With the release of The Last Adventure of Constance Verity (in stores now), I’ve been taking a walk down memory lane, discussing my previous novels, what I think about them, why I wrote them, etc. Today, we’re going to talk about Chasing the Moon, my eight novel.
Moon is a novel of horror. Specifically, cosmic horror which is a catch-all for stories involving forces beyond human ken that drive mortals to madness and / or swallow them whole. We’re not talking about serial killers or vampires or getting lost in the woods. We’re talking about existential dread, incomprehensible truths, and terrifying, inevitable doom. Moon is all about that stuff, and the only reason people tend not to notice is because it’s a relatively cheery novel.
More than any other novel of mine, Chasing the Moon doesn’t care that much about the plot. Oh, there’s a story, and it all ties together thematically. But much of it is a series of interconnected, related vignettes that all lead to the same conclusion: The universe is weirder than you can possibly imagine and even trying to imagine it is a dangerous act. The human race is insignificant and will most likely disappear one day without leaving behind so much as a footprint.
What makes Moon even more frightening, from a cosmic horror perspective, is that even the monsters and otherworldly creatures that populate the universe are in no better a position than we are. In Moon, even Cthulhu is mostly making it up as he goes along, unsure of any point, wondering why he bothers? Nobody, not the most clueless human, not the most powerful creature, really knows the answers why. None can say if there’s any reason for any of it.
But also, it’s a fun book.
Part of that is that the theme of friendship and community that fits in nearly all my books continues here. Diana steps into a world of weirdness, but rather than be overwhelmed by it, she deals with it as best she can. Along the way, she collects a series of allies, both human and inhuman. Her empathy is her greatest strength as it allows her to see horrific creatures as much like her. Everyone and everything in Moon is just trying to get by.
The flip-side is Vom the Hungering, the first cosmic horror we meet. Belied by his cute and fuzzy appearance, Vom wants nothing more than to devour everything around him. It’s Diana’s strength of will and empathy that help curb that instinct, and Vom himself admits that it’s far easier to destroy the universe when you don’t empathize with the little crawly things that call it home.
And then there’s Calvin, the “villain” of the piece, a thing incomprehensible trapped in human form on our world. But he’s not actually a villain. He just wants to go home, and if he should accidentally destroy billions of souls in the process, that’s not his fault. Heck, he isn’t even trying to escape. He’s just going to when the time is right.
Chasing the Moon has no real villain though. Nobody acts out of malice. Even the (sort of) werewolf cult that worships Calvin seeks to help the world survive as best they can manage. If there is a bad guy in this story, it’s that sense of dread futility and that gnawing fear that nothing we do matters. This is a story where you might be erased from existence tomorrow, and even your closest loved ones might not notice. History is a shape-shifting uncertainty, the future doesn’t exist, and the present is mostly a shared fever dream. The only reason it’s tolerable for our characters is that they A) don’t think about it too much and B) try to help each other through the madness.
It’s a crazy world out there, Action Force, and we all need someone we can rely on. That’s the central theme of Chasing the Moon, and it’s a mostly positive one. I’d like to think that even Azathoth, blind, idiot god dreaming creation, would agree.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,