This is presented to the reader almost as a journalistic piece, narrated in the first person by an unnamed person who interviews and portrays several people in a small town about differing views of traditional religion across generations.
The elders wonder why the young people don’t take the old ways more seriously. Without those willing to offer the sacrifices and recite the proper chants, the “Elder Dark will flood the world and shackle humanity to an eternal yoke of madness.”
This is a delightful absurdist piece with roots in Lovecraftian horror. In just a few words, the author captures the silly self-importance of the older generation and the anxiety of the millennial generation.
At the traditional orgy that marks the Approach of Winterdark—more commonly known as the fall equinox—the faithful strip naked and don red hoods to evoke feelings of insignificance and remind supplicants they are only “anonymous flesh to the Watchers Just Beyond.” Our narrator recounts hearing the man who invited him, Bob Rawlins, discuss his DIY projects and school board elections as the sun sets.
One of the characters is Kathy Halton, Honorary Senator for the Sunken State of Hggibbia. Because she represents the Many Drowned Dead, she understands better than most the cost of failure to hold back the horror beyond the Pierced Veil. Her interview with the narrator provides some lovely satire.
The ending depicts a way the religion may be perpetuated even upon the most lukewarm adherents.
Heath Miller, who read the story, depicts the many different characters subtly and nicely. I enjoyed the telling.
Podcastle offers content warning for some violence and sexual content.
According to his blurb, author Matt Dovey lives in a quiet market town in rural England with his wife & three children, and despite being a writer, he still hasn’t found the right words to express the delight he finds in this wonderful arrangement.
His surname rhymes with “Dopey,” but any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. He’s an associate editor at PodCastle, a member of Codex and Villa Diodati, and has fiction out and forthcoming all over the place, including all four Escape Artists podcasts, Analog, and Diabolical Plots.
The story can be listened to/read here.
Title: Why Aren’t Millennials Continuing Traditional Worship of the Elder Dark?
Author: Matt Dovey
Narrator: Heath Miller
Host: Peter Behravesh
Audio Producer: Peter Behravesh
Length: approx. 19 minutes, 50 seconds
First published: Originally published by Diabolical Plots
Published by Podcastle November 17, 2020
PodcastleContent warning for some violence, sexual content