The latest issue of On Spec is out, featuring my very short story ‘The Opportunity Costs of Adventure: Unsent Emails from Stephen Greenwood’s Drafts Folder’. Did you ever wonder what it does to your career when you keep running off to save the world? Dr Greenwood (last seen in The Journal of Unlikely Academia‘s ‘Soteriology and Stephen Greenwood’) would really like to tell you! However, he’s not going to, because nothing ruins a reputation faster than emailing a professional mailing list about apocalypse and ancient prophecy. Maybe he’ll just save that email to Drafts.
26 authors, 26 locations, 347 pages, 100k+ words; original horror stories from many of the genre’s darkest minds. Nightmares imagined into real places; from Nigeria to Japan, North America to Australia. Locations the authors have inhabited and imbued with the sinister–hiking trails, haunted lakes, relics of faded industry, and even a Hawaiian volcano!
I have a piece of London weird in this anthology. Real places featured include:
- Aviation House
- Lincoln’s Inn
- Maughan Library
- the Waterloo Underpass
- and the Puppet Theatre Barge, which everyone should visit whether they have kids or not. (Go now! They’re currently moored down at Little Venice.)
It has now been six months since I’ve seen any of those places (thanks, 2020!) so I’m delighted to revisit them in print.
(If you think £20k is a lot to spend on a sofa, so did I. But I had only been in London for a month or so, back when I was eavesdropping on that particular conversation, so I kept my mouth shut.)
I originally wrote this story as a birthday present for a friend. Her birthday has come around again, so happy birthday L.S.!
And it’s out!
Anna’s reference to the university at Felsina, the city where Violante had been born, made Violante lean happily forward in her chair. “Do you know people at the university? I always wanted to go to the anatomy at the carnival, but my parents wouldn’t let me. That was before I was married, of course.”
“I studied the anatomy with Jacopo Barigazzi,” Anna said. “He spent some time here not long ago. We dissected one of Pietro’s criminals.” She poured herself wine, then filled Violante’s cup too. “Is that enough? How is Baldesar? I thought he might bring you. Pietro would have liked to see him again.”
“Oh no, he’s too busy with his writing. I’ve brought letters from him, though.”
“Last time, he wrote that you had a problem for me. Do you still?”
Read the rest of ‘Passavanti’s Fantasima’ (and buy the whole amazing issue) here.
I have a new story and a reprint out this month.
- Doll’s House follows directly on from God Thing, which also appeared in Kaleidotrope back in 2017. They are both bouncy adventure stories about Rob and Lettie, a couple of kids doing inadvisable things in a ruined city, under the disapproving supervision of Rob’s goddess, Ann. You shouldn’t need to read both of them, but of course you may want to.
This issue also includes great stories and poetry by Anya Ow, Cat Sparks, William R. Eakin, Santiago Belluco, Helen Stubbs, Megan Arkenberg, Jennifer Crow, Karolina Fedyk, R.K. Duncan, Cassandra Rose Clarke and Hester J. Rook.
- Under Dead Marsh originally appeared in Lackington’s Magazine in 2016 and I am really happy it has been reprinted in Big Echo’s Avant Garde issue, which looks fantastic.
The other stories are by Brendan C. Byrne, Stephen Langlois, Ahimaz Rajessh, Yurei Raita, Dan Grace, John Shirley, Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Peter Milne Greiner, Laurence A. Rickels and Rudy Rucker. Mine remains a mix of Dylan Thomas and town council planning application squabbles, on Mars.
I am very late to this, but I see Issue #110 Vol. 29 No.3-4 of On Spec came out in April with a piece by me – well, really a collection of very short pieces called ‘The Care and Conservation of Unusual Properties’.
Contains library deep-cleaning, inventory marking, dusting, volunteer incentive issues and very large spiders! This collection was once accused of being postmodern, which surprised me, because I thought of it as a reasonably accurate transcription of several monologues someone rather like me was once on the nodding side of.
Well, fairly accurate. I guess no one said anything about a dragon.
The “Magics” issue of Lackington’s is now free to read, including my little Roman ghost story, Prima Fuit, Finis Erit.
First Cynthia caught me with her fulminating eyes. O me miserum! Captive and collared, a fool never before touched. Now she, trailing charred Coan silk, her curls breathing cold perfume, leans over my bed: We shall lie together, you and I…
… but of course you should check out the whole amazing issue. I have said this before, but Propertius is my favourite of the Augustan lyric poets, partly just because of all the Augustan lyric girlfriends only Cynthia gets to speak for herself. And what she says is almost never flattering to Propertius.
