Quick Fire At The Slaughterhouse: Interview With Mark Crittenden

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Mark Crittenden has edited many fine anthologies. Howl contained a wealth of accomplished writing. Then there was the excellent Dreams of Duality. He now has a new collection of great stories out with his Techno-Goth Cthulhu anthology. I’m delighted to have stories in all his anthologies.

Mark met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about flavours and apathy.

Tell us about your new Techno-Goth Cthulhu anthology.

This anthology pays homage to the great American Gothic Horror writer, H.P.Lovecraft whose writing introduced the “cosmic” into horror nearly a century ago with an emphasis on the infinitesimal plight of humankind. I asked authors to explore the elaborate mythology of Lovecraft as one might see through the eyes of a cybergoth/techie/hacker/futurist. The theme for Techno-Goth Cthulhu is that technology itself has become the enemy of mankind and must somehow be altered, minimized, or altogether subverted to achieve the survival of our race. And of course ever looming in the background are the Great Old Ones, chiefly Cthulhu himself, asleep in his dreaming city beneath the waves and waiting to rise again.

Would you say the stories in it have a particular flavour?

There is definitely a stylish element to the work in this collection, and I did personally challenge authors to transcend their usual comfort zone, to take the reader someplace dazzling. The stories come with a sense of foreboding and touch upon the very real futurist principle that through the acceleration of technology we will one day create a “super-intelligence” and the affairs of human interaction will then fall completely from the realm of predictability. It’s a fight for the future against both technology and entities with a cosmic awareness that greatly exceeds our own.

Do you have any plans for future anthologies?

I like to think of the door as wide-shut. Ideas come slowly and need to be nurtured and tested. There is a big tendency for people to bandwagon and go wherever the trend is leaning. As an editor and publisher I try to resist this as much as possible, and encourage new thinking…no matter how much it hurts. If I were to see another film about an ex president hunting vampires or zombies I think I will just retch.

Do you think we live in an age of apathy?

Not entirely, and not just yet. We spend more time than we do eating, and over one third of the time we do sleeping on social media devices per day. I think in the very imminent future mankind will depend completely on machines for virtually every facet of day to day life. That will be when we have completely defeated ourselves. A particle moving faster than the speed of light will appear to be moving backwards in time. I’m not sure what that says about technological advances other than not all of them are good.

Mark thank you for a perceptive and articulate interview.

Techno-Goth Cthulhu author list:
Whispers of The Ruling Class- Louis Baum
Little Earthquakes- Nickolas Cook
Looking for Joey Shoggoth- Peter Rawlik
Meditation on a Dead World- Dave Fragments
The 88th Floor- Benjamin Sperduto
Ghost Ship- James Dorr, member SFWA and HWA
Carriage Thirteen (a novelette)- Nathan J.D.L. Rowark
The Avenue of Blades- Richard Godwin, member SinC, CWA, ITW, and HWA
Stark Raving Mad- Mae Empson, member HWA
False Awakenings- Mark Anthony Crittenden
The Dark Net- Wednesday Silverwood
Project Keziah- Donald Jacob Uitvlugt

Red Skies Press

My Digital Permafrost Hell

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7 Responses to Quick Fire At The Slaughterhouse: Interview With Mark Crittenden

  1. Interesting interview… thank you, Richard and Mark!

    I like what you say about apathy, Mark. Technology has fostered that basest of human emotions, creating a ‘faux utopia’. I will be stepping out of my comfort zone, with respect to genre, for this year’s NaNoWriMo competition and hope to explore this apathy and over-abundance of technology.

    Looks like another one to add to my bookshelves.

    Thank you!

  2. AJ Hayes says:

    I think it’s hard to avoid the bandwagon. What’s the old adage? When it’s time to railroad people start railroading? Probably that and the regrettable tendency of other media to fix upon one trope and do it to death. I mean, why are there maybe ten thousand videos of men getting hit in the balls with everything from baseballs to rabid raccoons or frozen turkeys and yet the techno-crowd never gets tired of viewing those epic pictures? I think, to a particle moving at light speed, the human race seems to be disappearing up it’s own rectum — at least their heads appear that way. Which is my long-winded way of agreeing completely with paragraph three and four. I guess.
    Thank you gentlemen for the thoughts and the book recce. I am a closet Lovecraft fan, so I’ll be buying the techno/goth/black ice/burning chrome collection real soon.

  3. cgramlich says:

    Ideas need to be nurtured. I agree. Sometimes I’ll do a quick version of a story idea, and then let it percolate for a longer piece later. Good interview. I’ll have to check out this antho.

  4. M Crittenden says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone
    Ms. P.J Thief: Yes, the Faux Utopia is something I am always telling people about. How much of that tech-time do you really enjoy? Are you enjoying it so much that you just curl up into a ball and cry for a while? LOL, good stuff.
    A.J. Hayes: They say no ideas are new ideas. Possibly true, but everyone can put their own slant on it. For the most part ideas are processed goods. Hey I got a kick out of the “black ice/burning chrome” descriptors. ( It leaves an impression).
    Mr. Gramlich: Yes, nurture those ideas. compress them and see which ones turn into diamonds. That’s a good way of seeing it!

  5. Erin Cole says:

    Excellent stuff, Mark. Your answers are spot on with what’s going on in the writing world today. As much as I love technology, there are all sorts of horror and dependency blanketed beneath it. I also agree with your take on anthology themes, and it works well for stories too. Don’t always just jump on the first idea that comes to you, because too often, it derives from mainstream fashions.

    Congrats on your new anthology, it looks like a great one, one that I’ll be picking up for sure.

  6. Great interview Richard and Mark.

    I understand your points very well, Mark – there’s something so dehumanizing about the state of the “tech” world today. One only has to look at the nonsense people get up to when they feel like it can’t be traced back to them. That mindset, times a million, is as frightening as a horror story in its own right. Small wonder then, that so many of us find our comfort in the world of beasts, demons, and Techno-Cthulu!

  7. M Crittenden says:

    Thanks Erin. I believe that the subject matter of what we write about chooses us. And we are only so lucky if we can answer it with the same degree of urgency.
    Mr. Allinotte: Yes, the tech world of today…what a debacle. Hopefully it all gets sorted out in a thousand years or so, or maybe there is room for us on Mars. Thanks for stopping in.

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