Swords Against Cthulhu–The Horror Fiction of Jason Scott Aiken

Jul 24, 2015 by

Swords against CthulhuIt’s called new pulp – stories by modern writers who recreate the style of fiction that appeared in the pulp magazines of yore. Back then, the authors who labored for the rough paper industry liked to call themselves scribes, word-slingers, penny-a-worders, and, perhaps the most favored term of all, fictioneers. Join PulpFest as we celebrate today’s fictioneers — the authors writing the new pulp fiction.

Since 2009, we’ve annually featured readings by some of the best writers of today’s pulp fiction. Jim Beard, Christopher Paul Carey, Win Scott Eckert, Dick Eno, Ron Fortier, Will Murray, and many others have read excerpts from their work, showcasing a wide range of exciting new fiction. Afterward, they’ve talked with their audiences, answering questions, fielding comments, discussing works-in-progress, and selling their books. Both our writers and their audiences have loved these sessions. This year, PulpFest will be offering four afternoon readings — two on Friday and two on Saturday.

Leading off this year’s readings is Jason Scott Aiken, a new fantasy and horror writer who first discovered weird fiction through Del Rey’s publication of the preferred texts of Robert E. Howard’s stories. Reading these stories led him to the works of H. P. Lovecraft, soon followed by Clark Ashton Smith, Seabury Quinn, C. L. Moore, Fritz Leiber, Manly Wade Wellman, Robert Bloch, and H. Warner Munn. Needless to say, WEIRD TALES is Jason’s favorite pulp magazine, which he reads and collects in reprints. Jason has been attending PulpFest and FarmerCon since 2011.

In the last two months, Jason has had three stories published. “The Summoning,” a fantasy tale infused with dark humor, appeared in THE FALL OF CTHULHU, VOLUME II from Horrified Press. Inspired by the works of Clark Ashton Smith and Fritz Leiber, “The Summoning” features a naive young thief, Kasar, who is commissioned to procure a valuable commodity from an isle of sorcerers.

“The Sword of Lomar,” which Jason will be reading, is available in SWORDS AGAINST CTHULHU, published by Rogue Planet Press. A prequel to Lovecraft’s “Polaris,” it concerns a red-haired swordwoman, Nuja of Lomar, who attempts to halt a horde approaching the land of Lomar’s capital, Olathoë. Nuja is heavily inspired by the scarlet-haired warrior women created by Robert E. Howard and C. L. Moore. Nuja also appears in “The Other at the Threshold,” a story featured in BARBARIAN CROWNS,  a sword & sorcery anthology that is a tribute to Robert E. Howard. It is a Barbwire Butterfly book, an imprint of Horrified Press.

In addition to these three short stories, Jason has a Doc Arden story in the forthcoming TALES OF THE SHADOWMEN #12: CARTE BLANCHE, which should be released later this year by Black Coat Press. He is also the host and producer of Pulp Crazy, a video blog and podcast dedicated to classic popular literature, characters, and themes. He often devotes episodes to classic weird fiction from the pulps.

Jason Scott Aiken will be reading in PulpFest‘s second-floor programming area at the Hyatt Regency on Friday afternoon, August 14th, at 1 PM. Please visit http://jasonscottaiken.com to learn more about Jason and his work or @jasonscottaiken on Twitter. And don’t forget to join PulpFest 2015 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio, beginning on Thursday, August 13th and running through Sunday, August 16th. We’ll be paying tribute to H. P. Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES, just a few short days before the author’s 125th birthday. We’ll also be exploring Standard Magazines, also known as the “Thrilling Group,” a long-standing publisher of pulp magazines, comics, and paperback books.

Although our host hotel is completely booked, there are still some rooms available at nearby hotels. Please click here to find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not later. Rooms that are relatively close to PulpFest are disappearing fast during the time frame of our convention.

(SWORDS AGAINST CTHULHU is an anthology of sword & sorcery and Cthulhu Mythos crossovers, edited by Gavin Chappell. Although the “synthetic folklore” that grew from H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu-related fiction is generally associated with the horror genre, its influence extended to the work of seminal sword & sorcery writers Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith, and its pessimistic tone has continued to dominate the genre to this day. However mighty the hero, the forces of chaos, the blasphemous powers of an insouciant universe, are stronger – or are they? All a doomed swordsman can do is face the outer darkness, blade in hand, a song of defiance on his lips, and hope to die fighting. Pictured above is Stephen Cooney’s cover to SWORDS AGAINST CTHULHU from Rogue Planet Press, an imprint of Horrified Press. It features “The Sword of Lomar,” a story by New Fictioneer Jason Scott Aiken.)