By Brian M. Sammons
Welcome back to Hidden Horrors, the place where I shine a spotlight on things I think are really cool in the terrorverse that all horrorheads should know more about. This time I have two online magazines that put out excellent fright fiction time and time again. Not only do both of them cover and build upon the cold, cosmic horror that H.P. Lovecraft gave to our favorite genre, but they do so for free. That’s right; both of these excellent online magazines publish new horror fiction month after month (or even more frequently) and ask for nothing in return. For that amazing act of altruism alone I would sing their praises, but they fact that its Lovecraftian horror, well that has me wanting to sacrifice virgins to them and chanting their names in the whispering abyss until R’lyeh rises again. And if you know what the hell I meant just now, then these sites are about to jump to the top of your list of favorite destinations on the internet. Ok, enough with the preamble, let me tell you about two Hidden Horrors I’m sure you’ll love.
Once a month the Lovecraft eZine puts out a new issue chock full of new horror short stories that follow in the footsteps of Grand Pappy Lovecraft. Each issue has about five or six new stories from some very recognizable names in the ever expanding world Cthulhu Mythos authors. Names like Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, Stephen Mark Rainey, Joseph S. Pulver, Ann K. Schwader, William Meikle, and more. If you read modern Lovecraftian fiction, then you’ve read stories by these people. They deliver the goods and then some. In addition, there are a ton of new blood in this eZine in every issue, showing that cosmic dread is alive and well and influencing scores of new authors all the time. Lovecraft’s legacy shows no signs of diminishing any time soon, so can I get an Iä! Iä Cthulhu Fhtagn?
Now that in and of itself would be enough for me to point you in the direction of this website. But that’s only the tiny tip of this Titanic sinker. Each story comes illustrated by a regular stable of incredibly talented artists. Still not cool enough? OK, how about this; since the last few issues every story has also been recorded in audiobook format. That’s right; free, downloadable audio files just right for your MP3 player. So even if you’re eyes are going bad, you’re crazy busy, or you’re just very lazy, you can still enjoy these stories. That is, in a word: so-far-beyond-cool-it-blows-the-mind.
STILL not enough to get you to click on over to the Lovecraft eZine? What are you, nuts? Ok, how about this, in addition to the monthly fiction magazine, the site is updated daily with news, reviews, interviews, contests, and anything else related to Lovecraft, the Cthulhu Mythos, or weird horror in general. Come on, what more could you want? This place is total awesomesauce for fans of HPL. Just go there already, you can thank me later.
But wait, are you one of those “I’m too busy to read (or even listen to) anything right now” people. Well to that, I call bullshit. There’s always time for great stories, but ok, I’ll play your game. Keep on reading and discover a little gem of a website that will leave you with no excuses left.
This website bills itself as “The Journal of Lovecraftian and Apocalyptic Fiction” and it lives up to that credo. While it doesn’t do the daily news and reviews like Lovecraft eZine, it has a ton of stories on it. “How many stories makes a ton?” You ask. Try a new story every week! Yep, you heard me; Eschatology delivers a new terror tale every Wednesday like clockwork. Pretty cool, huh?
“But I told you, I’m busy, busy, busy,” you cry, “there’s no way I can read all that.” Well that’s where this journal is an Elder Godsend as it only publishes flash fiction. You know; stories one-thousand words or less. And come on, who doesn’t have time for a delicious dark delicacy delivered in such a cute, bite-sized serving? You know you do, quit trying to deny it and give in to terror temptation. I won’t tell anyone that you did. It will be our little secret.
Furthermore, as the tagline says, not only does the Eschatology Journal publish Lovecraftian flash fiction, but all things ‘apocalyptic’ and that phrase can cover a wide range of creepy and horrific stories. From cosmic horror, to the walking dead, and from knife wielding psychos, to nameless dread, and everything in between, Eschatology is sure to appeal to horrorheads of all stripes. So for a once a week treat of horror that, like Forest Gump’s famous box of chocolates, you’ll never know what you’ll get, stop on by the Eschatology Journal. You will not be disappointed. I’ve been a faithful reader since they started and have yet to bit into a tiny terror tale that I found to be unpalatable. And I’m a picky son of a bitch.
So there you go, two great places to get new stories of creepy Lovecraftian horror on a regular basis, FOR FREE! It just doesn’t get any better than that. So what are you still doing here? Go, give them a read.