Merry Christmas, one and all!
I've got a new story out, yay! This one is in an anthology, Titanic Terastructures that can be found here, that is a set of stories all in some way related to ginormous SF thingumies of a Ringworld stylee. I am very much looking forward to reading this and seeing what huge and wondrous ideas people have written of.
As for my story, it is set in a place called The House which is a planet wide residence that has seen better days and is a 'living in the ruins' type of story. There may be quite a lot of dust but I hope you like it.
By way of a wee taster, I've put up a piece of flash fiction that I wrote a few years back that was my first visit to The House. Ever since then the setting has stuck in my head and keeps nagging me to write things about it. I've had a few goes at short stories and this is the most successful. Saying that, the idea keeps nagging me so there might be more.
The flash piece that created it all can be found here: The Oculus at the Edge of the Universe
As Amazon is not great at showing all authors, here is a TOC for the book:
Honeysuckle for Ashes / Christopher R. Muscato
You Too Shall Pass / Russell Nichols
Jack, the Medbot and the Giant in the Sky / Laurel Beckley
Bang / Craig Russell
Fundamentals of Search and Rescue / Jennifer R. Donohue
Mothership / M.R. Parsons
Broken Circle / Manda Benson
Memento Mori / Johannes Toivo Svensson
Ashes to Ashes Dust to Stardust / Wendy Nikel
Under the Graying Sea / Jonathan Sherwood
Tharsis Dilemma / Matthew Ross
The Moment / Dan Piponi
The Big House / Bunny McFadden
The Sensation of Drowning / Dennis Mombauer
The Long Road Home / Andrew Gudgel
A Singular Event in the Fourth Dimension / Andrea M. Pawley
And the House Did Watch Over All / Brian M. Milton
The Long Sleep to Tera Terra / Mark Kirkbride
The What-The Tree / Liam Hogan
Haunting House / Mike Morgan
Heavenstair / Al Onia
Antimatter Dreams / David Wright
Distraction / Regina Clarke
Podfall / Barend Nieuwstraten III
The Kamacite Cage / Richard de Silva
Land of Opportunity / Gustavo Bondoni
Proving that story publications are like busses, I've another new one for your perusal. This time it is a story of old childhood memories and how market forces affects them. Or something.
Anywho, you can find it in Kzine issue 30 and it is called Gentrification and the Dream House.
This one had an odd gestation in that it is based on a recurring dream I've had all my life. Child, student, adult, the same basic scenario cropped up of my travelling through narrow passages in old houses and, a couple of years back, it came to me again. Only this time the dream was an angry rant about modern consumerism ruining old stuff. As I'm sure happens in your dreams all the time too.
Other than being a sign that I'm getting old this inspired me to try to write down the feelings I was getting from the dream and, eventually, it evolved into the published story. Initially there was a lot more of the dream, i.e. passages and non-sequitur weirdness but thanks to the lovely and clever people at the Glasgow Science Fiction Writer's Circle that was (sadly) cut to let the story that it morphed into appear.
Also inspirational was the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow which I went to while initially writing this and got distracted from the band looking at the ironwork.
Now, while I have you here, not only is this out today, but, as previously mentioned, you can also find a story of mine in A Quiet Afternoon 2 which you can find here on pre-order, although the pdfs go out in only a few days time.
And, since I've been having that sort of year which I promise this it the last of, a further reminder that back in April I also had a story out in New Maps which you can find here
I hope you enjoy and that the next time you're down the shops you consider the alternatives on offer and if you can get to them by a door half way up a wall.
I have a new story coming out soon in a wee Canadian anthology called A Quiet Afternoon 2 and they've just opened their site for pre-orders. You can find it here
The anthology is a collection of relaxed stories ideal for a restful afternoon, something we could all do with these days. Apparently they had volume 1 out last year as a response to the pandemic and you can still find it on their website should you be in need of additional emergency sitting down.
My story is a partner to one I had published in Fireside back in December 2017 in that it features Rab the Giant again, this time having to deal with some problematic neighbours and his prejudices and assumptions.
