Flurbs from R’lyeh

Issue #4 of Rudy Rucker’s Flurb is now live. With the kind permission of John Pelan, Rudy is running my story “The Vicar of R’lyeh,” which was written for John’s anthology The Cthulhuian Singularity. Every now and then, writing a Cth-Mythos story is a way of remembering my roots; it must be a little like playing covers or doing remixes of songs you love, if you’re a musician. I’ve got at least one more I’m mind-tinkering with, concerning Egyptian archaeology, Egyptian terrorism and the Beloved of Nyarlat.


There’s great stuff in this issue of Flurb, including work by John Kessel, Kim Stanley Robinson and Kathleen Ann Goonan. Also, Gustav Flurbert, which was the first attempt to do a multi-part collaboration using Googledocs. This splattery composition, “Irene Leaves the Werehouse,” was rather constrained, but I hope to orchestrate more ambitious works, with a lot more simultaneous collaborators, in the future. Maybe on this very site.

Minnaloushe: 1988-2007



The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet.
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

–William Butler Yeats


I’m Back

doorway1.JPGExpedition was a success, although we are still awaiting positive identification of Amanita libertibetensis.

Mycological Survey of the Plateau of Leng

I set out for Leng shortly. I do not anticipate being able to file further dispatches until the conclusion of the expedition led by Prof. Winkler. Let us pray there are no encounters with Matango. (If it’s any consolation, I believe the atmosphere of Leng too rarified for the tropical species.)


The Second Ascent

For the second ascent we were well prepared.
We had body bags and a guide who cared.
We had miles of rope and a hundred traps,
And the lairs were marked upon all the maps.
We had food for months and assorted knives,
With the edges dulled to appease the wives.
We had liquor and flints and a banshee kite
Which we swore we would only send up at night.
We made certain that none of the cots was shared.
Oh yes, for the second ascent we were well prepared.

For the second ascent we acquired a priest,
Who would treasure most what we prized the least.
And the veteran climbers at last confessed
That the previous foray had never been blessed.
He brought missals and hymnals in every tongue
And under his chasuble carried a gun.
He was pious and chaste and knew many a song,
With a temper short as his stride was long.
If worst came to worse he could sanction the feast.
Hell yes, for the second ascent we required a priest.

For the second ascent we set out at dawn
With a bleary eye and a stifled yawn.
On tiptoe crept through the stony waste,
Then ran through hills where the map said, “Haste.”
The lucky late risers were left behind;
While those who woke early we’d never find.
Our horses refused to be caravanned,
Having learned it was safer not even to stand.
While the night was yet frozen upon the lawn,
Still asleep, for the second ascent we set out at dawn.

For the second ascent we forgot the first,
With its howling nights and its storms of thirst.
We put every memory out of mind,
From the littlest loss to the goriest find.
The mountain wind had erased the tracks
Of our previous climb: the discarded packs,
The upset cairns with their charcoal runes,
The racks of ribs and the crusted spoons.
We stopped our ears to the winds that cursed.
Out of mind, for the second ascent we forgot the first.

For the second ascent there could be no end
Till we reached the top, when we might descend
(Or not, depending on what we found,
And how we felt then about level ground).
The summit’s existence remained unproved
Some felt in their hearts it continually moved.
Though the aerial photos were shown to be fake
Our conviction was boundless, but make no mistake,
It remains a decision we cannot defend.
Still and all, for the second ascent there could be no end.

For the second ascent it continues still,
And it seems rather rash to have left no will,
With the mist having hidden the earth from sight
And the stars above thicker by day than night,
My altimeter burst and my compass dead
And the cold in my bones leaching into my head,
Every camp falling short of the sites we’d drawn,
Every marker misplaced and then totally gone.
Could it be that our critics meant us no ill?
So it seems, for the second ascent it continues still.