Sunday, 16 December 2012

Amazon Review of "The R'lyeh Singularity"

Very cool review of Cthulhu Unbound 3 and "The R'lyeh Singularity" by David Anderson has recently turned up on Amazon:

In "The R'lyeh Singularity", it seems like David Conyers normal knowledge of the military and spy agencies is enhanced, and I can only guess this is due to the involvement of Brian M. Sammons, who clearly has a love for this kind of thing. That is a staple of the series, the military action, but here it is just cranked to the max, and as a result we get a very harrowing and realistic Naval battle sequence, complete with aircraft. Conyers has an elegant grasp on quantum physics, while Sammons knows how to get all the "big military toys" in the sandbox. They both fuse together to create some kind of mad orchestrator that doles out awesomeness by the handfuls.

I feel very accomplished.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Greg Egan Interview

I've been meaning to post this for a while. Here is a link to an interview I conducted with Greg Egan several years ago, now on the Albedo One website, "Virtual Worlds and Imagined Futures". It came out just before the release of his novel Zendegi.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Eye of Infinity Kindle Edition

The Eye of Infinity, is now available as a Kindle book on

At a remote radio telescope facility in New Mexico, an astrophysicist commits suicide after contracting a hideous mutative plague caused by something he saw… and he won’t be the last. Major Harrison Peel has witnessed his share of cosmic mutations before, but now, he faces a threat worse than death, and a powerful enemy that hides behind a human face.

When a top secret NASA program refuses to heed his warnings, Peel is catapulted into a nightmarish government conspiracy that takes him from Ft. Meade’s Puzzle Palace to the launchpads of Cape Canaveral; from the desolate Atacama Desert of Chile, to the very heart of the universe itself, all in a desperate bid to shut… The Eye Of Infinity.

The first Harrison Peel tale in three years, The Eye Of Infinity features a Mike Dubisch cover and a dozen illustrations by Nick Gucker. The Eye Of Infinity continues the saga of Harrison Peel, a veteran of covert wars against alien invaders, and fuses Mythos horror, quantum physics and interstellar cloak and dagger action into an instant pulp classic.

Here is what a few authors and reviewers have been saying about this novella:

I greatly enjoyed THE EYE OF INIFINITY...highly imaginative, exciting, suspenseful, thoroughly entertaining. Peel is a very human character, not some unrealistic super-man...he's easy to identify with! - Jeffrey Thomas, author Punktown, Deadstock and Letters From Hades

The Eye of Infinity is a cracking example of a modern mythos story done well. The pacing is excellent as Peel finds himself more and more out of his depth and moves steadily closer to the horrifying truth. Peel is a likeable, believable and well-rounded character and the central premise fits in well with what readers expect from this kind of yarn, with a resolution that is intelligent and satisfying - Peter Loftus, Albedo One

It grabbed me and wouldn't let go. A fast-paced read with a great plot and some DAMN scary shoggoths! - Mike Davis, Lovecraft eZine

Read more reviews here.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Jupiter 38: Pasithee

The latest issue of Jupiter magazine is out, issue 38 with my illustration on the cover.

The issue features fiction by Alex Weinle, Lou van Zyl, Jon Wallace, Colum Paget, Rosie Oliver and Allen Ashley, and a poen by Ian Sales.

Available for your Kindle direct from Amazon. Also available from Jupiter in pdf mobi, epub format and print format.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Harrison Peel Series Page

On the request of several readers, I've added a new page to my website, dedicated to my Harrison Peel series of Mythos adventures. Basically, Harrison Peel is a former Australian Army officer turned NSA consultant spy in action adventure style stories against the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos, with more science fiction elements than fantasy. Think The Bourne Identity meets At The Mountains of Madness.

Special call outs to Brian M. Sammons, John Goodrich, John Sunseri and CJ Henderson, who've all contributed to the ongoing series.

I will also thanks editors and publishers David Kernot, Cody Goodfellow, Jacob Kier, William Jones, John Manning, Glynn Barrass, Lynn Willis, Thomas Branan and Shane Jiraiya Cummings who made sure the Peel tales were the best they could be.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Second Eye of Infinity Review at Albedo One

The Eye of Infinity has a second review at Albedo One, this one in Issue 42 by Peter Loftus:

The Eye of Infinity is a cracking example of a modern mythos story done well. The pacing is excellent as Peel finds himself more and more out of his depth and moves steadily closer to the horrifying truth. Peel is a likeable, believable and well-rounded character and the central premise fits in well with what readers expect from this kind of yarn, with a resolution that is intelligent and satisfying.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Eye of Infinity Reviewed at Albedo One

The Eye of Infinity got a great review over at Albedo One from editor and publisher Robert Neilson:

The Eye of Infinty is a splendid mix of SF and cosmic horror. The action is unceasing and the pace relentless. It is almost a relief when Peel pauses to consider the dilemma presented by the relationship he has with his girlfriend and considers the one that she wishes. Peel is a hero in the true sense and one you can enjoy spending an all-too-short 84 pages with.  The novella itself, though part of a series, is comfortably self-contained, though the ending points towards a continuing story. Having read this much I would love to see Harrison Peel’s adventures at novel length.

Read the rest of the review here.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Albedo One 42

The latest issue of Albedo One is out, 42. It features fiction from Todd McCaffrey, Priya Sharma, David Murphy, Craig Saunders, Donna Thorland, Lawrence Wilson, Jean Michel Calvez and Douglas Thompson.

Included are the three winning stories (by Lauren Mulvihill, Aaron Elbel and Kathy Cronin) of the 2010 John West Brainfood.i.e. Fantasy Competition and an in-depth interview with John Meaney.

Buy issue 42  in print and digital versions.

It feels strange, but I'm not in this one. No reviews required from me in this almost exclusive fiction issue.

Is Superluminal Travel Possible

Is it possible to travel faster than the speed of light? I tend to believe it is not possible, partially because of problems with causality, but also the Fermi Paradox, which states if the universe is full of intelligent life, where is it? There are no signs of intelligent life out there, not yet at least, and if intelligent alien do exist and could travel at superluminal speeds then their chances of reaching us seems more likely. Again, the Fermi Paradox counters this.

Regardless of whether aliens with warp drives will turn up at Planet Earth anytime soon, a couple of interesting articles on superluminal travel came to my attention recently, pointed out to me from a peer at work who is into cosmology as much as I am, and I thought I'd share.

Warp drive looks more promising than ever in recent NASA studies

In Einstein's Math: Faster-Than-Light Travel?

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Cthulhu Unbound 3

The third volume of Cthulhu Unbound has just been released by Permuted Press as an e-book, and was edited by Brian M. Sammons and myself.

Here is the blurb:

The third volume of the Cthulhu Unbound series plunges deeper than ever into daring new visions of H.P. Lovecraft’s universe in four all-new novellas by five masters of the new weird tale.

This is cosmic horror as you've never seen it before. This is the Mythos in many colors, many guises. This is Cthulhu Unbound!

UNSEEN EMPIRE (Cody Goodfellow): A half-Comanche bounty hunter tracks his diabolical superhuman quarry across the Wild West and into a lost subterranean city of madness and living death beneath the Oklahoma badlands.

MIRRORRORRIM (D.L. Snell): A desperate patient seeking answers in therapy sessions for self-mutilators discovers he is incomplete in ways he never could have imagined.

