Friday, 6 November 2015

Short Story News, October 2015

Okay, I realise it's not October, but this is mostly October news so let's just close our eyes and pretend.  Except, wait, you can't read with your eyes closed and I'm not convinced I could knock out an entire blog post that way.  Um.  Let's just think October thoughts, shall we?  Maybe pretend its not quite so dark and horrible and nearly-wintery outside?  That should do it.

Now I mentioned back in my September round-up that I hadn't quite covered all of the short fiction news on the horizon, but I certainly didn't anticipate the flurry that would come almost immediately after that post went up.  But hey, flurries are good!  We like flurries.  I mean, when they're good flurries, like this one has been.  Not when they're flurries of snow.  Or fish.  Or razor blades.

Firstly there are now a few more things out there with my short stories in them.  The Coven anthology from Purple Sun Press finds the discombobulated royal guardsman from my No Rest For the Wicked (as published in the Death God's Chosen collection) on another, even weirder case, this one involving an apocalypse cult that may actually be onto something.  I can't comment much beyond that since my contributor copies literally arrived this morning, but I adore that cover image and I seem to be having a good year for anthologies, so odds are this one will be worth a look.

What I have seen copies of, because they arrived all the way from the snow-bound lands of Canadia, is Second Contacts from Bundoran Press, the cleverly-themed anthology that contains my grim but heartfelt science-fiction tale Free Radical.  Basically the idea of the collection was to foreground not stories of humans meeting aliens but how those interaction might work out ten or twenty years later, a fun notion that - based on the stories I've read so far - succeeds very well indeed.  And Free Radical, a tale of well-intentioned but ill-considered occupation with some obvious real world parallels, seems to have proven a nice fit.

Speaking of things I've actually read, I recently got through Gaia: Shadow and Breath vol. 2 from Pantheon Magazine, containing my The Hair of the Hound, and enjoyed it a great deal.  Will Manlove's A Bare Bones Outfit is, I think, the best short story I've read this year, one of those pieces that takes an idea you thought had been worn out entirely and offers it completely afresh, all wrapped up in some splendid prose.  Joshua D. Moyes's The Temporary Freedom of Clockwork Birds was another standout in a collection not exactly lacking standouts.  I'd definitely recommend this one, and it's a real shame that Pantheon aren't pushing it a little more (or, apparently, at all.)

Meanwhile, Jenny's Sick has been seen before, in Lightspeed and then the Lightspeed Year One anthology, but with all due respect to one of my favourite science-fiction 'zines, it's never been behind quite such an outrageously lovely cover as this.  It doesn't entirely show up in a flat image, but that there is a metal-inlaid hardback and this book - along with its companion volumes, Chilling Ghost Short Stories and Chilling Horror Short Stories, is something special indeed.  I mean, I don't know how it was made, though I suspect the involvement of magic, but it's indescribably lovely.  Oh, and also huge, and crammed with fantastic sci-fi stories, with a roughly half and half split between genre classics, (the whole of Flatland is in there, along with writers like Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne and Mark Twain) and more recent work.

Back in the present, I'm in this month's Urban Fantasy Magazine, both with an interview - performed by the goodly mister Pete Sutton - and a reprint of my story Bad Times to be in the Wrong Place, which originally appeared in the 250th issue of Interzone.  I confess that I floundered for a while in coming up with a story of mine that could be classed as urban fantasy, that not being a genre I've dabbled much in, but this one certainly fits - unless it's urban science fiction, which the more I think about it probably isn't a thing.

Last only because I've already talked about this particular story and this particular market recently is Across the Terminator, which was recently made available, (and still is available), as a self-contained e-book and now is also out as part of the rather gloriously named Cosmic Hooey anthology from that selfsame publisher, Digital Science Fiction.  This one I feel entitled to speak highly of, because I've read most of the stories in their individual e-book forms and enjoyed the majority, and because Digital Science Fiction are doing something extremely fun, and because it's called Cosmic Hooey, goddamnit, what more could you realistically need?

Phew!  That's a lot of stuff out in a relatively teeny piece of time - which probably means there's a drought a-coming, that being how it tends to go, but it was a good deal of fun while it lasted.  And at least I have a few bits and pieces still scheduled.  Digital Science Fiction have picked up another story for e-book release, The Painted City, as originally published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine issue 43.  And on the new stuff front, my Afghanistan-set, Arcade Fire-inspired near future horror tale Great, Black Wave is set to mark my second appearance in John Joseph Adams's marvelous horror 'zine Nightmare.

All told, it hasn't been a bad year for short fiction.

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