Wednesday, 30 December 2009
So far I have two books lined up to edit for the New Year, both horror, one gaming and one fiction, and both with US publishers. I'll also continue reviewing speculative fiction books for Albedo One and already I have a few I should be emailing to the team in Ireland. I also have a few short stories I want to finish and send off to various magazines to see how I go, mostly science fiction. All of this, well it's happening, what's not happening is... the novel.
Over 2009 I've been reading a lot of new space opera, particularly Alastair Reynolds, and find that although I've always been reading this subgenre of science fiction for a long time, there are always ideas here that excite me even after thirty years of familiarity with the setting. It's what I love reading and what I love writing.
So I've decided 2010 is the year I really need to give my new space opera novel a go, get it done and out to agents and/or publishers. That's the plan, write the novel. It's what every author needs to do if they are ever to become professionals in this game. Will I succeed? Who knows, but with the experience I've had since the last seven years since I wrote my last 100,000 word manuscript, I feel I'm in a much better place to give it a go.
Anyway, I hope everyone out there has the successes they hope for in the new year, and that the future will be exciting and rewarding. And perhaps I'll get to know a whole lot more of you in the writing/editing game now that I'm moving to a new state.
There you go, 2010 is looking great already.
Thursday, 24 December 2009
Unforunately I don't have my author copy to contribute much more here, but the cover does look nice. It seems to include all four scenarios from the original, and many of my photographs as well as historical photographs I found. Appartently my interior artwork is gone, with new art to replace it.
That's all I know for now.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
All of my new short stories this year were published overseas, and included:
- "Six-Legged Shadows" with Brian M. Sammons in Monstrous (Permuted Press)
- "Black Water" in Jupiter 24
- "The Octagon" in Jupiter 26
- "The Garden Fortress" in Thrilling Tales #4 (Rainfall Books)
- "The Lord of the Law" in The Fourth Black Book of Horror.
- "Subtle Invasion" in Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror Vol 3 (Brimstone Press)
- "Homo Canis" in Midnight Echo #2 (Australian Horror Writers Association) also received an honourable mention in Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year Vol 1
- "Stomach Acid" with Brian M. Sammons in Cthulhu Unbound 2 (Permuted Press).
Other publications include:
- "Virtual Worlds and Imagined Futures" an interview with Greg Egan in Albedo One 37
- "The Burning Stars" Call of Cthulhu scenario in Terrors from Beyond (Chaosium) which is gaining incredibly positive reviews and feedback from gamers everywhere
- Several reviews for Albedo One.
Other achievements include a Ditmar nomination for my science fiction tale "Soft Viscosity" in 2012 (Twelfth Planet Press), I attended GenConOz as a guest, and I sold several stories to various magazines and anthologies, one of which is a science fiction tale appearing in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. I'm also editing a new anthology of Cthulhu Mythos tales with Brian M. Sammons that will be published by Permuted Press, and I'm editing a collection of Call of Cthulhu gaming scenarios for a yet to be named publisher.
Several books with my stories which didn't come out this year but might in 2010 included:
- "Emergency Rebuild" in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 43
- "Sister of the Sands" in Cthulhu's Dark Cults (Chaosium) (which I incidentally edited way back in 2007)
- “Subtle Invasion” in Best New Tales of the Apocalypse (Permuted Press)
- "Dream Machine" in Scenes from the Second Storey (Morrigan Books)
- "The Hag of Zais" in Eldritch Steel (Elder Signs Press)
- "Sweet as Decay" with David Witteveen in Macabre (Brimstone Press)
- "The Swelling" reprinted at Innsmouth Free Press
- A new Harrison Peel tale has also been sold, but I've been asked to keep closed lipped about this one until the publisher makes an announcement.
I had hoped to output more this year, but a redundancy and now having to change states for financial/work reasons, I guess has affected my output. Hopefully once I'm settled in Sydney in the new year, that will all change.
Monday, 7 December 2009
Superb! One of the most unusual premises for any scenario I've read in the entire hobby. Beyond that, phenomenally well-executed; a treat to read, and one that the players will definitely never forget.
Read the rest of the review here.
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Sydney was where I was born, and I've spent a lot of time there with work. However this will be the first time I've lived there if you don't count the first two years of my life, which I don't.
Saturday, 28 November 2009
For the record, the story is a collaboration with Brian M. Sammons, who is not an Australian author as many people think, but rather he is from Michigan, USA. Brian and I got to know each other working with the Book of Dark Wisdom and the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. To date we have collaborated on three short stories, which is more than I've collaborated with anyone. Brian's a damn fine author too.
Getting back to the Bram Stoker nomination, this means that Brian and I have at least one vote from a member of the USA Horror Writers Association who thought our story was worthy enough to be judged. Whoever has voted for me, thank you. I believe now I need five votes to get through to the next round. Here's hoping. More news later if I hear any.
Lastly, I wanted to thank Juliet Bathory and everyone at the Australian Horror Writers Association for promoting all Australian authors nominated for a Stoker Award this year.
Saturday, 21 November 2009
John Sunseri, who co-authored the collection with me, said early on that he beleived our book would be a sleeper, and it looks to be that way. I have more fan mail today about this book than I ever did when it was first released, and questions about the sequel. Well, I better keep working on more Harrison Peel (the hero of The Spiraling Worm) stories then.
