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Greetings Sentients,

Norm here.

What an exciting month it is!  August our annual HP Lovecraft Tribute Month— is our most popular month here on the Drabblecast. Lovecraft was the Godfather of Weird Fiction, and the guy who started up the idea of cosmic horror”— of which, we are a fan!

All this month we're runinng our highly popular Lovecraft Gibbering Madlibs of Unspeakable Madness game, where, if you follow us on social media @Drabblecast, you can participate. Essentially we tweet out or post queries for random, bizarre and fun nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc., and incorporate our favorites into an actual piece of Lovecraft prose, which we then produce! 
We’re starting the month off with an epic Drabblecast adaptation of the HP Lovecraft story, “The Rats in the Walls,” read to you by voice actor Patrick Bazille. Hope you enjoy!

Featured Authors:

Of course most exciting of all is our schedule of stories— which include 3 original Drabblecast-commissioned stories set in the HP Lovecraft mythos by today’s top authors!Here are our commissioned authors this year

Robert Reed has had eleven novels published, starting with "The Leeshore" in 1987 and most recently with "The Memory of Sky" in 2014. Since winning the first annual L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest in 1986, he has had over 180 shorter works published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. In 2007, he won his first Hugo Award for the 2006 novella "A Billion Eves.

Shaenon K. Garrity is a writer, artist and cartoonist, best known as the creator of Narbonic and Girl Genius. Her fiction has appeared in the Drabblecast, as well as in Strange Horizons,  Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and Funny Science Fiction anthologies. Her graphic novel Willowweep Manor, with art by Chris Baldwin, will be out from McElderry Books next year.

Seanan McGuire lives and works in Washington State, where she shares her somewhat idiosyncratic home with her collection of books, creepy dolls, and enormous blue cats.  A Campbell, Hugo, and Nebula Award-winning author, Seanans first book "Rosemary and Rue" was released in 2009, with more than twenty books across various series following since.

Featured Drabble:

Our featured Drabble this month presents a unearthly pact and a prophecy. Here's "The Inevitable End" by forum member Drabblecastoff; art by ZimmermansWay.
Drabbles are 100-word stories, folks. Twabbles are 100-character stories, a truncated version of a Drabble, if you will.  Each week we like to feature a Drabble and Twabble submitted by fans in our discussion forums: https://forums.drabblecast.org. You may also tweet your Twabble to us @drabblecast!

Author Profile: 

H. P. Lovecraft

 
“It was from the artists and poets that the pertinent answers came, and I know that panic would have broken loose had they been able to compare notes."
 
Various Letters
H. P. Lovecraft
Born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1890, Howard Phillips Lovecraft eked out a tragic existence. He lost his father to the Butler Hospital— an insane asylum— when he was three. A precocious and sickly child, he was coddled by an overprotective mother "permanently stricken by grief." After the death of his grandmother, he began having night terrors about creatures he called the "night-gaunts." He was five.
 
Several decades later, his mother claimed to see "weird and fantastic creatures that rushed out from behind buildings and from corners at dark." She was also committed to Butler Hospital.

At fourteen Lovecraft remarked he "saw no point in living," and was frequently pulled from school for long periods after suffering "near breakdowns."
 
"I was and am prey to intense headaches, insomnia, and general nervous weakness which prevents my continuous application to any thing."

Lovecraft's childhood bore witness to the economic decline of his mother's family, and in the wake of these woes Lovecraft turned hostile towards waves of Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants. His first published poem, "Providence in 2000 A. D." plants a flag in ethnocentrism, beginning:

For tho' by birth an Englishman am I,
My forbears dwelt in undersiz'd R.I.
Until, prest hard by foreign immigrations,
Oblig'd they were to leave the old Plantations,

 
And concluding:

"Who art though, Sirrah?" I in wonder cry'd;
"A monstrous prodigy," the fellow sigh'd:
"Last of my kind, a lone unhappy man,
My name is Smith! I'm an American!" (*)

In the 21st Century, Lovecraft's xenophobia is the elephant in the room, raking fame over the coals of infamy. Yet, these sentiments did not die with Lovecraft. People still express a disdain for those who look different, seeing themselves "prest hard by foreign immigrations." In turn, others see that attitude as the "monstrous prodigy" of America.

Which brings us to one of the reasons we still celebrate Lovecraft. More then anyone, his stories peel at the fabric of our comfortable lives to expose a universal truth: we are a people naturally afraid. Lovecraft said it himself:

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."

Perhaps writing was his coping mechanism. The fear of the unknown is paramount to Lovecraft's writings and that is what keeps him relevant. The foreign outsider and the unknown within are two faces of that same unknown. Both "The Call of Cthulhu" and "The Mountains of Madness," two of his most prolific stories, can be read through either lens and the stories are just as scary.

Lovecraft also wrestles many other complex issues like inherited guilt, dying alone, and life's insignificance with stories like "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward," "The Rats in the Walls," "The Outsider," and more. These are all as relevant to us today as they were to him, and he knew these fears intimately. In Lovecraft's lifetime he was insignificant. Not a single story of his was printed in book form, his tales were often rejected and what ones were published gave him minimal remuneration. He did die alone, living in constant pain until his death of cancer and malnutrition at the age of forty-six. And maybe through the veil of ethnocentrism there was a sense of inherited guilt hiding within.

Fear was the constant of Lovecraft's life, and on that subject he was an expert.

Lovecraft's foray into mankind's basest emotion created a legacy that has forever altered our relationship with fear. We read it. We watch it. We enjoy it. We walk through pretend haunted houses and we play board games about the horrific, cosmic unknown. Through Lovecraft's body of work, despite his faults as a human, we continue to learn how to face our fears.

And that is why he's our featured author this month, every year.

—Zimmeran, Guest Editor
Folks, HP Lovecraft Month this year is brought to you by Stitcher Premium. People ask me all the time what the best way to listen to the podcast is, and I always tell them Stitcher is the way to go.  I dunno, I just like how it’s laid out and I especially love all the other podcasts I’ve found there.  It’s simple to navigate, for and for the month of August we have a great deal to offer you—  A free month of Stitcher Premium!

Stitcher Premium provides all the shows you like but ad-free, along with bonus episodes, archive access and exclusive, Premium Access to other exclusive shows— Like this one show I’ve been loving lately called Outer Reach: Stories from Beyond. It’s an anthology series, much like the Drabblecast, inspired by pulp science fiction of the mid century.

Go to stitcherpremium.com, click “Start your Free Trial” and type in promo code Drabblecast to receive a frikkin full month of Stitcher Premium for absolutely free. It helps the Drabblecast out if you do and you can cancel at any time… but I doubt you’ll want to!
 

Crossword: "The Mutiny"

This months Drabblecast Crossword is another Story Crossword!  As far as we know, Story Crosswords are something that we here at the Drabblecast totally invented, and you folks seem to really be enjoying them!

This month, we bring you a Lovecraft inspired Story Crossword called
The Mutiny

"…In an ancient moldering library you come across a decrepit manuscript.  It is a crossword puzzle of unknown origin, with vague Aramaic scrawlings around its torn edges.  It tells of a ship's voyage gone awry and the fate of a crew battling mutiny of the mind…"

You can unravel the story here.

Here's a download link. Think you've got it solved? Fill in the answers and we'll send you curses from oblivion!
As always, thank you for supporting the Drabblecast and lending us your eyes and ears.

Weirdly,
Norm Sherman
 
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