Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Sep 2012: Cthulhurotica > Questions for the Editor of Cthulhurotica

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message 1: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (carriecuinn) Hello everyone! I'm Carrie Cuinn, the creator and editor of Cthulhurotica. If you have any questions at all, please let me know, and I'll do my best to answer them.

Thank you for reading my book!


message 2: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (librovert) | 493 comments Mod
I have a before I start reading question. I saw you mention in another thread that Lovecraftian knowledge wasn't necessary, which is awesome. But I'm wondering if you have any suggestions about where to start with the book for someone with no prior knowledge.

Are there some stories that are better introductory stories for someone who hasn't read anything in this vein before? Would it be worthwhile to start with some of the essays before starting on the stories?


message 3: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (carriecuinn) Vicky wrote: "I have a before I start reading question. I saw you mention in another thread that Lovecraftian knowledge wasn't necessary, which is awesome. But I'm wondering if you have any suggestions about whe..."

One of the essays references the stories, so I'd read the essays last.

Some of the stories are meant to be sexy, in a Mythos universe, and some are meant to be creepy or scary, but have some sex in them. I'd recommend you start with a couple of my favorite stories:

"The C-Word" by Don Pizarro has a very romantic, loving, feel (with some hot M/F sex), and while there's a lot more going on if you know Lovecraft, you absolutely don't need to know anything and it's still a sweet story about younger guy and an older woman.

"Descent of the Wayward Sister" by Gabrielle Harbowy is a very sexy (lesbian sex) story where the monster only shows up in the last few sentences.

"Transfigured Night" by KV Taylor starts to get creepy, but has some snippets of hot M/M hookup.

"Infernal Attractors", "Sense", and "The Summoned" have some Mythos monsters but you can just look at them as "monsters" and the stories make perfect sense.

I love the whole book and each story is great in its own way, but if you read the above stories in that order and then went and read the rest I think you could ease into the book and not be lost.


message 4: by Cin (new)

Cin | 6 comments Carrie wrote: "Vicky wrote: "I have a before I start reading question. I saw you mention in another thread that Lovecraftian knowledge wasn't necessary, which is awesome. But I'm wondering if you have any suggest..."

Thanks you so much for this! I really felt like I needed a guide. It's my first time reading anything Lovecraft related. So thanks again :D


message 5: by Carleen (new)

Carleen | 2 comments Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't reas anything like this and was wondering where to start knowing I probably won't have time to read them all.


message 6: by Doug (last edited Sep 04, 2012 09:54PM) (new)

Doug | 33 comments After reading all the stories and the most excellent analysis at the end, i was unsure of how I felt. I had to let it settle in my mind. I was definitely disturbed by somethings, but the more I thought about the stories the next day or the day after the emotions, motivations and sadness in some cases kind of bubbled up to the top. I have read some love craft and have watched all the movies (probably 6 or 7 now) even the one with Tori Spelling, they all have a dread, and alien-ness that isn't really about the tentacles, all these stories left me at least with an uncertainty in how to deal with it emotionally, its a strange shock of horror, maybe some disgust but if you get past that there is so much more going on. I really love actually.

These stories really were a great assortment, I am happy that Bonnie recommended the book, and you edited it!

Was it hard to pick a variation? Do some sub genres of Cthulu eros have alot more submissions than others?

Do people often mix cthulu and other mythos, I liked the one with Circe quite a bit to, other readers mentioned it as being good as well.

I loved the analysis and prose at the end on Cthulu and the stories, for something like this I would probably enjoy something discussing each short story even right after the story, or even a super short prologue talking about history or reference that might be important to know. Some folks may think this is too text booky and I would totally get that, so it's just a thought.

Thanks again!


message 7: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (carriecuinn) Great questions, Doug!

It was hard to pick a variety of stories, partly because we do tend to get a certain kind of submissions - a monster/woman who must be destroyed by the man, who is the main character & hero. Overwhelmingly, authors who are used to working in Lovecraft's all-male, all-white Mythos have added sex by simply saying "well the woman is the monster" and it's not erotic, it's not sexy, it's not fun.

With this collection we had to have a few stories where the woman is the "bad guy" but made sure that even those were a stretch, given them strength and agency. They may have been bad but they chose to be, not just mindless monsters with boobs. Considering that there were almost no women in Lovecraft's work to begin with, it seemed like something that needed to be represented along with the stories of selfish, horrible, men, and loving, adventurous women.

The other reason that variety was difficult is that we're combining two very different genres (erotica and horror) and needed to make sure both elements were represented. It's impossible to do that with every story. Plus not all readers are looking for the same thing in each story they read, so I wanted it to be balanced enough that - ideally - every person who read it would like at least one story.