NEMESIS THEORY (Tim Curran): A convict locked away in a maximum security prison has nothing left to fear, except the newest inmate: the man he murdered three years ago.

THE R'LYEH SINGULARITY (David Conyers and Brian M. Sammons): An Australian spy and a CIA operative join forces to uncover a global corporation plotting the new frontier of bio-weaponry research, using alien blood extracted from something lurking underneath the Pacific Ocean. "The R'lyeh Singularity" continues the saga of NSA consultant Harrison Peel (The Spiraling Worm and The Eye of Infinity).

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Extreme Planets Cover Illustration

Extreme Planets is slowly coming together. Most of the stories have been selected and are now being edited. The news I can share is the cover, by the very talented Paul Drummond:

Here is the blurb for the anthology:

A Science Fiction Anthology of Alien Worlds
Edited by David Conyers, David Kernot and Jeff Harris
Cover Illustration by Paul Drummond

Two decades ago astronomers confirmed the existence of planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. Today more than 800 such worlds have been identified, and scientists now estimate that at least 160 billion star-bound planets are to be found in the Milky Way Galaxy alone. But more surprising is just how diverse and bizarre those worlds are turning out to be.

Extreme Planets is a science fiction anthology of stories set on alien worlds that push the limits of what we once believe is possible in a planetary environment. Visit the bizarre moons, dwarf planets and asteroids of our own Solar Systems, and in the deeper reaches of space encounter super-Earths with extreme surface gravity, carbon planets featuring mountain ranges of pure diamond, and ocean worlds shroud with seas hundreds of kilometres thick. The challenges these worlds present to the humans that explore and colonise them are many, and are the subject matter of these tales.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011

The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011, edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, has been released, and features my collaboration with David Kernot, "Winds of Nzambi". Volume 2 covers the best fantasy and horror by Australians and New Zealanders published in 2011.

The contents are:
  • Peter M Ball "Briar Day" (Moonlight Tuber)
  • Lee Battersby "Europe After The Rain" (After the Rain, Fablecroft Press)
  • Deborah Biancotti "Bad Power" (Bad Power, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Jenny Blackford "The Head in the Goatskin Bag" (Kaleidotrope)
  • Simon Brown "Thin Air" (Dead Red Heart, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • David Conyers and David Kernot "Winds Of Nzambi" (Midnight Echo #6, AHWA)
  • Stephen Dedman "More Matter, Less Art" (Midnight Echo #6, AHWA)
  • Sara Douglass & Angela Slatter "The Hall of Lost Footsteps" (The Hall of Lost Footsteps, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Felicity Dowker "Berries & Incense" (More Scary Kisses, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Terry Dowling "Dark Me, Night You" (Midnight Echo #5, AHWA)
  • Jason Fischer "Hunting Rufus" (Midnight Echo #5, AHWA)
  • Christopher Green "Letters Of Love From The Once And Newly Dead" (Midnight Echo #5, AHWA)
  • Paul Haines "The Past Is A Bridge Best Left Burnt" (The Last Days of Kali Yuga, Brimstone Press)
  • Lisa L Hannett "Forever, Miss Tapekwa County" (Bluegrass Symphony, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Richard Harland "At The Top Of The Stairs" (Shadows and Tall Trees #2, Undertow Publications)
  • John Harwood "Face To Face" (Ghosts by Gaslight, HarperCollins)
  • Pete Kempshall "Someone Else To Play With" (Beauty Has Her Way, Dark Quest Books)
  • Jo Langdon "Heaven" (After the Rain, Fablecroft Press)
  • Maxine McArthur "The Soul of the Machine" (Winds of Change, CSFG)
  • Ian McHugh "The Wishwriter's Wife" (Daily Science Fiction)
  • Andrew J McKiernan "Love Death" (Aurealis #45, Chimaera Publications)
  • Kirstyn McDermott "Frostbitten" (More Scary Kisses, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Margaret Mahy "Wolf Night" (The Wilful Eye - Tales From the Tower #1, Allen & Unwin)
  • Anne Mok "Interview with the Jiangshi" (Dead Red Heart, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Jason Nahrung "Wraiths" (Winds of Change, CSFG)
  • Anthony Panegyres "Reading Coffee" (Overland, OL Society)
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts "The Patrician" (Love and Romanpunk, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Angela Rega "Love In the Atacama or the Poetry of Fleas" (Crossed Genres, CGP)
  • Angela Slatter "The Coffin-Maker's Daughter" (A Book of Horrors, Jo Fletcher Books)
  • Lucy Sussex "Thief of Lives" (Thief of Lies, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Kyla Ward "The Kite" (The Land of Bad Dreams, P'rea Press)
  • Kaaron Warren "All You Can Do Is Breathe" (Blood and Other Cravings, Tor)
In addition to the above tales, the volume will include a review of 2011 and a list of recommended stories.

Purchase it online at Indie Books as hardcover or tradepaper and at

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Award Winning Australian Writing 2012

David Kernot and my story "Winds of Nzambi" will be appaering in Award Winning Australian Writing 2012. Our story won the Australian Horror Writers Association's Short Fiction Award, appeared in Midnight Echo #6 and soon to be released in the Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2102.

Not bad for a story we thought we weren't entirely certain it would work.

Here is the blurb from Melbourne Books, publisher of Award Winning Australian Writing 2012:

Selections for Award Winning Australian Writing 2012 have been finalised!

Click here to view the list of included pieces, authors and competitions.

This year we received more submissions than ever, and it was very difficult for the selection team to arrive at the final list. The number of selected pieces is 52 — more than any other edition of AWAW. Coincidentally, this number mirrors how many weeks there are in a year: how very apt for a collection celebrating the National Year of Reading.

A big thank you to everyone who submitted award-winning pieces. And a special thanks to Mark Tredinnick, winner of the 2011 Montreal  Poetry Prize and 2012 Cardiff International Poetry Prize, for writing this edition's foreword.

Expect the book at your local bookshop in early November!


Monday, 4 June 2012

Midnight Echo 6 Honourable Mention in Australian Shadows

Midnight Echo 6: The Science Fiction Horror Issue, made the shortlist for the Edited category of the Australian Shadows Awards 2011. The issue was edited by David Kernot, Jason Fishcer and myself. The stories "The Wanderer in Darkness" by Andrew J. McKiernan and "Out Hunting for Teeth" by Joanne Anderton also made the shortlist in Short Stories category.

Full list of shortlists and winners can be found here. Congratulations to all.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

“Winds of Nzambi” appears in Ticonderoga’s The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror

Sometimes news comes pleasantly out the blue, and to discover recently that David Kernot and my collaboration, “Winds of Nzambi” would be appearing in Liz Grzyb’s and Talie Helene’s The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror, was exciting news indeed.

