Sunday, 28 February 2010

Midnight Echo #6: The Science Fiction Horror Special

Here is a heads-up about issue #6 of the Australian Horror Writers Association’s magazine Midnight Echo, which will be edited by Jason Fischer, David Kernot and myself.

The theme will be science fiction horror. Why? Well we just don’t believe there is enough science fiction published in Australia, and dark science fiction is even better.

Although we are not accepting stories just yet (when submissions will be open will be announced later here), we've included the themataic guidelines early.

What are we looking for? Well essentially we want stories that blend the science fiction and horror genres. We are especially looking for stories set on worlds other than Earth, or in deep space, and especially stories in the future. Themes might include contact with alien species that defie explanation, plagues or viruses destined to wipe out humanity, enslavement by an alien race, nanoplagues gone wrong, alien artifacts that are death traps, future totalitarian governments, gothic alien worlds, or enslaving technology are just some ideas. Films like Alien and 28 Days Later are obvious influences. Alternatively imagine what Iain M. Banks, Charles Stross or Alastair Reynolds might write if they got really dark - that’s what we are looking for.

We are not looking for fantasy stories. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, serial killers and zombies are unlikely to impress us unless you can deliver something outstanding within these guidelines. We will consider Lovecraftian or Cthulhu Mythos tales provided they meet the theme, and then we are likely only to select one such tale in this style at most. Remember, the key ingredient to getting your story picked up is to write a science fiction tale with horror elements, not a horror tale dressed up with science fiction references.

We will publish further details later in the year. Word count will be up to 5,000 words. Any questions, please post here (or on David's or Jason's) online journals, and we'll do our best to answer them for all to see, or email me, David or Jason directly.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Scenes from the Second Storey: Dream Machine

After a long wait, I'm finallly appearing in my first Morrigan Books title, which is a great coup for me. Mark S. Deniz and his team produce quality dark fiction anthologies, and I'm proud to appear in Scenes from the Second Storey edited by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall.

The anthology pays homage to the album of the same name by God Machine, with each track title being a short story title. I was lucky enough to be asked my Mark to write the openning tale, "Dream Machine", another first for me.

The book will be out in September 2010. Incidentally this is the Australian edition, there will be another with the same table of contents, only each story will be by different authors from countries other than Oz, presumably some time after this edition has been out for a while.

First Publication for 2010: The Swelling

Innsmouth Free Press is a great e-magazine that has been very profilic with their publishing schedule since they set up last year. Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Paula R. Stiles and the rest of the team have been doing a great job promoting Lovecraft, the Cthulhu Mythos, and its like, and they were kind enough to interview me last year.

Well this year they have not only interviewed me again, they've published one of my Cthulhu Mythos tales, "The Swelling" based on Robert Chamber's King in Yellow sub-cycle of tales within the Lovecraftian cannon. "The Swelling" remains one of my personal favourites of my own Cthulhu Mythos pieces, but as you can tell from my micro-interview, I was more influenced by Banks and Murakami on this one.
I made top billing on the front cover, which is very nice and a first for me. You can down the PDF of Issue 3 here.

In Sydney

Well it's official, Sydney is now my home. Two days and a 1400km drive across three states brought me to my new home in the northern subburbs of Australia's largest and best known city. I've been here over a month now, settled into a very busy job while my wife and daughter settle into a new life at home. The weather is nicer here than Adelaide (yes it is humid, but it's better than weeks on end of 40oC plus heat). It's greener and it rains more. The coffee, public transport and driving is better too.

Sydney is an amazing city, I'd forgotten how impressive it was when the other day my wife, daughter and I caught a train into Circular Quay for an ice-cream, admiring the Opera House, Sydney Harbour, the yachts and the Harbour Bridge while we ate.

Our new house is the nicest place I've ever lived in. It backs onto the beautiful national parks of outer Sydney, so my view from my home office window is of bushland (It is from here that I will be continuing my novel after a long three month break without writing while changing states and jobs).

We have lots of native visitors too at our new home, including cockatoos, lorikeets, kookaburras, rosellas, brush turkeys, galahs, skinks, lizards and brush tail possums, all of which come within a metre or less of us, and a few of the braver ones will feed out of our hands. My daughter naturally loves this. Some photos follow:

Now that I'm settled (or as settled as you can be after a month in a place I haven't lived in since I was two) I'm ready to get back into writing. I've missed typing away at my computer these last three months. Now I'm back, with this view to inspire me.