The Best Weird and Supernatural Fiction
Pierre V. Comtois
The book horror fans around the world have been waiting for! Every one of critically acclaimed author Pierre Comtois’ greatest stories of the weird, the macabre, and the supernatural collected for the first between two covers! Published by Mythos Books, that purveyor of fine books and magazines, Autumnal Tales will also feature for the first time anywhere, all of the author’s tales of the Cthulhu Mythos including the justly infamous “Goat Mother!”
Also featured in this collectors’ item anthology are a score of other stories covering every kind of topic from were-pets to high rise horrors to ghostly apparitions. Here, the reader will find strange beasts, altered states of consciousness, madness, dead gods, and even old Scratch himself!
In addition to those stories which originally appeared in collections for publishers such as Chaosium Books and Lindisfarm Press, the author has also included many never before published tales as well as stories written expressly for this special edition.
And as if the stories themselves weren’t enough to delight connoisseurs of the weird, Autumnal Tales is also lavishly illustrated with full sized art and story headings by two of the greatest of modern illustrators: Gregorio Montejo and Christopher G. Porter! Montejo’s brooding, fully painted cover alone is worth the price of admission!
Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft and others in the Weird Tales circle, these stories are guaranteed to send a chill up your spine and keep you up at night with one eye on the bedroom door! So lock those windows, bolt the basement door, and bar the shutters! The year’s most anticipated collection of weird stories is about to be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world!
From the Author’s Preface
Is there any kind of book in less favor with publishers these days than the anthology? Novels, trilogies and even the seemingly endless supply of series books all share expansive shelf space at the local Barnes & Noble, but with the market for magazine fiction in drastically short supply, the demand for short stories or even the novelette (anybody remember those?) has shrunk accordingly. Today, except for the occasional anthology or original stories edited by some name novelist or the umpteenth reissue of stories by the same classic authors from the hey day of Unknown, Astounding, or Weird Tales, there’s very little opportunity for current writers to gather the best of their shorter work in a single book. Luckily, for those authors whose careers have been spent toiling in the small press (whose demand for short fiction remains strong, despite the trend with larger publishers), there are today, more opportunities to see their short fiction gathered between two covers. In particular, the rise of the internet, electronic book publishing, and publication on demand has opened up new avenues for writers while at the same time, keeping alive other forms of fiction including the short story, the novelette and even (gasp!) poetry.
And so, in a roundabout way, we arrive at the present collection of Autumnal Tales, a title which might suggest silent, leaf blown streets and treetops swaying against a star filled autumn sky, ghosts, and monsters and things that go bump in the night, but possesses, I hope, a wider range of tales selected from a long (have I been at this for over 25 years already?) but modest career spent in that selfsame small press vineyard mentioned above. And although many of the tales presented here have been written expressly for this collection or appear here for the first time, most have been previously published in various small press magazines or book anthologies over the years.
Eventually, taken together it seems, I finally produced enough material to fill a decent sized anthology; “the best of Pierre Comtois” so to speak. And although the question of whether these tales are the best of anything, will be up to the reader, I feel sure that some of them at least, will prove entertaining.
Sometimes when short stories written by a single author over many years are collected, patterns can emerge based on the writer’s interests or simple idiosyncrasies. With me, it was a natural. In the 20 years that I’ve been actively writing, I’ve consciously written in different genres and other writers’ invented universes. Thus, it made sense to divide the stories in this collection under a number of headings.
At the top of the list, and perhaps of most interest to fans of weird fiction, would be my contributions to H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Among the 14 tales gathered under the heading of “Mythos Fiction,” are a brand new story written expressly for this collection entitled “The Legacy of Acheron,” and a number of newer or as yet unpublished entries including “High and Dry” and “Goat Mother.” The “Weird Fiction” category includes the new story “Pets” and never published tales “The Wild Hunt” and “Crazy for Love.”
Other headings include what I called during the early days of my self published small press ‘zine Fungi (when most of these tales were written) my “Salem Cycle.” Planned as my own weird universe in the manner of Lovecraft’s Arkham, I intended many of these stories that take place in Salem, Massachusetts, as developing what I called the “philosophical horror story.” Whether I succeeded or failed at taking a scientific or religious concept and turning it into a weird story will be up to the reader. Finally, there is the section called simply “Poetry.” Less poetry than prose poetry, the relation the title of each piece has to each other is no coincidence. These prose poems were part of a cycle I’d been writing about the passing of the old gods. The intention was to eventually include one entry for each of the nine planets in our solar system.
~ Pierre V. Comtois
Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos
Dean’s Corners is just next door to Dunwich but that’s close enough!
She returned home to claim her uncle’s estate but ended up with more than she bargained for!
There was more beneath the calm surface of the Quabbin Reservoir in western Massachusetts than abandoned towns and disinterred graves!
How the people of a decadent seacoast town became cursed with the “Innsmouth look!”
