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.