S. T.'s stunning anthology of Lovecraftian horror, BLACK WINGS, will see an American trade paperback edition next month. I got my contributor copy yesterday. We are disappointed that the publisher, Titan Books, thought it necessary to change the title--adding ye notorious name. It seems that "Cthulhu" is, for nigh, a commercial selling tool, and there have been a number of books, fine anthologies all, using the name in their title: Cthulhu's Reign, The Book of Cthulhu, New Cthulhu. This is unfortunate, as this implies that these books collect tales of the Cthulhu Mythos; but one of the emphasis of new Lovecraftian anthologies is that they do not embrace the cliches of Mythos fiction, and some such books, like Ellen Datlow's excellent Lovecraft Unbound, stated in their guidelines that stories including Cthulhu Mythos cliches would not be accepted for publication. This is emphasized in the sub-title of S. T.'s book, "Twenty-One Tales of Lovecraftian Horror."
There was a time, when I was editing Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, that I went through an anti-Mythos phase, and it was my editorial policy that I would not accept Mythos tales for my journal. I wanted, as an editor, to emphasis that modern Lovecraftian fiction was so much more than the tired old cliches, the cosmic tentacles and yet another rare dark book -- books so "rare" and yet every library and lunatic wizard seemed to own a copy. I found it impossible not to include some excellent tales that did indeed contain elements of the Mythos, but this taught me that modern Mythos writers can use such elements with originality and intelligence. It has been one of my main goals as an author to write books of modern Mythos fiction that actually pay homage to HPL without just ripping off his ideas--and yet, Great Yuggoth, how I delight in pilfering Lovecraft's tales and bringing his characters and ideas into my own writing -- it's simply irresistible.
This anthology of S. T.'s, which has spawned a series (P. S. Publishing will be bringing forth Black Wings II in March) is also irresistible. I am so proud to be one of its writers, and delighted that it is now available in a handsome American pb edition.