Welcome to Miskatonic University: An Anthology

Created by Scott Gable

An anthology of modern short stories inspired by that strange, magical place known as Miskatonic University.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Miskatonic University Fundraising Bid Successful and New Construction Underway
over 4 years ago – Mon, Apr 02, 2018 at 07:37:20 PM

Thank you all! The campaign is now over, and the Welcome to Miskatonic University anthology has successfully funded. We have a few details to figure out and the BackerKit to finalize. So stay tuned for more news.

Escaped Lab Rats Rampant on Campus
over 4 years ago – Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 05:49:33 AM

Do not feed the rats, no matter what they offer you. Miskatonic janitorial services have been sanctioned to deal with this latest lab-break as they see fit, so for your own safety, please stay out of their way and let them do what they've been trained to do.

News: Since at several of our Kickstarter tiers you get a full year's subscription to Eyedolon Magazine, a magazine of weird tales, where we'll be previewing the Welcome to Miskatonic University stories in the coming months and where we just announced our next open call, I wanted to give you a taste of what we had slated. Below I list  some of the stories, both already available and forthcoming.

Stories from our first and (forthcoming) second issues are listed here. All are currently available to patrons:

  • "Y" by Maura McHugh
  • "Patio Wing Monsters" by S.P. Miskowski
  • "I Went to the 6th Dimension, and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt" by Sean M. Thompson
  • "Underglaze" by Craig Laurance Gidney
  • "A Name For Every Home" by Ramsey Campbell

In addition, patrons get access to the following serialized fiction:

  • The Song of Spores by Bogi Takács
  • How To Unmake It In Anglia by Brandon O'Brien
  • The Obsecration by Matthew M. Bartlett
  • Blossoms Blackened Like Dead Stars serial by Lucy A. Snyder
  • The Night Museum by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

All are available to patrons, and they're collected quarterly in ebook format for patrons and made available for purchase by non-patrons. [Broken Eye Books | Amazon] Serial fiction will be released in full ebook edition to patrons (and will also be available in ebook and print editions to non-patrons when complete). Through our various patron tiers, advance release editions of our other titles (such as novels and novellas) are also available to patrons.

Pledging to a Kickstarter tier that lists Eyedolon magazine as one of its perks snags you a year's subscription.

Interview with Merle Rice

Squid hats! I met Merle at a convention where I got to bask in the glory of their wonderful hats. (The hat I'm wearing in the video is one!) Merle was more than happy to chat about them. 

SG: These are glorious. How ever did you get started?

MR: I started hat making by accident really. I had just bought a sewing machine from a thrift store, planning to use it to make my own costumes for comic cons and such, when my closest friend had just been laid off. I wanted to cheer her up, so I thought I’d try to make her something. The supplies were all right there. At the time, I had no idea how to really sew and wasn’t sure what I could make, so I tried to make a beanie with cat ears, something easy, light, comfortable, and cute. With some scraps of fleece, I made my very first hat. It was very crude and barely held together, but it was a hat, and my friend loved it. They loved it so much, they showed it to their friends and encouraged me to make more hats. Soon, I had lots of requests and began making more and more. I started selling at conventions, and over the years, the hats got bigger, more extravagant and vibrant. I started making different types, all by trial and error, sketched out ideas, and made patterns to puzzle together my creations.

SG: There's so much variety. Where do you find inspiration?

MR: I love monsters and creatures, so I try to incorporate them into the hats. I wanted my hats to have a life of their own, to be a literal monster on your head, to make you appear as one. To me, monsters are playful, deviant, and scary. They’re not always understood, but they definitely get your attention, whether benevolent or not. As an artist and a person with a love of fiction, I’ve always been inspired by fantasy, mythological creatures, cartoons, and animation, so my hats are definitely a reflection of that. I’ve been drawing since I was very young, and I've always loved creating things: painting, making clay sculptures, crafting. I just wanted to create with everything I could. That drive, desire to make things, my love for monsters, and the joy on people’s faces who love what I make has kept me making hats for nearly 5 years now.

SG: What new wonder are you working on now?

MR: I’m currently trying to expand my hat varieties even more. I recently started making bird creature hats and wearable tails that match my monster hats. A lot of people who enjoy costumes and raves really enjoy my hats, so over the years I’ve been trying to expand my work with more accessories to compliment the hats. Also I just really want to make wearable monsters in as many ways as possible at this point, so I think it would be really fun to see my creations in other fashionable forms as well.

Thanks, Merle!

You can buy hats directly from Merle or get a special squid hat through this Kickstarter.

And thank all of you! More soon...

