East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Unspeakably Indifferent


teadtpt1000028844_-00_englishteastore-brand-2-cup-teapot-blue-gloss-finishThirty-six hours, more or less, to the end of 2016, and as the accumulated fatigue of a very hard year is on the brink of crashing on my back and squash me, I’m busy doing something Man was not meant to do, to wit, writing a humorous story with a Lovecraftian theme, and a 36 hours deadline, with the sole support of abundant hot tea and a tin box of butter cookies.
What can I say – I like humor, I like Lovecraftian stories, and the money is good.
The money would be good, actually, because I have to finish my story first, and then the editor has to accept it.
It’s a gamble, but a fun one1.

And really, crashing through the second half of 2016 to land on this New Year’s Eve, the spirit is pretty crumpled, and I’m having a hard time being humorous, or funny.
But work ethic and professionalism and all that.

What I am trying to do (I’m one third through my story right now) is a screwball comedy sort of thing.
I have a solid couple as leads – basically modeled on Dick and Dora Charleston, as portrayed by David Niven and Maggie Smith in Murder by Death.


And yes, those were a spoof of Nick & Nora Charles from The Thin Man we mentioned two days back2, and the basic concept has already been adapted to the horror/comedy genre with Frank & Sadie Doyle, from the Beyond Belief segments in Thrilling Adventure Hour.


So I’m not doing anything original here – I’m basically fulfilling my desire to write something like Beyond Belief, and make it pay.
But I’m tweaking things a bit.
Is it possible to do comedy in a truly Lovecraftian universe?
Is it possible to make the thing both comedic and scary?
Is it possible to do horror, and comedy, and still show healthy, compassionate characters that know they are living in a vastly indifferent universe?

fotonecromiconThese are the buttons I’m trying to push while writing what hopefully could be the first outing of Steve & Lavinia Throckmorton (there’s an Elizabethan angle, you see), a.k.a. Throck and Vinny.
The story is set on the English/Welsh border, in an old mansion, on Winter Solstice night, 1932.

I’m trying to have the dialogue carry the story, and I have three set-pieces with two interludes and a climax, for a total of roughly 6000 words.
The story is tentatively called Unspeakably Indifferent, and it’s hard going, but fun.
One way or another, it will be finished by tonight at midnight, and I’ll revise and send it tomorrow morning.

Wish me luck.

  1. and I can always try and sell my story somewhere else should it bounce, right? 
  2. like all good hacks, I’m recycling everything at hand for the sake of speed. 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

7 thoughts on “Unspeakably Indifferent

  1. It’s always good news to know that you’re writing something. 🙂 This has been one hell of year for you, I really wish that I can do something to get you a better 2017. Take care, man!


  2. I look forward very much to “Throck and Vinny.” It’s funny, on the brink of New Year’s 2000, I was planning a Lovecraft-themed millenial party. (Never actually happened, unfortunately. Strangely, people showed a resounding lack of interest.) P.S. – I was going through my new 2017 calendar and I notice that March 1, 2017 is “St David’s Day” as observed in Wales. So mark your calendar and you can celebrate twice. Cheers!


  3. As one good hack to another … I’m working on Lovecraftian stuff myself, and I’m glad to hear you are. Hope to read that story. Deuce Richardson and I are now finishing the revision of a pastiche/pseudo-biography/Robert E. Howard scholarship book called NAMELESS CULTS which we hope will see print in the coming year. It deals with the life of Friedrich Wilhelm von Junzt, mad scholar and life-long investigator of the said nameless cults, and his friend Alexis Ladeau, circa 1795-1840. Plus a novel, now at the revision stage, inspired by the Howard story “The Thing on the Roof” and continuing from the point where “Thing on the Roof” ends. Like you, I’m hoping for a financial return on these. So good luck!


    • Best wishes for your books – both sound VERY interesting.
      In the field of pseudobiblia, I have here sleeping on my hard disk a fake essay about the time HPL tried to sell “The Call of Cthulhu” to a spicy pulp. It’s basically the letters the spicy editor sends HPL requesting changes to the story to make it sexier, and HPL horrified responses. It’s infinitely silly, but one day I will complete it.

      Liked by 1 person

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