Monday, December 27, 2010

Publishing News: Dead But thankfully still Dreaming

 Howdy, weirdos.

Just wanted to take a break from various end-of-year writing deadlines, holiday highjinx, and NOT blogging on The Cosmicomicon to send out a quick publishing update:

Dead But Dreaming 2, the much anticipated follow-up to Dead But Dreaming, recently closed submissions, culled the lot, and shipped off the locked anthology to the Miskatonic River Press Mothership, with my story "Transmission" stowed away aboard.

I really couldn't be happier.  I've always been a fan of Miskatonic River Press, which is deftly tended by the eternally patient and always gracious Tom Lynch, who serves as President and Managing Editor.  Tom, and everyone at MRP (what the cool kids call it), toil endlessly in loving memory of Keith "Doc" Herber, Editor in Chief and CEO of Miskatonic River Press (and co-editor with Ross on Dead But Dreaming), who passed from this dimension on March 13th of 2009.  What Doc left behind was a sizable legacy and rare standard of quality that has made Miskatonic River Press one of the consistently excellent publishers of Lovecraftian fiction and Call of Cthluhu RPG monographs, scenarios, and other gaming materials.
I hear tell that MRP's Kevin Ross, editor of both Dead But Dreaming and Dead But Dreaming 2, doesn't suffer fools lightly, is quite "selective" with what he considers quality Lovecraftian fiction (eschewing simple pastiche), and is certainly no slouch or newby to the weird fiction and Lovecrafitian game based on his impressive resume, which only makes one wonder how my goofy ass got one through the door.  This review from was particularly telling, and indicative of the high standards of the first Dead But Dreaming, and Ross as an editor:

Dead but Dreaming is the finest Lovecraftian/Cthulhu Mythos anthology to see print in a very, very long time (in a strange aeon, if I may...!). Writing in this often-muddled genre gets no better than this. You won't find a lot of "names" herein, but don't let that stop you from buying and reading this amazing tome. Editor Ross set out to collect stories that paid homage to Lovecraft without being trite slaves to his style. This IS, indeed, a collection of Lovecraftian horror, NOT a jumble of pastiches and old-formula Cthulhu Mythos tales. No, this is fresh and enjoyable, with more than a few surprises in store for the reader. Of the fifteen tales presented, there were but a few that didn't "grab" me, and only one that I can actually say I disliked. The majority here are keepers, for sure. As an author, editor, and small press publisher, myself, I have to admit to jealousy on my part: I wish I had been responsible for this book! If you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos treat yourself to something very special and buy this book!

Regardless of how it all went down, I'm extremely excited to be included in Dead But Dreaming 2, and eternally grateful for the opportunity to join the hallowed halls of Dead But Dreaming authors, which includes such names as Stephen Mark Rainey, Darrell Schweitzer, Adam Niswander, Mike Minnis, Lisa Morton, Patrick Lestewka, David Barr Kirtley,Walt Jarvis, Brian Scott Hiebert, David Bain, Robin Morris, Mehitobel Wilson, David Annandale, and some British dude named Ramsey Campbell (I've gotta look into him, see if he's done much).

As Kevin Ross would say in his Kevin Ross way, "Okay squids, keep an eye out for this book."

You heard the man.
Tom Lynch, MRP writer/editor/wundkind Oscar Rios, and iconic Lovecraftian artist Paul Carrick (not/rarely pictured, Kevin Ross)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Birthed From Poison - Not ET, But Something Possibly Just as Extraordinary

To follow up on my posting yesterday:  Those amazing little guys up above, discovered in the brine choked, ominously-named Mono Lake in the shadow of God-kissed Yosemite National Park....
... have just turned the biological world sideway, as - for the first time in scientific history - a terrestrial life form has been discovered that utilizes arsenic (read as: "FUCKING POISON") to create DNA and synthesize proteins.  Or, put simply, they turn poison into life.

This is a truly earth-shattering discovery, as the GFAJ-1 strain of extremophilic bacteria shows that life doesn't necessarily need to cleave to the Big Six building blocks essential for most known life, those being carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus.  So, if that's possible on Earth, held in the thrall of the Big Six for eons, what does that mean for the prospect of life developing in different, non-Earth-like environments spread across 11 dimensions?  Class?  Yes, that's right.  It RAISES the prospect.  It basically announces that the sky - and limitless light years beyond the sky - is truly the limit, and the possibilities endless. 

As we delve deeper into the land and sea with one hand, while reaching further into space with the other, we are going to keep finding new discoveries that challenge the status quo.  How we handle these sharp 180's will dictate how we evolve and grow as a species.  Do we roll with the New Knowledge, or shut down and pick up our pitchforks?  I think I know how it'll go down, but don't want to jinx it...

I also like the ideas of finding a "second genesis" and a "shadow biosphere" discussed in the linked NatGeo article, which was the scientific inspiration of the exploratory mission on Mono Lake.  Sounds like something out of a Lovecraftian or other "weird fiction" story.  We dig shit like that.  It serves as inspiration for what WE do.

Overall, I think this exciting discovery again reminds us that sometimes the biggest secrets are found within the smallest amongst us.  And, sometimes, we can find the alien, the bizarre, and truly otherworldly right in our own backyard, if we keep our eyes and ears open and tuned to the proper frequency.

The Weird is all around us, as we spin like madmen at 1.3 million miles an hour around our sun, around our galactic axis, around the center of the universe and all space and time, where Azathoth slumbers in his easy chair to the sounds of muzak piping.  In these strange and uncertain times, lets remember to appreciate the extraordinary and the bizarre that is close to home while still peering into the furthest abyss, and never stop searching for the truth as we can comprehend it.  It's what we do, we fragile, smart-mouthed "bags of mostly water."  Why stop now?  Why not boldly go, and see where we end up?  Why not touch the face of God?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Yuggoth Calling, or Another Wrong Number?

NASA is holding a press conference tomorrow to discuss the possible discovery of evidence of ET life, as noted by this linked report:

WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. 

The news conference will be held at the NASA Headquarters auditorium at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency's website at

What did those beautiful geniuses find?  Fossilized microbes on Mars? Cigarette butts on Titan?  A rickety amusement park full of amphibious, slack jawed yokels on Europa?

I'm thinking more along the lines of this...
.... than this ----------->
 Although the latter could probably also mean a little bit of this:

And hopefully a whole hell of a lot of this:

But, I guess we'll see tomorrow.

Would the discovery of life on other planets change us as a species?  Not physically, mind you (although the possibilities are there), but as a functioning society, with entrenched belief systems, born out of science and religion?
As a hesitant Panspermian (which also doubles as my hypothetical Armenian last name), I think it's just a matter of time before we discover similar signs of primordial life, that may have landed on planets that were inhospitable or entirely unsuited to support the rise of simple organisms.  Thank all that's holy and sane that the Earth provided just the right balance of elemental materials, atmosphere and water to launch such an array of extraordinary flora and fauna.  

It would be such a waste if this planet just spun about lonely, all pretty and blue, without anything crawling across its warm, supple skin to appreciate its curves and sass.