tentaclesock: (Default)
Dear Trick-or-Treater,

Hello, and thank you for writing for me. I'd like to write a more festive introduction than that, but in all honesty, you're not here for the introduction. Let's proceed with the exchange-letter protocol.

Sadism is such a versatile and rewarding perversion that no other can compare to it. )
tentaclesock: (Default)
Dear Lost Librarian,

First, let me apologize for posting this letter at the last minute. I've been busy.

Next, I thought this exchange was based on an excellent concept, so I couldn't resist signing up for it. No doubt you felt the same way. Without further adieu, here's the bulk of the letter:


  • Atmosphere.
  • Monsters.
  • Weirdness.
  • M/M, F/F, and nonbinary sex and/or romance.
  • Capturing the spirit of the source material.

  • Heterosexual romance and/or sex (usually).
  • Omegaverse.
  • Present tense.
  • Spare prose.
  • Revisionism.

    Hyperborean Cycle — Clark Ashton Smith
    Book of Eibon

    Someday I will be known as “that weirdo who requests Clark Ashton Smith’s Hyperborea stories in every fanfic exchange.” But the Hyperborean Cycle is so fascinating that it deserves endless exploration. In case you don’t know, Hyperborea is a legendary lost continent to the far north of ancient Greece, meaning that said continent analogues to either Greenland or Britain, depending on what poet you consult. Supposedly, Hyperborea was once a lush jungle until the Ice Age froze it over. Clark Ashton Smith, northern Californian contemporary, pen pal, and co-conspirator of H. P. Lovecraft as well as an extremely talented poet and prose writer in his own right, made the continent into a ceaselessly weird setting for heroic and antiheroic adventures that end bloodily. Hyperborea is overrun with thieves, murderers, half-human/half-monsters, bizarre gods like Tsathoggua the toad-sloth-bat and Atlach-Nacha the giant spider, ink made from blood, parchment made from woolly mammoths, and so much more.

    One of Hyperborea’s most salient features is its contingent of sorcerers, the most famous of whom is Eibon, worshiper of Tsathoggua. He (Eibon, not Tsathoggua) left behind a tome chronicling his adventures and beliefs. You could do a lot with this concept. Does Eibon know the truth of Tsathoggua’s history? (He and Tsathoggua had many chats, no doubt, but was Tsathoggua completely honest?) What does Eibon reveal about Tsathoggua’s preferences in sacrifice? Is Eibon familiar with the family trees of other gods on other planets?

    If you’re going to take this route, remember that unlike Cthulhu, Tsathoggua is supposed to be comprehensible: he’s physical, he can speak, and his worshipers descend to his underground lair and talk to him rather than summoning him.

    Cthulhu Mythos—H. P. Lovecraft

    The Necronomicon is probably Lovecraft’s most famous creation. No, it’s not a real book, and we shouldn’t want it to be. Multiple authors have written their own versions of Abdul Alhazred’s nefandous tome, with varying degrees of success. When you read the original stories, you’ll notice that the exact nature of the Necronomicon is unclear. Sometimes it appears to be a wizard’s grimoire; other times, it seems like an inquisitor’s manual; still other times, it could be a collection of ancient lore and extraterrestrial history.

    So, to my way of thinking, the perfect imitation Necronomicon would be part grimoire, part witch-hunter’s manual, part folklore collection, part dream diary, part earthy and astral travel guide, and part “male Gothic.” I don’t expect for all these elements to be represented in a single story (especially a 500-word one), but you can draw from which ever or however many of these aspects you like.

    Also note that Alhazred tends to “whisper,” as the stories put it, about the universe’s myriad wonders and terrors than describe them in detail. Furthermore, I’m well acquainted with some of the characters created in the post-Lovecraft expansion material—the Hounds of Tindalos, Ithaqua, Glaaki, the Tcho-Tcho People, the Dark Young, Shudde-M’ell and the Cthonians, etc.—but I would much prefer that you disregard those.

    The King in Yellow—Robert W. Chambers
    The King in Yellow

    The King in Yellow—the play—is a “work of poisonous beauty” so intense that to read it is to go mad or die. In Chambers’s most famous story collection, we see only glimpses of the play and never read the full text of it, and this is for the best. As has been repeatedly observed, no author could write a play that would measure up to the reader’s personal vision of it.

    That said, I would love to read a short section of The King in Yellow. You need not try to explain anything about the characters or settings in the play itself; piling new mysteries on top of old mysteries is more fun. In other words, I’m not looking for explication on who the King in Yellow, Queen Cassilda, Camilla, or the Stranger are, but I would much enjoy reading some interaction among the characters that amplified the enigma.

    Good Omens—Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
    The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

    The last fandom breaks the pattern. I don’t intend to go into much detail here; if you’ve read the novel, you know the general tenor of The Nice and Accurate Prophecies. As with just about everyone who loves Good Omens, I like the dry humor as well as the complete sincerity in the prophecy book itself. If you want, you don’t have to expend the word count on a single entry; I’d be interested in seeing multiple predictions.