Supernatural sleuth Anton Zarnak uncovers madness and a family’s dark secrets.
In Egypt, a collector of antiquities discovers the hard way that some things never die.
At the far edges of the Roman Empire, soldiers discover that there are greater horrors than those dreamed of in the minds of mad emperors!
In the American desert, a man confronts Indian magic and the serpentine horror it calls up!
Never mix women and non-Euclidian geometry!
Blackwood called it the Wendigo and Derleth called it Ithaqua, but under any name the creature spelled trouble for Judson Porter!
In a land plagued by Yellow Jack, mosquitoes were the least of his problems!
Across the frozen waste of Revolutionary Russia, an ancient horror stalked the skies and it didn’t care if its victims were Red or White!
The big old house was dark as usual but the odd artifacts that crammed its every nook and cranny were never meant to see the light of day!
At last! Now you can read the play that was not only banned in Boston, but everywhere else too!
Do you dare read the one act play responsible for the self-destruction of any number of the world’s great minds?
Collected editorials by the author addressing things disturbing and debatable.
The Salem Cycle
The police kept digging and the bodies kept piling up!
Everyone knows what happened when Pandora’s box was opened, but what happens when it closes?
Don’t go poking around in old cellars, especially in old Salem; you never know what you might find!
A mysterious string of murders that reduce victims to puddles of water. Can private eye Frank Huerta find the answers before his time runs out?
Some sacrifices are too great to ask even for the most fearful of deities!
Slow death from beyond the grave!
An overly curious museum researcher finds out the hard way that the Tree of Knowledge wasn’t what it was cracked up to be!
Stories of Horror and the Inexplicable
Next time, think twice about leaving food out for that stray!
A man finds that you can find the Divine in the most unexpected places!
Never make a deal with the devil!
Men had killed to prevent others from looking in the Book of Judas, now it had come into the possession of one Percy deVilliers!
It was only a painting, resting there in the cellar of the Russian’s manor house, but for the three French officers who saw it, the subject represented nothing less than life or death.
Singer Longen made the mistake of falling in love with the wrong guy…her last mistake as things turned out…
Beware the ghosts of Old Spain!
When easterner Peter Eston began to ask too many questions about local Indian legends, he learned a lot more than any tourist needed to know!
The city can sometimes be a jungle so stay away from those empty high rises; no telling what creatures might prowl those gloomy stairwells!
There were things moving out there, just over the frozen horizon, but Bart McDaniels prayed that they were only figments of his imagination!
A young woman’s coming of age brings her to the attention of a long dead deity!
Even the cross is no protection against creatures of the night if the wielder doesn’t have faith!
They were only scribbles in the snow, but they held the secrets of the universe!
The Old South lives again if only in the dreams of a hapless northerner!
In the far off skies over Wales, sometimes the braying of the pack could be heard; but who was it those infernal hounds were coming for?
What fans have been saying about the stories of Autumnal Tales:
"Take Care What You Wish For” (originally published as “Zombies from R'Lyeh"): The main strength of this piece for me was the author's development of the setting. His description and invocation of tropical seas and islands is a siren song, and the horror is more personal when I feel the longing to be in the same place. I am now seriously considering dropping my thesis work and becoming a pirate to sail the tropical seas. Yar, be forewarned!
“Goat-Mother,” by Pierre Comtois - I found this story to be one of the jewels of the anthology. It was well written, tightly plotted, refreshingly different and had excellent horror elements. I look forward to more stories by Mr. Comtois! Now this is where I had some heartburn with the editor's notes. First of all, I would rate this story as one of the 3 best centering around the Tcho Tcho people I have ever read. The other 2 were Black Man With A Horn by TED Klein, and a novella by Arinn Dembo in the Delta Green: Dark Theaters anthology. All 3 are marvelous stories. All 3 works have completely different takes on the Tcho Tcho. And that's OK! Nothing about Yog-Sothothery has to be internally consistent. I guess I use the term Mythos out of convenience because it is shorter to type, but it is not really a unified mythos cycle, where there are rigid rules of interpretation. Vagueness, lack of precision, whatever you call it, allows enormous room for creative authors to develop new ideas on familiar themes for us fans. And for pity's sake, Lovecraftian fiction has no need whatever to correspond with the scientific strictures of our natural world. Who cares about the details of reproduction of these noxious creatures that Pierre Comtois created, and where they fit in with earth biology phylogenetically? The scenes were delightfully creepy and allowed the reader's imagination to run wild. My only word of caution to Mr. Comtois is that there was no need for an italicized ending. The horror was self evident and did not need the emphasis. Bravo!
There were also two stories from Pierre Comtois which caught my eye (“Footsteps in the Sky” and “Country of the Wind” from Ithaqua Cycle); I found both of Comtois’ Ithaqua tales to be a cut above the usual run of Mythos fiction.
Link to Mythos books: (Click Here)