Reasons to be Peaceful, 1-2-3

It’s time for a short apology regarding why it’s been so quiet here recently. Here it comes: I’ve been really busy, sorry! To give a bit more detail, here’s some news about the exciting things which have been keeping me busy. So in a very particular order:

1) Unsung Stories

What’s been eating my time most voraciously is the new science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint I have been setting up. Yes, you read that right. The day job now involves getting a fiction imprint off the ground. This is tremendously exciting.

We have two books due out soon, Deja Vu by Ian Hocking and The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley. These are both absolute crackers and I’m currently working with illustrators and editors to make sure they are flawless and beautiful to boot.

For those of you so inclined you might like to know that we’re also open for submissions.

Unsung Stories

2) Of Falls and Angela

The time has come for me to create a money-mouth situation which means that I will be self-publishing Of Falls and Angela in the coming months as well. I’m currently working with talented chap, Jordan Grimmer on some cover artwork which promises to be salivatingly good.

I’ll keep this blog updated as that progresses but expect publication soon

3) Book 2

Yup, I’m starting again. In my head it’s called The Many Little Deaths of Arthur Malory and it’s a near-future melodrama. I’ve drafted 15 out of 32 sections and it’s feeling much tighter structurally than Angela did at this stage. This one will be much closer to home as well as it’s about how we deal with increasingly porous social environments in the modern world, and the roots of anxiety.

Don’t worry, there’s a love story in there too.

Publication: Epitaph in Perihelion SF

I’m very pleased to say that a story of mine features in the March 2014 issue of Perihelion SF. I’m particularly excited about this one because I got paid with real money. I mean, not a vast amount of money – they’re a donation-funded publication – but enough that I can call myself a professional now!

The story is Epitaph, a bit of classic hard sci-fi for you, and you can read it right now on the Perihelion site.

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Publication – My Final Flight on the Never Never

I am rather pleased to announce that today sees the publication of my short story, My Final Flight on the Never Never, on Fiction on the Web. It’s got my name on it and everything.

It’s a relatively short read for me (I do go on a bit sometimes, I realise) so there’s really no excuse not to read it. If you’re feeling really nice then comment on it as well, I’m sure that Charlie will appreciate it.

Drabble – The Comedy Store, Alphard 3

It was vast, the distant windows only visible because they were so tall. Every word Silas uttered was swallowed by the immensity. Puffing with bravado like a sparrow singing at an avalanche, he said, ‘What is it?’

Kilikilitak shifted his broad wings and replied, ‘Why, it’s a comedy club. Ambassador Kahkahree suggested we try one. Very amusing he said.

Silas’s furrowed his brows: ‘You have comedians, but no comedy clubs?’

‘Yes.’

‘Fair enough.’

Kilikilitak burst out laughing, sending Silas flying into the air. Silas didn’t know the Keelee race laughed with their wings and he had been standing very close.

The SCP Foundation

Prepare for the most delicious weirdhole you’ve tasted in quite some time. Take a wiki, add a good if not necessarily totally original idea, and then ram endless fistfuls of ingenuity down its gullet until it becomes original again.

I give you The SCP Foundation. Essentially, this can be described as an online catalogue of Area 51 / Warehouse 13 / that warehouse from the Indiana Jones movies and the like. However, clearly when starting this off the creators had a conversation that started, ‘How can we make sure it’s nothing like those things?’

The answer? You make every entry a truly surreal subversion of everything from the mundane to the monstrous. There’s no obligation for each thing to be terrible and demonic, in fact most of them are simply incomprehensible.

I don’t think I can really do it justice and I’ve only started dipping into it myself. So rather than do it a disservice, here are some selected highlights:

  • SCP-529 – Josie. SCP-529 is a small house cat (Felis catus) with grey tabby markings. Parts of the animal to the rear of the end of the ribcage appear to be missing. The body terminates sharply as if sliced in two.
  • SCP-1981 – SCP-1981 is a standard Betamax tape. “RONALD REGAN CUT UP WHILE TALKING”(sic) has been handwritten on the adhesive sticker in felt tip pen … SCP-1981 appears to be a home video recording of former United States President Ronald Reagan delivering his “Evil Empire” speech to the National Association of Evangelicals at Sheraton Twin Towers Hotel, Orlando, FL on 3/8/1983. However, at 1 minute and 10 seconds, the speech begins to deviate heavily, eventually resembling no known speech ever made by Reagan. Beginning at approximately 5 minutes, multiple incisions, lacerations and penetration wounds can be seen being slowly inflicted, though no corresponding source of these wounds is visible. Despite suffering bodily harm that would likely incapacitate an ordinary person, Reagan will continue to deliver his speech until either his vocal cords are severed or the tape degrades to static at 22:34.
  • SCP-1026 – Someone You Know. SCP-1026 is an entity that produces a powerful mental effect on any observer who sees it directly. This effect causes the observer to become completely convinced that SCP-1026 is someone who they know and trust.
  • SCP-028 – Knowledge. Subjects “entering” SCP-028 are, within three (3) to six (6) seconds, struck by total and complete knowledge of a subject … [such as]:
    • Every phonebook entry for New York City in 1998
    • How to redesign the internal combustion engine to run on human blood, using only pre-existing parts. (Note: Full redesign takes four (4) hours, and runs at higher efficiency than gasoline.)
    • Location of keys for a Buick LeSabre
    • The proper method of care for a mole rat colony
    • Origin and history of twelve SCP objects. (Note: The main [EXPUNGED])
    • Family history of the Blackthorn family, located in London, England.
    • Geological structure of the earth beneath Greenland, including several unknown caves and [EXPUNGED]

The care taken on the taxonomy, processes and semantics  pays off. There’s a real sense of clarity and purpose, this wasn’t just some people goofing about (although they do have joke entries, including SCP-095-J for fans of Comic Sans).

It’s utterly commendable, frequently baffling, regularly sinister and exactly the kind of thing that I wish I’d set up.