Migraineers … it’s time. Time once again for the Annual Martian Migraine Anthology! This years theme: Shub-Niggurath, that most neglected of the Cthulhu Mythos deities. Now, earlier this week (on Facebook and elsewhere) we thought it would be funny to do a gag cover reveal and so posted this high-LAR-ious little number to our page and shared it with a few select Lovecraftiana groups. We were not prepared for the approval ratings we received back from what was, essentially, a prank. So, long story short, we will likely be offering CONQUEROR WOMB: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath with this as an alternate cover, just as soon as we suss out any existing copyright issues for that image. Thanks, Baffling Mysteries #5!
And now… the real CONQUEROR WOMB Cover Reveal! (Totally legit this time, we swear.) We’re extremely pleased to have Scottish comics wunderkind Garry Mac (of Unthank Comics) provide us with this uniquely gonzo rendering of the Monstrous Momma of the Mythos! Shrink before her haughty mein! Tremble at her … things, stickin’ out all over like that there! Huh. Coo adorably at her Dark Young (but try not to let your fingers get too close)! Bow before the Black Goat of the Woods!
You’ll have noticed there are some names on this beautiful thing. So, without further delay, the Table of Contents! Pulsing with some of the best writers working today in Lovecraftian horror (Wilum Pugmire, Molly Tanzer, Brian M. Sammons to name a few!) and mind-bending erotica (Shon Richards, Annabeth Leong, Jacqueline Sweet to name a few more!), plus a host of fresh talent! (Feel quite free to bow before the ToC, too, we won’t mind…)
Praise & Abundance! – introduction by editors Justine Geoffrey & Scott R Jones
This Human Form – Lyndsey Holder
That Hideous Thing – Ran Cartwright
Unsatisfied – Brian M. Sammons
Mater Annelida – Victoria Dalpe
The Potboiler Sigil – Luke R. J. Maynard
All This For the Greater Glory of the 7th and 329th Children of the Black Goat of the Woods – Molly Tanzer
Babymama – Kenton Hall
Our Child – Annabeth Leong
Boy – Don Webb
Pieces (2) for String Octet – Copper Sloane Levy
The Whisperer in the Vagina – Shon Richards
Obsidian Capre Aegagrus – Christopher Slatsky
Dirtymag – Jonas Moth
With Honey Dripping – Christine Morgan
In the Down Deep Down – Jacqueline Sweet
The Scarlet Scripture – Ambrosius Grimes
Within Your Unholy Pit of Shoggoths – Wilum H. Pugmire
Blossom – Rose Banks
The Conqueror Womb: Parsing Shub-Niggurath (essay) – Scott R Jones
From nighted glades where frenzied orgiasts work unholy magic to slick urban dungeons of unbridled pleasure; from fertility clinics to fevered dance clubs; from the misty depths of the past to the unthinkable future, join us as we offer praise and abundance! Iä! Shub-Niggurath!
CONQUEROR WOMB: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath launches in multiple e-storefronts February 10, 2014 (just in time for Valentine’s Day!) but you can pre-order the title directly from MMP until February 9, 2014.
Dismayed. That’s just about the only word I can use to label my feelings regarding the recent news of the demise of Innsmouth Magazine. Dismayed, depressed, and yeah, even a little distraught. (I know it’s nothing to do with anything, but I suffer a little from the superstitious fear that it was the inclusion of my own story, Turbulence, in their recent “wings” themed issue that jinx’d the publication. I know it’s not me; it’s stupid to think it was. I know. But still. Dismayed.) Because folks? Folks, this was one of the good ones. One of the rare cool ones. Of the few weird fiction magazines out there, Innsmouth should have had a better readership, better sales, a bigger following.
A bit of an aside, here: How much does the time and ability to promote – via social media and otherwise – a publication factor into the life and death of that publication? Who can say with any certainty? The fact is, the editors of Innsmouth Mag, like every one of us, have lives, families, and only 24 hours in the day in which to prioritize all their many obligations. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand how a magazine can quickly find itself at the bottom of a pile of Important Things That Need Doing. I contemplate putting the brakes to this little charade-train of mine on the daily, and I don’t do a fraction of the kind of work Silvia and Paula and the IFP gang do. Did.
So, could Innsmouth have had a larger on-line presence? Better promotion? Probably. But then, no one actually needs another non-stop-Lovecraftian-video-chat-&-ice-cream-social-media-circle-jerk, do they? No one needs it, and a publication – certainly a publication of this level of excellence – shouldn’t have to lower itself to that level, devote that kind of time to, say, posting every tentacled thing that comes down the intertubes for the hyuk-harvest they’ll get from their followers. Innsmouth didn’t hold your hand and tell you you were special for liking them. The mag stood on its own merits, and should have survived based on those merits, but there it is. It was the better magazine, but these are not the times for better magazines, maybe.
I mean, OK, just on the surface level, Innsmouth was great (I am already using the past tense here and it pains me) … look at the small sampling of cover designs here!
This is some refined, understated, elegant design, which carried over into the interiors as well. The illustrators chosen were top-notch, and the text, font, and logo decisions were obviously laboured over. The best part? The way these covers don’t scream I’M A WEIRD MAG ABOUT LOVECRAFT n TENTACLES BUY ME! Even though it often was. That’s class.
