My 11,500 word novelette PERSPECTIVE will be published in issue #54 of Black Static next month, and here’s the suitably dark and disturbing artwork by Joachim Luetke (as well as the opening paragraphs, if you can read ’em…)
I’ve blogged about the story in a little more detail here.
Back in September 2015 I was approached by writer and editor Douglas Lain for permission to reprint my story Unzipped in his forthcoming Skyhorse Publishing/Night Shade Book anthology Deserts of Fire: Speculative Fiction and Modern War. I was honoured to accept. And so here it is, available to buy now.
In 1987, the New York Times published their first front-page review of a science fiction anthology for a collection called In the Field of Fire, themed around the war in Vietnam. “Vietnam was science fiction,” the reviewer wrote, and writing about it through that lens found meaning in a war few understood.
This idea, that speculative fiction is a vital tool to understanding the inexplicable, is just as relevant nearly thirty years later. Deserts of Fire is a war-inspired anthology for the new millennium, because for many, the recent wars in the deserts of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East are just as slippery to grasp and difficult to understand as Vietnam was two generations earlier.
Inside Deserts of Fire are stories from a variety of bestselling and award-winning authors that start with the simple and modest ambition of making the reader feel strange about the recent past. Because when there are too many explanations, the truth won’t be found by merely choosing one side or the other. But rather, the truth is in the existence of the confusion itself.
PERSPECTIVE is an ambitious multi-viewpoint story (written in First, Second, and Third Person) that deals with an historical rape, hysterical blindness, and a marriage feeling the strains of both. It’s about power and powerlessness, the need to be seen, and the need to see. Hands down, it’s the darkest, most disturbing thing I’ve ever written. But I feel it has some important things to say.
I wrote those words almost one year ago. Since then the story has been completed, submitted, and only just this week, accepted. It is due for publication in Black Static #54, sometime later this year.
Here’s the Ben Baldwin cover art for the forthcoming issue of Black Static (#39) due for release any day now, featuring columns from Stephen Volk and Lynda Rucker as well as fiction from Ralph Robert Moore, Tyler Keevil, Suzanne Palmer, Vajra Chandrasekera, Joel Arnold, and yours truly. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one.
My 4000 word short story A TRICK OF THE NIGHT is now available to read at Fireside Magazine. Written during my five month stay in Malta in 2012, it is at heart about the fears of parenting and the lengths a mother will go to protect her son from his fate. Here’s a short excerpt from the opening:
“I met the devil in my dreams and he told me this would happen.
Strictly speaking, he wasn’t the devil; he was Joseph Ruskin, the actor who played the genie in the Twilight Zone episode The Man in the Bottle. But in my dream he was the devil, all right. I saw him standing near the end of a railway tunnel, silhouetted against the light, a man in a black suit. Did I tell you the tunnel was made out of elephants? Well, it was. Their bodies were packed together to make the walls and the roof, tight as sardines they were, and as I walked past them toward the man in the suit I could see their eyes blinking at me. I didn’t want to go, but he was waving me over, and when the devil waves you over, you go over, you don’t get a choice in the matter. And then Joseph Ruskin the devil told me my son James was going to be involved in a mass shooting. He wouldn’t say when, wouldn’t say how. I asked. I begged. I pleaded. They say the devil is in the details, but he doesn’t like to give them, because all I got out of him was a cold smile and this: A lot of people are going to die, Anna, because of him. The devil knew my name. He knew my son’s name. He knew what was going to happen. And it did. Sixteen people lying in the morgue; four or five times that number lying injured in this hospital. Women and children — children. I don’t want to think about it. I swear I tried to find out more, but Jimmy’s screams from the next room tore me right out of the dream and ended the whole thing. At least I thoughtit was over, but… do you think he knew, doctor, even back then? Do you think he knew and tried to stop me talking to the devil before I could find something out — something that could have stopped all this?”
The lovely artwork accompanying the story was created by Hugo Award-winning artist, Galen Dara.
Thanks to Brian White, the editor of Fireside, for selecting my story to be a part of his ambitious project and for his professionalism throughout. And if anyone is interested in reading a little more about the story’s genesis, I talk about it briefly in this Q & A I did as part of the project’s Kickstarter campaign.
This month, with the publication of Crimewave 12: Hurts and Black Static #37, I have achieved two trebles. The first, to have three stories appear in horror journal Black Static. The second, to have a story appear in all three TTA Press periodicals – Black Static, Interzone, and Crimewave. In short, what a lovely way to tie up the year!
I’ve talked about Crimewave elsewhere, so here are the final cover, ToC, and interior artwork for Black Static #37.
(Cover art by George Cotronis)
“When Charlie Sleeps” by Laura Mauro. Art by Rich Sampson.
“Bones of Crow” by Ray Cluley (recent winner of the British Fantasy Society award for Best Short Story for “Shark! Shark!”) Art by George Cotronis.
“All Your Faces Drown in My Syringe” by Ralph Robert Moore. Art by David Gentry.
“The Strongest Thing About Me is Hate” by DeAnna Knippling.
“The Sunflower Seed Man” by Priya Sharma. Art by Richard Wagner.
“The Sound of Constant Thunder” by Steven J. Dines. Art by Joachim Luetke.
Please visit TTAPress for more details, or to take out a subscription. I recommend you do.
There will be no other new material from me this year, but I have a story, A TRICK OF THE NIGHT, due to appear in Fireside Magazine in January. I’m also working on new short fiction for 2014 including THE BROKEN AND THE UNMADE and my first ever collaboration. Details to follow!