In the valley of Nis the accursed waning moon shines thinly, tearing a path for its light with feeble horns through the lethal foliage of a great upas-tree. And within the depths of the valley, where the light reaches not, move forms not meet to be beheld. Rank is the herbage on each slope, where evil vines and creeping plants crawl amidst the stones of ruined palaces, twining tightly about broken columns and strange monoliths, and heaving up marble pavements laid by forgotten hands. And in trees that grow gigantic in crumbling courtyards leap little apes, while in and out of deep treasure-vaults writhe poison serpents and scaly things without a name.
Vast are the stones which sleep beneath coverlets of dank moss, and mighty were the walls from which they fell. For all time did their builders erect them, and in sooth they yet serve nobly, for beneath them the grey toad makes his habitation.
At the very bottom of the valley lies the river Than, whose waters are slimy and filled with weeds. From hidden springs it rises, and to subterranean grottoes it flows, so that the Daemon of the Valley knows not why its waters are red, nor whither they are bound.
The Genie that haunts the moonbeams spake to the Daemon of the Valley, saying, “I am old, and forget much. Tell me the deeds and aspect and name of them who built these things of stone.” And the Daemon replied, “I am Memory, and am wise in lore of the past, but I too am old. These beings were like the waters of the river Than, not to be understood. Their deeds I recall not, for they were but of the moment. Their aspect I recall dimly, for it was like to that of the little apes in the trees. Their name I recall clearly, for it rhymed with that of the river. These beings of yesterday were called Man.”
So the Genie flew back to the thin horned moon, and the Daemon looked intently at a little ape in a tree that grew in a crumbling courtyard.
I have a guest post on ‘Poetry and Fantasy’ on Nicholas Rossis’ blog. You can read it here.
I recently noticed that the Drowned God in the Game of Thrones series is quite similar to Cthulhu/Dagon.
There’s a similarity between its litany and the famous couplet from the Necronomicon:
What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger.
That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.
The location of the cult, the Iron Islands, has the air of a sinister Lovecraftian small town such as Innsmouth, being poor, isolated, and hostile to outsiders (as well as, obviously, being by the sea).
The ruling family, the Grayjoys, also uses a kraken on its arms:
They Say the Sirens Left the Seas
Obviously They Say the Sirens Left the Seas is now out, and I’ve been trying to get book bloggers to promote it.
Last year I finished a long poem called ‘Telelee’, about visitors from Earth to the fantasy city (or a version of it anyway). I hoped that Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, which has published a couple of my shorter poems, might be interested in publishing it. However HFQ has had it since November last year and, as they haven’t responded to my follow-up email, I think they might have ceased to exist.
Since most poetry magazines pay ‘by the poem’ rather than by the word, there are very few potential markets for it.
So I’m planning to contact another potential market next month. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go straight to self-publishing.
I’m planning to publish the poem along with the short stories I’ve written set in Telelee, most of which were in The New Death and others.
I’m also considering including ‘The Encyclopedia of Telelee’: that is, the things I’ve posted on my blog about the city, edited, cross-referenced and put into alphabetical order. I’m interested to know whether people would find this interesting, or see this as self-indulgent ‘let me tell you about my setting’. Please let me know in the comments.
Confession of a Bounty Hunter and My Name Is John Carter.
I have another finished and unpublished long poem, this time set in the old West. This has even fewer potential magazines than ‘Telelee’, because it isn’t fantasy.
I’m planning to put this one out, along with a couple of other poems set in the old West that are in They Say the Sirens…, and one other, as soon as I write the one other.
I have an abandoned, unfinished verse version of A Princess of Mars, which emphasizes John Carter’s life before Mars. I’m considering rewriting what I’ve done to make it the fourth poem for this publication. However this is ‘in the queue’. I’m currently working on…
Once Upon a Time In Araby
A non-fantasy long poem set in a not-very-historical version of ancient Arabia. Given that, as I’ve already discussed, long poems are very hard to get into magazines, this one will probably end up going straight to self-publishing as well (I seem to have a tendency to be good at things the less commercial they are).
The Case of the Syphilitic Sister and The Adventure of the Resurrected Nobleman
These are unfinished works of prose.
The first is a combination of detective novel and superhero story (via Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Top 10). I’ve written about 10,000 words of this.
The second is a short story in which Sherlock Holmes meets Dracula. However the tone is more serious than that makes it sound. It’s mainly inspired by Neil Gaiman’s A Study In Emerald, which combines Sherlock Holmes with the Cthulhu Mythos.
I’m planning to look at these again in November, when it’s NaNoWriMo.
A while ago I made Under the Moons of Mars, which was…OK. As I was making it, I found myself less and less happy with using d6 Shooters as a base, and more and more interested in ‘choose your own adventure’-like paragraphs.
I’d like to make a game which would be similar to Barbarian Prince, although with a more original setting, clearer rules, and more variety of characters and encounters. This would use the things I liked from Under the Moons of Mars, along with various other ideas that I’ve either come up with or found in my reading.
I was hoping to pitch this game to Heroic Fantasy Quarterly but, as I said, I think it’s ceased publication (or at least taken a long break). I could pitch it to other fantasy magazines, but I think HFQ was more likely to take it.
It could be put out on computer, and/or in print. The latter would, of course, require some crowd-funding.
Anyway this is probably something I’ll look at after all the other things mentioned above have been dealt with.
Anyway, as always, please let me know your thoughts.
I’ve been talking to some other authors about doing a ‘shared universe’.
A shared world is where characters, settings and fictional ‘history’ are open to be used by many authors, but the actual text of the stories is still the property of its author.
A famous example is the ‘Cthulhu Mythos’, where many authors wrote stories which included the Necronomicon, Cthulhu etc., but the authors could still sell the resulting stories and claim them as their own.
I already release my writing using a Creative Commons license. However none of the Creative Commons licenses seem to fit this situation. All the licenses seem to treat a work as a single ‘unit’: you can allow only non-commercial use, allow use to those who allow use in turn, allow use if they don’t alter it, and so on.
There doesn’t seem to be a provision for allowing use of setting information but retaining the right to the text as such.
It might be as simple as saying “the characters and setting are released under this CC license, but the text as such is copyright” But I’d like to have that confirmed. And then what if you want to restrict it – for example ‘you can write stories, but not movies’?
I wonder if there’s a need for a separate ‘Shared Universe License’, or at least for a page that explains how to do it using Creative Commons licenses.
Anyway I’ve emailed a Creative Commons mailing list asking what they say, and I’ll pass on what happens.
I thought some people might be interested in reading the original stories. So I’ve made an ebook, which you can download free here.