This was David and my first collaboration (we have another very different collaboration in the works) and we were earlier pleasantly surprised to discover that our story won the Australian Horror Writers Association’s Short Fiction Award for 2011, and was then published in Midnight Echo 6.
The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror features 32 stories and poems first published in 2011, from New Zealand and Australia writers, and published by Western Australian outfit, Ticonderoga Publications. The contents are:
  • Peter M Ball "Briar Day" (Moonlight Tuber)
  • Lee Battersby "Europe after the Rain" (After the Rain, Fablecroft Press)
  • Deborah Biancotti "Bad Power" (Bad Power, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Jenny Blackford "The Head in the Goatskin Bag" (Kaleidotrope)
  • Simon Brown "Thin Air" (Dead Red Heart, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • David Conyers and David Kernot "Winds of Nzambi" (Midnight Echo #6, AHWA)
  • Stephen Dedman "More Matter, Less Art" (Midnight Echo #6, AHWA)
  • Sara Douglass and Angela Slatter "The Hall of Lost Footsteps" (The Hall of Lost Footsteps, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Felicity Dowker "Berries & Incense" (More Scary Kisses, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Terry Dowling "Dark Me, Night You" (Midnight Echo #5, AHWA)
  • Jason Fischer "Hunting Rufus" (Midnight Echo #5, AHWA)
  • Christopher Green "Letters of Love from the Once and Newly Dead" (Midnight Echo #5, AHWA)
  • Paul Haines "The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt" (The Last Days of Kali Yuga, Brimstone Press)
  • Lisa L Hannett "Forever, Miss Tapekwa County" (Bluegrass Symphony, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Richard Harland "At the Top of the Stairs" (Shadows and Tall Trees #2, Undertow Publications)
  • John Harwood "Face to Face" (Ghosts by Gaslight, HarperCollins)
  • Pete Kempshall "Someone Else to Play With" (Beauty Has Her Way, Dark Quest Books)
  • Jo Langdon "Heaven" (After the Rain, Fablecroft Press)
  • Maxine McArthur "The Soul of the Machine" (Winds of Change, CSFG)
  • Ian McHugh "The Wishwriter's Wife" (Daily Science Fiction)
  • Andrew J McKiernan "Love Death" (Aurealis #45, Chimaera Publications)
  • Kirstyn McDermott "Frostbitten" (More Scary Kisses, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Margaret Mahy "Wolf Night" (The Wilful Eye - Tales From the Tower #1, Allen & Unwin)
  • Anne Mok "Interview with the Jiangshi" (Dead Red Heart, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Jason Nahrung "Wraiths" (Winds of Change, CSFG)
  • Anthony Panegyres "Reading Coffee" (Overland, OL Society)
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts "The Patrician" (Love and Romanpunk, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Angela Rega "Love in the Atacama or the Poetry of Fleas" (Crossed Genres, CGP)
  • Angela Slatter "The Coffin-Maker's Daughter" (A Book of Horrors, Jo Fletcher Books)
  • Lucy Sussex "Thief of Lives" (Thief of Lies, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Kyla Ward "The Kite" (The Land of Bad Dreams, P'rea Press)
  • Kaaron Warren "All You Can Do Is Breathe" (Blood and Other Cravings, Tor)
Special congratulations to Stephen Dedman, whose story “More Matter, Less Art” appeared in Midnight Echo #6 which David Kernot, Jason Fischer and I edited last year, to the talented team at Brimstone Press for Paul Haines "The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt" from The Last Days of Kali Yuga, and Jason Fischer for his inclusion.

The volume will include a review of 2011 and a list of recommended stories.
The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011 is scheduled for publication in July 2012 and can be pre-ordered at The anthology will be available in hardcover, ebook and trade editions.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Planetary Resources

Here is an interesting site, a company called Planetary Resources that is planning private mining of asteriods for water and metals, with the ultimate intention of reviving the Earth's economy and making space travel a reality. Ambitious stuff, but exciting and worthwhile nonetheless.

This idea, if it came to fruition, could be the first real step towards minimising our impacts on environmental destruction on Earth, because ultimately asteriod mining will be much cheaper and less damaging to the planet than conventional mining is today. Also, the energy and water resources using in mining will similarly be lessened.

The Planetary Resources solution will not solve what I consider to be Earth's biggest problem, a population of 7 billion people. At a growth rate of approximately 215,000 people a day, space travel will never lessen over-population, we could never get that many people into space. We still need to solve problems at home, and that will ultimately have to come from lessening our need on travel (particularly airline travel), consumption of goods, food wasteage and a reliance on more recycling. Still, the asteriod mining solution, if or when it proves viable, will go a long way to helping.

To really make space travel worth while, we are going to need to build a Space Elevator. With costs ranging from $5000 to $20,000 per kilogram to get material into orbit with conventional rocket technology, a space elevator seems like the only viable option. Since space elevators need to be on the equator, countries like Eucador, Kenya, the Congo or Indoneisa could be very wealthy places in the future.

Perhaps viable space travel is not that far away.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Midnight Echo 6 Reviewed

Midnight Echo 6: The Science Fiction Horror issue edited by David Kernot, Jason Fischer and myself was recently reviewed at Thirteen O'Clock.

This particular issue is dedicated to fiction that marries the genres of science fiction and horror, which leads to some truly wonderful and creepy tales. I’ve always felt those two genres go hand in hand; the future often seems bleak and a lot of sci-fi tends to venture into darker territory anyway. There’s something for everyone here, from dystopian futures to hard sci-fi to Lovecraftian mythology ... All in all I can’t recommend this issue of Midnight Echo enough. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better way to spend two dollars (and even the printed version is a steal at ten dollars). I have a feeling a subscription may be finding its way onto my credit card sometime soon. - Andrew Kliem

He also said this about David Kernot and my story in the magazine:

"Winds of Nzambi" by David Conyers and David Kernot is a unique and rather dark tale of Portuguese colonisation and gods brought to life.

Read the full review here.

Skyfall Trailer

James Bond is my number one favorite movie franchise. Casino Royale is in my top 10 favorite movies. So this fan gets excited when the trailer for Skyfall, a.k.a. Bond 23, is released. 

I just hope it's all smoke screen that the Quantum organisation is not in this movie, because I'd like to see this plotline continued.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Two Illustrations - Jupiter and The Eye of Infinity

The latest issue of Jupiter, 36 Sponde is out with my cyborg illustration on the cover. This was a character in a space opera novel I wrote a draft for some 20 years ago, which I plan to get back to one day in a completely new structure. Issue 36 is edited by Ian Redman and features new stories from Michael Sutherland, Greg McColm, Alexander Hay, Neal Clift and Dean Giles.

The other illustration is by the talented Nick Gucker, of a shoggoth infected human adapted from my novella The Eye of Infinity. Nick's illustration has been immortalised on a t-shirt produced by Scurvy Ink, entitled "Shoggoth Evolution", and is very cool indeed.

On related news, rumours have hit the Internet that The Eye of Infinity could soon be available in e-pubishing formats.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

"The Masked Messenger" makes Ellen Datlow's Honourable Mention List

It may not be big news but its still good news, to make an international Honourable Mention in a Year's Best Anthology, in this case Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year Volume 4.

The story in question was a collaboration with the very talented John Goodrich, "The Masked Messenger" appearing in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #52 edited by the equally talented David Kernot. The tale features another adventure of my ongoing character, Harrison Peel and is set in the Cthulhu Mythos cycle of stories

Here is a sample of the tale:

The Masked Messenger
David Conyers & John Goodrich

Harrison Peel counted the dead as more covered corpses rolled into the Marrakech morgue. They weren’t really humans, rather the dissected remains of their flesh, bloody in leaking body bags. The sharp, coppery smell of blood filled the room, reminding Peel of an abattoir.

Lounging next to Peel was Fabien Chemal, a spook with Morocco’s DST intelligence agency. Chemal mumbled something in Arabic about being inconvenienced by the gory spectacle. While he watched junior spooks and morgue attendants catalogue the grim remains, he offered Peel a cigarette. Peel refused, wishing instead for a good strong coffee.

