Trembling With Fear, “Just Like HVN”

September 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

One of my drabbles, works of fiction that consist of exactly one hundred words, has been published by The Horror Tree’s Trembling With Fear imprint.

She sighed. The voices had been telling her that she needed to leave for days now. She’d procrastinated, but today was it. She’d be sad to leave. She lifted the gun-shaped device to her temple, sighed once again, then pulled the trigger.

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Trembling With Fear, “To The Sea, The Sorrow”

September 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

One of my drabbles, works of fiction that consist of exactly one hundred words, has been published by The Horror Tree’s Trembling With Fear imprint.

“She has gone to the sea,” he’d told his daughter who, old enough, dismissed the words as a well-meaning fable.

The Audient Void #3

September 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

My short story ‘The Many Roads to Weatherly” has been published in The Audient Void #3, my second story to be published by the journal after ‘The Left Hand of Aux-Çevoires‘.

He presses on as the path swings out to follow the edge of a placid stream, where the current streams green algae out into fans of emerald hair. A grey, dust-stained tree dips its branches into the water, plucking at the surface. The rib-like remains of a canoe pull at the end of a rope, dancing and jerking on the current like a fretful dog.

Once again Allen K provides excellent cover design but my story features a superb illustration from Brad Hicks.

Dead Reckonings #21

September 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

My article on R Muuray Gilchrist, concentrating on the mythic and floral symbolism in his weird short story ‘The Crimson Weaver’, has been published in Hippocampus Press’ Dead Reckonings 21, the Spring 2017 edition.

I couldn’t be more pleased for my piece to be the opening article in this re-imagined version of a classic journal, especially alongside other writing by the likes of Ramsay Campbell and ST Joshi.

“[Gilchrist’s] finest works of what we would now call weird horror – where “suicide, madness, drunkenness, disfigurement, dwarfs, hereditary diseases and strange deaths abound” – sit perfectly between the gloomy corridors of Poe and the awful vistas of Clark Ashton Smith.”

Almost Insentient, Almost Divine {Review}

October 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

Almost Insentient, Almost Divine
DP Watt
Undertow Publications (2016)

It’s commonly accepted practice, when reviewing story anthologies, to make brief mention of the work as a whole and then pick out a handful of key tales to work through in detail. This is not one of those reviews.

almost-finalAlthough the stories in DP Watt’s collection are almost universally excellent, it’s the sense of world building that develops through them which is the most impressive part of this book; a weirdly out-of-time Mitteleuropa, cut through with theatricals and theatricalities, where masks fall from mannequins only to reveal yet more masks underneath, puppet-mummers snigger in darkened rooms and the human players shimmer between realities, sometimes never to return. Even the handful of stories that don’t fit directly into this milieu are haunted by fragments of a greater whole; mysteriously indistinct figures that lurk outside the circle of firelight or even atavistic thoughts that echo beguilingly from the darkness. The sense of theatre, of the blood-smeared grand-guignol being acted to its terrible conclusion whether wittingly or not, pervades the book and gives the observant reader a more subtle interpretation of that most contentious of themes; the weird. « Read the rest of this entry »

Year’s Best Weird Fiction: Volume One {Review}

September 27, 2016 § Leave a comment

Year’s Best Weird Fiction: Volume One
Edited by Laird Barron & Michael Kelly
Undertow Publications (2014)

I’ve arrived slightly late to Undertow’s ‘Year’s Best Weird Fiction’ series, this first volume being released in 2014 and presenting the best short tales from the previous year, but the door to the weird is always ajar, so let’s push it open, ignore the protesting creaks and distant mutters, to take look inside.

The conceit of the volume is more clearly explained in its title than in any preamble I could give, and is clarified still further by guest-editor Laird Barron’s short and succinct introduction 9780981317762_outside_front_cover(his description of ‘the weird’ as “a sense of dislocation from mundane reality; the suspension of the laws of physics, an inversion or subversion of order, a hint of the alien” is as good a one as I’ve come across), that I may as well cut straight to the meat and pull out some of the choicest cuts from this weird platter.

Before that, however, it’s worth noting that this volume is remarkable in that, even if some of the stories are not to my precise tastes, none of them are poor; the content has been so well-distilled down from what must have been a screed of submissions, taken from journals like Shadows & Tall Trees and Fungi amongst others, into so select a congregation that all aspects of the weird are covered – from the slight to the outre and from the subtle to the blatant, all are gathered here – so even those that might not quite hit the mark of personal taste are at least technically interesting for the voice they bring to the storytelling circle. Even so, a good handful of stories stand out for me as worth specific comment… « Read the rest of this entry »

A Leering Little Voice

August 8, 2016 § Leave a comment

Within my ear
I hear a leering
Little voice
Who speaks not truth but lie

And now and then
I turn to fearing
Little voice
Speaks not as imp but I?

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