Friday, 20 November 2009
I have appeared in Volume 3. Alas I will not be in Volume 4 which has just been announced and will be out in March 2010. But just because I'm not in it doesn't mean it is not worth buying. The latest edition features stories by Peter M. Ball, John Birmingham, Kirstyn McDermott and Jason Nahrung, amongst others, and then there will be summaries of the year of Aussie dark fiction that was.
Now if Brimstone Press would only release Macabre: A Journey Through Australia's Darkest Fears (I have a vested interest in this one because I have a story in it that I wrote more than five years ago now).
Read about Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror Volume 4 here.
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
Over at OzHorrorScope Stephanie Gunn in a review of Midnight Echo #1 said that ""Cactus" by David Conyers is a story at once grounded in reality and yet completely surreal. One of the most original pieces in the magazine, it displays a mastery of imagery."
Some of my stories earlier tales appearing in US anthologies over the last couple of years have been reviewed on Goodreads. Of "Regrowth" appearing in Arkham Tales one reviewer said "Another author worth watching for; a PI takes on the case of some bizarre plants which alters his life forever. A very cool story, one of my favorites." The same reviewer said of my story "False Containment" appearing in Horrors Beyond: "Now, I truly enjoy this author's work, and here he did not let me down one bit. An awesome story that will leave you thinking about politics, the environment and what's wrong with the freakin' world... Very very fine writing."
Always nice to have a positive review, wherever they appear.
Thursday, 29 October 2009
The article made me think of something an English teacher said to my class once in high school, that when William Shakespeare was writing plays most of his audience thought that his stories were unfolding there and then, and couldn't understand the concept of tales being set in other places and times. I asked the teacher this is how the modern world saw science fiction, as it is often set in other places and times, and all of them imagined and that maybe most people couldn't get their head around the fact that these stories are set in make-believe lands. He said it was completely different, because science fiction wasn't a real genre.
In highschool I used to quote science fiction books in my essays, until I was told that I would not be well received by my examiners if I did that and that I would score poorly. So I stopped only in terms of self interest, but felt that I was betraying something fundamental by doing so. That something was wrong with society's ideas on fostering creativity.
I'm not saying science fiction and fantasy is for everyone, but I do see it as sad that we live in an world where it is constantly dismissed as not being worthwhile. Unfortunately I believe science fiction movies and television series have been at least partially responsible for this misconception. Ideas in visual media are often 50 years being the literaturary scene. Take the movie I, Robot which came out more than five decades after it was written. Good film, but the ideas about artificial intelligence and how it could actually work and the implications on society are far more developed than that these days (for example read Charles Stross' Saturn Returns).
Then you get movies and shows like Star Trek which really fail to understand the genre it was based upon, and their writers just coming up with stupid ideas. If I was captain of the Enterprise being attacked by Klingons, I wouldn't teleport over three men in jumpsuits and no environmental suits just in case there was no oxygen on the other side. I'd also wouldn't just arm them with only small arms to take out the ship, rather I'd transport over a nuclear bomb, then detonate it from afar. In the movie Sunshine the starship obviously has artifical gravity inside, but that same force is not used to accelerate the ship to the sun which would have otherwise reduced the trip from months into days. Plus the sun isn't going to die out for billions of years.
What I loved about science fiction and fantasy in the written form (novels and short stories) is that its scope is so broad, which you just can't get in any other form of fiction. I'm not limited to stories set on Earth in the present or in the past. If I want to write about alternate forms of society and government I can. Dune by Frank Herbert is a classic example of what I'm talking about here.
A friend of my wife's is a professor of quantum optics in England. He recently returned to Adelaide to see his family and catch up with us (amongst other friends) and he and I started talking about science fiction. He saw its influence as essential to the development of science and technology. Simply put, he'd noticed that his peers who didn't read science fiction didn't have the imagination to solve real scientific problems that scientists who did read in the genre could. Without science fiction, society wouldn't evolve as rapidly as it does.
I know that science fiction and fantasy authors and readers can and do read in the literary genre, but sometimes I feel that the reverse is not true, that many literary authors and readers, like Shakespeare's audience, don't have the imagination to understand it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, people should read what they like, and can only take on new information they are ready to take on. But to critise the genre because one can't understand it, well that just shows poor form, and perhaps fear of the unknown.
There are many fantastic science fiction and fantasy books out there that are thought provoking. If you haven't tried the genre, I would highly recommend it. The best works in this genre are equal to the best in the literary genre.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Greg talks about his influences, his writing proces, his favourites of his own work, upcoming books, his experiences with the Australian speculative fiction scene, sources for his idea, and his involvement with securing the release of illegally detained refugees in Australia.
The same issue features several of my reviews, and because I don't have my contributor copy with me yet, I'll have to announce what those reviews are in a latter post.
To read more about this issue visit the Albedo One website. Fiction by Robert Reed, the second place winner of the Aeon Award 2008, "Aegis", by D. T. Neal, Sara Joan Berniker, Gustavo Bondoni, Richard Alan Scott, Gareth Stack and T D Edge.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Saturday, 10 October 2009
Then for a long time I heard nothing and thought the project was on indefinite hold, but then a recent email from Mr. Snell informed me that this was not the case at all. Then I discovered the table of contents here and thought I would post it myself.
