Horror at Pooh Corner, a few questions to learn more:
AF: Tell me about your inspiration for The Horror at Pooh Corner.
JM: Joseph Capdepon II and I came up with it through a few different discussions over a few months. He thought it would be a fun idea, and I said it sounded like a fun project to create. After those discussions, I fleshed it out a bit more and now we’re at what’s in the Kickstarter. Almost all the reactions to it have been quite positive.
AF: Explain why you are calling the stories “Lovecraftian tales of terror”?
JM: H.P. Lovecraft, despite having some questionable views, was a very creative idea crafter. His mythos has become popular all across the world, and influenced thousands of other creators in their works. “Lovecraftian” simply refers to tales told in the style of or having influence from those originally created by Lovecraft. His mythos is full of my kind of horror: unspeakable, indescribable terrors that bend the reality of this world, rather than the hack-and-slash and blood and gore that most people think of as “horror”. Some Lovecraftian imagery is truly terrifying, and that’s what we’re working with for this anthology.
AF: Who is your favorite Hundred Acre Wood character and why?
JM: I don’t know that I have a single favorite character. I’ve loved all the stories since I was young.
AF: How did you choose your authors? What guidance did you give them?
JM: Capdepon and I collated a list of authors we thought would draw attention to the anthology and fill it with excellent stories. All of the announced authors have shown they can craft an entertaining tale, and all of them have worked in the Lovecraftian mythos or written stories reminiscent of it. When I sent out the invitation to participate, I tried to keep the guidance regarding the stories as light as possible in order to give them significant freedom in crafting stories that would work for my vision of the anthology. So far, those authors who’ve described their ideas for their stories have all described something completely different than the ideas expressed by any of the other participants.
AF: Talk to me about your cover art and the illustrations in the anthology.
JM: The cover art is meant to evoke an immediate sense of a Lovecraftian Winnie-the-Pooh. I wanted people to see Winnie-the-Pooh first, and then notice that things weren’t completely right with how he was depicted, thereby giving it that Lovecraftian feel. I think it accomplished that. So far, there haven’t been any interior illustrations produced, though one of the stated stretch goals, if met, will have an artist create several interior spot illustrations throughout the book, along the lines of those found in the original books. There’s another stretch goal to have a new map of the Hundred Acre Wood that incorporates some information from some or all of the stories in the anthology. And another stretch goal, if met, will have a different piece of art created for use as a Kickstarter-exclusive cover art for the anthology.
AF: Please tell me about the conception and growth of Hemelein Publications?
JM: Hemelein’s first few publications were charity anthologies in support of a local science fiction and fantasy writing convention. I’ve loved reading short fiction for decades, and I wanted a way to publish more of the stories I wanted to read. That was a little over 5 years ago. Since then, we’ve started publishing other anthologies and collections as well as one novel (so far), and we are slowly expanding to other projects that aren’t yet announced.
AF: What is your background? Do you have a day job outside of publishing? Are you a writer yourself?
JM: I’ve done technical writing and editing for over 25 years, and fiction editing for the last 6 years or so. I’ve written a number of short stories, though only one has been published so far. I’m working on a space opera series when I have time. For my day job, I work in IT for a civil engineering company.
AF: Do you have any future anthologies planned in the world of the Winnie-the-Pooh?
JM: Not specifically at the moment, but depending on how this Kickstarter works out, we may do others. I already have a list of authors interested in contributing to future Lovecraftian Winnie-the-Pooh anthologies. I hope we can do more because I find the combination of those two ideas to be really fun.
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Angelique Fawns writes horror, fantasy, kids short stories, and freelance journalism. Her day job is producing promos and after hours she takes care of her farm full of goats, horses, chickens, and her family. She has no idea how she finds time to write. She currently has stories in Ellery Queen, DreamForge Anvil, and Third Flatiron’s Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses. You can follow her work and get writing tips and submission hints at http://fawns.ca/.