When Lovecraft invented the Mythos - a collection of stories which include Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, and the other Elder Gods (that's where the "Cthulhu Mythos" gets its name) but also includes monsters like the Shoggoth, the Great Race of Yith, and so on - he included some real-world Mythology. Later authors added to it, bringing in Arabic, Greek, and more. So it's fitting that Mae Empson wrote that great story, “Between a Rock and an Elder Goddess”. She added something new to the Mythos and it's been very well received.

Thanks for your suggestions about adding more to the discussion of each story in the book. The essays were something I added to the first book because I come from an academic background and couldn't help myself :) We're going to do something similar with book two, though we're still working out what exactly.

- Carrie


message 8: by Madison E. (new)

Madison E. (MadiEMartin) | 231 comments This isn't as interesting as a question as the others, but as I was reading the final essay in the collection I was wondering what exactly Justin Everett's PhD is in? I'm presuming literature, but I was wondering if he was asked to do an essay based on his research.

Also, I really enjoyed this collection as a whole. I felt there was a great balance of different stories. The essays and introduction enhanced my enjoyment of the collection. Overall, I would say this book was not only intriguing and interesting but also unique. So, thanks for taking me out of my comfort zone!


message 9: by Seawood (new)

Seawood | 176 comments Others have asked about the mixing of Cthulhu mythos and other mythologies/religious systems, but could you comment on any other sources the various authors have drawn from?

For example "The Dreamlands of Mars" is clearly related to Burroughs' "A Princess of Mars" (which I just happened to be reading at the same time as this for a course so it was an obvious one to spot!). Some of the stories have a great "pulp fiction" feel; some are more like modern blogs, and so on. I really like that mixture of influences - just as you can play the RPG set in the 1890s, 1920s, 1990s etc, so the mythos pervades the ages, and we see that in this anthology too.


message 10: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Martin Sandino (mandycandyland) | 5 comments It's probably just my lack of Lovecraftian knowledge, but I kept wondering why certain sites in Massachusetts popped up so much. Then I found this lovely site- http://www.hplovecraft.com/creation/s...

I think a map would have been pretty neat, but I imagine a lot of what I missed was probably in the (cough- unread- cough) introduction.

Thanks for putting together such an awesome anthology :)


message 11: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (carriecuinn) Madison wrote: "This isn't as interesting as a question as the others, but as I was reading the final essay in the collection I was wondering what exactly Justin Everett's PhD is in? I'm presuming literature, but ..."

Justin Everett is a professor of writing, actually, which is a little different from a background in literature. I had put out an academic call for submissions (which basically requests essays from various college writing departments) and he had this idea. It turns out that he's very involved in curating and promoting pulp fiction, and that's where he gets his interest in Lovecraft. In his dayjob he's the Interim Director of Writing Program at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

I loved his essay! And thank you for reading.


message 12: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (carriecuinn) Caroline wrote: "Others have asked about the mixing of Cthulhu mythos and other mythologies/religious systems, but could you comment on any other sources the various authors have drawn from?

For example "The Drea..."


As you said some of the sources feel obvious, and that's because the authors did a great job of inhabiting their source material. "Sense", for example, is a classic noir story, complete with gun-toting thugs and the treacherous femme fatale. Marovich had to not only bring in Lovecraftian elements but also hit all of the traditional noir notes as well.

All of the stories play with Lovecraft's language, or monsters, or landscape, but because we wanted to add to the Mythos universe, not just copy the exact format of a story from 90 years ago, the authors we put into the book had to make that jump into uncharted territory. Greek myth, modern day romance (complete with online chat), Victoriana, the future life on other worlds - it's all mixed in with non-Western settings (like India) and a variety of character types. I'm always proud that they were able to stretch so far and still create stories which any fan of Lovecraft would recognize.


message 13: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (carriecuinn) Amanda wrote: "It's probably just my lack of Lovecraftian knowledge, but I kept wondering why certain sites in Massachusetts popped up so much. Then I found this lovely site- http://www.hplovecraft.com/creation/..."

Having the book read by so many people who weren't fans of Lovecraft originally has shown me that in book 2 there needs to be a glossary or something similar to help newcomers find their way around the Mythos Universe. Thanks for the suggestion!


message 14: by Brandy (new)

Brandy | 6 comments Carrie wrote: "Amanda wrote: "It's probably just my lack of Lovecraftian knowledge, but I kept wondering why certain sites in Massachusetts popped up so much. Then I found this lovely site- http://www.hplovecraf..."

That would be so spectacular! I think an unforseen side-effect of this (for me) is that I am actually putting more Lovecraft on my To-read list. (Don't worry, there's plenty of erotica there too... but oddly not very many books fit into both. Thanks for changing it up!)


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