“How many dead?” Peel wiped his sweaty hands on cotton pants. It should have been cold in this place. That’s how they would have done it back in the NSA. Cold to keep the body parts preserved for proper forensic analysis.

Chemal shrugged, lit his cigarette. “We don’t know yet. At least eighteen dead: five Americans, two Germans, one Spaniard. The rest were my people, but I guess your people won’t care about that.”

“I care.” Peel said as he stood. The smell of death and smoke felt constricting from his seat in a corner. “The NSA care, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”

Chemal raised an eyebrow. “I get the impression, Mr. Peel, that you were a little eager to come in person, rather than send a subordinate?”

Peel didn’t know precisely what Chemal’s rank was in the murky hierarchy of the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire. He did know that any time he didn’t spend with Chemal he would spend being tailed. They were controlling him, and this would make his job here more difficult than it needed to be.

The morgue was in the basement of Marrakech DST offices. At least one more level existed beneath their feet, reserved for DST’s prisoners and interrogation cells. In this building, the dead warranted more respect than detainees.

“Some personal reason perhaps, Mr. Peel?”

Peel ignored Chemal’s question. The Moroccan’s tone sounded too inquisitive, as if Peel were under interrogation. “You said you don’t know how many died in the blast? How’s that? And secondly I’m not sure it really was a blast. To me the bodies look like they’ve been sliced to pieces. Thousands of pieces?”

“They were ... They still will be?”

Peel’s stomach felt empty. He was confused, but then everything about yesterday’s terrorist bombing in Jemaa el-Fna square lacked any resemblance to sense. The blast had been invisible, soundless. People were shredded where they stood in the Marrakech market. Yet their clothes, wallets, purses, souvenirs and the pavement beneath them remained untouched. It was as if invisible demons had mutilated their victims with razor sharp teeth and claws.

“Do you know that some of the victims died before the blast occurred, hours, even days before?”

“I don’t understand?”

Chemal shrugged. “Neither do we ... really.” His burned-down cigarette hung precariously from his lip as he reached for another. Perhaps his need to smoke was only a need not to smell death. “Of the eighteen dead, two were market vendors who would have been in the square at the time of the blast, had they not been shredded three days earlier. The German pair were found in their homes two mornings ago in the same mutilated state.”

Friday, 13 April 2012

"The Swelling" in Innsmouth Magazine Collection Issues 1-4

My latest release is a reprint, of my one and only King in Yellow tale, "The Swelling", released in Innsmouth Magazine: Collected Issues 1-4 from Innsmouth Free Press and edited by Paula R. Stiles and Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

This e-book collects the first four issues of Innsmouth Magazine. Journey to Innsmouth, work at the office and the job from hell, find evil at sea, listen to the lament of the black goat, and most of all experience the horrific, weird and fantastic.

Stories by Nick Mamatas, Ann K. Schwader, Orrin Grey, David Conyers, Charles R. Saunders, Nadia Bulkin, and many others.

Read the story here.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The House of R'lyeh Announced

Chaosium have just announced their next book, which I co-edited with Glyn White and contributed one and a half gaming scenarios. Out in Winter 2012 (or Summer 2012 if you live on the opposite side of the world to me).

Five Scenarios Based on H.P. Lovecraft Tales
Cover Art by Scott Purdy

The House of R’lyeh contains five scenarios that closely follow the events of H.P. Lovecraft stories. They are set in Boston, Providence, the British Isles, continental Europe and the Middle East. None of the scenarios need to be played at set dates or in a set order, but they could be run in the order presented to form a loose campaign using optional links between scenarios to draw investigators from one to the other.

Alternatively, the scenarios may be used to supplement classic Call of Cthulhu campaigns such as The Shadows of Yog-Sothoth and The Fungi from Yuggoth, the latter currently in print as The Day of the Beast, both of which suggest their component scenarios should be interspersed with others.

The first scenario in this book, “The Art of Madness” (Brian Courtemanche) follows on from the events of the Lovecraft tale “Pickman’s Model”. Artist of the macabre, Richard Upton Pickman, is now a ghoul living a subterranean netherworld beneath Boston creating a new school of art. There are several ways that player characters might be drawn into investigating his macabre activities and, while dangerous, Pickman’s intent is not particularly lethal. The difficulty for investigators will be to resolve the situation without becoming compromised.

While in New England, the investigators discover “The Crystal of Chaos” (Peter Gilham with David Conyers), a retelling of the events of Lovecraft’s “The Haunter of the Dark”. Hired by professors of Miskatonic University, the investigator seek out a fabled crystal with origins in Ancient Egypt, but they soon find a far greater evil lurks in an abandoned church in Providence. This scenario originally appeared in Different Worlds issue 34, May/June 1984, and has been expanded and revised in this publication.

“The Return of the Hound” (Glyn White) draws investigators an auction in Yorkshire, in England, where a rare edition of the Necronomicon is going to be sold. The previous owners, the decadent occultists from Lovecraft’s “The Hound”, are dead, as that tale recounts, but what they unearthed in ‘a Holland churchyard’ has grown strong, and has schemes of its own to fulfill. The amount of danger the investigators face is dependent on how determined they are not to let this Necronomicon fall into the wrong hands.

“The Jermyn Horror” (David Conyers) takes place in Britain, beginning in London and then moving to Huntingdon with the investigators seeking a rare edition of Regnum Congo, reputedly to be found in the crumbling estate of the deceased Jermyn family as described in Lovecraft’s “Arthur Jermyn”. The search is imperiled by a creature that a Jermyn brought back from the Congo some three hundred years ago that haunts the mansion seeking a human vessel for its escape.

“Nameless City, Nameless Terrors” (Brian M. Sammons) concludes this collection with an expedition into the heart of Arabia’s Empty Quarter in search of Irem as described in Lovecraft’s “The Nameless City”. This scenario requires investigators to risk their bodies and their minds as, in the midst of the desolate ruins of Irem, the investigators learn something of the nature of the Great Old Ones, and perhaps forestall the rising of Cthulhu from his watery grave.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

"Expectant Green" reviewed on SF Crowsnest

Rod MacDonald over at SF Crowsnest gave my latest short story publication, "Expectant Green", a rather cool review:

The opening piece, ‘Expectant Green’ by David Conyers and John Kenny, was very well written. The attention of the reader was hooked by the first couple of paragraphs and from then on it was compelling stuff right through to the end of this adventure story. Francesca's youthful spirit had been deflated because her mother's death had forced her to leave home on Mars to join her father on the planet Morrocoy. Not only was this a rather steamy hot world, uncomfortable even on a mild day, the religiously imposed restrictions on technology meant that there wasn't much in the way of entertainment.

Her father was absent-minded but focused on alien anthropology. Convinced that there was a form of insect life on the planet, his efforts to find it had been squashed over the years by all manner of setbacks. With his goal in sight, Francesca was being dragged into the jungle. Unfortunately, there seemed to be plenty of shady characters on Morrocoy and, as luck would have it, they became involved in the search. Atmospheric and engaging, this well told story is a delight to read.

