Ride the Star Wind: Cthulhu, Space Opera, and the Cosmic Weird (paperback)
Space madness! Fly away with us to the deeps of space for action and adventure, alien intrigue and bloody surprises. Join us out here where all things alien and weird flow freely. Dive headlong into spaceships and monsters, tentacles and insanity, determined struggle and starborne terror. Whether sprawling across civilizations or tightly focused and personal, these tales paint a psychedelic vision of strange proportions and wondrous possibility.
From the Introduction.
Weird fiction and science fiction, together. Or rather, the cosmic weird and space opera. I hear what you’re thinking: “You just pulled some themes out of a hat.”
“Not so!” I say. “There’s a plan. There was always a plan.”
We came at this anthology from the side of weird fiction. With it, we wanted to do two things. Well, several things, but two stand out as large and sweeping. The first was to expand on the storytelling possibilities for the cosmic weird, hewing largely to the Cthulhu Mythos but fearlessly subverting canon or common themes where useful. In a nutshell, we wanted stories still attached firmly (mostly) to the firmament of the cosmic weird you already know—with monsters, both new and old, cults, sanity-stripping secrets, and that thin veneer of normalcy through which leaks the unknown. But to this, we’ve added the trappings of space opera—space travel, high-octane adventure, a bit of friendly banter, and a big ol’ heaping pile of weird science. The stories roam and take on lives of their own, not diminishing what came before but adding on a dimension of new possibilities. We get to pop off earth for a spell and explore space—out where the wild fungi roam—and psychedelic vistas. And we also get to pop out of our heads for a bit, trading some brooding, sanity-crushing atmospherics for interpersonal drama and alien adventure, trading inward descent for planetwide destruction, trading bleak, lonely finality for the promise of more adventure. We certainly kept some elements of the Mythos you’ll find familiar, but we explored them from a different perspective. Twenty-nine different perspectives.
And that leads us to the second large, sweeping thing, which was to find diverse takes on the cosmic weird. Rather than just look at the same stuff differently, we wanted to also look at different stuff: to find those tales that could only be told by combining the cosmic weird with space opera, not just to transplant the old tales into a new setting. We wanted to present characters all along the spectrum of experience—and then some—to speculate on manifest destiny splashed large across the universe, on neural and gender and racial identity in the face of intergalactic politics, on the cosmic ramifications of aggressive religiosity and unlucky coincidence, on dangerous alien technology and the will to use it. We wanted to find out what kind of cosmic weird tales weren’t being told.
We’ve got twenty-nine tales for you. Some have a firm foundation in the Cthulhu Mythos; some only take the gist, the themes and touchstones, of the Mythos and apply it to something new; and some thread the needle by subverting common attributions of the Mythos while still adding to its breadth. They build on what we started in the anthology Tomorrow’s Cthulhu while taking us to the stars. It’s a wonderful mix of stories, filled with equal parts spaceborne terror and high-stakes adventure, existential doom and effervescent possibility.
"@#$% this is a great anthology." (Brandon Crilly at Black Gate)
"Each author provides unflinching glimpses into the void beyond the stars where misery, hungry gods, and madness most surely await." (Publisher's Weekly, starred review)
"[I]t's one of those rare anthologies wherein every single tale deserves an individual review of its own, so it's difficult to determine which to include and which to leave out. Each entry in the book is so much of a standout that if you were to ask me to name the one that most deserves your attention, I would simply say, "yes" [...] And I'm here to tell you right from the jump that they discovered wonders dark and terrifying, yet at the same time endearing and beautiful, often filling you with a sense of awe and wonder at the sheer originality and transformative power the authors answered the call with [...] A cover to cover selection of masterful brilliance penned—and curated—by some of the finest minds working in our favorite genre today." (Shane D. Keene at Horror Talk)
"I was caught off guard at the ability of authors to unnerve and delight me in the same paragraph." (In Tori Lex)
"It is probably the best cosmic space collection I’ve read and it really reads like two collections stacked together." (Eddie Generous at Unnerving Magazine)
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