On Fungi

On the heels of the Fungi anthology guidelines, my co-editor Silvia Moreno-Garcia has made a post about what she’d like to see in the slush, and I figured it would behoove me to attempt something along similar lines. Mine will probably ramble more than hers, and be less immediately helpful and bullet-point-y, but hopefully it’ll be at least a little informative if you’re thinking of submitting to our little fungus anthology. (Please do!)

Silvia talked about wanting stories that straddle genre. (Steampunk, etc.) And yes, we definitely want those stories. But I also admit to having a soft spot for a good traditionally weird or supernatural tale, and I’d love to see some of those, too. There’s a lot of good places you can go with a science fiction-ish angle on a fungus story, but my particular partiality is for supernatural tales, so I’m hoping to see a good mix of those in the slush, too. If in doubt, aim for menacing and atmospheric and creepy, as well as fun and inventive, and you’ll probably hit my wheelhouse.

The stories that got me interested in this theme in the first place were William Hope Hodgson’s “The Voice in the Night” and the Japanese film adaptation of same Matango. So while we obviously can’t do an anthology of nothing but mushroom people (and wouldn’t if we could), I’ll be very sad if we don’t get at least a few stories along those lines. (Probably no danger of that.) I’ll also be talking sometime in the coming days about some of my favorite fungus monsters from books, movies, video games, etc.

But your fungus monsters certainly don’t have to fit the Hodgson mold (no pun intended) to pique my interest. Feel free to go nuts making the weirdest fungus creatures you can come up with. One of the world’s largest organisms is a fungus, just to give you an idea. Nor are we only looking for stories of fungus monsters. As long as fungus plays a prominent role, then odds are we’re interested in taking a look.

Okay, so that’s some of what I’m looking for. How about what I’m not looking for? I don’t want to go into that too much, because there’s no rule I can make that won’t find an exception if the right author is doing it, but here’s a couple of caveats:

Not necessarily Lovecraftian. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Lovecraft, but this being an Innsmouth Free Press book and Lovecraft’s work being as associated as it is with fungus, I don’t want to give the impression that this is Fungal Lovecraft that we’re doing here. Lovecraftian fungus stories certainly won’t be turned away at the door, and I’m expecting and even hoping to get a few, but don’t feel constrained to that. We’re looking for a wide range of weird fungal spookiness, so go to town.

Think twice about Cordyceps zombies. Again, I’m not saying don’t do them, but they’ve been all over the Internet lately, and I’ve already heard several people talking about them in relation to this anthology, so I have a feeling we’re going to get inundated with them. So if you’ve got a really killer Cordyceps zombie story, by all means, we want to see it, but just be warned that you’ll probably be part of a pretty big crowd.

Like Silvia, I won’t really know what I want until I see it, but this will hopefully help give an idea of where I’m coming from. Like I said, I’ll be posting in the coming days some more about some fungus creatures and stories of which I am particularly fond, and I’ll also try to give updates once the slush starts rolling in. As I’ve said before, this anthology is literally the culmination of a dream I’ve had for many years now, and so I’m very, very excited to see it come together. And if you have any questions or just want to talk fungi, please feel free to contact me here or at any of my various social networking whatevers.

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