The Private Life of Elder Things

CoverFrequent contributor and friend of the Pelgrane Adam Gauntlett is here to talk about The Private Life of Elder Things.


Right! Hello again. So nice to see you. I have something I’d like to tell you, about a short story collection I’ve been working on: The Private Life of Elder Things, due out this September.

It’s a Lovecraftian collection, a collaboration between myself, handless loon that I am, Adrian Tchaikovsky, who some of you may know as the Shadows of the Apt fella, and Keris McDonald, a regular at Ash Tree, Supernatural Tales, Weird Tales and other fun places. We all got together about this time last year and thought, yes, now’s the time to spread the madness. At first we wondered if self-publishing wasn’t the better way to go, but in the end we decided to work with Alchemy, an outfit that Adrian knows well. So here we are, with a book launch due at Fantasycon By The Sea in sunny Scarborough. Scarborough is sunny, isn’t it? I’ve never been.

Why me, and why these three?

Once upon a time I was much younger than I am now, which can be said of all of us. Adrian and I went to the same Uni, down in Reading. I’m not sure why. We must have done awful things in a former life. Any road, we were both members of the Drama society, and afterward Progress Theatre, where we wrote and directed short plays. Somewhere along the path we picked up Keris, whose enthusiasm for horror rivalled our own.

That’s how we met, and for many a month we geeked out over RPGs, movies, or what have you. All good things come to an end, which in this case means I moved back to Bermuda while the pair of them went up to Yorkshire. They really must have done something hideous in a former life, but I’ve never liked to enquire.

Working together was a lot of fun! I ended up being the one who put everything together and stitched it, Frankenstine-style, into EPUB format. It’s the first time I’ve done that. While it kinda-sorta worked, I’m glad the folks at Alchemy didn’t rely exclusively on my version!

I was also the one who did a chunk of the editing. We passed the stories around, each getting the opinion of the other. That’s always a sensitive subject, particularly when it’s writer to writer. I’d thought that since we know each other so well there’d be no real problem, but the overprotective instincts kick in when it’s your own stuff. Nobody came to blows over it, and we’re all still mates.

Then it was handed over to Peter at Alchemy. I wasn’t sure what to expect at that point. You know how it is: someone may recommend such-a-person to you, and say all kinds of wonderful things about such-a-person, but there’s still that residual suspicion. It’s like hearing someone praised for their honesty; after a while you start to wonder what they’ve been getting away with unsuspected all this time. That said, Peter and Alchemy have been a joy to work with. So this time the residual suspicion was way off base!

But what’s in this collection, you ask? Eleven chilling tales, that’s what. Each of them inspired by an aspect of the Mythos we’ve come to love. One of Keris’, for instance, comes to you in part because of the old ghoulish scenario Paper Chase. Adrian’s written stories about Deep Ones, Shoggoths and similar large and menacing things, which is about right for a fella who’s eight foot tall and growing every year. As for me, I’ve reminisced about strange dogs, rats, and derelict ships, as is my wont.

What are the stories like? Well, take a look at this excerpt from my tale Pitter Patter:


There were mice, mice, eating up the rice, in the stores, in the stores; there were rats, rats, big as blooming cats, in the Quartermaster’s stores.

Can’t get that out of my head. You know how you want to think about something else, anything else, but that one thing’s there, again and again and again?

Rats, rats, big as blooming cats, in the Quartermaster’s stores

They sung that in the War. It was up on one of the walls of the TAC, along with a bunch of other stuff. I remember seeing this documentary once, saying about the rats in the trenches, how they ate the corpses, grew fat on them. One bloke, his abiding memory was going to his new digs, hearing noises, shining a light on the bed and seeing two of the shits on his bed’s blanket, fighting for possession of a severed hand.

They went for the eyes first, you know that? If they found a corpse, they’d chew right through the eyes, then get into the head. After that they did as they pleased. Fuckers.

Rats, rats, big as blooming cats, in the Quartermaster’s stores. My eyes are dim, I cannot see, I have not brought my specs with me
If that excerpt has piqued your interest, then check out the Facebook page, and remember these words: The Private Life of Elder Things. Tchaikovky, McDonald, Gauntlett. September. Alchemy Press.

Mine’s a bitter, next time we meet. Be seeing you!

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