Wednesday, 27 October 2010

"Dream Machine" reviewed by Jennifer Brozek

The Morrigan Books anthology, Scenes from the Second Storey, has been reviewed by Jennifer Brozek on the Apex Book Company website, and my story gets a special mention:

There are a couple of standout stories—both in the story itself and the connection to the song inspired by it. First is “Dream Machine” by David Conyers – The story is horrific, creating a man into a demonic assassin who finds a peace of sorts with his new place in life and death. Over all, there is a velvety dreamlike quality to the story with its use of picture frames as portals and the protagonist roaming dark stone corridors. This story is enhanced by the song, “Dream Machine,” with its velvety sound and lyrics.
The rest of the review is very positive, and features an interview with the editors, Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Jupiter 30 featuring "The Uncertainty Bridge"

Jupiter Magazine 30: Hermippe edited by Ian Redman is out now, and features my science fiction novella "The Uncertainty Bridge". The issue also features fiction from Jude Coulter-Pultz, Colin P. Davies and Louis Shalako, and poetry by Ian Sales. Cover art is by Paul Drummond. An extract of my story follows:


Geoff’s parents wouldn’t wake, even when he shook them. His sister, Jo, stood behind him clutching her hands to her chest. She was holding back her tears. They both wanted their parents to wake so they could laugh about it, and later say that nothing had ever been wrong today.

“Mum,” Geoff shook the frail, limp body of his parent. There was no response.

Sickness was no stranger to Harwood. Colds, flus and the occasional bout of pneumonia or glandular fever afflicted several villagers each winter, but what their parents’ illness might be was a mystery. They had slept through the all of yesterday and the next morning without stirring once.

Geoff carefully peeled his mother’s eyelid open revealing a dilated pupil ringed by aggravated blood vessels. He waved his hand past her face and she made no attempt to follow it. Blood trickled from her nose and ears. He looked on their father and he too was bleeding. Slow trickles from both.

Jo inhaled. “What’s wrong with them?”

“I don’t know.” Geoff felt for pulses. They raced as if their parents were running a marathon.

Jo took a step backwards, covered herself in the shadow of the hallway. “It looks serious, whatever they’ve got.”

“It is serious, okay!” Geoff snapped, more unkindly than he intended. “Look, I’m sorry Sis,” he said in a softer tone, “it’s just that I’ve got a shocking headache.”

“Worried about yourself? Aren’t you worried about them?”

“I’m course I am. It’s just... It’s just that I’m finding it hard to think straight.” He scratched the stubble on his chin. His sister and he sounded like bickering teenagers rather than the adults in their early twenties they were supposed to be.

Jo shrugged, bit a fingernail. “I can’t think straight either, but do you see me complaining?”
Frustrated Geoff sighed. He was trying to help by understanding the situation, but he had nothing.

“Geoff, we really need to do something.”

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Albedo One issue 39 now out

Issue 39 of Albedo One is out and now available in pdf format. Electronic subscribers will receive their copies shortly. Hard copy version of the magazine will be back from the printers shortly.

The issue features an in-depth interview with multiple Hugo Award winning author Mike Resnick, as well his story "Hothouse Flowers". The fiction line-up also includes "Frogs On My Doorstep" by Annette Reader, winner of the Aeon Award 2009 short fiction contest, with further distinctive contributions by Uncle River, Martin McGrath and J. L. Abbott.

As part of Albedo One's ongoing translations project, this issue features for the first time in translation to English from the original Finnish, the winning story of the Atorox Award 2009, "The Horse Shoe Nail" by Mari Saario (translated by Liisa Rantalaiho).

The issue concludes with the latest reviews from collumnists Juliet E. McKenna and myself.

Buy the issue now in .pdf format!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

HorrorScope Reviews Cthulhu's Dark Cults

Andrew McKiernan has prepared a wonderful and detailed review of Cthulhu's Dark Cults. Here is a extract where he talks about my story:

"Sister of the Sands" definitely holds its own when it comes to depth of story and an historical background that comes across as sufficiently ancient and disturbingly realistic. When a woman walks out of Egypt's White Desert and into the life of an Australian serviceman, he finds his world turned upside down by an ancient cult known as The Brotherhood of the Black Pharoah who want the mysterious woman all for themselves. Conyers' story is a strong end to the anthology and acts as a great climax."

And a summation of the anthology here:

"The anthology only builds in excitement as it progresses and the final stories are real mind-blowing doozies worthy of the pulp tradition that has made Call of Cthulhu such a popular and long lasting role-playing game."

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Eye of Infinity

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.

Perilous Press announces the release of The Eye of Infinity, the first Harrison Peel tale in three years, released as a chapbook this Halloween. The Eye Of Infinity will feature a Mike Dubisch cover and a dozen illustrations by Nick Gucker, and it’ll be available from the Perilous Press store the week of Halloween.

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.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Six Aussie Horror Anthologies

Shane Jiraiya Cummings has posted his picks for six great Aussie horror anthologies to come out this year, with commentry. It's nice to see that I'm in three of them, including Cthulhu's Dark Cults. They've all got really nice covers too.

"Sweet as Decay"

With the release of Macabre I thought I'd post an extract from David Witteveen and my contribution to this anthology, "Sweet as Decay".

It was great to be part of Macabre, edited by Angela Challis and Marty Young, and I believe its going to be one of those anthologies that decades from now readers of the horror genre are going to wish they had on their shelves if they don't, or be proud that they do, because it is so comprehensive in its coverage of the genre, and there are some great stories in there.

