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,