The Edge Of Sundown: An Original Anthology of Western Horror Stories is open for submissions. The anthology will be assembled by Kevin Ross (Dead But Dreaming 1 and 2) and Brian M. Sammons (Cthulhu Unbound 3 and Undead & Unbound), and published by Chaosium, Inc. Chaosium, one of the oldest publishers of roleplaying games, is well-known for producing the award-winning Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game, based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Chaosium also publishes a line of Lovecraftian and horror fiction, including works from writers such as Robert Bloch, Arthur Machen, Robert W. Chambers, and Lois Gresh, and such editors as Robert M. Price and S.T. Joshi.
The Edge of Sundown will be a collection of western horror stories totaling roughly 80,000 to 100,000 words. We’re looking for stories up to 10,000 words in length, with 4000 to 8000 word-length preferred. No poetry, please, and we’re not terrifically interested in humorous stories or parodies – again, such a thing would be an incredibly hard sell hereabouts.
As for content, we’re looking for stories set in the American west (west of the Mississippi River) in the latter half of the 19th century, basically from about the Civil War era until the dawn of the 20th century. (We’re comfortable with moving the goalposts back a bit to include the Mexican Revolution of 1916, since that period was still very “wild” and “west”.) This is an incredibly rich historical period, full of possibilities for good stories, from real-life heroes and villains to Indians and their legends, cryptozoology, and yes, even opportunities to use elements of the Cthulhu Mythos.
Most importantly, what we’re looking for are good, SCARY stories set in the old west. We’re not looking for tongue-in-cheek works, but ones that take the genre seriously. (Compare, for example, the old Gene Autry serial The Phantom Empire and the more recent western creature-feature The Burrowers.) There can be elements of pulp, fantasy, or adventure, but in the long run the story must have a very strong horror element to it. Other examples of the type of thing we’re looking for would include the serious western (and western horror) fiction of Robert E. Howard, films such as High Plains Drifter, Django the Bastard (AKA The Stranger’s Gundown), and the novel and film The White Buffalo; while the latter is not specifically horror, it is drenched in a palpable (supernatural?) awe of the titular beast.
Obviously there have been other western-horror anthologies, and most of them included at least some good material. Unfortunately, many of these other anthologies either didn’t take their subject all that seriously, or their definitions of “western” and “horror” were too broad. With The Edge of Sundown our target is very specific, like a bullet straight through the heart: good, serious, scary western horror tales.
As the editors are both avowed Luddites, we prefer hard copy submissions sent to either of the editorial addresses listed at the end of this prospectus. Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope or a valid email address for replies, and if you want your manuscript returned include sufficient postage. Multiple submissions are permitted as long as you don’t send more than three stories at a time, and no more than three stories per month. If you wish to send an email copy, please clear it with one of the editors first. If an electronic submission is arranged, please have your story saved in Rich Text Format – again, see Luddite admission above. You can reach us via email here: [email protected]
If your story is accepted, Chaosium will buy the First North American Serial Rights to your story. Payment will be 3 cents per word and contributors will receive three copies of the book; additional copies are available from the publisher at a discount. We are open to submissions beginning immediately (November 2011), with a final deadline for stories of June 30, 2012. Publication is tentatively planned for the end of 2012. If you have any questions, please contact one of the editors.
1212 Greene Street
Boone, Iowa 50036
Brian M. Sammons
2459 Littletell Ave.
West Bloomfield, Michigan 48324