- THE MAN WHO ATE PLANETS ... Lee Moan
- HURRICANE WATCH ... Rebecca Day
- THE ALL-NIGHT, ONE-STOP APOCALYPSE SHOP - Derek J. Goodman
- KELMSCOTT MANOR: IN THE ATTICS - Lyn C.A. Gardner
- THE SIXTH MISSION - Joe McKinney
- ALL THE THINGS THAT CAN'T BE - Ian Randal Strock
- TODAY IS NOT - Michael Sellars
- RESTORE FROM BACKUP - J.F. Gonzalez & Michael Oliveri
- SUBTLE INVASION - David Conyers
- AMERICA IS COMING! - Dario Ciriello
- THE SHAPE - Tim Curran
- BETTY IN SIDESHOW - Daniel R. Robichaud
- EVERYTHING GETS BIGGER AFTER NUCLEAR WAR - Ian Rogers
- PIGS AND FEACHES - Patrice Sarath
Definitely one I'm looking forward to, sometime in 2010. I also hope this becomes an ongoing series.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Special congratulations to Kirstyn McDermott who had her story "Painlessness" reprinted, which is much better than an honourable mention.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Thursday, 1 October 2009
I’d studied art in high school and had considered a career as an illustrator, but I never did much more once I was at university except to dabble. That said I did enough to have had my illustrations published in books such as Secrets of Kenya, and although I was never very good and my writing was more important for me to pursue, art did give me a great starting point in imagining the future. For example, for a long time while I was developing my space opera setting for a series of books I’m planning in the future, I used to do lots of illustrations for that setting and my art skills really helped me imagine what my universe would look like. It was Lightship that sent me down this path, influenced me to give illustration a go to develop future settings.
In a recent conversation with D.M. Cornish we discussed the merits of writers who are also illustrators, and how it can greatly enhance the creative process. I certainly see that in his Monster Blood Tattoo series he is head and shoulders above most fantasy authors in creating amazing worlds with his words alone, because he illustrated it all first. I hope my illustrating experience eventually leads me to similar success (one can always hope).
My favorite illustrations in Lightship include the covers for Downward to the Earth, Mechanismo Spaceport, The Lovers, The Deathworms of Kratos, Bio of a Space Tyrant 3 and Startide Rising, but they are all great. The accompaning text by Chris Evans was an added bonus, openning me up to a whole host of science fiction ideas I’d never considered before, including terraforming and pantropy, concepts I would have never come across just from watching science fiction movies and television shows of the time.
Monday, 21 September 2009
- "The Space Sphinx" by Edward Rodosek follows a reporter seeking to uncover the mystery of the 'Sphinx' on a colony world.
- "Cold Pressure" by Rosie Oliver takes us on ocean voyage over a future Earth.
- "In the Shadows of Hemera" by Will Styler looks at future space exploration.
The second photograph is of me with four of Australia's leading speculative fiction novellests, from left to right Karen Miller, Kylie Chan, Rowena Cory Daniells and Marianne De Pierres with myself tacked on at the end where we were at the Pulp Fiction Bookstore stand. All four women gave me excellent advise on the world of writing and publishing and I thank them all for their time. They were also all very popular on all the seminars they attended.
The Dark Space and Nylon Angel posters are for Marianne's books. I picked up her Dark Space novel (which she generously signed for me) and started reading it on the flight back from Brisbane to Adelaide that night and really got into it.The next image is of me with upcoming dark fantasy author (and GenCon event organiser) Peter M. Ball who has written the excellent urban fantasy novella Horn which is selling really well from Twelfth Planet Press. I highly recommend this book and find it to be one of the most original short fiction pieces from an Australian author in years. Peter also is a very generous and cool individual.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
During my spare time Rowena Cory Daniels and I discussed role-playing games and how to becoime a profession game writer. Peter M. Ball and I talked about his novella Horn from Twelfth Planet Press, which incidentially is selling very well from what I've heard, and definitely worth a read. And I picked the brains of Marianne de Pierres, Kylie Chan and Rowena on their thoughts on agents and publishers, and strategies to get my novel picked up when it is written (yes, I'm a writer, so like all writers I'm progressing througha novel).
That evening I ran a demonstration game for several fo the GenCon volunteers of my Call of Cthulhu scenario "The Burning Stars" from Terrors from Beyond, which went down really well and lots of fun all round. I had to rush it a bit as we were working to a fixed timeline, but I got all the important clues in there, and the secret surprise when revealled went down well, even though many of the players had guessed what was going on early on.
I'll have a more detailed convention report tomorrow when I return home to Adelaide.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
I'll freely admit I haven't been to a gaming convention like this one before. What first struck me was the number of people dressed as characters from their favorite science fiction and fantasy movies and television shows. I saw the Tenth Doctor, Stormtroopers (with excellent production values on their costumes), a transformer, wizards, fairies, elves and a whole host of Anime characters I couldn't even begin to identify. Star Wars characters by far were the most popular costumes, and far less Star Trek than I would have expected.
There are some impressive looking computer games, but not being a computer gamer myself, I just watched others play them (my time on the computer is spent writing).
I met several of Australia's leading speculative fiction writers including Karen Miller, Marianne De Pierres, Kylie Chan, Rowena Cory-Daneils, Peter M. Ball and Warhammer 40K author Matt Farrer, who are amongst the nicest people you could meet. I'll say that the Australian speculative fiction community is very friendly and encouraging when you get to meet them face to face. We sat on several panels talking on the business of writing speculative fiction, and attendance was much higher than I had expected.
Friday, 11 September 2009
I'll be on various seminars as I've detailed below, talking about my fiction writing including The Spiraling Worm and Cthulhu's Dark Cults, my work with Albedo One and some tips on the magazine's Aeon Award for short speculative fiction with an annual price of 1,000 Euros, and on my gaming writing for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game.
I also hope to run a couple of sessions of a demonstration Call of Cthulhu role-playing game based on a scenario I wrote. Which scenario that will be I will keep as mystery for the moment, but needless to say, it is one on this list. In between all of that I hope to catch up with people and meet a whole lot of new people. So I'll be busy, but if you are there, please say hello.
Hot Tips for Fiction Writers (Seminar Room 1, 2pm): Join Karen Miller, David Conyers, and Matt Farrer as they give away the hot tips that all aspiring writers should know.
Fights, Chase Scenes and Other Action (Seminar Room 1, 11 am): Want to know how to keep a reader on the edge of their seat? Join writers Kylie Chan, David Conyers and Marianne De Pierres as they discuss how to writer a killer action scene.
The Writer’s Journey (Seminar Room 1, 12 pm): Join Marianne De Pierres, Kylie Chan, and David Conyers as they talk about the journey from aspiring writer to published author.
Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself (Seminar Room 3, 6 pm): Want to scare your players? Join game designers David Conyers and Ryan Naylor as they discuss the techniques they use when writing for horror games.
Gaming and Writing (Seminar Room 1, 4 pm): How do you make the jump from playing games to becoming a writer? Join Matt Farrer, David Conyers, and Ryan Naylor as they talk about how they made the jump from gamer to author.
How to Make a Really Good Bad Guy (Seminar Room 1, 2 pm): What makes the perfect bad guy? Join authors Matt Farrer and David Conyers as they discuss the very best of the very worst.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
For “Stomach Acid” which appeared in Cthulhu Unbound 2, Matthew T Carpenter said: “Once again we and Australia's finest, Major Peel, have been asked to do the impossible, given no choice but to risk life and limb (or other organ) and sanity at the intersection between humanity and the unknowable cosmos ... I'm a big fan of both Conyers and Sammons and I have to be grateful for what we have (feel free to expand it for the next collection, guys). Stomach Acid was a fine edition to their ongoing story arc.” Read the rest of the review here.
I found this review for “Homo Canis” from 2008 Award Winning Australian Writing in an unlikely publication, the Bellarine Times. Written by Mark Farrugia he lists my story as one of his favorites. “"Homo Canis" by David Conyers, which takes a less than conventional look at corporal punishment. This story won the Australian Horror Writers Association's Flash Fiction Competition in 2007 and is an excellent example of how an abstract idea can be entertainingly expressed under 1,000 words.” Read the rest of the review here.
The Fix gave “Black Water” from Jupiter #24 an overall positvie review with: “Conyers is pretty good at evoking his future, in particular by dropping in telling little details that hint at broader goings-on outside the frame of the narrative.” Read the rest of the review here.
I’m proud to have been published in Jupiter, as I’m find its stories to be rather good compared to other magazines that are unable to pay for stories. To its credit Jupiter gets consistently good reviews from SFRevu, SFSite, SFCrowsnest and other places. I just hope that the editor, Ian Redman, makes enough in the long run to be able to transform the magazine into a professional status publication and become the next Interzone or Albedo One.
Monday, 7 September 2009
I've always been impressed by the production values of the Elder Signs Press, Permuted Press, Mortbury Press and Brimstone Press titles, which is testimount to what a few skills in graphic design and marketing can do for a publisher. That said, I'm proud of all the titles I have here, because they all look good. The only problem was that I've misplaced my copy of 2008 Award Winning Australian Writing from Melbourne Books for the line-up, because that is another impressive looking book. Others such as Jupiter or Rainfall Books don't work in the line-up because they are staple-bound.
I've also include The Spiraling Worm in the mix, as that contains five of my short storires and novellas.
My favorite cover of all the books here would still have to be the first anthology I appeared in, Horrors Beyond.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Adding to this news I've been reliably informed that Scenes from the Second Storey from Morrigan Books featuring my tale "Dream Machine" will also be launched at WorldCon 2010, so two stories out at once at this major sci fi convention for Australia. This publication is the brain child of Mark S. Deniz, who always wanted to do an anthology of short stories with each tale based on the track listing of the album of the same name by God Machine, and as often happens with these things Mark decided to do two books. One features Australian authors and the other authors from the rest of the world. I guess it's pretty easy to work out which one I'm in. When I was asked to write the openning tale I couldn't turn the offer down. Finally, I'll appear in a Morrigan Books anthology (not for want of trying).
"Dream Machine" (my version) is set in Hell and in the same series as other dark fiction tales of mine that include "Cactus", "The Lord of the Law" and "Hell's Ambassador". I'm certain I was also influenced by Barry Adamson's album As Above, So Below as much as I was by Scenes from the Second Storey.
Monday, 31 August 2009
David told me that when he reads slush he tends to read the first and last pages before he reads anything else. This allows him to see if the story grabs him from the onset, and whether it concludes itself in an interesting manner. I thought this was a rather novel approach and started thinking about how he might perceive some of my stories read that way.
My viewpoint on slush is that I believe dialogue is important, and that I like to see it early on in a story. I don’t believe there is any better tool to create a character than dialogue and to propell a story along in real time (as opposed to telling a story after the events have occurred as Victorian Era writers were fond of doing). I also like the first line to grab me, something unusual, something that makes me sit-up and go, ‘oh, that’s interesting’ and want to keep reading.
It’s nice to have discussions like this with one’s peers. Writing and editing can be a very isolated experience and sometimes it takes an outsider to point out new approaches that can make a world of difference in the products (stories, books) we each produce.
So David and I have decided to collaborate on a short story, and see what new ideas come from that.
Friday, 14 August 2009
What I find works well for me is what I have learnt from the experience. Brian is taught me how to really cut to the heart of story, John Goodrich on how to tell a story without explicitly telling it, David in writing sincint poetical scenes, John Sunseri how to make language and character create a style all of its own, and John Kenny the importance of pace and reflective prose. I’ve learnt much more from each of these authors than just what I’ve listed, here I’m illustrating particular elements of learning that were unexpected for me in the process. The end result is that I feel that I’m a better writer because of these experiences, and it also taught me how to be humble and not so hung up on the in’s and out’s of a particular story. Oh, and to let a story tell itself.
The other reason I like collaborating is because of the creativity it allows.
I’m currently writing another novella with Brian M. Sammons, which is the reason for this post. I’m finding that even before we’ve started ideas are just flowing all over the place and we feed off each other’s perspective, so much so that the tale just seems to write itself. We are both very excited about where it is headed.
Most of my collaborations have been with horror and dark fantasy writers, a genre that seems to bring authors together rather than creating a sometimes overly negative competitive environment that I’m finding in some speculative fiction ‘scenes’. From my experience horror and dark fantasy writers tend to get excited about what each other are writing, and want to share. How nice is that!
Collaboration can potentially create its own problems. For example my most successful series, the Harrison Peel spies versus the Cthulhu Mythos series (The Spiraling Worm) is not a sole-creation of my own, but one that had a genesis with John Sunseri and now with Brian M. Sammons, C.J. Henderson and John Goodrich. We’ve all agreed that our characters are our own (mine is Harrison Peel, John Sunseri’s in Jack Dixon, C.J. Henderson is Joan De Molina and Brian M. Sammons’ is Jordan - amongst others) and that we need to seek permission to use each other’s characters, but we also agree that we can each pretty much do whatever we like in this shared world setting. So what happens if I get a movie or game deal for The Spiraling Worm (not saying it is likely, but it is a possibility), what do we do then? Hopefully we’ll all get financial rewarded, and that’s what I’d like to see.
So leading on from this point, I’ve decided that some series I will collaborate on (such as the Harrison Peel series) and some I won’t which I want to hold complete control over (such as my Earth Central series for example featuring stories including “Black Water”, “Aftermath”, “The Entropy Collapse”, “Terraformer”, “The Octagon” and others). Of course stories that aren’t part of any series (“Sweat as Decay”) don’t really matter, they are stand alones, but fun to write nonetheless.
Fun times ahead, seeing where all this collaboration business goes.
Monday, 3 August 2009
Harrison Peel woke awkwardly, worried that he sensed ripples of déjà vu. The dirty hotel room with giant bugs scampering on the ceiling remained familiar, and the air sweating like an exerted fat man in this tropical heat was as oppressive as the moment before he drifted into sleep. It was his body clock was worried him. He felt as if it were late afternoon even though his watch said early morning. Had his watch failed? Had he slept all day and not noticed?
Sitting up brought stomach acid to his throat. Then he gagged. The nausea so bad he hoped only to vomit. Several moments of retching brought up nothing, and still the nausea would not abate. To counter the acid, he drank sterile water from his canteen. He choked on that too, vomited it up as he did.
Out of bed, peering into the broken mirror, Peel saw a haggard man. He saw himself as if he were a terminally ill cancer patient. Not the self-image he had witnessed in the same mirror yesterday when he had felt good and fighting fit. What had happened to him? It terrified him that he did not know.
It was then glancing over his shoulder that he noticed the tall gangly man.
Without hesitation Peel spun his whole body, pinned the intruder against a wall. One hand locked an arm so it would be a painful exercise to resist, the other pressed against the windpipe so he could kill without effort.
"If I die, Major," the stranger gasped, "so do you."
Saturday, 1 August 2009
My story in this book is written with another good friend Brian M. Sammons and it is called "Stomach Acid". This tale features former Australian Army Intelligence officer Major Harrison Peel from The Spiraling Worm, a collection/novel which I incidentally penned with John Sunseri.
In the heart of the Amazonian rainforests, Major Peel is blackmailed, when a human agent of an alien species compromises his life expectancy. The only way that Peel can live beyond a single day is to turn against the American agent, code-named Jordan, who hired him to act again the very menace that now controls Peel.
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Quick updates, I've appeared in Midnight Echo #2 edited by Shane Jiraiya Cummings and Angela Challis for the Australian Horror Writer's Association, with my award winning short story "Homo Canis".
I've got reviews appearing in Albedo One where I've now been made a contributing editor (thanks guys!). Those reviews incidentally are Year's Best Australian Science Fiction & Fantasy Vol. 4 edited by Bill Congreve and Michelle Marquardt, Matter by Iain M. Banks, Angel Rising by Dirk Flinthart, and The Second Black Book of Horror edited by Charles Black.
My Call of Cthulhu gaming scenario "The Burning Stars" appeared in Terrors from Beyond from Chaosium. Although there were some layout and editing problems, the book otherwise looks impressive. It got a pretty good review from Pookie on Game Cryer. Here is an extract:
Terrors From Beyond saves its best for last. David Conyers’ “The Burning Stars” is the highlight of the collection, managing to meet the book’s lofty claims with aplomb. ... Another pleasure of reading this scenario is discovering how much of it is tied into earlier Call of Cthulhu scenarios and campaigns, the author taking the time to make it as much part of Call of Cthulhu canon as no other author does. It is refreshing to see an author acknowledge the history of the game in this fashion and it would be fantastic to see the author carry this into a full campaign – which David Conyers should be allowed to write…
I attended Conjecture where I didn't win a Ditmar, met some really familiar faces including D.M Cornish, Sean Williams and Jeff Harris, and met some new writers and editors I'd only previously known through email or reputation including Jason Fischer, Pat McNamara, Dirk Flinthardt, Jason Nahrung, Peter M. Ball, Kirstyn McDermott, Alisia Krasnostein and many others. Nice to finally put faces to so many names.
I've had some interesting developments behind the scenes too, interviewing one of Australia's most prominent science fiction authors which will appear in a future issue of Albedo One. And a couple of projects in the works in the United States which are looking very promising. More news on that later.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
The cover art entitled "The Other Window", is courtesy of the highly talented Spainsh artist Enaer. The issue is packed full of fiction including the winner of the 2008 Aeon Award, "Twinkle, Twinkle" by Colin Henchley and the winning story of the 2008 German Science Fiction Award, "Homeward Journey" by Frank W. Haubold and translated to English by Wilf James especially for Albedo One. Albedon 1 intend to continue with our translations in the future, which will go some way at least in demonstrating the great and largely unrecognised (in the English speaking world) diversity and quality of speculative fiction being written in Europe at the moment.
The issue also includes work by Mike O'Driscoll, D. T. Neal, Craig Saunders and Kurt Kirchmeier.
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Structuring a Fantasy Novel
Saturday 13 June, 2pm-5pm
The popularity of fantasy novels continues to grow and publishers are always in search of the next great epic trilogy. During this hands-on interactive workshop participants will develop an outline for a fantasy novel. Discussion points include: creating characters and how they grow through the narrative, popular fantasy themes, how to develop tension and conflict, how to propel the story, the importance of dialogue and action, using cultural references, and just what it is like to live in a world where magic and fantastical creatures reign. more…
Where: SA Writers' Centre, 2nd Floor, 187 Rundle Street, Adelaide
Cost: $55 for SAWC members; $77 for non-members
Contact: 08 8223 7662 or email email@example.com
Book online here
Sunday, 24 May 2009
Features my Australian Horror Writers Association's Flash Fiction Award winning story "Homo Canis" which originally featured in 2008 Award Winning Australian Writing from Melbourne Books.
"Homo Canis" - Aaron Sedgwick broke the law, killing his wife in a car accident while intoxicated with alcohol. For his punishment, he is sentenced to eighteen years hard labor, remade as a dog.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Saturday, 9 May 2009
Thank you everyone who voted for me. I know most of you who did were overseas readers, so thanks for your support, and to those of you local Aussies who voted for me too. That's five stories with award nominations now ("Aftermath", "Homo Canis", "Black Water" and "Subtle Invasion" are the other ones) and it is interesting to note they are all my science fiction pieces.
Midnight Echo and 2012 both get nominations for Best Collection, but even though I appeared in both, I'd like to see Black edited by Angela Challis win, I mean she does a fantastic job at promoting Australian speculative fiction and deserves this award. But I guess it is a wait and see now.
Congratulations to all the nominees.
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
'Black Water' by David Conyers is an absolutely cracking story. It's one of the best I've read for some time... Even within the limitations of a short story, a believable world has been created with two strong characters, Joseph and an Australian woman called Donna, both trying to make their way as best they can. I particularly liked the use of archaic technology, even in the slums of Dar es Salaam. Well, if this is our future, we had better do something about it soon!
Read the rest of the review here.
Friday, 1 May 2009
The issue begins with "Black Water" by David Conyers. Set in a future Earth wracked by drought, Joseph Nuwangi is set on improving his lot in life. He has sacrificed much of his body to get where he is and now he is going to use just that sacrifice to make his fortune, on the island of Zanzibar with the purest water in the world. Conyers does a great job here with showing us a future world and the people in it.
Read the rest of the review here, which says great things about all the stories.
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
I really like this cover, not that I didn’t like the previous cover, but Steve’s work really encapsulates thematically what the collection is about. Is it a scene from a specific story? No, but that doesn’t matter. Like a said, Steve’s image says everything it needs to. The silhouetted figures dancing in a naked frenzy around a materialising Cthulhuoid god in a dark and uninviting wood says it all. These are what the stories are about. I’m glad Steve came on board.
Chasm City was the first Reynolds novel I read and was the most visually impressive of everythign that I've read by him.
Reynolds is influenced by Larry Niven’s Known Space series and it shows in its grand scope and amazing ideas, but what Reynolds does so much better are his characters, his easy to read style and sense of pace. He even has transhumans or posthumans, highly evolved species of men and women who have transgressed the frailness of the human condition, and live almost immortal lives. However unlike many of his contemporaries, Reynold’s posthumans don’t lose their ‘humanness’ with their super abilities.
I also like that high tech is not available for everyone. For example his world of Sky’s Edge is reminiscent of a Latin American country stuck in a perpetual civil war, while his world of Yellowstone is like New Orleans after the cyclone, an amazing vibrant city struck down into squalor after a horrific external event. There are other high tech worlds out there, but they are keeping it to themselves. Unlike many science fiction writers, Reynold’s knows how to build believable political and cultural backdrops to his worlds.
Aliens feature in his stories and they are creepy, enigmatic and highly creative, often with bizarre Lovecraftian like characteristics.
Chasm City is not the only tale in the series, there is also the trilogy Revelation Space, Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap, short story collections Diamond Dog, Turquoise Days and Galactic North, and the stand-alone novel The Prefect. If you like space opera big, exciting and action packed, this is a great series to read.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Nominations are very simple, just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. All you need to do is list the work, author or editor and the publisher or venue from anything you read and enjoyed by an Australian. You can nominate as many times as you want in as many categories as you want. You can even nominate yourself.
To be able to nominate you need to be seen as a person active in fandom, such as being an editor, publisher or writer, or as simple as having attended a convention for being a member of a professional organisation such as the Australian Horror Writers Association.
If you want to vote for anything I wrote in 2008, here is the list with all the appropriate information you need to cut and paste into your nominations email:
- “Soft Viscosity” in 2012 (Twelfth Planet Press).
- "Terraformer" in Andromeda Spaceways #37
- “Cactus” in Midnight Echo #1 (Australian Horror Writers Association)
- “Redemption Slot Machine” in Antipodean SF #117 (read the story here)
- “Homo Canis” in 2008 Award Wining Australian Writing (it won the Australian Horror Writers Association’s Flash Fiction Award in 2007 and will be reprinted in the next issue of Midnight Echo)
- “Hell’s Ambassador" (in five parts) in Black Box with the first story (originally published on the Brimstone Press website) reproduced below.
The William Atheling Jr Award:
- "Cthulhu Cultus Australis: The Australian Perspective on H. P. Lovecraft" with Leigh Blackmore and Chuck McKenzie in Studies in Australian Weird Fiction 2, 2008
If you are eligible to vote and are interested in reading any of the above stories, please email me and I’ll make a copy of the story or article available to you. I'm not going to comment on who I will likely vote for or why, predominately because I don't believe I've read widely enough in all the categories (or any category) to be able to comment objectively (but I will still vote).
Thanks for voting, and if you vote for me, thank you for that too.
HELL'S AMBASSADOR I. NOT DEAD
The senator stormed into the office of Hell’s Ambassador, with half his skull missing. The smoking shotgun hung limp in his blood-soaked hands.
“I’m not dead?”
“No, you’re not.”
“I can’t take it anymore! The lies, the scandals, the looming criminal prosecutions.” He shot himself again, through the heart, splattering red meat on the oak furnishings. “Just take my soul now, take me to Hell? Release me from my horrors here!”
“No!” Hell’s Ambassador shouted. “I keep my souls with me on Earth. Too many demons downstairs would claim you as their own. I’m never there to keep them in line.”
Desperate, the senator shot himself again, disintegrating the other half of his skull. “Bastard!” he bellowed, as blood gushed from his mouth.
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Twelfth Planet Press is an up and coming small press outfit from Western Australia who have previously released two prior books, 2012 of near future science fiction tales (well mostly, some were horror and some were fantasy) including my own rumble-in-the-jungle tale "Soft Viscosity", and Angel Rising by Dirk Flinthart which incidentally is also set in the New Ceres world.
Shane has been active in the dark fiction scene in Australia for many years editing several anthologies including Shadow Box and Black Box, and is the managing editor of OzHorrorScope. He and his wife Angela Challis also produced the very slick online flash fiction site Shadowed Realms, and Black Magazine. So he’s really contributed a lot to making dark fiction and horror as big as it is in Australia.
That said, I recommend Shards because Shane is a great writer. Last year he contributed a tale to the anthology I edited Cthulhu’s Dark Cults, and it was a great action packed tale of horror, “Requiem for the Burning God”. This story won’t appear in Shards, but plenty of other great tales will. I'm looking forward to it.
Monday, 6 April 2009
This is what the judges of the Aeon Award said about "Black Water":
“Black Water”, for me, stood out almost immediately from the several hundred other entries I read for the Aeon Award [2006-2007] this time around. Not that the bulk of the entries I read were bad, in any sense, just that this story was better than the “good” stories. What more can I say to explain that? The confident style, pacing, and the motivations of the characters. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget the tension in the story, that sense of will he or won’t he get away with it. Excellent work.
[Black Water] exhibited a great sense of place. Read it and you’ll see. It isn’t for me to try and out-do the story with my own words here. What I will say is that not many of us will ever get the chance to experience Africa, but this story will certainly take you a long way towards experiencing it as it is now, and unfortunately, where it may be headed in the future. This holds true not only for place, but character, and the interaction between Donna, the privileged white lady and the down and out Nuwangi is thoroughly convincing, and regrettably, probably not too far away from the truth of things.
Table of contents for Jupiter #24: Locaste is as follows:
- Black Water - David Conyers
- Sides of the Coin - Gustavo Bondoni
- Our Man in Herrje - Andrew Knighton
- The Ninth Circle - A.J. Kirby
- If You Can’t Beat Them... - James McCormick
- Dog’s Best Friend - Gareth D Jones
If you want to read my story and the rest Jupiter #24 (and back issues) can be purchased here (with a very nice cover by S. Cerulean). The opening scene to “Black Water” follows:
Dust blown from the arid interior rained on the streets of Dar es Salaam. Vendors and buyers in the Kariakoo Markets looked to the skies, the hope in their eyes sought rain. They were to be disappointed, but not surprised. It had not rained along the East African coast in five years.
Joseph Nuwangi pushed through the crowds of African faces. Most slung deteriorating gas masks about their belts or necks, prepared when the dust became too thick to breathe. Masai cattle-bleeders offered dirty cups of bovine blood with chiseled plates of goat cheese. Somali traders pressed wares of cheap electronics, second-hand guns and faulty robotic machines. Nuwangi sought the water sellers, and of these there were many. He selected a Hehe trader, whose water sloshed in a heavy translucent canister precarious upon the trolley of a rusted tricycle.
“What’s the quality?” Nuwangi asked glancing at the digital clock embedded in his cybernetic arm. The metal prosthetic groaned as he swung it near his face, ached where it gripped the flesh just below his left shoulder.
The water seller spoke through rotten teeth. “Grade A effendi, pure water from the snows of Kilimanjaro.”
Nuwangi laughed. “Kilimanjaro hasn’t had snow since before you were born, old man, and I don’t for a second believe that’s Grade A.”
Across Africa all water was dirty and polluted. Inevitably Grade A water had become the continent’s rarest commodity. If properly recycled in a closed system Grade A was more pure than the mountain springs of old. It couldn’t be produced cost-effectively anywhere in Africa, so where it was available it was protected by the strictest security measures. If the Hehe man’s water proved pure, then he had no need to hawk in a dirty market, he would be wealthy beyond measure. In the Kariakoo Markets the freshest water was found in the guts of flies feeding on human tear ducts, and even this water wasn’t worth drinking.
“I don’t believe you.”
Thursday, 2 April 2009
THE LORD OF THE LAW
I’m forced to sit upon the ceiling, because gravity has reversed for me. I’m trapped in a hotel room. I dare not look out the window, afraid of what I’ll see. At least I had the courage to confirm the window is locked, so I can sleep at night.
This morning the Lord of the Law has returned. He deems to reverse gravity and sit with me. His clothes don’t hang downwards like mine, bunching at my neck and armpits. His clothes are clean.
“Are you ready to apologise?” he asks me.
I look at him. He wears the shape of a man, but his density is all wrong. When he’s still it’s like he’s painted on the wall, a two-dimensional picture of him on a canvas. The occasions when he does move I feel it is the room that shifts and warps around him, propelling him forward in its flux.
“I still don’t know what you want me to apologise for?”
He won’t look at me.
“Haven’t you tormented me enough?”
He doesn’t say anything. Instead the cracks in the ceiling and walls extend. They open silently, run before my very eyes.
I feel an unseen density press upon me, like swimming in water.
“Mr Skolling, self-denial serves no one. Not me and especially not you.”
“But I don’t know what I have done.”
He doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t move.
So I sob. I’ve been sitting on the ceiling for two weeks, trapped in dirty clothes, trapped with nether-light that casts shadows on every surface. All the time I’m wondering if I’m ever going to escape.
“What do you want me to do?”
“We’ll talk again tomorrow.”
“Please, just tell me?”
He rises, walks onto the wall, turns, walks to the floor, turns and goes to the bar fridge, every step silent as if he is not there.
He takes a beer, opens it, and pours it into a dirty glass. I can smell it. I want it. He knows this. He places it on the side table, its liquid suspended above me.
“What did I do?”
He leaves me, not through the door, but by melding into the wall, vanishing like a shadow surprised by a bright light.
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Here is the blurb and table of contents:
- Soup - Craig Herbertson
- Words - Paul Finch
- A Cry For Help - Joel Lane
- With Deepest Sympathy - Johnny Mains
- Many Happy Returns - Carl T. Ford
- All Hallow's Even - Franklin Marsh
- Dead Water - David A. Sutton
- And Still Those Screams Resound...'- Daniel McGachey
- Love is in the Air - Gary McMahon
- The Head - Reggie Oliver
- The Devil Looks After His Own? - Ian C. Strachan
- Bad Hair Day - Gary Fry
- Flies - Hazel Quinn
- Nails - Rog Pile
- The Lord of the Law - David Conyers