___WORDS FROM ME_____________________________________

the mourning worm

New from Firbolg Publishing, available in handsome hard- and soft-cover editions as well as in Kindle ebook format, is an interesting anthology with the natural world and the dangers of eco collapse at its heart.

Enter at your own Risk: The End is the Beginning is edited by Dr Alex Scully and contains reprint tales by some of the great luminaries of fantastic fiction, such as Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Mary Shelley. As well as pieces from the greats, there is newer work as well, from the likes of Norman Partridge, Gary A Braunbeck, Gene O’Neill, Lawrence Santori and even newer work from others – all or any of whom may, at some future date, be regarded as masters of the genre too. Holly Newstein provides an introduction. 
But because there’s always something to spoil what could amount to perfection, I have a tale in there as well. Hey, you can’t have everything. My piece is called “The Mourning Worm”.

It starts like this:

Suzanne and I drove from the city on a Friday afternoon to arrive at my old friend Benjamin’s house, which he shared with his young wife Robyn, deep in the Wiltshire countryside.
Willowhart was an old cottage. Hundreds of years scored its piebald walls and its roof sagged in repose like an elderly cat enjoying the sun. It was recently renovated, though from external appearances you wouldn’t have credited the place with the modern luxuries we’ve grown used to in our Corbusier Habitats. It looked rundown, unloved even, which could not have been farther from the truth.
Our get-together was much anticipated, easily worth the rigmarole of the official barriers we had to cross to make it happen. Spending time amidst lush forests that might have favoured one of my fantasy novels was an enchanting bonus.
It was only when we were safely in bed that night, as dull chimes from the distant church bells rolled across the woodland, that Suzanne raised her concerns.

If you’re so minded, you can read the rest by buying a paperback copy in the UK here, or a Kindle ebook edition here. In the States, the paperback’s available here, while you can get the Kindle version here.

Gregory L Norris, who provides a tale called “Every Seven Years, Give or Take”, has his own blog, and he’s got a few of us (mostly the still living contributors) to offer up a few titbits of information about the stories we’ve written, background info, that kind of thing. If you so fancy, you can read that here.

If you want to read up on the thoughts of some of the writers behind some of the tales, click here.

And there's a review of a previous Enter At Your Own Risk anthology. Here it is.

a considerate invasion

It’s my very real pleasure to say that I have a short story in the latest issue of Bastion SF Magazine. Bastion’s a new player in SF, and my piece just missed out on appearing in the inaugural edition. Hopefully that means I bypassed any bugs and traumas involved in the production of the first issue, and led to the smooth passage through editing and rewriting that my tale underwent. It’s always good to get feedback from editors who want to improve a tale, and work with you to improve it. That’s what happened here.

Anyway, it’s a piece called “A Considerate Invasion,” and I rather like it. I don’t really do “blast em up” SF – though I’ve no real objection to the form and don’t rule out having a go at some point – so this is a quiet and hopefully thoughtful piece. Here’s how it begins.

Even though he’d seen plenty of pictures of them before, what surprised Ashton Clarke the most about the Mernons’ flyer was that it looked exactly like a 1950’s UFO. Almost everyone his age knew the type, with the bulge of the dome on top and a few ports studded equidistantly around it for windows. A sharp rim that made up the saucer effect traced the circumference, coming to a leading point at the front like a dolphin’s nose, and there were a couple of stylish fins around the back of the craft, where hazy vents of radiation blurred the air.
As it descended through the train of white clouds spotting the otherwise clear sky and came down towards him, Ashton realised it was even glitzed out in the bright and gaudy colours from that decade of atom bombs and creature-feature movies.
Fiery reds, cerulean blues, and daffodil yellows shone from the craft in the sunlight. Ashton rather disdainfully thought it looked like a drag-car enthusiast had painted it.
He spat on the ground and waited.

There’s a sample from the magazine: “The Endless Flickering Night” by Gary Emmet Chandler, which you can find on the current issue page too, to whet your appetite.

You can get the magazine in ePub and Mobi formats for the ereader of your choice. Or as a PDF for reading on a tablet or computer. Details here.

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