Detail of Pear Nuallak’s gorgeous illustration!
The ‘Magics’ issue of Lackington’s is out, with a little Roman ghost story from me that I’m not going to say much about, because I said it all in an interview a couple of weeks ago, although I had not then seen Pear Nuallak’s gorgeous illustration. The full table of contents is:
When the Vine Came, by S.R. Mandel
Prima Fuit, Finis Erit, by Julia August
The Wytch-Byrd of the Nabryd-Keind, by Farah Rose Smith
Collar for Captain Cormorant, by Rekha Valliappan
Song of the Oliphant, by KT Bryski
Love Letters from Velveteen, by M. Raoulee
Artists: Carol Wellart, Grace P. Fong, Sharon J. Gochenour, Derek Newman-Stille, Pear Nuallak, Kat Weaver, and P. Emerson Williams.
… and you can get the issue as ePub, mobi and PDF if you don’t want to wait six months to read it (which of course you shouldn’t).
I’m a little late with this, but the October issue of The Dark is out, with new fiction by Nelson Stanley, reprints by Chaz Brenchley and Michael Harris Cohen, and a short psychogeographic monologue called Psychopomps of Central London by me:
Whenever it was, whenever St. Anselm & St. Cæcilia’s Peter acquired his golden foot, you shouldn’t touch it. Reach into the fist-sized hole in the statue’s seat instead and set your palm against the wood. You may feel a heartbeat. Wait until the wood yields like flesh beneath your fingers and a slate-blue shadow falls across the nave.
This is where we begin your journey to the underworld.
You can absolutely take this walk on your own time! Unfortunately The Hunterian Museum is shut for refurbishments until 2021, so you’ll have to wait till then to visit Charles Byrne, the Irish Giant – unless he goes back to Ireland in the meantime.
Third Flatiron’s latest anthology, Monstrosities, is out and I contributed a small monster called ‘The Catacombs of Constitutional History’. It involves a haunted library and several haunted people:
The wichtiger lounged just inside the Library door. It shook its brindled hackles and yawned, showing off every single yellow tooth, then laid its long muzzle down on its paws and closed its yellow eyes. Only a glimmer of well-fed interest showed as I crept by.
You can buy the book from Amazon as an e-book right now or as an actual book in about a week! Let me know if you want a review copy or a discount on the paperback.
The full amazing TOC is:
Chicken Monster Motel by Keyan Bowes
Five Billion Pounds of Soul by Larry Hodges
Sacrifice Needed, Alcohol Provided by Carl R. Jennings
#Notalltigers by Mark Pantoja
The Doomsday Machine Retires by Ray Daley
Alien TV Shows Are Bad for Your Eyes by Brian Trent
Got Them Wash Day Blues by James Dorr
This Tyrant Crown by Liam Hogan
The Great Mall by Salinda Tyson
Skywalker by Jennifer R. Povey
Eaten by Ville Meriläinen
Into Xibalba by Sita C. Romero
The Emerald Mirage by Martin M. Clark
TidBits by Sharon Diane King
The Catacombs of Constitutional History by Julia August
New Shoes by Robert Bagnall
Kismet by Barry Charman
They Saw Me Coming by Russell Hemmell
Bigger and Better Things by Joseph Sidari
Also I have a story in it: ‘The Little Duchess’, in which Baldesar di Casatico relives nine years of his life all at once and regrets dealing with a devil of sorts:
She was wearing crimson, as she had been when Baldesar first met her. He found his feet beginning to drag. In nine years, she hadn’t aged a day.
She wasn’t smiling; but then, she seldom did. He grasped a headstone. He might have known, he thought. Ambitious courtiers, like their princes, seldom got to enjoy a peaceful retirement. He might have realized there would be no escape.
The headstone was shaking, or he was.
“Anna,” he said.
The full TOC is stellar:
“Shadows and Bells” by Mari Ness
“A Slip in the Slice” by Heather Morris
“The Fashion of Men” by Kat Otis
“The Temporary Suicides of Goldfish” by Octavia Cade
“Totemic” by Jennifer Crow
“Batman at the Wheel” by Mary Alexandra Agner
“Report on Incident 3179” by irving
A Word from the Editor