Today I want to talk about blasphemy.
As you may know, we're accepting submissions for a new anthology, the Book of Blasphemous Words. As chief editor of the anthology, I'm super excited about it. We've been planning it for quite some time, and I'm honored to be working on it.
We've received a ton of submissions for it, and that's super humbling. But I've noticed one thing in particular with several submissions.
Though they may be well-written, they're not blasphemous. They're stories of gods and men playing by the rules. There may be supernatural elements, but that's not blasphemy.
Maybe it's my fault. Fellow Murderer, Jack Burgos, wrote the copy text that's featured on the submission guidelines for me. He did an excellent job. But looking back over it, it leans one way. Each example in the third section references Abrahamic faith, which matches my own background. And a lot of the stories I'm talking about don't.
Maybe blasphemy has a cultural connotation we've overlooked of, "any religious beliefs not commonly seen in society." But that's not what we were hoping to see when we opened submissions.
Blasphemy is showing contempt or irreverence to sacred or inviolable beliefs. Praying to Apollo for prophecy, Atalanta for victory, Eros for love is piety. And, while I may not know anyone who genuinely keeps faith in them, it feels dismissive to consider them for an anthology about blasphemy.
We want stories of man's beliefs turning on them, or vice versa. Of the creations of faith and myth growing beyond control, consuming their former masters, body and soul. Conmen siphoning a god's power from believers for their own gain. A cult worshiping a deceitful demon to learn the meaning of life. A demigod of harmony that plots to bring the world to ruin.
Obviously, certainly stories lend themselves to blasphemy than others. The Cthulhu mythos (and other works inspired by Lovecraft) are notorious for being the domain of heretics and madmen. (Also, I very much enjoy reading those stories, so maybe submit more weird and eldritch horror.)
So, new submission guideline: make sure your piece is actually blasphemous.