Captain Georgianna Forsythe emerged from nowhere and took on an existence of her own! In her alternate 1930s England Cpt Georgi battles the unknown with supernatural powers acquired despite all her best efforts to avoid them, and to date there have been two Cpt Georgi shorts in seven connected short stories
- ‘Keraunophobia’, Phobophobias, Western Legends Press, 2014. isbn:9781502987785
- ‘The Decks Below’, Terror Tales of the Ocean, Gray Friar Press, 2015. isbn:978-1906331986
- ‘Penumbra Over Millwall’, Weirdbook Magazine #44 isbn 978-1479460540
- ‘Below the Plimsoll Line’
- ‘Hand of the Nile’ (new to this volume)
- ‘Tamesis and the God’s Skull’ (new to this volume)
- ‘Beneath the British Museum’ (new to this volume)
Cpt Georgi’s origins have been a curious, complex and, for me at least, a little nerve-racking so stand by for a strange sequence of events.
In theory ‘Penumbra Over Millwall’ was the first Cpt. Georgi tale, except that the initial version featured a male lead by the name of George Fordham. The story was accepted for a US market and all was good.
Around that same time I wrote a story titled ‘Crawling Chaos in Climping’ for another cosmic horror market. It saw the return of George and was likewise accepted. Just a few weeks, however, that publication ceased trading and Crawling Chaos came crawling back to roost.
Losing a sale is never good, but these things happen. I had, however, been asked to write a story for the Phobophobias anthology (an A to Z of phobias) and been allocated the letter ‘K’. Not a huge number of choices with that one but once I had settled on ‘Keraunophobia’ (the fear of thunder and lightning) I realised that the Crawling Chaos, with its weather-based theme, would be a natural fit. It just needed a few tweaks. With a title change, and after transforming George into Georgianna, it made the cut.
After Phobophobias hit the book shelves a reader wrote enquiring about Georgi’s back story and what had brought our heroine to that archaeological dig on the south coast. As it was something I had already asked myself ‘Hand of the Nile’ was written to explain the events that led to Georgi losing a finger in far-away Egypt. ‘Hand of the Nile’ was sent to a US magazine – which (you guessed it) promptly ceased trading. This time before the story had even been read!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the anthology that had accepted ‘Penumbra’ had also gone under, and one might have been forgiven for seeing the hand of Nyarlathotep somewhere in mix!
I wondered briefly if I should recall ‘The Decks Below’, now submitted for Terror Tales of the Ocean, but decided to keep fingers crossed and leave it be. I doubted that Nyarlathotep’s fictitious reach was nearly so strong as the rejections might have been hinted. (The Terror Tales series is still going strong at time of writing; albeit under a different banner.)
A case of third time lucky, perhaps, or perhaps more to do with the change of main character. Certainly once ‘Penumbra’ was rewritten as a Cpt. Georgi tale it was accepted for Weirdbook #44 and though that took a while for the edition to reach the stands Georgi seemed to have thrown off the watery hand that had destroyed the hapless George Fordham.
Boyed by success the bijou tale ‘Below the Plimsoll Line’ was penned for an open mike event, and later expanded a to be included here.
Then I was awarded the Arnold Bennett Book Prize for my crime fiction novel Winter Downs and Cpt. Georgi took a bit of a back seat. Until the pandemic year of 2021! During a lull in creativity that I know many writers shared ‘Beneath the Museum’ came from nowhere, and, though I hadn’t planned it that way, seemed to reach a natural hiatus in the story arc as Georgi clashes once more with her nemesis from the Nile and unveiled her destiny.
The Chronicles of Cpt. Georgianna Elenore Tamara Forsythe came about via a circuitous route but I hope people enjoy reading the about her exploits as much as I have enjoyed writing them, and rest assured she will return one day!