End of the World (and I feel fine-ish)

Chasing the Moon, my 8th novel, comes out this month, and in the interest of self-promotion, I suppose I should talk about it.

The first thing that keeps popping in my head is that I’d like to say this isn’t a “funny” novel.  Except it is.  I’m sure everyone who likes it will tell me so.  And everyone who hates it will say how shallow and “unfunny” it is.  Or perhaps that it’s too serious.  Or that the plot is either too convoluted OR too simple.  And, really, I’ve read enough reviews to know that people will love and hate it for a multitude of reasons.  That’s just how it works.  You throw stuff out into the cosmos and see what happens.

But I don’t know if I consider Chasing the Moon to be funny, myself.  Oh, sure, I’ve mentioned this once or twice (or perhaps three or four dozen times) before, but I have never considered myself a “comic fantasy” writer.  Or “zany”.  Or “madcap”.  Or any of a hundred synonyms for “comedy” you could dig out of a thesaurus.  But I’ve also mentioned I ultimately don’t care if someone likes the book because it’s funny.  I’m not picky about my career in that sense.  If I make a million dollars off a “funny” book, I could certainly live with it.  But if you were to ask me to describe most of my own books in my own words, “funny” would rarely make the top of the list.

But Chasing the Moon is a bit different.  At least from my own perspective.  Because it’s a story about the incomprehensible, the unknowable, and the insignificance of being human.  I hate to use the word Lovecraftian because it gets thrown around way too often these days, but this is a story from that perspective.  It’s about a universe you can’t understand and circumstances beyond our own control.  It’s about the unimportance of everything we do that we keep doing anyway in hopes that maybe something, anything, will mean something.

You would think that a story with such themes would be dark, depressing stuff.  That’s not me though.  My goal with Moon is not to get you to throw yourself off a bridge.  It’s to take those traditional aspects of cosmic horror and explore them from a different angle.  My ambition is not to take the teeth out of it, but to see if being part of a vast, indifferent universe has to automatically be a bummer.

Yep.  My goal here is to write a cheerful Lovecraft story.  Never let it be said that I am not an ambitious novelologist.

It’s not that Moon doesn’t have humor.  One of the characters is a green furball described as resembling a rejected Muppet whose primary motivation is the eat the entire universe, and the plot hinges on a monster god who chases the moon in hopes of eventually catching it and destroying the universe.  (These aren’t spoilers, by the way.  They’re right there on the inside of the book jacket.)

It’s weird.  Intentionally so.  There’s very little grounding in reality as we know it going on here.  And certainly Vom the Hungering is an unusual supporting protagonist, but does that make him “silly?”  To many, it will.  And if they get a good chuckle out of it, fine with me.

But I put a lot of thought into this book.  I didn’t just bang this out over a weekend while thinking, “This’ll be funny.”  I think this story is more than just a series of strange, comedic encounters.  It is most definitely not intended as a satire or parody of cosmic horror.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  Consider it the counterargument to Everybody Must Die or Go Mad assumption that comes with the genre.  Moon isn’t a send up.  It’s not even an homage.  It’s straight up cosmic horror.  Just not particularly gruesome or terrifying.  Although, given the theme of the novel and the answers it offers, it wouldn’t be completely wrong to say it has a certain spookiness.  Though I’ll probably be the only one who thinks so.

My hope is that if you don’t like Lovecraftian horror then maybe you’ll end up seeing what’s interesting about it after reading Moon.  It probably won’t turn you into a fan, but if it opens new horizons for you, even just a crack, then I’ll consider that a victory.

If you’re already a fan of horror, then maybe you’ll find something worthwhile in Moon, too.  A change of pace that still appeals to the dark, brooding hopeless soul in all of us.  And if you should happen to find the book worthy of sitting on your shelf next to Lovecraft himself, I wouldn’t complain.

And if you just want to read a story where a giant eyeball obliterates people with magic lightning, I’ve got you covered there too.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,

Lee

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6 Comments

  1. Bob Bob
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    What inspired a) a Lovecraftian story, b) about the nihilism and absurdities of life? Also, is this book your answer to a question asked by another writer or a fan?

    Did you dedicate this book to your wife, buffy, The Mighty Robot King, Lovecraft, Twitter, ALeeN’s everywhere? What passage best encompasses the message you want to share with your audience?

    It seems as if you are suggesting Moon might not be a traditional, whatever that means, A. Lee Martinez novel. How have pre-readers reacted–what’s been said?

    On twitter and on this blog, you’ve been talking about changes in perception, how likes and dislikes change, is this a warning in advance about the style of MOON?

  2. skooma
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. JamesZE
    Posted May 24, 2011 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Howdy,

    Just saying hello to the forum.

    James

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-
    Fus Buzz

  4. Liah
    Posted August 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Ohhh, I would take my time to check these one. Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Why isn’t ‘Chasing the Moon’ listed or shown on the ‘Books’ page of your site!? If I would not have been killing insomnia and flipping through random posts I’d have never known this novel was published! I can’t buy your books if I don’t know they exist, silly.

    Some of us need old fashioned ‘look here, stupid’ advertising.. just saying :)

  6. Chip
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mr Martinez! Probably half way through chasing the moon, and while I’ll let you slide on the “not intentionally funny”, it is thus far, fun as hell! Letting you know someone’s enjoying it!
    As a side note I run a site called Mythical Beast Wars, an old office drawing contest I brought online, and slowly evolving into a clearing house for goofy creatives of all sorts… I’d be honored if you’d consider judging some week. We are by no means a traffic juggernaut, but we could enlighten a few thousand folks to the existence of your work…. the “google” will lead you to the site if need be, and apologies for using your comments section as a contact point.
    If nothing else, keep on being you, cause i love it!

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