Edited and published by Ian Redman, issue 35 of Jupiter can be purchased here and here on Kindle, or here in print format.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

2012 Ditmar Awards

It is award season again, and the Aurealis Awards finalists announced and the Australian Shadows not far behind. Ditmar's too, the Australian speculative fiction most popular awards a ramping up, with anyone 'active' in the industry able to vote, regardless of whether you are from this country or not.

If you want to vote for me, great, and here is how. I'm eligible in the following categories and I've noted which stories I think have been my favorites and from what I can accertain the most popular of my work for this year:
  • Best Novella or Novellette, "The Eye of Infinity", Perilous Press
  • Best Short Story, "The Advertising Imperative", Ticon4 (read the story here)
  • Best Collected Work, Midnight Echo 6, ed. David Conyers, David Kernot and Jason Fischer.
  • Best Fan Writer, Interview with Charles Stross, Midnight Echo 6
  • Best Fan Artist, Cover, Jupiter 33. (image included above)
To vote simply go to this form and fill it in. If I'm known to you, please use me as a referee for eligibility, espeically if you are not Australian. If you want to vote for more than just me, and there are plenty of good outpourings this year, go to the full list here.
If you do vote for me to win a Ditmar, thank you very much.

Entries close Friday 13 April 2012, or Thursdayt 12 April 2012 if you live anywhere between Europe and the Americas.

Monday, 19 March 2012


Prometheus, it's Ridley Scott doing science fiction, so I'm excited about this movie. There aren't many good sci-fi films, the last one was Inception. Hopefully this one is just as good, but going by the trailer, and Scott's classic sci-fi movies Alien and Bladerunner, this one has lots of promise:

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Undead & Unbound Cover Art by Paul Mudie

Here is the cover art for the anthology Undead & Unbound by the very talented UK artist Paul Mudie.

The anthology, edited by Brian M. Sammons and myself shall be released by Chaosium Inc. later this year. The illustration features elements from the included stories "I Am Legion", "Thunder in Old Kilpatrick", "Descanse En Paz", "Mother Blood" and "In the House of a Million Years".

Monday, 20 February 2012

Eldritch Chrome featuring "Playgrounds of Angolaland"

Every now and then editors come up with fantastic ideas for anthologies that resonate with the tones of ‘why hasn’t someone done this before’, so when Brian M Sammons and Glynn Barrass came up with the idea for a cross-genre of Cyberpunk and Cthulhu Mythos stories, Eldritch Chrome, I had to submit something. Thankfully my story, “Playgrounds of Angolaland” was accepted. Set in Antarctica, my tale involves a cyberteam out to scam a corporation that has made one too many unwholesome deals with elder alien beings. Oh, and it is kind of a Harrison Peel tale.
Here is the table of contents, in no particular order:
Eldritch Chrome
  • “Playgrounds of Angolaland” by David Conyers
  • “The Blowfly Manifesto” by Tim Curran
  • “SymbiOS” by William Meikle
  • “Obsolete, Absolute” by Robert M. Price
  • “Open Minded” by Jeffrey Thomas
  • “The Battle of Arkham” by Peter Rawlik
  • “The Wurms in the Grid” by Nickolas Cook
  • “Of Fractals, Fantomes, Frederic and Filrodj” by John Shirley
  • “The Gauntlet” by Glynn Barrass and Brian M. Sammons
  • “Indifference” by CJ Henderson
  • “Dreams of Death” by Lois Gresh
  • “Inlibration” by Michael Tice
  • “Immune” by Terrie Leigh Relf
  • “Hope Abandoned” by Tom Lynch
  • “Sonar City” by Sam Stone
  • “The Place that Cannot Be” by D.L. Snell
  • “Flesh and Scales” by Ran Cartwright
  • “Real Gone” by David Dunwoody
  • “CL3ANS3” by Carrie Cuinn
To be published by Chaosium some time in 2012. More details as they occur.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

"Expectant Green" with John Kenny in Jupiter 35

"Expectant Green", my first collaboration with Irish speculative fiction author and editor, John Kenny, is now available in Jupiter 35, edited by Ian Redman with a terrific cover from Sam Mardon. My first publication for 2012 and its my favorite genre, space opera, and out in print and epub formats. An extract follows:


David Conyers and John Kenny

One hundred days disappeared in a single second while I was dead, or as near dead as you could get without crossing over to that unknown country.
I was in cryosuspension along with twelve-hundred other passengers, encased in the hull of a wormhole transgressor bound for Morrocoy in the Sagan-89 System. Morrocoy was the last place in the galaxy I wanted to be, but I didn’t have a choice in the matter.
With that curious sense of dislocation engendered by cryosleep, I opened my eyes and felt, despite an unchanged view of diamond glass and life support readouts, that I was somewhere else.
A familiar face approached; all smiles and warmth.  “Mum!” I cried before I crawled into her arms, held her tight and sobbed.
Another woman spoke to me. Her tone sounded cautious. “I’m sorry Ms. Leyton, but I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.” When I didn’t move, afraid to, the stranger said:  “I’m Nereda Courtemanche, your CS recovery nurse.”
I looked up, saw that the woman who held me was no more than a few years my senior. She had a pretty face like my mother, but with freckles and red instead of dark hair worn in a ponytail.
“Oh, I am so sorry.”
I quickly clambered from of her arms. I couldn’t look at her. I felt like I was about to die.
“This is so embarrassing. I’m so sorry.”
I tried to run, but tripped on wobbly legs.
The nurse caught me. “That’s okay, Francesca.” She supported me gently, sat me down. “Just give yourself a minute. Waking from CS is disorientating for anyone. I felt the same three days ago when I woke.”
I glimpsed at Nereda through the corner of my eye. At least I had not imagined her smile, which still beamed for me.
“Let me find where your mother is, and I’ll reunite you.”
“She’s not here,” I blurted.
“Oh. Sorry to hear that.” Nereda clasped her hands together tightly. “You must really miss her?”
I didn’t respond. I should have said something to make her feel better, even if I couldn’t feel that way myself.
She scratched the back of her head, her eyes wandered, searched for something other than me to focus on. “Well, you’ve arrived Francesca Leyton. Morrocoy is where you leave us, right?”
I nodded.
“Is someone waiting to meet you?”
“I hope...yes, someone me.”
“Well that’s good. Good luck down there.”
Nereda gave me three cups of water, helped me to dress, then left me with one of the ship AI’s extensor bots which made me perform a regime of stretching exercises. By the time I was done I no longer felt disorientated and was ready to tell Nereda the real reason why my mother wasn’t with me, but she was long gone.
With remarkable swiftness, given that the transgressor had travelled so many light years across the galaxy for so long, I was processed through customs and security where, despite my protests all my tech items where confiscated from my luggage, and shuttled to the planet’s only spaceport. No one else smiled at me, and all I could feel as the blue-green planet grew large through the view portals was empty and cold.
An hour later I was blinking in the bright sunlight, standing in the hot, dusty street watching a motley crew of locals shamble along, dragging pack animals behind them.
I thought about what I had wanted to say to the Nereda, but I couldn’t quiet believe what had happened myself. Only three weeks ago subjective time I had been standing over the destroyed body of my mother. The distance I had travelled and the stark contrasts between Mars and this alien planet conspired to place the death of my mother at a remove that seemed almost a lifetime ago. And yet the loss of her was so recent that the reality of her absence had not sunk in; I felt nothing, couldn’t feel anything. Being thrust into this new and foreign environment promised only to extend the duration of my numbness.
Sweeping my shoulder length hair back and into a scrunchy, I fished a beaked cap from my travel bag to shade my eyes. Now I could better see the dilapidated sun-scorched wooden buildings that lined the unpaved street that stretched east and west for a couple of hundred metres before meeting walls of dense jungle foliage. Along this stretch a number of streets branched off to the north towards the main part of the town.
No sign of my father. Wearily, I unfolded the piece of paper handed to me by the porter as I had exited the building behind me. Oh, great. It gave the name of the hotel where I could find my one surviving parent and directions on how to get there. Heaving a sigh of tiredness and frustration, I hitched my travel bag on my shoulder and marched towards the first turnoff heading north.
If I’d told Nereda what had really happened to my mother I would have cried for a very long time. I couldn’t help wondering if I would have felt better now if I had.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Coming Soon: Undead & Unbound

