Open Submissions: Shadows Over Avalon
“They were the pointed Saxon minuscules of the eighth or ninth century A.D., and brought with them memories of an uncouth time when under a fresh Christian veneer ancient faiths and ancient rites stirred stealthily, and the pale moon of Britain looked sometimes on strange deeds in the Roman ruins of Caerleon and Hexham, and by the towers along Hadrian’s crumbling wall.”
—H.P. Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The stars are right over Camelot. Despite Merlin’s arts, and the goodness of the land, the stars are right.
Dread things rise up from the sea, worse than any Saxon. The ground grows cursed with strange colors. Strange cults proliferate through Logres.
Shadows rise over Avalon.
What We Want
Cthulhu Mythos stories set in the Arthurian world.
“Arthur’s Kingdom, the Realm of Logres, the model of chivalry and right striving against the barbarism and evil which surrounded it and, at length, engulfed it” (Roger Lancelyn Green).
We do, of course, want stories about the primary characters of the Arthurian world: Arthur, Merlin, Morgan, and the others. But we’re also interested in stories focusing on the less well-known personalities. In particular, we’d love stories about Bleys, Bors, Bertilak the Green Knight, Galahad, Kay, Palamedes, and Percival.
When and where is the Arthurian world? Logres and its capitol, Camelot, are centered somewhere either in Wales or southern Britain—and extend up toward what we would today recognize as Scotland. It is somewhere roughly between 400-600 A.D. The cultural and technological level can either be period appropriate, or consistent with later romances which brought Logres up to the level of a c. 1100s society (despite the surrounding world remaining in the cultural and political state of roughly five hundred years prior). Logres was a leading, cosmopolitan nation populated with people from across the known world.
“[Cthulhu’s] ministers on earth still bellow and prance and slay around idol-capped monoliths in lonely places. … Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men.” (H.P. Lovecraft)
I’m looking for Mythos stories specifically, rather than simply cosmic horror.
I strongly encourage, and prefer, fresh approaches to the world and material. The more it feels like a copy/paste of Lovecraft, the less interested I’ll be. Jon Black’s stories and novels are an excellent example of how to do this.
Where Arthur & Cthulhu Meet
The path to success is to treat both sides of the equation with respect. The Arthurian elements are not corrupted or reduced because they share a world with the Mythos. The Mythos elements are not reduced to being mere monsters because they share a world with the Arthurian. Both sides of the equation should be treated fairly.
You want genres other than horror? Yes. While we will happily accept horror, and our collection would be remiss without horror, we’re also looking for a wide-range of genres. Mystery, sword & sorcery, fantasy, pulp, adventure.
Just as Lovecraft and his circle didn’t limit themselves exclusively to horror, we’re not exclusively seeking Mythos horror stories. Like those authors, you are free to explore strongly Mythos-influenced adventure, mystery, historical, or fantasy stories.
Do you take reprints? Yes. Just let us know in the submission (this will not count against you).
Some Preferred Portrayals of the Arthurian World:
- H.P. Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (1941)
- Chrétien de Troyes’ Arthurian Romances (c. 1170)
- The Pearl Poet’s Gawain and the Green Knight (c. 14th Century)
- Charles Williams’ Taliessin Through Logres (1938) & The Region of the Summer Stars (1944)
- C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength (1946)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
- Battlefield (1989)
- Neil Gaiman’s “Chivalry” (1993)
- The Librarians (2014-2018)
- Jon Black’s Bel Nemeton (2018)
What We Don’t Want
Grimdark Depictions of the Arthurian World
Much of what makes the Arthurian Legend golden are the characters’ moral and emotional struggles. Sometimes characters fail those struggles. What we do not want to see are easy deconstructions of the world along the lines of finding out that Merlin worships the elder gods (especially given The Case of Charles Dexter Ward implies Merlin opposes eldritch cults), or that Arthur was secretly evil.
Neutering the Mythos
While there is room to play with aspects of the Mythos and our preconceived notions (both At the Mountains of Madness and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath are prime examples of this), don’t reduce the world and its world-building. Easy reductions of the eldritch beings and their cults (whether mundane or preternatural) aren’t welcome.
Payment: 5% of the gross profit will be paid for each accepted story. These payments will be issued to you at quarterly intervals. Stories under 1,500 words will only receive 4% of the gross profit.
Rights: First World Digital and Print.
Deadline: October 1st, 2020
Word Count: 4,000-20,000
How to Submit your Story:
- All stories should be sent, as an attachment, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The file must be formatted in .doc or .docx.
- The interior of the document must be in double spaced Times New Roman (12 point font).
- Indents must be placed through your system’s Paragraph function; do not set indents by pressing tab or space. If you already have tabbed or spaced indents, please remove them first. Please use full em dashes (—).
- At the top of your document, please include William Shunn’s submission header.
- Tell us a bit about yourself in the body of your email. Don’t stress this, it won’t make or break your submission.
- Place the collection you’re submitting to, your name, and your story title in the subject line of your email. For example, “Shadows Over Avalon / Author Name / Story Title”
Nicole Petit writes and edits because no other job lets her sleep until noon. Fantasy is her forte, a sliver of genre right between urban fantasy and fairy tales. She has curated the collections Sockhops & Séances, Silver Screen Sleuths, Speakeasies & Séances, Just So Stories, After Avalon, and From the Dragon Lord’s Library. Her anthologies have won numerous awards. The Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll 2018 named her #1 Best Editor overall, and she has placed in the top three every year since 2016.
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