Miskatonic University Approved for Initial Funding
over 4 years ago – Mon, Mar 26, 2018 at 03:54:47 PM

Welcome to Miskatonic University has funded! Thank you all so much. Your continued support is what lets us bring these wonderful projects to life. Time to celebrate. More big news coming very soon!

Now let's get to funding that second book...

Break In at the Restricted Stacks Has Library on Lockdown
over 4 years ago – Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 10:56:51 PM

After alarms were triggered in the Restricted Stacks, Library Science Security has instituted a lockdown of the MU campus library pending a thorough cataloguing. Local law enforcement are being blocked from the investigation, adding insult to a century of injured relations with Arkham. If you know anything, you can reach out to Library Services on their anonymous tip line.

Just this morning, I was interviewed by the folks over at Mad Scientist Journal!

News: We're so very close to funding! Thanks all for your contributions and sharing. I mentioned the EU-Friendly and AUS-Friendly international S&H rates in the last Update. This time, I want to assure all of you that, if you're at a tier for both books, we will not leave you hanging if the second anthology doesn't fund. You will get a second book. If we reach our goal for Welcome to Miskatonic University but don't reach our first stretch goal, anyone that backed a tier that has two anthologies will get a second book of their choice, either from those we've already published or from an upcoming title. (This applies to both print and ebook reward tiers.) I know this has been on a lot of your minds, and I've updated the campaign FAQ.

Story from Brandon O'Brien

We've tried to paint a detailed image of what these anthologies are all about. But what better way than to give you a story. So here's Brandon O'Brien's short story "Some Muses Are Not Gentle" from (the almost forthcoming) Welcome to Miskatonic University, posted on the Eyedolon Magazine Patreon page for free.

We asked Brandon for a quick note about his potent story:

"'Some Muses Are Not Gentle' follows Darryl, a Creative Writing international student at Miskatonic whose poetry thesis replies to one of Arkham's most beloved historic poets. But when he starts losing time and gaining newly crafted pieces he can't remember writing, he learns that some ghosts hate to be spoken down to, even in verse.

"Working with Broken Eye has definitely been a strong reminder that weird fiction is very fertile ground for asking questions about how we see the world around us. Miskatonic University is a perfect symbol for the genre's themes of the consequences of knowledge, so I was immediately excited to submit something, and I thought it would be interesting to seek some knowledge of my own through writing this story, namely: how do you respond when you love someone's work, but not what their work means?"

You can read "Some Muses Are Not Gentle" right now: https://www.patreon.com/posts/17646073

Interview with Frank Casey

One of those cool things in the stretch goals is the second anthology, and it will have a cover illustration by artist Frank Casey. I had the chance to interview this very talented artist, and well, you can read that below—while you glory at some of his illustrations!

SG: Frank, you have such a detailed and lushly colored technique. Can you tell us something about your style and influences?

FC: My artistic background is a mix of traditional photo-realism and comic book art. I grew up on comic books, and artists like Bernie Wrightson, Alex Raymond, Winsor McKay, and Al Williamson continue to inspire me with their line work and their ability to render fantastical realities in realistic ways. I try to keep a strong sense of realism in my work, as though the worlds and situations I’m creating were drawn from observation instead of imagination. I experiment with rendering the illusion of three-dimensional form and space through the use of contour lines and limited shading.

Classic pulp sci-fi also heavily influences me. I love the stylish simplicity of the genre, created at a time when ideas of space travel where still open to great mystery and visions of the future were optimistic.

SG: I enjoy how you mix the strange and the normal. What’s your inspiration for those amazing monsters?

FC: Creating a good monster is something of a balancing act: how human or inhuman do you go when making a monster? I’ve never been content to make monsters that look like people with rubber appliances (line in Star Wars and Star Trek)—unless the illustration kind of calls for it (like, for humorous effect). When you’re dealing with lines on paper, you can do just about anything. But going too far from anthropomorphic can keep a monster or alien character from being relatable. There should always be some element of the creature that is reminiscent of human characteristics (usually the eyes), so the viewer has something familiar to grab onto and can access the rest of the monster’s design through that. Aside from that, I will also look for inspiration in biological forms that depart from animals we are familiar with. Microscopic insects and deep-sea creatures are good for alien starters.

I use references heavily in my work to maintain the sense of realism. If a design for a creature is super complex or there is not much like it that I can find in nature or a photo, I will build a model of it out of clay or plastic to see what it actually looks like—how much space it takes up and how the light reacts to it—then use that as a reference when drawing.

SG: What are you working on right now?

