The Innsmouth Free Press is a fictional newspaper publishing faux news pieces–lovingly called Monster Bytes–in a Lovecraftian/Cthulhu Mythos universe, as well as original short fiction stories.
The IFP is currently accepting submissions for its upcoming issue. Silvia Moreno-Garcia, one of its publishers, stopped by to tell us about the project.
LNN: Tell us about your vision for the Innsmouth Free Press and how the project got started.
IFP: I told Paula R. Stiles, our Editor-in-chief at Innsmouth Free Press and a writer friend of mine, that I had dreamt about doing a TV series set in Innsmouth with spooky things happening every week. We talked about it and thought: why not make it a reality as a ‘zine?
Innsmouth Free Press combines several things into one. We produce Monster Bytes, which are news stories set in Innsmouth. They range from marine investigations to stories about an exhibit at the Pickman Art Gallery.
A fiction issue appears three times a year. We’ve had short stories by Nick Mamatas and Mary Robinette Kowal mixed with talented newcomers. We publish interviews, articles and reviews related to horror and Lovecraft on a daily basis.
Our aim is to have readers visit us on regularly instead of stopping by every month or few months to read the odd fiction story.
LNN: Though you describe your publication as an e-zine, you differentiate yourself by offering payment to your contributors, which is certainly not the norm and likely a most welcome perk to aspiring authors. How does this affect the way your publication runs? Is this an indication of a contemporary business model we will see more of in the future or are you just generous?
IFP: Our goal for the first year of Innsmouth Free Press is to recoup the money we’ve invested in it. For year two, we would like to increase pay rates. Most importantly, we try to reply quickly to writers and collaborators and make working with us a good experience. Plus, we want to get them good exposure and produce a quality product. We want everyone who sends stuff to us to be proud of appearing at our website.
How does this affect us? We've got to figure out ways to generate money. We have a page explaining how to support us and we are hoping everything will go swimmingly and I will not have to sacrifice my first-born child to Dagon to pay the web-hosting bill.
LNN: What have been the highlights of the project thus far?
IFP: We’ve had a ton of fun working on it. The best part is probably meeting lots of new people and the Monster Bytes. I love them. It’s collaborative and it is very cool when a location or character we introduced, say Innsmouth Central Cemetery, gets picked up and used by another writer in a news story. I’ve also had a chance to interview several fascinating people. I got a letter from Tanith Lee last week answering some interview questions and recently interviewed Toren Atkinson of Darkest of the Hillside Thickets.
LNN: You are currently seeking submissions for a "multiethnic" issue of horror. I can understand how you want to expand your horizons beyond the familiar white, American, male-dominated norm, but on a larger literary scale is this an attempt to combat the currently popular trend of criticizing Lovecraft for his "racism?" Whence the need for multicultural horror--or is it merely an aesthetic desire to expand the genre and bring in new voices?
IFP: I don’t think looking at Lovecraft’s race views is something new or trendy. It’s an issue that has been discussed for a long time. It’s still interesting to tackle, but I don’t think it is necessarily a hot topic.
With that said, the reason why we are doing a multiethnic issue is because Lovecraft did things one way, but it doesn’t mean nowadays we have to do it the same way. Plus, horror is speculative fiction. We want to speculate, to look beyond the tried and true protagonists that generally populate a Lovecraft story. To open up to new narratives and new writers. That’s part of the excitement of this genre. I mean, can you picture a Lovecraftian story set in 9th century Africa? How would that look like? I’m excited thinking about all the doors we haven’t ever knocked on and what lurks behind them.
I also hope that the multiethnic issue will encourage readers who may think Lovecraftian fiction is not for them (because of the idea that Lovecraft embodies a white, male dominated narrative)
LNN: As an author yourself, what projects are you currently working on?
IFP: It’s probably the standard answer for any writer, but I’m working on my second novel. I also need to proof (again) my first novel, which is magic realism set in 1920s Mexico, and send it out.
I write short fiction when I can. The other day I checked my idea folder and there were 20 story ideas sitting in there. I’m generally a slow writer when it comes to my fiction, so this answer will probably still be valid six months from now.
LNN: What are you plans for the future with the IFP?
IFP: We’ve started doing some theme weeks and we’ll probably be doing more of those. We have Paranormal Week at the end of October and we’ll be talking to paranormal societies, reviewing scary ghost movies, etc.
Perhaps another themed fiction issue. Paula and I are working right now on the multiethnic issue. There’s some amazing well-known writers already scheduled for it. Future themed issues? I’d like to do a historical fiction one. Lovecraft and Henry VIII? Bring it on.
We manage to produce everything on a dime and a prayer, but I’d love to have more contests like the Cthulhu Haiku one we did recently. We are reading through the final entries so we can announce the winners for October 31. We got lots of subs and people seemed to have fun with it. I could definitely see doing a Cthulhu Craigslist Ad or some other nutty contest of this sort. When we do our Fund-A-Thon in June 2010 we’ll definitely have some fun thing going on.
In general, we want to keep putting out content and do it well. We wouldn’t mind getting a nomination for something either. Best fanzine? One can dream.
LNN: If people are interesting in writing for you, where should they start the submission process?
IFP: Check the general guidelines. A word of warning: we are quite full with the short fiction schedule for 2010.
Stuff we need? Monster Bytes. Read our Walking Guide to Innsmouth and some of the recent Monster Bytes we’ve published to get a feel for them.
We want to recruit more reviewers to do regular TV show recaps and some movie stuff. Speculative with a preference for horror.
We are also in dire need of people to produce non-fic horror and Lovecraft articles. G.W. Thomas does a regular column for us called Writing the Mythos and I’d like to see more regular columnists doing stuff like that. Monthly reviews of old Lovecraft films, for example, could be fun.
LNN: Thanks, Silvia. Keep up the great work.
Learn more about the Innsmouth Free Press by visiting their website: