Wednesday, 30 January 2013

New Harrison Peel tale “The Road to Afghanistan”

My latest Harrison Peel adventure, “The Road to Afghanistan” has just been released in the anthology What Scares the Boogeyman? Edited by John Manning and published by Perseid Press. This story takes Peel to Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan in his hunt to track down Taliban controlled weapons of mass destruction of the otherworldly kind.

Here is the line-up for What Scares the Boogeyman?:
  • “Boogeyman Blues” by Janet Morris
  • “The Boogeyman’s Wife” by Nancy Asire
  • “The Road to Afghanistan” by David Conyers
  • “The Fear of the Lord” by Robert M. Price
  • “The River Witch” by J.D. Fritz
  • “The Cold” by Jason Cordova
  • “Blood and Ochre” by Thomas Barczak
  • “Testament of Tuff” by C. Dean Andersson
  • “Night of the Bettys” by Beverly Hale
  • “Jack the Raptor” by Chris Morris
  • “Failure to Comply” by Michael H. Hanson
  • “The Shadow of a Doubt” by Larry Atchley, Jr.
  • “L’Uomo Nero” by Richard Groller
  • “Bad Mustard” by Bill Snider
  • “Grandma” by Wayne Borean
  • “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” by John Manning
  • “Apis Primatus” by Bettina Meister
  • “Under the Bed” by Shirley Meier

 Here is an excerpt from “The Road to Afghanistan”:


David Conyers

 The three days it took Harrison to flee the black desert of western Pakistan, he barely slept. When the saw the dusk lights of Rawalpindi he felt relief; street lights meant normalcy and a safe place to rest.

When Peel drove into the city’s heart he was forcibly slowed, melded with the busy evening traffic. Despite the late hour, he passed busy bazaars and crowded alleys. Hindu temples and Muslim shrines were clean and complete compared to cheaply constructed apartment blocks and government offices, with their rusting reo jutting from upper unfinished levels. Mounds of stinking garbage piled against chipped walls. Woman’s faces on billboards were ‘veiled’ with black paint while men were left untouched.

Peel reached the Hoodbhoy Orphanage as it was closing. Identified by his National Security Agency employers three days earlier, he had been assured the institution’s reputation was sound. Foreign and local journalists’ accounts spoke highly of their director, a Muslim who accepted all wards, regardless of their religion, gender or ethnicity.

Peel parked in the courtyard. His aching muscles protested as he clambered from the old Soviet Army truck. As he unlatched the rear door, two dozen red and blinking eyes stared back. It took the first child several minutes to shuffle forward and step into their new home, and into a new life.

“Mr. Peel?”

“Yes Sir?” he snapped in a moment of disorientation. Embarrassed, he scratched at the dirt caked to his millimeter thick hair. He felt drunk. He wasn’t. He was dead tired.

“Thank you for saving these children, Mr. Peel.” Rashid Hoodbhoy spoke softly, with a formal and precise command of the English language. He watched, with a gentle smile, his volunteers aid the children as they clambered from the stolen truck. Many had to be carried. All needed water. A few with infected wounds were attended to with bandages and disinfectant.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Lynn Willis

It was sad news to hear that Lynn Wills at Chaosium recently died. Lynn was Chaosium's editor in chief and instrumental in making Call of Cthulhu the game on 18 January 2013. He will be greatly missed. I found him to be an excellent editor. He was the first editor I worked with, and he was instrumental in making my books Secrets of Kenya, Cthulhu’s Dark Cults and The Spiraling Worm, amongst my other early Chaosium projects, what they became today.
Here are what several key contributors to the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, which Lynn directed for many decades, had to say about him:

“He was incredibly smart, astonishingly widely read, detail oriented, and capable. He is largely responsible for the high quality, playability, and popularity of the leading horror RPG in our field.” – Charlie Krank, President of Chaosium Inc.

“Lynn was always a great guy to work for, an all around good guy, and I'm very sorry to hear of his passing.” – Brian M. Sammons, author of Secrets and editor of Atomic Age Cthulhu, Steampunk Cthulhu and Eldritch Chrome.

“Lynn very graciously bought the first book I ever pitched, right out of college. And by the time he put it out (12 years later), we'd developed a real(ly weird) friendship. I'll truly miss (arguing with) him.” – Cody Goodfellow, author of Secrets of San Francisco.

“He was a gentleman and a scholar; I learned so much from him - indeed, I honestly would not be the writer I am today were it not for Lynn's guiding hand.” – Richard Watts, author of “Love’s Lonely Children”, “Tatterdemallion” and “Behold the Mother”

“Lynn was the editor of the 1991 edition of Horror on the Orient Express (and many other Chaosium books besides), and every page is rich with his love of history and detail. We miss him, and do our best to honour the work he left behind.” – Mark Morrison, author of Terror Australis and Horror on the Orient Express.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Extreme Planets Line-up

Here it is, the blurb and line-up to Extreme Planets.

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.

Extreme Planets is a science fiction anthology of stories set on alien worlds that push the limits of what we once believed 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 gravity fields, carbon planets featuring mountain ranges of pure diamond, and ocean worlds shrouded by seas hundreds of kilometres thick. The challenges these environments present to the humans that explore and colonise them are many, and are the subject matter of these tales.
The anthology features 15 tales from leading science fiction authors and rising stars in the genre:
  • “Banner of the Angels” by David Brin and Gregory Benford
  • “Brood” by Stephen Gaskell
  • “Haumea” by G. David Nordley
  • “A Perfect Day off the Farm” by Patty Jansen
  • “Daybreak” by Jeff Hecht
  • “Giants” by Peter Watts
  • “Maelstrom” by Kevin Ikenberry
  • “Murder on Centauri” by Robert J. Mendenhall
  • “The Flight of the Salamander” by Violet Addison and David Smith
  • “Petrochemical Skies” by David Conyers and David Kernot
  • “The Hyphal Layer” by Meryl Ferguson
  • “Colloidal Suspension” by Geoff Nelder
  • “Super-Earth Mother” by Guy Immega
  • “Lightime” by Jay Caselberg
  • “The Seventh Generation” by Brian Stableford
Extreme Planets is scheduled for release in late 2013 in both trade paperback and online e-reader formats. Cover illustration by Paul Drummond. More details here.

Thank you to everyone who supported and submitted to this anthology, including Julie Czerneda and Sean Williams. I'm very proud of what we achieve here, and I'm looking forward to its release.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Scorecard 2012

Every year I like to compile a summary of my writing, editing and publishing for the year that was. 2012 unfortunately wasn’t as productive as past years for me, at least not in terms of publications. It was the year of collaborations too. That said I do have A LOT of projects under development that I can’t talk about yet, but hopefully I will soon.

I had two new stories published in 2012, “Expectant Green” with John Kenny, a science fiction novella appearing in Jupiter 35 and “The R’lyeh Singularity” with Brian M. Sammons appearing in Cthulhu Unbound 3, from Permuted Press which was released as an e-book. This anthology I also co-edited Brian and featured Cthulhu Mythos novellas from Cody Goodfellow, D.L. Snell and Tim Curran, as well as our contribution. I’ve been informed the print version will be released in 2013.

On the reprint front, “Winds of Nzambi”, a Cthulhu Mythos horror novella concerning the Portuguese slave trade in the Congo which I co-wrote with David Kernot, appeared in two ‘Best of’ collections, The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011, edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, and Award Winning Australian Writing 2012. My other reprint was “The Swelling” which appeared in Innsmouth Magazine Collection Issues 1-4 making it one of my most reprinted stories.

My illustrations appeared on the cover of Jupiter 38: Pasithee and Jupiter 36: Spond. “The Masked Messenger” co-authored with John Goodrich that appeared in Andromeda Spaceways last year, received an honourable mention from Ellen Datlow in Best Horror of the Year Volume 4. Midnight Echo 6 which I co-edited last year received another honourable mention in the Australian Shadows Awards. I also interviewed Iain M. Banks for Albedo One Issue 41.

Anthologies that I have been editing this year are Undead & Unbound (horror) with Brian M. Sammons, Extreme Planets (science fiction) with David Kernot and Jeff Harris, and Cthulhu’s Dark Cults II (Cthulhu Mythos). None are yet released. I’m also editing a sourcebook for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game.

Publications coming out next year are all in anthologies and include “The Road to Afghanistan” (What Scares the Bogeyman?), “Romero 2.0” with Brian M. Sammons (Undead & Unbound) and “Playgrounds of Angolaland” (Eldritch Chrome).

That’s it. Thanks especially to David Kernot, Brian M Sammons, Jeff Harris, Cody Goodfellow, Paul Drummond, Jeffrey Thomas, CJ Henderson, David Brin, Julie Czerneda, Glynn Own Barrass and the team at Albedo One for their support this year.