Come explore our forthcoming anthology Welcome to Miskatonic University.
Just this morning, I was interviewed by the folks over at Mad Scientist Journal!
News: We're so very close to funding! Thanks all for your contributions and sharing. I mentioned the EU-Friendly and AUS-Friendly international S&H rates in the last Update. This time, I want to assure all of you that, if you're at a tier for both books, we will not leave you hanging if the second anthology doesn't fund. You will get a second book. If we reach our goal for Welcome to Miskatonic University but don't reach our first stretch goal, anyone that backed a tier that has two anthologies will get a second book of their choice, either from those we've already published or from an upcoming title. (This applies to both print and ebook reward tiers.) I know this has been on a lot of your minds, and I've updated the campaign FAQ.
Story from Brandon O'Brien
We've tried to paint a detailed image of what these anthologies are all about. But what better way than to give you a story. So here's Brandon O'Brien's short story "Some Muses Are Not Gentle" from (the almost forthcoming) Welcome to Miskatonic University, posted on the Eyedolon Magazine Patreon page for free.
We asked Brandon for a quick note about his potent story:
"'Some Muses Are Not Gentle' follows Darryl, a Creative Writing international student at Miskatonic whose poetry thesis replies to one of Arkham's most beloved historic poets. But when he starts losing time and gaining newly crafted pieces he can't remember writing, he learns that some ghosts hate to be spoken down to, even in verse.
"Working with Broken Eye has definitely been a strong reminder that weird fiction is very fertile ground for asking questions about how we see the world around us. Miskatonic University is a perfect symbol for the genre's themes of the consequences of knowledge, so I was immediately excited to submit something, and I thought it would be interesting to seek some knowledge of my own through writing this story, namely: how do you respond when you love someone's work, but not what their work means?"
You can read "Some Muses Are Not Gentle" right now: https://www.patreon.com/posts/17646073
Interview with Frank Casey
One of those cool things in the stretch goals is the second anthology, and it will have a cover illustration by artist Frank Casey. I had the chance to interview this very talented artist, and well, you can read that below—while you glory at some of his illustrations!
SG: Frank, you have such a detailed and lushly colored technique. Can you tell us something about your style and influences?
FC: My artistic background is a mix of traditional photo-realism and comic book art. I grew up on comic books, and artists like Bernie Wrightson, Alex Raymond, Winsor McKay, and Al Williamson continue to inspire me with their line work and their ability to render fantastical realities in realistic ways. I try to keep a strong sense of realism in my work, as though the worlds and situations I’m creating were drawn from observation instead of imagination. I experiment with rendering the illusion of three-dimensional form and space through the use of contour lines and limited shading.
Classic pulp sci-fi also heavily influences me. I love the stylish simplicity of the genre, created at a time when ideas of space travel where still open to great mystery and visions of the future were optimistic.
SG: I enjoy how you mix the strange and the normal. What’s your inspiration for those amazing monsters?
FC: Creating a good monster is something of a balancing act: how human or inhuman do you go when making a monster? I’ve never been content to make monsters that look like people with rubber appliances (line in Star Wars and Star Trek)—unless the illustration kind of calls for it (like, for humorous effect). When you’re dealing with lines on paper, you can do just about anything. But going too far from anthropomorphic can keep a monster or alien character from being relatable. There should always be some element of the creature that is reminiscent of human characteristics (usually the eyes), so the viewer has something familiar to grab onto and can access the rest of the monster’s design through that. Aside from that, I will also look for inspiration in biological forms that depart from animals we are familiar with. Microscopic insects and deep-sea creatures are good for alien starters.
I use references heavily in my work to maintain the sense of realism. If a design for a creature is super complex or there is not much like it that I can find in nature or a photo, I will build a model of it out of clay or plastic to see what it actually looks like—how much space it takes up and how the light reacts to it—then use that as a reference when drawing.
SG: What are you working on right now?
FC: My current work, Tales of the Incompletely Peculiar, is a series of illustrations for stories that don’t exist. I create an image with a title and a caption—a few recipe ingredients for a story—and leave the rest up to the viewer. It’s an invitation to imagine whatever world or situation, whatever beginning or end, the viewer can come up with. My “stories” are meant to start a conversation that the viewer can continue by adding their own thoughts, desires, and experiences. Though I mainly work through the styles of steampunk and retro sci-fi, I try to make my stories diverse; some are whimsical, some are poignant, some are action-packed, some are romantic, some are political, some are allegorical. I believe what Gene Roddenberry believed: that science fiction can be forum though which we can talk about the human condition in ways we can’t necessarily in other genres. I sell my works individually and in collected volumes as coloring books. They can be found at www.etsy.com/shop/MonkeyHouseStudio.
One thing that people have admired about my work is its diversity of characters—diversity of age, race, gender, and sexual identity. I feel that representation is important and try as often as I can to avoid making images that rely on the white, straight, male hero trope. I want to cast characters in the heroic role who are rarely represented as heroes in mainstream sci-fi. That’s one thing that I think makes my work stand out: the juxtaposition of traditional sci-fi themes and ideas, starring characters that don’t quite look like your classic Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon type of hero. The genre has been changing for the better lately, and I want to keep that spirit of diversity and equitable representation thriving in my work.
One thing that I think I will never do in any of my work is to put any character, especially a female character, in a position of weakness or helplessness. That’s one point at which I want to depart from classic pulp sci-fi, which was strong in misogynistic, damsel-in-distress images. In my stories, even the ones in which there’s conflict, everyone is strong. Everyone can face whatever challenge ahead without fear.
SG: And in your future?
FC: I am currently in the fifth volume of my Incompletely Peculiar series. Each volume has seven illustrations, so... that makes 35 in the series so far. My plan is to get to even 50, so 7 volumes in the series. After that, who knows? Maybe a narrative comic.
And thank all of you! More soon...