Interview

Interview

Publisher Mike Davis on Lovecraft, Cthulhu and Indie Horror

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Lovecraft E ZineMike Davis is the publisher and editor of the online magazine, Lovecraft eZine. In a short time, Lovecraft eZine has become so popular that it caught the attention and approval of S.T. Joshi, considered by many to be THE expert on H.P. Lovecraft. Mike took time out of his busy schedule to share some details about the eZine.

Lovecraft eZine has quickly become one of the most popular and well-respected online and print (Kindle) horror/science fiction mags – even earning S.T. Joshi's stamp of approval. How did the eZine come about?

I've been reading Lovecraftian anthologies for many years. I started to wonder if there were online magazines that published them as well, so I searched and didn't find any. I thought, well, I guess I'll do it then. I knew right away, though, that I didn't want Lovecraft eZine to just be a "fan zine". My goal with Lovecraft eZine was for the stories to be every bit the quality of the stories in print anthologies that one had to pay for.

H.P. Lovecraft is a controversial figure, but his Mythos is loved and admired across various cultures. What do you think is the appeal?

I think there are several, but the main theme that seems to resonate with so many is the idea of cosmic horror and cosmicism – that human beings are insignificant in the universe. I believe that cosmicism resonates with us because it's true. Obviously Cthulhu and Lovecraft's other "gods" aren't real, but on the scale of the universe, humans and the planet we live on are a dust mote.

You also have to deal with a very painful illness, fibromyalgia. Most people would have a difficult time balancing that with putting out a publication every month. How do you do it?

I won't pretend that it isn't hard to do, every single month. BUT, I also have a good sense of perspective. Here's what I mean by that: On the one hand, yes, I deal with an extremely painful illness, every day of my life. On the other hand, there are people in the world with no place to live, people with no one to love them, people who have to get up every day and live lives that they absolutely hate. I have an incredible wife and son, and I love what I do. I think a sense of perspective is crucial when dealing with the bad cards that life gives us.

What have been some of your favorite issues so far?

Issue #18 (October 2012) was a tribute to Roger Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October, and I enjoyed that very much. (It even features an introduction by Zelazny's son, the noir author Trent Zelazny.) But honestly, beyond that it's hard to choose, because I love every issue. I have a very high standard for publication. Lovecraft eZine is free to read at the website and there is a tendency to look at anything free as "less than" something you have to pay for. So I have to make sure that the stories are every bit as good if not better than the stories in print anthologies.

You also seem to work with or promote a lot of the indie movies based on Lovecraft's work. Can you tell us about some of those?

I haven't really worked with any yet, but I do tend to promote the ones that I think are worthy of attention. I've noticed that the "little guys" in film get Lovecraft right far more than the big studios do. But of course, they don't have the advertising budget that those big studios have. I see part of my job as letting my readers know about those movies. I have a page at the Lovecraft eZine website where I list my favorite Lovecraftian-themed movies, large and small. Some examples are AM 1200, Absentia, Die Farbe, and Dirt Dauber, just to name a few.

What's your favorite Lovecraft tale, and why?

My favorite story written by Lovecraft is The Call of Cthulhu, because it embodies that theme of cosmic horror so well in one story. However, there's a story that Lovecraft wrote in collaboration with R.H. Barlow that I love even more: The Night Ocean. It's a very moody, atmospheric piece, and if you haven't read it, you're in for a treat.

What are some of the plans you have for upcoming issues of the eZine?

I'm going to do some more themed issues this year: A Sherlock Holmes Lovecraftian issue, another issue in October based on A Night in the Lonesome October, and more. Starting in April, Robert M. Price will have a column in every issue, and I'm very excited about that.

Anything else you would like to add?

The heart of The Lovecraft eZine are the monthly issues, but there is so much more. It's a great way to keep in the loop on all things Lovecraft. It's a community, a way for Lovecraftians to gather and "hang out." Every Sunday, we do a video chat -- it's a lot of fun, and all Lovecraftians are welcome. If you don't feel like joining, you can watch us live, at: www.lovecraftzine.com/chat. And every Friday night we play Call of Cthulhu the same way.

I'll also be doing a Sunday show from the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, May 3-5, and I'm looking forward to seeing other Lovecraftians at the Necronomicon in Providence in August!

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Nancy O. Greene started writing at the age of nine. Her short story collection, Portraits in the Dark, received a brief mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007. Other works have appeared or will appear in ChiZine; Lovecraft eZine; Cemetery Dance; Tales of Blood and Roses; Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror; Shroud Publishing's The Terror at Miskatonic Falls; Dark Recesses; Flames Rising; Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore!; and others. She has a BA in Cinema (Critical Studies) and a minor in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Southern California, and is a Fellow of Film Independent's Project: Involve.
 

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