A new anthology edited by Brian M. Sammons and myself, hopefully out later this year. Here is the (unofficial) blurb and author list:

Undead & Unbound
Undead: from ancient mummies to shrunken heads and floating vampire heads, from medieval warrior wights to conquistador skeletons and resurrected faeries, the undead haunt in many and unexpected guises.

Unbound: from the jungles of South America to the gold fields of the Wild West, in occupied Europe and along the banks of the Nile, to the ice fields of the North Pole and the wastelands of Mars, nowhere is safe from undead infestation.

Undead & Unbound: A collection of nineteen new horror stories by twenty leading horror authors from across the globe.
  • “Blind Item” by Cody Goodfellow
  • “Dead Baby Keychain Blues” by Gary McMahon
  • “A Personal Apocalypse” by Mercedes M. Yardley
  • “The Unexpected” by Mark Allan Gunnells
  • “Incarnate” by David Dunwoody
  • “Marionettes” by Robert Neilson
  • “Undead Night of the Undeadest Undead” by C.J. Henderson
  • “I Am Legion” by Robert M. Price
  • “When Dark Things Sleep” by Damien Walters Grintalis
  • “Descanse En Paz” by William Meikle
  • “Thunder in Old Kilpatrick” by Gustavo Bondoni
  • “Phallus Incarnate” by Glynn Owen Barrass
  • “Wreckers” by Tom Lynch
  • “Scavenger” by Oscar Rios
  • “In the House of Millions of Years” by John Goodrich
  • “Romero 2.0” by Brian M. Sammons and David Conyers
  • “Mother Blood” by Scott David Aniolowski
  • “The Unforgiving Court” by David Schembri
  • “North of the Arctic Circle” by Peter Rawlik
Published by Chaosium.

Midnight Echo 6 interviews: Mark Farrugia

Midnight Echo 6, the Science Fiction Horror special is well and truly out, in electronic and print versions. For the last interview it seems appropriate we speak with the last author in the collection, Mark Farrugia and his end of the world story “Seeds”.


1. What is your favourite Sci-fi horror novel or short story and why?

Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson is my favourite SF-horror novel. I’ve always been fascinated by the concepts of fractured realities and merging planes of existence. Combine those with a computer simulation designed to preserve intergalactic consciousness, which has been infected by a virus, and I am hooked.

As for SF-horror short stories there are lots of classics that spring to mind. We Can Remember It for You Wholesale by Philip K. Dick and To Serve Man by Damon Knight were SF-horror I enjoyed years ago. More recently I have enjoyed Jason Fischer’s Jesusman series, Stroboscopic by Alastair Reynolds, A Hundredth Name by Christopher Green and The Laughing Girl of Bora Fanong by John Dixon and Adam Browne.

2. Tell us about your story and what your influences are?

“Seeds” is set in a dystopian version of Melbourne, which has reverted to a regressive theocracy. It’s a brutal world and I am sure it won’t appeal to everyone.  

Influences? The idea for “Seeds”  was inspired by the work of New Zealand born, Melbourne writer Paul Haines. For a long time I couldn’t get Paul’s story “Wives” out of my mind, especially the voice of the main character Jimbo. As an aside, I was also working in State politics at the time I wrote “Seeds”, perhaps that influenced my perspective too.

On a subconscious level at least, “Seeds” was also influenced by other dystopian fiction I’ve read over the years. V for Vendetta and Watchmen (Alan Moore), On The Far Side Of The Cadillac Desert With The Dead Folks (Joe R Lansdale), 1984 (George Orwell), Undead Camels Ate My Flesh (Jason Fischer), Y – The Last Man (Brain Vaughan), Frank Miller (Sin City, The Dark Knight Returns) and Philip K Dick (too many stories to list) have all influenced me somewhat with the unique worlds they’ve created.

3. Tell us something about yourself as a writer that isn't common knowledge?

I’ve written a sequel to “Seeds”. It’s called “The March of the Amputee”.

Mark Farrugia

I think his name is Martin but the *doof-doof* beat from the bar outside is too loud for me to be certain exactly what he said. Shirt open and leaning against the basin, his body is doused in sweat. Like rotting wood in an overgrown paddock, a crucifix lies partially hidden amongst the grey hairs on his chest. It trembles with each beat of his heart, but I know this man doesn’t believe in God. Not really; if he did he wouldn’t be here with me. Inside the churches and cathedrals we are forced to pay homage on our knees, but out here in the real world there are other ways to pay tribute, other sacrifices to make.

It’s over. I rub my throat. I should get up but my legs are still numb from kneeling against the cold tiled floor.

Skin like ash, the sombre lines that scar Martin’s face are visible through short stubble. He lights a cigarette and exhales rings of smoke. I used to be able to do that. Now it just makes my eyes water, distorting my vision. For a moment, in the full-length mirror behind Martin, the image of me merges with him and he looks down at me like a perverted reflection.

Shit. My head knocks against the washbasin. Yellow-brown stains and a swab of squashed gum cling to the porcelain. On top of the basin a fold of $100 bills, weighed down by a lump of dirty soap, waits for me. The money is mine. I’ve fucking earned it.

As Martin zips up, I stand. The taste of latex is strong but I know it’s better than the mouthful trapped inside the flaccid rubber. Using the sheath and receiving five hundred instead of four were the only concessions I could gain. My minor victories, I suspect, are the little sacrifices Martin makes to keep his conscious clear. Perhaps the crucifix weighs heavier than I thought. Religion; it’s all about sacrifice, isn’t it?

Did a man called Jesus really die for me? Is that even possible? I suspect he just died and the rest is bullshit. Martin drapes his shirt over the crucifix, concealing it as he does up the buttons. The God symbol is gone. He puffs more smoke and the end of the cigarette edges towards his fingers.
The Righteous say humanity is going to Hell. It’s been almost 75 years since the last female was born. The few alive are all too old to give birth—cunts as dry as the Simpson Desert—but they were harvested for their eggs when they were younger. The Harvest was a blessing, but the supply of eggs will soon be exhausted. The Righteous say the X-Zone Virus is God’s way of forcing man to repent. Repent for what? Guys like Martin and I, we said fuck it and took a different path.

