Thursday, May 25, 2023

Crossing Genres

A publisher called Obsidian Butterfly is assembling an anthology to be titled "NecronomiRomCom," comprising Cthulhu Mythos romantic comedies:

Obsidian Butterfly

Working on a story to submit to this project reminded me of a panel at this year's RavenCon about mixing genres. A panelist asked what would be the most unlikely combination of genres. Of course, many mashups of classic novels with horror exist, such as PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY AND SEA MONSTERS, and LITTLE WOMEN AND WEREWOLVES, but I'm not sure they count, consisting mostly of slightly revised texts of public-domain originals with horror content tacked on. Paranormal romance and various permutations of historical, SF, or futuristic romance have become recognized subgenres in their own right. Historical mysteries are also commonplace, as a natural outgrowth of the quest for fresh settings in which to place unsolved murders. Historical fantasy and horror aren't much of a stretch, either. Mystery is compatible with many other genres, and a romance subplot can be included in almost any kind of fiction. Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy series combines alternate history, fantasy, and mystery. Effective, credible crossovers of that kind require the setting and the magical rules to be clearly and consistently laid out for the reader, with no cheating.

Novels of secret histories that transform famous people of the past into fighters against supernatural evil demand more suspension of disbelief. Authors have made Abraham Lincoln a vampire slayer and Queen Elizabeth the First a hunter of demons. A duology by Cherie Priest, MAPLECROFT and CHAPELWOOD, pits Lizzie Borden, in her reclusive later years, against Lovecraftian monsters. (In this version of her life, she really did kill her father and stepmother, but only because they were possessed by eldritch entities from the sea.)

The Cthulhu Mythos seems to be a favorite candidate for genre-blending. The anthology SHADOWS OVER BAKER STREET merges the worlds of Lovecraft and Sherlock Holmes, a not terribly unbelievable combination. There's at least one anthology of stories set in a postapocalyptic world where HPL's extradimensional monsters have conquered Earth. Plunging into the realm of the absurd, SCREAM FOR JEEVES, by Peter H. Cannon, retells several of Lovecraft's best-known stories by inserting P. G. Wodehouse's characters and style into them. Probably the most incongruous cross-genre mashup I've ever encountered, however, is an anthology titled THE CALL OF POOHTHULHU--H. P. Lovecraft meets Winnie-the-Pooh.

Or how about colorful Lovecraftian board books for small children? A Mythos alphabet book is one of several cute products from the "C Is for Cthulhu" project:

C Is for Cthulhu

Has anybody here run into an unlikelier combination?

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

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