And speaking of the magazine’s interior, the stories… they were diverse. Original. Beautiful. And actually interesting. The first issue I got a hold of was #5 (October 2010) and bang! first shot out of the box it’s a story by Paul Jessup, The Night We Burned Our Hearts Out, and it was apocalyptic and poetic and chock fulla weird mystery with no easy answers offered and I loved the hell out of it. First story. Bought all the back issues when I was done with #5. And with the very rarest of exceptions, that has been my reading experience with Innsmouth Magazine: quality stories and poetry from all over, from all manner of writers that I would not have been exposed to otherwise. Innsmouth’s editors made consistently cool choices in the weird fiction they published. (In my own small experience submitting my fiction to them, I found Silvia and Paula to be professional, timely, and just generally excellent in their interactions with me. Never once did I walk away from a rejection with a bad taste in my mouth. That’s something.) Hell, I first read Daniel Jose Older in Innsmouth. Anyway. Which is all to say that Innsmouth Magazine was not a fanzine or, worse, a fan-service zine. It didn’t pander or take the easy way out with pastiche. It was literary, goddamnit, in all the good ways (ways I imagine Lovecraft would have approved of, bless his elitist old heart). And it should have lived, should have made some decent coin, at least enough to stay afloat. I’m very sorry to see it go.
All’s not lost, though. I am happy, at least, that Innsmouth Free Press itself will continue to provide online content (reviews and regular columns) and release their excellent anthologies into the future. I’ve only just learned that they will be collecting the Lovecraftian stories of Nick Mamatas in an upcoming antho, The Nickronomicon. Ladies, I’d pre-order that thing now if you had the link ready.
Which is all to say… which is all to say… aww hell. Y’know what? Support the stuff you like, readers. That’s the take-away here. Or… wait. Unless you only like garbage. Then you should probably keep your mouth shut. Just saying. And isn’t that the nub of the problem here? I liked Innsmouth Magazine. I loved it. Loved reading it, loved submitting to it, loved getting printed (finally!) in it, but did I tell enough people? Clearly not. Honestly, I’ve never had a publication I like die, hence this mournful post. Probably because I haven’t liked anything enough before. I liked Innsmouth Magazine and should have said so more often, to more people. NEVER AGAIN.
Support the stuff that you like, that you love. Tell people about it, get them to buy it, buy it for them if they’re resistant for whatever reason. There’s not enough of the good stuff out there, and the stuff that is out there, like Innsmouth Magazine, is getting lost in the wilderness of crap. There’s one more issue of it coming, #15, in the spring. Buy that one, at least.
R.I.P. Innsmouth Magazine. Thanks for doing such a great job and for existing as long as you did, and good luck and good readership in the future to all involved.
It is the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind. It is the Yuletide, and we here at MMP HQ have some Saturnalian-next-level gifts for the weird-reader on your list to consume all Goya-style, if that’s their bent. AND WE KNOW IT IS.
From Friday December 20 through to Christmas Eve, The Ecdysiasts (a flash fiction collection by Scott R Jones), will be free for download to your Kindle or Kindle-enabled device from (where else?) the juggernaut that is Amazon, right here. Don’t have a Kindle? Well, you’re probably still a good person, and for that reason alone, if you’d like your free PDF or EPUB file of The Ecdysiasts, simply pop us a little Christmas card (or, y’know, an email, we’re not picky) indicating how you’d like your MMP Xmas gift formatted and we will get it out to you within 24 hours. Maybe even sooner, because we are frighteningly efficient that way.
Also, during that same time period, Justine Geoffrey’s collected Blackstone erotica volume, PRIESTESS (with killer cover art by Jim Pavelec), will be discounted with the Kindle program’s new Countdown Deal promotion. Starting at $0.99 on Friday December 20 (the deep discount! Starts on the 21st in the UK) and getting progressively more expensive each day until Christmas, when it shall return to its usual pricing. Yes, it’s wacky, and we’re not sure how interesting that will make the book, but there it is. We’re all about the experimentation at MMP.
STRIPPED DOWN & TAKEN
Speaking of which, our latest lab work down in the steaming porn vats of Amazon is an experiment in (re)packaging. We love Justine’s Blackstone series, of course, and think it’s just fine the way it’s presented, odd titles and all. Red Monolith Frenzy is, for us, evocative of so much subtle deviancy that we are loathe to change it. And yet, dinosaur erotica. Yes, saurian-based smut does better at the end of the day. So, a test: with Justine’s approval, we’re stripping down the Blackstone series to bare text files (no extra graphics or links), re-covering them for maximum pop, and re-titling the stories with the ever-popular prefix Taken by the [ BLANK ]. This is strictly for new readers on Amazon, of course, (we won’t be featuring the titles here on the MMP site, so as to avoid confusion) and at $0.99 we’re semi-confident that we’ll see a pick-up in sales for Ms Geoffrey’s excellent work. And in case you’re already a Blackstone fan with the original books on your device, don’t worry, the new stripped down Sex & Horror series is clearly labelled with a “previously published as…” caveat, so there’s little chance of doubling up. Unless of course you feel like doubling up, in which case go ahead, we won’t say no. Here are the covers so far. Wish us luck!
OUR SPLOOSH PILE RUNNETH OVER!
Submissions are now closed for the second Martian Migraine Press annual anthology, Conqueror Womb: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath. Our editors would like to thank everyone who sent in work and are even now beginning their first tentative dips into what Editrix Justine has termed her sploosh pile. (Get it? Slush pile, sploosh pile? Hyuk. Archer reference.) We’re told there are a lot of woodland orgies in the sploosh so far, which was expected. Geoffrey and Jones will be reading over Christmas and starting to make yea-or-nay decisions by New Years. If you’ve submitted a piece for consideration, expect a response on or before January 15, 2014, and if you haven’t heard from MMP by then, do please drop us a line. Conqueror Womb: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath is set to birth horribly into the world the second week of February, just in time to serve as a cautionary collection of tales for Valentine’s Day. Ah, breeders… you know not what you do!