Biography – Mark Farrugia

Mark Farrugia’s writing credits include the blood n’guts dragon fantasy A Bag Full of Arrows, which received an honorable mention from Ellen Datlow for 2010, and the vampire comic series Allure of the Ancients (illustrated by Greg Chapman). His fiction has appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (ASIM) 48, Midnight Echo 3, 5 and now 6, Borderlands 11, Eclecticism 12 and AntiopdeanSF. declared Mark’s flash fiction amongst its favorites of 2009 and 2010.  Mark edited ASIM46 and co-edited ASIM Best of Horror Volume 2. Mark is the AHWA’s Critique Group Manager.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Always Good to Get a Nice Review

A story I wrote over five years ago, "Soft Viscosity", got a rather nice review from sf writer, Guy Salvidge on his website. In fact, it was his favorite story in the anthology: 
"Soft Viscosity” by David Conyers is the longest story in 2012 and it’s probably my personal favourite. Set in South America, it features Ecuadorian terrorists, an oil war, the machinations of the CIA, and more. Told from multiple points of view, the story weaves together disparate narratives that are all nevertheless infused with dark and gritty violence. "Soft Viscosity” demonstrates a level of realism greater than in some of the other stories in this volume, and indeed in speculative fiction in general. There’s enough material for a novel in here, and yet Conyers packs it into twenty or so incendiary pages. - Guy Salvidge
Always nice to get a good review.
When I was asked by the editors to write a story for the 2012 anthology, I thought it was going to be a collection of science fiction, but most of the stories selected were fantasy or weird speculative fiction, so my tale feels a little out of place. That said, there were excellent stories in the book from Sean McMullen and Dirk Flinthart who wrote strong sci-fi pieces. Still, I must have done something right because my story got a 2009 Ditmar Award nomination.
I'm not sure if the anthology is still in print or not. Perhaps I should post "Soft Viscosity" on my website.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

New Extreme Planets Website and D.L. Snell Market Scoops Interview

David Kernot, co-editor of Extreme Planets anthology has set up a website specifically for the book. We'll be posting updates, news on the book, links to interesting sites about exoplanets and sources for ideas for submissions, and anything else that interests us.
The first news item is my interview with D.L. Snell for Snell's Market Scoops, on what we are looking for in submissions.
More news on the website.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Albedo One Issue 41 Released with Iain M Banks Interview

Issue 41 of Albedo One has just been released, and this issue features an interview I conducted with Iain M. Banks.  

Issue 41

Having set ourselves the considerable challenge of following our last issue of Albedo One (number 40) with its bumper 100 pages featuring no less than 12 fine stories, we now proudly present our latest issue. Issue 41 features an interview by David Conyers with Iain M. Banks and boasts the same redesigned look from issue 40 with interior artwork accompanying the fiction.
The issue features stories by Bruce McAllister ("Demon") and Eric Brown ("Differences"). We also proudly present the three winning stories of the International Aeon Award 2010 Short Fiction Contest, "Aethra" by Michalis Manolios, "Pinocchio" by Jacob Garbe and "A Room of Empty Frames" by Robin Maginn. Further excellent fiction is provided by Peter C. Loftus ("Reflected Glory"), Judy Klass ("Lost Highway Travellers") and Francisco Mejia ("Nathan Swindle and the Citadel"). The issue continues our programme of translations with an English translation of Jan J.B. Kuiper's surreal fantasy "Blavatsky's Knee", translated from Dutch by Roelof Goudriaan.
We are also proud to feature the three winning stories from the 2010 John West Fantasy Writing Competition. Students aged 11 to 20 from all over Ireland were asked to ‘feed their imaginations’ and compose a short story based in the fantasy/science fiction genre. Almost 5,000 entries were received from students nationwide. The competition judges were Frank P. Ryan and A. J. Healy. The winners were 13 year old Lauren Mulvihill (the overall winner) from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, with "Ways of Making Maths More Interesting", 12 year old Kathy Cronin from Tralee, Co. Kerry, who won the ‘Senior Primary Category’ and 17 year old Aaron Elbel from Killarney, Co. Kerry, who won the ‘Senior Secondary Category’. Albedo One is delighted to see the writing of speculative fiction receive such an impetus in Irish schools.
Issue 41 of Albedo One features cover art by Richard Wagner and the interior artwork comes courtesy of Anastasia Alexandrin. It is available for purchase now in low-cost pdf format and will be available for purchase in print in the coming days.

Extract from the Interview:

David: You’ve been using the Culture in numerous novels since 1987 with the release of Consider Phlebas, and at lot has changed since then in our understanding of science and in technological advan cements. Do you find it difficult keeping the Culture setting relevant with respect to these developments?

Iain: Not too difficult; partly this is luck and partly cunning plan. I set the Culture in what for us would be a medium range future, but where a lot of the gizmology has either shrunk to the point you can’t see it or been put to the task of making things look like a much earlier, even lo-tech version of paradise, largely for aesthetic reasons. The ships are effectively the Culture’s mega-cities, while the places where the vast majority of people live – the Orbitals – are generally quite rural or even apparently wild, with all the infrastructure and fast transport stuff hidden on the underside, in vacuum. Any engineering and storage space is inside the mountains, which are mostly hollow. I just decided really early on – partly from looking at how and where people with vast amounts of money/power have chosen to live their lives throughout history – that what people really like is lots of space both outside and in, with a view over unspoiled countryside, though with the connectivity of a city. So that’s what Orbitals have. (The ones featured in the stories so far, anyway; probably about time to mix that up a little.)
The same idea of using hi-tech to go back to something earlier also applies to Culture humans themselves; I did think of Borg-like amendments and uploading into all sorts of techy and bio weirdness – and all that does happen and is mentioned in the stories – but I decided that in the end the machines (builtfrom-scratch machines) would always do that stuff better, so humans – after going through a civilisational phase of trying everything – would mostly revert to being recognisably human, though with significant changes. All the Culture bodily bio-upgradings are just the things I thought it would be cool to have, like drug glands, slower ageing, a wider visible radiation spectrum, the ability to change sex, pain control etc. There’s also the assumption that all the humans are just born smart; my working premise has always been that if I was a Culture citizen, I’d be of slightly below average intelligence (and, trust me, I have a – probably unjustifiably – high opinion of my own cleverness).
Making the ships fully sentient and masters/mistresses of their own destiny seemed obvious too, back in the Seventies when I was putting all this stuff together. It appeared clear that strong and constantly improving AI would be here by the time we had true interstellar travel and that having a human captain issuing orders to a ship AI would be as comical as a human being bossed about by a flea.
The idea is that machines can do everything better than humans except be human (and, arguably, have fun), so let the humans not even bother trying to compete in other areas, and concentrate on being human. Putting all this far enough in the future, and after that phase of trying out the sort of stuff that Transhumanists here on Earth are talking about now seemed like a good way of future-proofing the stories right from the start. Oh, and terminals; I kind of got that right; terminals are the smart phones of the future, though it’s almost all done by voice. Again, for a while they’d have been implanted, but that would just have been a fashion.
Happily, the cosmology behind the scenes in the Culture stories (the whole nested universes thing) is so insane that even the discovery of dark matter, dark energy and so on made nary a dent in its essential ludicrousness; it’s as absurd now as it was then.

SF Crowsnest Reviews Midnight Echo 6

Midnight Echo 6: The Science Fiction Issue is reviewed on SF Crowsnest:    

The overall quality of the fiction was of a high standard, professional in its delivery and command of the English language. A pleasing range of styles and subject matter, sufficient to keep you interested all the way through the magazine.
Read the rest of the review here.

