The Adjunct by Cassandra Rose Clarke, Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, July/August 2018

I connected with this story. Maybe because I’ve spent the last 2 years trying to get undergrads and high school students to follow formatting standards for their papers.

The narrator has been teaching at *cough* Miskatonic University. Anyone familiar with H.P. Lovecraft will recognize that place. This narrator has been trying to get her students to use a formatting for their papers, abbreviated as CFSR, which is some strange kind of hybrid citation system that connects experience as well as a bibliography.

Plot:

cov1807lg-250The narrator, a burned out adjunct English Professor, tries to get her students to follow CFSR citation formatting. When many of her students can’t do it correctly, a higher up in the college calls her into his office and insists she makes sure all her students do it perfectly.

Later, when she visits a Starbucks on campus, a long time adjunct professor there tells her to visit the “restricted section” of the library and look for CFSR. She didn’t even know there was a restricted section, so of course, she goes. What she finds is. . . a wonderful joke on the horror genre.

Character(s):

As someone who has spent a lot of time showing students how to format things, giving them examples, outlining the ins-and-outs of MS Word, and then find that only 1/4 of the students listened or even tried to use MLA or APA, I connected with this narrator really well. Her roll of the eyes, her absolute disdain for students who won’t or can’t do what is literally the bare minimum. It all fits horribly well with the eventual outcome. She goes to teach at a community college. (HA!).

Conclusion:

A really well written and fun piece of ironic fiction. I don’t know if this is something everyone would connect with as much as someone who shares the experiences of the narrator. I guess that’s every piece of fiction. But still, it’s a fun jog down a Lovecraftian horror comedy.

The Unnamable by H.P. Lovecraft, The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft

The Unnamable by H.P. Lovecraft isn’t much of a story as it is a justification or explanation of HPL’s own writing.

The whole piece is the account of a conversation about a piece the main character, “Carter,” wrote, in which he visits a broken down house and experiences something supernatural or demonic, depending on your worldview. The person he is telling this story to is named Manton, who is a mystic thinker and believes in many supernatural happenings. For instance, Manton believes, in the right circumstance, you can see faces in windows–the faces of people who once looked through them, and their imprints are graphed onto the glass.

This is the one point I took away from this piece to use in my own work. While I may not use it, this idea is an intriguing one. I can envision, as people become more entrenched in the world of my story, they begin to see a specific face graphed to the windows of their own homes. Perhaps these are people who have come into contact with the wrong person or have taken a drug with a sinister side effect. I’m not sure yet.

In the end, this piece just feels like an authors note to readers about what HPL is trying to accomplish, rather than a plot that evokes any kind of excitement or deep character development.

Jan 31st, 2018, The Festival by H.P. Lovecraft, The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft

One of my favorite HPL stories thus far.

The narratorĀ returns to the coastal city of Kingsport (a fictional place, but likely based on Marblehead, Mass) for the Yule Tide festival. He arrives at night and notes how old the town seems. All the buildings are exceedingly old, and there are no signs of automobiles. Furthermore, when he arrives at the house he is meant to visit, the house of his family, he is greeted by a silent old man. He doesn’t even make sound when he walks. Soon, a procession of started and the narrator is led up a hill to a church, then down a stair into the bowels of the earth, though before he enters the church he notes that no one, not even himself, makes footprints in the snow. While the annotation here points this out as an inconsistency that doesn’t make sense, by the end of the story I think it does, as it calls into question the events as a whole, and while all the buildings and the town look old, it is revealed in the morning that the narrator had a vision of the far distant past. The lack of his own footprints may point to the fact that the past has already happened and he is helpless to influence it.

An interesting look at the rituals described in the Necronomicon. I definitely took some ideas from this piece I think can be applied to my novel.