My contributor copy of The Black Stone: Stories for Lovecraftian Summonings arrived today, big and pretty enough to prompt a huge, happy, and hideous smile. This new anthology features “Threnody,” which, I’m pretty sure, rates as one of the creepiest creepy things I’ve ever written. Edited by Raffaele Pezzella, The Black Stone also features tales of terror by authors such as David Agranoff, Glynn Owen Barrass, Ramsey Campbell, Edward Morris, Konstantine Paradias, Pete Rawlik, Brian M. Sammons, Lucy Snyder, Sarah Walker, and bunches of others.
About “Threnody”: From my first reading of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Music of Erich Zann,” sometime in my college days, I found myself smitten with the author’s portrayal of music as an eldritch force. Once bitten by the fiction-writing bug in the mid 1980s, I frequently gravitated toward tales that featured music as an expression of power — physical as well metaphysical. “Threnody” was the first of several stories for which “The Music of Erich Zann” served as a jumping-off point, the centerpiece of these tales being a book of music written by one Maurice Zann, whom one could rightly assume to be some relation of Lovecraft’s title character.
For me, “Threnody,” which I wrote in 1986, stands out as the culmination of a personal aspiration: to create a truly eerie theme and atmosphere that might be considered “Lovecraftian” without relying on the ubiquitous tropes and nomenclature of the Cthulhu Mythos. Over the years, “Threnody” has remained a tale that readers seem to respect and remember fondly. I hope its reprinting in The Black Stone will offer folks a pleasurable shudder, whether for the first time or otherwise. I do hope that anyone of the irate persuasion will refrain from sending me rotten fruit, body parts for which I have no use, and/or sushi that is more than 48 hours old. You will have my eternal gratitude.