Saturday, 11 March 2017

The Real Rachel Winterbourne

My short story The Real Rachel Winterbourne has been published on Perihelion Science Fiction online magazine.  The story concerns a man named Jim, whose supermodel wife Rachel agrees to make clones of herself so that the clones can be sold to the highest bidder.  When his marriage breaks down Jim begins to wonder if Rachel has in fact left him, switching herself with one of the clones, and eventually sets out on a quest to discover the truth.

In my mind, this story was set in the same near-future world as Voids, the novella I co-authored with Martin Greaves

The Real Rachel Winterbourne is free to read online here.

I'm proud of this story, so I'm happy it found a good home at Perihelion.  My thanks to Editor-in-Chief Sam Bellotto Jr for purchasing it.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Life Among The Insects

March will see the publication of a couple of the sci-fi short stories I wrote last year. First up will be my story of human cloning, The Real Rachel Winterbourne, which will appear online in Perihelion Magazine on March 12th.

Then on 28th March, Dark Designs: Tales of Mad Science will be released by Shadow Work Publishing.  The book will open with my story Life Among the Insects.  This is the story of Catherine, a scientist working at a government facility studying various types of chameleonic creatures, including some top secret life-forms that are kept below ground.  

Profits from the sale of Dark Designs will go to a great cause: Doctors Without Borders.

You can see the cover art and Table of Contents for Dark Designs above.  My thanks to the good people at Shadow Work Publishing for including my story.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Five of my favourite short stories read in 2016

In lieu of some kind of year end list (and coming a bit late anyway) I thought I'd just list here five great speculative short stories that I read last year.

1. For Two Songs by Rebecca Lloyd
The final story in Rebecca Lloyd's 'Ragman and other Family Curses' from Egaeus Press, this is a creepy and original story revolving around sibling rivalry and the Victorian practice of taking portraits of the dead.  One of the best subtle creepy shorts I've read for awhile.

2. Vacui Magia by L.S. Johnson
A poignant tale of yearning and loss, beautifully told by L.S. Johnson in the style of an instruction manual, here a witch endeavours to give her fading mother the grandchild she always wished for by some rather unconventional means.

This haunting tale is also the title story from Johnson's excellent debut collection of stories.

3. Honey Moon by D.P.Watt
From the collection 'Almost Insentient, Almost Divine' from Undertow Books, and for me the standout and the most conventional story in the book. This is the tale of a young couple honeymooning in a borrowed cottage where their initial reticence towards each other is eventually overtaken by pagan forces. I have to be honest and say that I found this book a bit of a trial, perhaps because Watt's tales are better read and mulled over one at a time rather than as a collection, but this story certainly leaps off the page.

4. Roadkill by Robert Shearman
After a disastrous attempt at conducting an affair, a woman on the way home with her lover runs over a kind of bat-rabbit thing which may or may not represent love.  A story everyone can relate to (?).

5. Magritte's Secret Agent by Tanith Lee
A peculiar slant on the mermaid tale by the late, great Tanith Lee.  This takes it's inspiration from Magritte's painting of a stranded merman with the head of a fish and legs of a man (rather than the other way around).  The story tells of a shop worker who becomes enamoured of a beautiful but unresponsive young man in a wheelchair, and the efforts she eventually makes to set him free.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Hopeless Games by Golden Death Music

I'd like to write a review of the album Form and Truth Frequency by the ultra-talented Michael Ramey aka Golden Death Music once I've fully ingested it.  In the meantime, here for your enjoyment is my current favourite tune from the album: Hopeless Games.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Outliers of Speculative Fiction Vol.2

L.A. Little has put together a new volume of Outliers of Speculative Fiction for 2016 (my story No Other appeared in the 2015 edition).  L.A. is committed not only to finding quality speculative fiction to fill these books, but also to discovering new and exciting voices working within the field. So I'm especially thrilled to have had my own short The House on No Man's Land. included among what is sure to be a great line-up of stories.

The House on No Man's Land is a story about getting older and the compromises we all make along the way.  Some of those dreams and aspirations we clung to when we were young are never achieved, and maybe that's OK.  Right?

The book is available from Amazon UK and US.

I know I'm biased, but I'm sure it's well worth a look.

Monday, 5 December 2016

New short story available: The Broad Lands

My short story The Broad Lands appears in the new issue of Under The Bed magazine.  This story is special to me as it was the first in a new batch of stories I started writing at the end of last year when I got some time back after my oldest daughter started school.  It's an old fashioned ghost story about a man who buys his dream home only to find there is another presence vying for ownership.  It's also a small doff of the cap to one of my favourite writers: D.H. Lawrence.

The magazine is available here.

Monday, 17 October 2016

New discoveries in short fiction: Stephen O'Connor

As I've said in a previous post, reading short fiction is a great way to discover new writers, but it's not often that I find something that goes straight to my sweet spot.  Lately I've taken to reading back issues of Conjunctions magazine (if this publication actually defines itself as a 'magazine' as in reality it's a pretty hefty paperback book running to 400 odd pages).  The good folk at Conjunctions appear to favour a type of short fiction that greatly appeals to me (let's call it literary weirdness for want of a better title).  In one issue I came across a story about a boy with an over-sized head called 'The Man in the Moon' by Stephen O'Connor.  I enjoyed this story so much (just the right balance of pathos, humour and weirdness) I picked up O'Connor's collection, Here Comes Another Lesson, a book of stories populated by outsiders, the lonely and the lost.   I was also surprised and delighted to discover that this writer and I had shared a TOC in the book Ghosts: Revenge from JWK Publishing (atleast I'm assuming it's the same Stephen O'Connor).  Being published in a book alongside another writer you admire is a huge thrill for saddo's like me.

The story that really sealed the deal for me though - not found in O'Connor's collection - was 'Next To Nothing' (from Conjunctions #60).  'Next To Nothing' is the tale of two sisters whose intelligence and pragmatism makes them outsiders in their own community.  When a Hurricane approaches, this pragmatic attitude to life is put to the test.  Highly recommended.

If you like reading about outsiders and the ostracised, I recommend reading some of O'Connor's work. Next To Nothing' can be found on the author's website here.