FC: My current work, Tales of the Incompletely Peculiar, is a series of illustrations for stories that don’t exist. I create an image with a title and a caption—a few recipe ingredients for a story—and leave the rest up to the viewer. It’s an invitation to imagine whatever world or situation, whatever beginning or end, the viewer can come up with. My “stories” are meant to start a conversation that the viewer can continue by adding their own thoughts, desires, and experiences. Though I mainly work through the styles of steampunk and retro sci-fi, I try to make my stories diverse; some are whimsical, some are poignant, some are action-packed, some are romantic, some are political, some are allegorical. I believe what Gene Roddenberry believed: that science fiction can be forum though which we can talk about the human condition in ways we can’t necessarily in other genres. I sell my works individually and in collected volumes as coloring books. They can be found at www.etsy.com/shop/MonkeyHouseStudio.

One thing that people have admired about my work is its diversity of characters—diversity of age, race, gender, and sexual identity. I feel that representation is important and try as often as I can to avoid making images that rely on the white, straight, male hero trope. I want to cast characters in the heroic role who are rarely represented as heroes in mainstream sci-fi. That’s one thing that I think makes my work stand out: the juxtaposition of traditional sci-fi themes and ideas, starring characters that don’t quite look like your classic Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon type of hero. The genre has been changing for the better lately, and I want to keep that spirit of diversity and equitable representation thriving in my work.

One thing that I think I will never do in any of my work is to put any character, especially a female character, in a position of weakness or helplessness. That’s one point at which I want to depart from classic pulp sci-fi, which was strong in misogynistic, damsel-in-distress images. In my stories, even the ones in which there’s conflict, everyone is strong. Everyone can face whatever challenge ahead without fear.

SG: And in your future?

FC: I am currently in the fifth volume of my Incompletely Peculiar series. Each volume has seven illustrations, so... that makes 35 in the series so far. My plan is to get to even 50, so 7 volumes in the series. After that, who knows? Maybe a narrative comic.

Thanks, Frank!

And thank all of you! More soon...

University Regents Announce Historic Research Exchange Inititiative with Lemuria
over 4 years ago – Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 06:45:46 AM

Despite vocal detractors, Miskatonic University's ongoing dialogue with the newly surfaced city-continent had already been lauded as a historical event, and the recent decision to welcome Lemuria under the aegis of that global research community, the REI, only solidifies that claim. Students can expect to greet visiting Lemurian lecturers as soon as this summer.

As of this writing, we are 80% funded! That's wonderful and exciting, and thank you so much. A few things of note happened. I was recently interviewed by A.C. Wise and by Hellnotes, and with both, I talk about slightly different aspects of this project and publishing in general.

But most importantly, we've been able to make this campaign EU-Friendly and AUS-Friendly. We can now ship the paperback and hardcover books from the UK to all EU orders and from Australia for all AUS and NZL orders. This will dramatically reduce the cost of S&H for those countries. There are now 5 print edition tiers that are explicitly designed for those backers in the EU, Australia, and New Zealand. (Any orders featuring stickers/buttons, hats, posters, the deluxe limited edition hardcover, or personalizations/doodles must still be shipped from the US.) Also note, that if we can find cheaper S&H rates for anyone's final order, we'll refund the difference. (See FAQ for more details.)

The Splitting of the Tales

So I promised that I'd talk about why I chose to split this project into two anthologies. When we started, we had asked authors to write their interpretation of this modern, strange university, and as we were devouring the slush, we noticed that there was a certain range of weird fiction: at the one end lies the "normal world" in setting and mood, upon which strange things happen, while at the other end we see that weird fiction start to blend with fantasy and science fiction (not so unlike the works of Clark Ashton Smith). This was fascinating to us and presented a great opportunity to more deeply explore weird fiction’s relationship with other genres, so we split the project into two anthologies—the first consisting of the fantastically weird and the latter of the weirdly fantastic.

The first, Welcome to Miskatonic University, represents the first half of that spectrum. These tales present our world at their core—relatively normal people in a relatively normal world—and confront it with the unknown, and we get to see what happens. They are tightly anchored to our reality, to what we now. In the second, It Came from Miskatonic University, the setting and mood shift slightly as some of the barriers to that unknown are stripped away. So either the main character (or the whole setting) already knows some of the secrets to the unknown or the protagonist is themself part the “unknown,” being a part of that secret world—whether a Deep One trying to save her human girlfriend or a powerful sorcerer on a mission—and thereby becoming a direct window to that unknown for the reader. These are the narratives where weird fiction blends with fantasy and science fiction. When the unknown has been revealed, accepted, and possibly even incorporated into the setting, we are flitting across weird fiction’s borders with other speculative fiction. It's almost as if you've been learning a thing or two during your stay at MU.

More soon! And remember...