I like this one a lot and am very glad it's found a home, especially in something quite so suited to my interests of having a nice sit down and not getting wound up. Especially nice is that the publishers will make a donation to a local Canadian charity out of the proceeds so go on, look it up.
I hope you like it.
Special Glaswegian Offer: Due to the relaxed and Canadian nature of the anthology they asked me to tone down the language from it's Glaswegian default but if anyone wants to know how the original sounded I'm perfectly happy to come round your house and shout the obscenity at you from the street.
It's a new story!
I'm very pleased to report that my story, Sacrificial Gasoline, has appeared in this wonderful publication, New Maps. You can find them here
New Maps showcases 'de-industrial' fiction and if you want more information on what that is, they have a great editorial all about it in the issue. Basically it's stories of the near future where humanity is struggling with the end of out current profligate pillaging of the planet and turning to a different way of living, whatever that may be. But not with some magic Start Trek clean energy gixmo. In my case, it's a tale told by an old granny of her childhood which is a generation or two from now.
I first wrote this quite a few years back and it has gone through a number of evolutions before finding it's home but probably the thing that distresses me the most about it is that its politics (and the politician in it) are only more relevant than they were then.
And finally a wee note on the inspiration for this story. It's often hard to know what, exactly, triggered an idea but in this case I can point to the album Songs From The Floodplain by Jon Boden. It's a (very good) album set in a similar de-industrial world and got my brain working great style. I highly recommend it and it's follow up Afterglow if you like the ideas in this magazine and/or English folk.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the story, for all its grim settings.
Hello all. I hope this strangest of years has been not too bad for you and that this finds you well. It's been weird, tragic and befuddling for all so well done on getting through it best you can and fingers crossed for an improvement next year.
It's been odd for us all but for me one of the oddest things is that it's mostly been good for me. Being stuck in meant I had to find alternative exercise and have taken up running. Not seeing people in pubs meant I have drunk less. I am probably healthier due to the pandemic than I would have been on a normal year.
Not that I'd wish this again, ever, of course.
I do say mostly as I fear I've become too used to not talking to real people in the flesh and, come the glorious day when we're vaccinated and can meet up again, I'll have some sort of Lovecraft-style screaming fit about too many eyes watching me. Hopefully I'll keep it internalised. 😉
As for my writing, I've managed to keep up a basic level of it. Working in fits and starts I've finished off a couple of new things and have been diligently working in the background to push them out to markets and not let them languish too long after a rejection. This has led to a significantly higher number of submissions this year, over 70, and an acceptance to come out next year, which is lovely.
As for publishings, it was a good year, if slightly odd.
Firstly I had a story out in Shoreline of Infinity, Issue 17, in January. A tale of space-faring starfish and rubbish collection, I'm very happy to have seen it in a local (well, Edinburgh) magazine and alongside some top notch other stuff.
Secondly was my contribution to the Glasgow Science Fiction Writer's Circle anthology, Flotation Device. This is a charity anthology produced by the circle and donates its funds to several charities helping out those struggling during this strangest of years. If you've not, please consider buying, it's for a good cause and the stories are well worth reading too. Even if mine is deeply silly and has to come with a translation.
I did have a third story come out this year, in August. A tale of science gone wrong and less than careful bee husbandry that I really like. I was deeply happy about it until the editor, just before publication, made some political comments that I couldn't support. As such, the story came out, I didn't promote it and, sadly, I'll just leave it there. A salutary lesson in being careful who you submit too.
And so we come to the standard Christmas 'present' of an old story posted up. This year it is Maukit.
This one was published in 2013 and was my first anthology publication. It appeared in Caledonia Dreamin', a set of stories based on Scots words and is the darkest thing I've had published. The anthology is still available here and is well worth it.
Anyhoo, thanks for reading and fingers crossed for a better year to come. It's going to be a roller-coaster in its own right, what with the politics ongoing. but I hope it finds you better.