    Have fun!
tentaclesock: (Default)
Dear Author,

First, thank you for writing a story for me—and for taking interest in this exchange in the first place.

SFF literature has been a nigh-lifelong love of mine. I started this exchange because the field felt neglected in a sea of paranormal television and superhero movie megafandoms, and I am pleased to see that the fest attracted at least some attention. Don't worry, though—I'm not particularly demanding in fic exchanges; I've participated in four so far over the past six months and have been pleased with all my gifts, and I'm sure that I can create something that you will enjoy.

If all goes well (or moderately so), then you can expect this exchange to return next year.

I like:

  • A strong sense of atmosphere.
  • Psychedelia and weirdness.
  • The ocean.
  • Cats.
  • M/M, F/F, and neuter/neuter sex (as long as it's not described too graphically).
  • Lavish descriptions of food.
  • Monsters.
  • Sorcery.
  • Recognition of non-binary genders, where appropriate.

I dislike:

  • Secular humanism in fic written for canons that aren't secular humanist.
  • M/F sex, most of the time.
  • The idea that one's genitals define one's personality and/or abilities.
  • Spare prose.
  • Present tense.
  • Incest (except in very special cases).
  • A/B/O.

Hyperborean Cycle - Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith's stories of this bizarre lost land are some of my all-time favorite fantasy. Hyperborea, as CAS writes it, is a prehistoric northern continent that began as a jungle until it was overwhelmed by a titanic blizzard and became a frozen wasteland. In brief, the cycle is packed with rogues, strange gods and their followers, dinosaurs, interplanetary travel via secret wormholes, sardonic humor, hidden temples, and a number of indescribable things. If you like sheer weirdness, CAS in general and Hyperborea in particular are for you. Today, Hyperborea is most famous for sharing a universe with H. P. Lovecraft's mythology, which is not completely fair because Smith's stories stand on their own whether or not one annexes them to the Cthulhu Mythos.

Smith cared more about characterization than his correspondent Lovecraft did. As a result, character-centric fic is easier to conceive in one of Smith's canons than in any of Lovecraft's. Some ideas you might bat around include:

-Vixeela's life as a temple prostitute before Satampra Zeiros rescued her.

-Any adventure that Satampra Zeiros and Tirouv Ompallios might have embarked upon. What went on during their yam heist, for example?

-An adventure shared by Satampra Zeiros and Vixeela, of course.

-A day in the life of a Tsathoggua cultist and how Tsathoggua feels about its worshipers.

-The nefarious deeds that Eibon might have gotten up to before his trip to Saturn.

-Does Atlach-Nacha have worshipers? If so, what do they believe about him?

Does Atlach-Nacha care if he receives devotion? What is his purpose behind his eternal web-weaving?

-Tsathoggua/Atlach-Nacha smut, because why not.

Gormenghast Trilogy

One summer, I read the Gormenghast trilogy, The Worm Ouroboros, and Watership Down over a two-week period. My mind was swimming by the time I was finished, but it was an experience I'd like to reproduce if I could. Of these books, I think I enjoyed the Gormenghast trilogy the most. Like Hyperborea, it was crammed with wall-to-wall weirdness, and the prose was just staggering.

I have no real specifications to make for this canon, except to say that Alfred Prunesquallor is my favorite character. You may or may not know what to do.

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

Where would science fiction be without Mary Shelley? Where would modern horror be without her, for that matter? Brian Aldiss called science fiction "a lively sub-genre of the Gothic" because of this one short novel, which bred from Gothic romance a new genre unto itself. I don't expect your ambitions to be quite as high as Mrs. Shelley's, however—no pressure.

Anyway, Frankenstein has been analyzed, re-interpreted, and adapted hundreds if not thousands of times, and yet it's still fresh. I'd be interested in seeing your take on it.

A couple of ideas, if you'd like:

-What if Victor Frankenstein really did build a mate for his monster? Would Frankenstein's suspicions prove true, or would he be surprised?

-If the monster hadn't killed Elizabeth, would she and Frankenstein have had a happy marriage? Would obsession take hold of her husband?

Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass were staples of my childhood, as they were for many others. As with Frankenstein, this duology has been adapted, analyzed, and re-interpreted again and again, but it's immortal.

I love these books so much that I'll read virtually any fic for them that does NOT fall into one of the following categories:

-A darker or sexually themed rewrite. (This includes pedophilic and hebephilic interpretations. I don't want them.)

-Alice returning to Wonderland to depose one of the queens.

-A drug trip.

Anything else would suit me. I wonder if and/or how Alice rationalizes her experiences once she grows older, or if she ever goes back to Wonderland. On the flip side, anything about the denizens of the fantasy countries themselves would be pleasing.

Thank you for participating in this exchange and for writing for me! I'm just trembling with eagerness.
tentaclesock: (Default)
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