I think David and I only just snuck in, because I remember writing the story more than five years ago when I lived in Melbourne, and our carreers as speculative fiction writers was really only just begining. I've just appeared in the first Elder Signs Press anthology Horrors Beyond and Book fo Dark Wisdom, while David was turning up in a few Brimstone Press publications and winning Australian Horror Writer Association awards, and we would have been lucky to have a dozen short story credits to our name.

David and I had been friends since 1989, we'd shared a flat with another friend during our post-university days, and also went backpacking through Africa and the United Kingdom, so we got to know each other pretty well. We'd also spent a lot of that time talking about our love of the speculative genre (David more dark fantasy, me more science fiction) and bouncing ideas of each other for books we wanted to write.

In 1993 we had a successful collaboration with Devil's Children, a supplment for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game which to this day is still considered a classic in the gaming genre, but we'd never written fiction together. When the opportunity to write for Macabre came up, we went for it.

We based "Sweet as Decay" partially on our experiences in Africa, partially on a mutual friend whose ideals, moral compass and determination we both admired, and on the idea that at what point does one turn against ideals and right and wrong in order to destroy a greater evil.

In the end I'm still very happy with this story, and it was great to work with David, who's imagination and simple but so very effective style makes me envious (read "Perfect Skin" in Cthulhu's Dark Cults and you will see what I mean). David's always said that he's admired my ability to conjure up plotlines. Together, I think our talents really complemented each other, and we came up with something that I think is different for both of us, but as always, I'll leave it to readers to judge.

David Witteveen & David Conyers

The guards come at midnight.
They drag the prisoner from his cell. He screams, tries to resist, but they beat him with clubs until he falls bleeding to the floor. Then they tie a sack over his head, drag him outside, and throw him into a truck.
Squelching mud, the truck drives out into the tropical night.
Bloodied, concussed and blindfolded, the prisoner loses all sense of time and direction. He drifts through the darkness and fear.
The truck stops. Guards pull him out. He tries to kick. A club smacks into his shin and he feels the bone snap. He screams like the goats his father used to butcher as a child. The pain doesn’t lessen, it escalates. The uncaring guards drag him into a building, through corridors, down staircases. It stinks of human waste, and something else, something sickly sweet. Then the guards heave him into a room, and lock the door with a clang.
The prisoner tears the sack off his head. He holds his leg but that only hurts it more. He moans. The room is pitch-black. It feels big, humid. The concrete floor is covered in some sticky liquid. He curls foetal, hugging his broken leg.
There are people in here with him.
He hears them shuffle, their feet scraping over the stones. They come closer. He can smell them now. And they smell like faeces and dead meat.
He yells at them to stay back. But they keep coming.
Hands all over him, clammy and strong and relentless. He tries to push them back. But there are too many. They grab him, drag him, pick him up and carry him. And they hold him high, face up, forcing him into the stream of some viscous fluid.
“Drink,” they tell him. “Satisfy Chorazungu.”
He struggles. The fluid smells like rotting fruit. It covers his face. He tries to hold his mouth shut, tries not to breathe. But the hands pull his jaw open, and the liquid gushes in.
The taste is sweet as corruption.

Rebecca Parker drives her rusty four-wheel drive into the parking lot of Bashango Prison, kills the engine, and waits to find her courage. The air shimmers like evaporating oil. The midday’s heat is toxic with the fumes of burnt tires.
The prison looms dark against the green-wet West African landscape, a crumbling remnant of European colonialism. Tatters of cloth are caught in the barbed wire that lines its walls. Concrete walls are stained with rusty water. Guards smoke cigarettes and fiddle with their assault rifles.
She takes a deep breath, reminds herself that fear comes only from the mind.
On the passenger seat is a brown manila folder. Stamped on the cover is the logo for Global Rights Watch. Inside it is the case history of Jacob Ningu -- journalist, critic of the Mombato regime, arrested and held without trial. I’m here to help free him, she tells herself.
People are tortured and murdered behind those walls. She wants to make a difference, stop all this. But she is only one person, and wonders if one person is enough.

Monday, 4 October 2010

"The Uncertainty Bridge" released and "Dream Machine" Reviewed

Two exciting pieces of news for me, my post-apocalyptic science fiction novella "The Entropy Collapse" comes out soon in Jupiter 30 : Hermippe, which becomes my fourth consecutive sale for the magazine edited by Ian Redman.

Second piece of news, "Dream Machine" in Scenes from the Second Storey has just been positively reviewed at The Specusphere. Here is what Katherine Petersen and Damien Smith, the reviewers said about my story:

“Dream Machine” by David Conyers opens the literary concert and sets the mood wonderfully with a tale of the creation of Hell’s Assassin. Being the opening story of a compilation such as this was a hefty ask, but Conyers succeeds in not only conjuring up a dark and sinister atmosphere for the next stories to follow, but also gives a nod to several other stories through his hall of painting stalked by the assassin himself.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Harrison Peel Returns in "The Eye of Infinity"

The first Harrison Peel tale since the release of The Spiraling Worm in 2007 will be published by Perilous Press later this month, The Eye of Infinity.

This novella chapbook will feature a Mike Dubisch cover and ten interior illustrations by Nick Gucker. Edited by Cody Goodfellow, this is a fusion of cosmic horror, quantum physics and espionage action. Following on directly from the last story in The Spiraling Worm, this new adventure sees Peel join the NSA on a new cosmic investigation, taking him to New Mexico, Maryland, Florida, the Atacama Desert and the very heart of the universe itself.

The chapbook will not be expensive, however their numbers will be limited to under 500, and they’ll only be available through Perilous Press' store, and at conventions and signing appearances.