Friday, September 12, 2008

Dead Wood Promo

I recently put up my short story 'A Brief Guide To Many Histories' on the website; now ManyBooks offer it in all kinds of formats under a Creative Commons license.

It's one of three new stories by me in Postscripts #15, the bumper all-SF issue of the magazine. The vanilla hardcover is already on the market, and Pete Crowther, maven of PS Publishing, tells me that the signed editions will be back from the printer in a week or so. Get 'em while they're hot!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Maybe Not So Smallish

Are the bookshelves of my local charity shop operating some kind of version of Douglas Adams's infinite improbability drive?

Today, I dropped into the shop and picked up a ex-library edition of Tom Disch's poetry collection Burn This. And a couple of hours later I learn, via Ed Champion, about this tribute.

There Are Doors (13)

On the far side of Smithfield Market Edna Sharrow can run no more and in the cool shade of a tree at the boundary of the churchyard turns to confront the girl who has followed her.

The girl is an ordinary girl. Slender. Grainy skin. Pale blue eyes and dirty blond hair scraped back. Dressed in a grey pyjama-like suit zipped up the front. Shoes like small white pillows. An unremarkable child of the stones, except that the black light burns within her.

Edna draws herself up and says that she will deal only with the master, not his familiar.
The girl shakes her head and says, He’s busy elsewhere, but I can help you. What is terrible is that she is not afraid. No, her look is one of pity. She says, I shouldn’t have sent you away. I should have helped you right away. But I was scared. I admit it. It’s my first time.

I don’t need your help, Edna says.

You poor old thing. You don’t know, do you. You don’t know that you’re dead.

And the black light beats around Edna like wings and she is falling away from the world. For a moment she catches hold of the tree and she remembers her mother holding her up in the sharp cold of a long ago Boxing Day, to see the hunt ride by.

Look at the pretty horses, she cries, and her heart leaps with the joy of the long-ago moment of lost innocence, and she falls through the door of the sky.
Part 1 2 3 4 5

Not By Fire

Hey, we’re still here. And my broadband connection has come back. So much for the naysayers who predicted the end of the world when the Large Hadron Collider was switched on. I guess they can come down from the mountaintops now, and dispense with the sackcloth and ashes.

Or maybe not, because so far the scientists at CERN are just testing their new toy. They don’t start smashing fundamental particles into each other at tremendous and possibly world-destroying energies (or not) until next month.

(If you want to know what might happen if the naysayers had been right, you might care to check out my short story ‘How We Lost the Moon, A True Story by Frank W. Allen’. Currently available here or in an audio version, until I get around to coding it I’m afraid. (Don’t worry, it has a happy ending.))

I was pleased by the blanket coverage of actual science in the media, but do find it rather worrying that the only way scientists can get any real attention these days is to be wrongly accused of plotting to blow up the world. If we keep up this inattention it really will be over for us, as a species because we need a whole bunch of cleverness to get us out the mess stupid applications of good ideas have gotten us into.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

There Are Doors (12)

The shadowy army Mr Carlyle took from Edna Sharrow were ghostly shells cast off by people during moments of extreme emotion. Knots of terror and fear she’d used to intimidate and frighten and control. So it’s only fair, she thinks, to strip her enemy of his familiars and take from him everything he sheds in his last moments. To make what’s his hers.

She drifts south and east through Clerkenwell towards Smithfield Market. If he’s tracking her, she’ll lose him there, in the echoes of the charnel house it once was. Blindside him.

She’s so occupied with her plans that she doesn’t see the girl until she steps out of the shadow under St John’s Gate, as if from one world to another. Calling to Edna, apologising for sending her away, saying that she should have dealt with her at once.

Edna Sharrow draws on her last reserves, but the girl stands her ground. Black light beats around her, a hearth-heat that withers the laces that bind Edna’s soul, and Edna runs from it in a blind panic towards the sanctuary of the shambles.

Part Part 1 2 3 4
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