Shotguns v. Cthulhu: The One in the Swamp

Natania Barron’s “The One in the Swamp”

With the Stone Skin Press Kickstarter in its climactic days, we’ll be highlighting the contributors and stories behind Shotguns v. Cthulhu, our anthology of action-packed Lovecraftiana.

Something creeping and predatory troubles the farmers of a small town near Savannah, Lydia. Their cows are dying. A corruption infects their pastures. Luckily for them, sisters Lydia and Cassandra Sunderland have arrived from the Arizona Territory. Knowing a little too much about this sort of thing, they press their help on the reluctant locals. With Cassandra’s blazing six-shooters and Lydia’s strange, gear-tech adventures, they plunge into a trackless marsh, where an appalling discovery awaits.

For this anthology I was looking for a balance between action romps and traditionally unnerving Mythos stories with an extra dollop of movement and violence. With its gleeful sense of play and hybridized western-steampunk pedigree, Natania Barron’s “The One in the Swamp”, leans to the former. Yet when the horrors appear, they’re no mere monsters in a shooting gallery. They maintain their sense of menace and visceral nastiness.

Natania has more adventures in store for Lydia and Cassandra. This story could have easily appeared in one of Stone Skin’s The New Hero anthologies: the sisters meet every criterion of the iconic hero structure.

“I’ve always loved Westerns, from the youngest ages,” says Natania Barron. “But I always felt there was a need for more women with heavy artillery. The Sunderland sisters definitely spring from wanting to be included in those sorts of stories. Combining that with steampunk and Lovecraftian horror just was too fun to pass up.”

Natania Barron is a word tinkerer with a lifelong love of the fantastic. She has a penchant for the unusual, and has written tales of invisible soul-eating birds, giant cephalopod goddesses, gunslinger girls, and killer kudzu. Her work has appeared in Weird Tales, EscapePod, Steampunk Tales, Crossed Genres, Bull Spec, and various anthologies. Natania’s first novel, Pilgrim of the Sky, is due in December of 2011. When not venturing in imagined worlds, she can be found in North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Her website is

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