Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction is now out to buy in print, or to read in an almost improbable number of digital formats.
Now only does it contain my story Devilry at the Hanging Tree Inn, which I blithered extensively about here when Mr Theaker first accepted it, it features a very special tale by my mate Rafe McGregor. Why so special? Because I suggested the premise to him, that’s why.
Not to imply that I gave Rafe all his ideas or anything. In fact, it was all the result of a deal / challenge we made each other, what seems a very long time ago. The plan - and I can’t remember who came up with it, or exactly why - was that we’d both write a story based on a rough idea from the other. My suggestion was for a mix of sci-fi and Lovecraftian horror set around a bomb disposal robot in a near-future middle-eastern war. Somehow, Rafe’s brain morphed the near future into the late nineteenth century, the middle-east to India and a bomb disposal robot into elephants.
One of these days I might have a go at writing my version. It probably won't be as good as Rafe's excellent The Last Testament.
As a point of vague interest, Rafe's suggestion to me was to write a barghest story. The result was The Hair of the Hound, a semi-sequel to Rindelstein's Monsters, as published in the Comet Press anthology The Death Panel and featuring the same protagonist. I really like it and I wish someone would publish it. Comic fantasy seems to be one of the toughest possible sells in today's short fiction market and I'm never entirely sure why.
Which brings us neatly back to Theaker's, and Devilry at the Hanging Tree Inn, which is definitely fantasy and hopefully at least a little bit comic. And - did I already mention this? - it's free!