In the decade after the Great War, a wealthy old woman needs to hire a research assistant to help her at her creepy old mansion on the gloomy Oregon Coast in Lee Allred’s story “Murmuration of a Darkening Sea.”
I met fiction and comics author Lee Allred at a writer’s workshop on the Oregon Coast a while ago–I forget what year now. What stuck with me was the way he explained that the old writer’s rule “write what you know” meant something different than what writers usually took it to mean. A bunch of us were discussing it; he said something about how the dullest, more boring things you know could make the most fascinating stories. He used an example that was about digging a ditch or postholes or something on a farm, I think, but it involved dirt. By the time he finished talking, I remembered the feel of digging post holes on our farm as a kid, and realized there were people who could find it interesting, let alone compelling. It was good advice; he made it feel real.
At any rate, whenever I run across his work, it always includes a level of detail that grounds even the weirdest stories and makes them feel real. It’s one of the things we love about his story in Briny Deep.
You can find “Murmuration of a Darkening Sea” in Amazing Monster Tales #4: Into the Briny Deep, out now!
How do you feel about the ocean? Any particular memories you’d like to share?
Oceans I like. Beaches, I hate. I lived in a rental beach cottage for nine years on the Oregon coast and never once in that nine years set foot on the beach. But I sure loved looking out at the ocean. I also hate seafood. My “if it swims in the sea, it should stay there” aphorism on seafood actually made it into one of the DC Comics comic books I wrote.
What is your favorite media (stories, nonfiction, video, games, music) about the ocean?
The late ’60s/early ‘70s Steve Skeates/Jim Aparo run of Aquaman comic books I collected as a kid, the old Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea tv show, old black-and-white World War Two navy movies, and the Horatio Hornblower seafaring novel series.
What monster did you bring to your AMAZING MONSTER TALES story in this issue? Why?
I wrote an original Lovecraftian behemoth that’s very much a personification of the savage winter storms and pounding winter waves on the Oregon Coast. That beach cottage I mentioned was a few miles north of Cape Foulweather, a particularly nasty and storm-and-fog-shrouded spot on the coast.
Bonus question! Anything you’d like to share with the readers, promotional or otherwise?
If you liked “Murmuration,” be sure to check out my brand new story collection Down the Arches of the Years published by Hemelein Publicatins. The collection features several other cthonic/Cthulhuian story menaces! No new ocean stories, but there is a novella that takes place one on a fresh water lake in Scotland’s Loch Ness area (hint, hint).
Lee Allred’s fiction has appeared in Asimov’s and Pulphouse magazines, as well as dozens of science fiction anthologies such as the acclaimed Fiction River series.
Lee’s scripted fan favorite stories for Marvel (Fantastic Four), DC Comics (Batman ’66, Batman Black and White) and IDW (Dick Tracy). He wrote the Bug! The Adventure of Forager mini-series for Gerard Way’s (of My Chemical Romance/Umbrella Academy fame) quirky Young Animal comic book imprint line.
After serving three tours in Iraq for the US Air Force, Lee retired as a Master Sergeant.
You can find Lee at: