Monday, 11 September 2017

Short Story News, September 2017

Well, it has to be said that 2017 is turning into a horrible year for short story sales, which is frustrating to say the least, if only because I'm pretty sure that I'm sending out some of the best fiction I've ever written.  But the compensation is that, for the moment at least, I still have stuff coming out in some very cool venues.

Taking things in reverse order, May saw my somewhat Lovecraftian, somewhat Howardesque sword and sorcery story Now That All the Heroes Are Dead come out from Read Short Fiction.  It's a thoroughly screwed-up tale, if I do say so, with a lot of subtext about who generally ends up doing the dirty work and why, in fantasy worlds or elsewhere; I guess the clue's at least partly there in the title.  Anyway, it's fairly short and it's free to read, so why not take a look?  And if you never quite trust traditional sword and sorcery stories afterwards then don't blame me, they were never that trustworthy in the first place.

Next we have my only comics work of the year, and something that's been slowly coalescing for absolutely years, mine and my C21st Gods co-creator Anthony Summey's short strip Conservationists in this year's Futurequake anthology.  I've already talked about this one quite a bit, so I'll just add that as of last month it's available on Comixology at a really reasonable price - see here - and that I was hugely pleased to come across a review that singled Conservationists out.  I was convinced no-one would get this one, what with dialogue-free alien invasion stories with animals as protagonists not exactly being a major subgenre, so it's nice that at least one reader responded to what Anthony and I cooked up.

(Speaking of reviews: there have been a few for Horror Library volume 6, but the only one I managed to keep a note of was this one, for reasons that will become apparent if you read it.  All right, yeah, the reviewer picks Casualty of Peace as their favourite story in the collection.  But it's also a really thorough review, so there.)

July also saw my personal highlight for this year on the short fiction front, my second appearance in a Flame Tree Publishing anthology.  I can't stress how stupidly gorgeous these are!  I suspect my biggest regret when I die will be that I didn't somehow figure out a way to wrangle a story into every single one of them, because they're some of the nicest books I've ever seen; at any rate, to be in not one but two of them has been a huge thrill.  This time around, it's The Sign in the Moonlight - lead story of the eponymous short story collection - in their Lost Worlds collection, and I'm up against such vaguely prestigious sorts as Arthur Conan Doyle, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Rudyard Kipling and H. Rider Haggard.  Oh, and those Howard and Lovecraft blokes I plugged earlier.  Seriously though, these books are absolutely fantastic, and if you're into classic genre fiction then you owe it to yourself to track them down.

Which brings us up to the present day, and the podcasting of my flash horror piece My Friend Fishfinger by Daisy Aged 7 at 
YA market Cast of Wonders.  As much as I was ever so slightly disappointed that they didn't manage to find an actual seven year old girl to read it, I'm happy to settle for Head Editor Marguerite Kenner's take; as I pointed out to her afterwards, I know how hard it is to read this grammatically challenged little story out loud, and Marguerite does a fine job.  You can hear it here.

Lastly, I have a couple more stories pending at what's basically my authorial home now, Digital Fiction Publishing - those being Twitcher on the horror front, first published in Pseudopod, and SF story Free Radical, which appeared in the Second Contacts anthology a year or two back.  Sad to say, with me now slush-reading on both the fantasy and science-fiction sides, I've had to bar myself from submitting due to the blatant conflict of interest!  Still, it's been a heck of a run, and I'm really proud to have so much work with what's become, out of nowhere, the most consistently excellent reprint market around.  And yeah, I'm horrendously biased, but that doesn't make it any the less true.

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