Midnight Echo 6 interviews: Stephen Dedman

Midnight Echo 6, the Science Fiction Horror Issue is well and truly out, but the interviews are still going. Today we focus on one of Australia’s most successful short speculative fiction authors, Stephen Dedman, who contributed a science fiction tale focused on the dangers of new technology and child pornography.    
1. What is your favourite Sci-fi horror novel or short story and why? 
Probably “The Shadow over Innsmouth”, because it's so convincing, and because it tricks you into expecting a happy ending until you remember that it's a Lovecraft story. Runners-up would be The Andromeda Strain, which scared the bejesus out of me when I was twelve, and for the TV work of Nigel Kneale, particularly Quatermass and the Pit and The Stone Tape.
2. Tell us about your story and what your influences are?  
A few years ago, I wrote a story called “Desiree”, about a teenager who falls in love with what might be a girl, or might only be software capable of passing a Turing test; he never finds out which, because he can't afford the license fee after the free trial runs out. “More Matter, Less Art” is a sort of sequel to that, where the sex robot had a body. I made the robot a child partly because it would be easier to program, but mostly in response to news stories about things that might or might not legally count as child pornography – Bill Henson's photographs; fan cartoons of Lisa Simpson having sex (and the logo for the 2012 Olympics); children's faces photoshopped over the faces of porn performers; and, of course, real child-sized sex dolls. The Britart content came about because Damien Hirst had also been in the news, and remembering some of the work and statements by Young British Artists such as the Chapmans made me wonder what could and could not be defended by calling it modern art and where the dividing line might be between that and child porn.
3. Tell us something about yourself as a writer that isn't common knowledge?    
I once wrote a non-fiction book for children, Bone Hunters, that made more money for me than any of my novels (mainly thanks to Educational Lending Right, rather than the publisher).
More Matter, Less Art
Stephen Dedman
Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves that they have a better idea.—John Ciardi
Bianca sat on the bed, watching. “Hello,” she said, smiling. Her voice was as childlike as her body and face, and she rarely said anything else without being spoken to first. Her facial recognition software was good enough that she remembered Boyce’s face, and would smile when she saw him or change her own expression to mirror his. Her eyes could also track him if he moved, and if he turned away, she would say goodbye.
He didn’t turn away, but stood there staring at her as the room grew darker. Neither of them spoke, and a casual observer might have wondered which of them was actually alive.
Zygotic acceleration, biogenetic, de-sublimated libidinal model, a sculpture by Turner nominees Jake and Dinos Chapman, was made up of fiberglass mannequins of children, their torsos fused into one great blob, their heads sticking out at different angles. They were naked but for sneakers, and while the central mass was as sexless as an amoeba, some of the children’s noses were replaced with erect penises and their mouths with round orifices that might have been gaping vaginas or anuses crafted by someone who’d never seen either, except maybe in a porn movie.
The sexually ambiguous childlike figures who populated the brothers’ Tragic Anatomies were also fused together, though in separate couplings or threesomes, and also wearing sneakers as they ambled through a garden of artificial plants. Boyce’s expression didn’t change as he moved from this installation to Death. This appeared to be two sex dolls 69-ing: Boyce knew that the bodies were actually cast from bronze, but the Chapmans had done a remarkable job of making this look like plastic.
A placard nearby lamented the destruction of their piece titled *Hell* in a Momart warehouse fire, and showed a ‘Momart’ Zippo lighter the brothers had designed in response. It also quoted Jake Chapman describing the murder of a Liverpool toddler as ‘a good social service’. Boyce shook his head slightly as he walked out of the gallery.
Biography – Stephen Dedman 

Stephen Dedman is the author of the novels The Art of Arrow Cutting and Shadows Bite and more than 120 published short stories (for a full bibliography, go to He has won the Aurealis and Ditmar awards, and been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, the British Science Fiction Association Award, the Sidewise Award, the Seiun Award, the Spectrum Award, and a sainthood. He lives in Western Australia, and enjoys reading, travel, movies, complicated relationships, talking to cats, and startling people.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The 2011 Scorecard

At the end of year I like to do a writing retrospective of the year that was and a look forward to future publications. Previous year scorecards can be found here.

I’m still managing to achieve around five short story / novella publications a year. This year they comprised of four horror, one science fiction and one sf/horror blend. I’m writing far more science fiction these days but I’m obviously selling more horror, hopefully that balance will change. The first two stories are part of my Harrison Peel series, the first original Peel stories since The Spiraling Worm came out in 2007:
  • The Eye of Infinity (Perilous Press, USA)
  • “The Masked Messenger” with John Goodrich in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #53 (Australia)
  • “The Advertising Imperative” in Ticon4
  • “Winds of Nzambi” with David Kernot in Midnight Echo #6 (Australia) which incidentally won the Australian Horror Writers Association’s Short Story Competition
  • “The Nightmare Dimension” in Rage Against the Darkness (Brimstone Press, Australia)
  • “An Angel of Frequency” in Melbourne by Dusk (Australia).
My favourite of my own work of this year would easily be The Eye of Infinity.

On the award front of was nominated for the Australian Shadows Award with my horror short story “Dream Machine”, published in Scenes from the Second Storey from Morrigan Books in 2010.
I also co-edited with David Kernot and Jason Fischer Midnight Echo 6, the Science Fiction Horror Issue, which is now my second edited publication. I interviewed Charles Stross and Chris Moore for this issue.
For Albedo One #40 I reviewed Wireless by Charles Stross, Year’s Best SF 15 by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, Cosmos #36 by Wilson da Silva, plus some online reviews. I also participated in Shane Jiraiya Cummings’ online discussions of the future of e-publishing, and provided cover art for two issues of Jupiter Magazine.
I didn’t write that much this year, and still didn’t get started on my novel. I put that down to turmoil in the global markets which forced me to move jobs and cities against (Sydney back to Adelaide), and settling into a new job. My situation is much more stable than it has been in about six years.
Publications coming out in 2012 that I can talk about include:
  • “Expectant Green” with John Kenny in Jupiter #35 (United Kingdom)
  • “The Road to Afghanistan” in What Scares the Bogeyman? (Fantom Enterprises, USA)
  • “Romero 2.0” with Brian M. Sammons in Undead & Unbound (Chaosium Inc., USA)
  • “The R’lyeh Singularity” with Brian M. Sammons  in Cthulhu Unbound 3 (Permuted Press, USA)
  • “Nomad Flora” in Darwin’s Evolutions (USA).
I’ve also got two anthologies coming out in 2012, the first is Cthulhu Unbound 3 which I co-edited with Brian M. Sammons and features novellas from Cody Goodfellow, D.L. Snell, Tim Curran and a Harrison Peel collaboration with Brian M. Sammons. The other is Undead & Unbound also co-edited with Brian M. Sammons which will feature horror stories from authors such as Cody Goodfellow, Gary McMahon, C.J. Henderson, Damien Walters Grintalis and others. I’m also co-editing with David Kernot and Jeff Harris Extreme Planets, a science fiction/space opera anthology for which we are currently seeking submissions.
Thanks this year to David Kernot, Cody Goodfellow, Olivia Kernot, Brian M. Sammons, Paul Drummond, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, John Kenny, Frank Ludlow, Bob Neilson, Peter Loftus, Angela Challis, Marty Young, Jason Fischer, Jacob Kier, Jeff Harris, Glynn Owen Barrass, C.J. Henderson, Ian Redman, and many others too numerous to name here.