The Story Behind the Story: Signs and Hortense (#SFWApro)

29459858-1So as I mentioned yesterday, my short story “Signs and Hortense” has just been reprinted from Arkham Tales (2009) in ELDRITCH EMBRACES (available from Smashwords or Amazon). And as usual, here’s how it came to be (cover art by Ignacio Cariman, all rights to current holder).

Some credit for this one goes to Fred Clark of the Slacktivist blog. For several years he’s been working through the Tim LaHaye/Jerry Jenkins Left Behind series, analyzing them scene-by-scene on his blog (posts on the first book are now available as The Anti-Christ Handbook). Clark fundamentally disagrees with La Haye’s view of the Bible, the endtimes and politics, and he also rips into the sub-part writing.

For a long time I was a regular commenter at Slacktivist (not so easy now that I can’t surf the web on someone else’s dime). During one discussion, someone wondered what the Rapture would look like in a Lovecraftian universe, and that got me thinking …

My first attempts, as far as I can remember, focused on a parody of the Left Behind books, but somewhere along the way it started to change in multiple ways. For one, I took it a step further—it wasn’t simply a Lovecraftian Rapture but a Lovecraftian Christianity. The worship of the Old Ones is the mainstream religion, broken up into various churches such as “Dunwich Traditional” and “Strange High Church of Mists,” and with the same kind of books predicting the end times that spring up in Christianity in our world (only here, of course, based on interpreting the Necronomicon rather than the Bible).

A second change was in the lead character. I’d started Hortense out as a judgmental prude, but she began turning sympathetic. I’d read accounts of people struggling to break away from their fundamentalist upbringing; she was someone who hadn’t broken away, insisted she didn’t want or need to, but deep down, under it all … And the key to breaking away may be a charming man who insists on walking through the walls she’s put up against the world.

Despite the sadness of Hortense’ plight, this is a comedy, with a lot of Lovecraftian in-jokes and references. I still enjoy looking over it; hopefully y’all will too.



Filed under Short Stories, Story behind the story, Writing

4 responses to “The Story Behind the Story: Signs and Hortense (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Two movies, two books(#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: What, if anything, is a Lovecraftian story? (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Retromania and Specfic: the burden of the past (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  4. Pingback: Story Behind the Story: Happiest Place on Earth | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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