I think that one of the things about these stories is the balance between chosen and biological families. As young people come into the world on their own, like Joshua and Caleb, depicted in the ELDRITCH Tales, there is a community that builds with people we feel safe with and might have life long lasting relationships. That, in itself, can become a whirlwind while a young adult tries to figure out the depths and turns of interpersonal relationships and how far they can stretch.
ELDRITCH: TALE OF THE FOUR WINDS
Biologically speaking, Joshua comes from a very dysfunctional space. This is how the book starts off. He basically lost both his parents, but is taken in by a family friend. While Book 1 and 2 dive into the relationship somewhat, it has a tremendous impact on Joshua. Meanwhile, Caleb had a similar origin as well, but dealt with it in a very different vein. Biological relationships are tricky, scary, and are sometimes uncertain. Friends and people surviving beside you make amazing allies.
Chosen family, like friends from school, or maybe your neighbors, exist in the flow of your life and have to be people you can trust because so much relies on your own personal safety around them. Joshua and Caleb are healthy young men finding their place in the world and become extremely close. Their friendship is platonic and supportive, without the unnecessary intimacy of physicality. It does come into question at a certain point, as Joshua is discovering who he is in his life as a young man. For Caleb, it is never a question, because he has a better sense of self that Joshua is still exploring.
As the author of this story, part of my background is that I came from a horribly dysfunctional set of parents and a childhood where my memories of my biological family were very dark. I think this reflects in the book, especially in Joshua’s relationship with his dad, who is released from prison near the beginning of the story. Paternal figures here seem to take quite a beating, but that is often the nature of a father-son relationship in my opinion.
And sexuality really has nothing to do with the story, but I keep in mind that Joshua would probably identify as either asexual or even pansexual. Which means he is not really sex-driven, but more of a romantic mindset. And, he seems to really gravitate toward people he trusts. Coming from his background where his parental relationships were so unreliable it is understandable. His friendships and that trusted circle is the most important thing in the world to him.
Joshua has to start is biological family relationships all over, including his dad’s reemergence, and meeting surprising relatives that he intersects with in very unsettling ways. He really grows through the three books.