___WORDS FROM ME_____________________________________

a song about the end of the world

So here’s a wee piece of flash fiction. A Song About the End of the World’s a whimsical piece about the end of the world, whales, witches, and failing at flying broomsticks. In a moment of weakness, Charles Christian, a dashing fellow if we’re to believe his picture hasn't been photo-shopped, very kindly included it in his online zine, freshly re-branded from GrievousAngel to SciFi-and-Fantasy.land. Give him your support by reading the stuff he puts up there.

Here’s the opening paragraph of my tale:

My girlfriend told me the world was going to end. She’d heard about it from the whales. She understood their song and had been listening in while she took a bath, surrounded by scented candles. 

The story’s a short one, a scant few hundred words, so it won’t take you long to read. It might make you smile, it might not make you smile. The only way to find out is to sweep your eyes over it and see.

To do that, all you gotta do is click here.

so below, so above

Sometimes stories come out of songs, or the atmosphere of a song pervades a piece to such a degree you can almost hear it playing in the background. Sometimes they don’t. This one didn’t. But now I think back on it, it could quite easily have done. Had I been playing Dream Academy’s 80s hit single “Life in a Northern Town” (which I very often do), it may well have seemed like a good fit for this story.

It’s a piece called “So Below, So Above” and I’m not sure where the main metaphor came from. Probably it came out of the need to find some light on a glum day in a northern town in Yorkshire. I’m not sure that worked.

Here’s the opening paragraph:

There’s not much that can be said for the town. It’s an old, weary hub in the north, into which drift the snows of the Pennines through winter, the rain of the grey skies through autumn, and the fog of the High Peaks on scattered weekends throughout the year. Beauty momentarily passes over the town in spring, when something wonderful marches down from the high hills, warmth and the first teasing scent of summer promises that will never be fulfilled. But mostly it just rains and the buildings and the people sag into grey blurs.

It’s not all doom and gloom, I promise you. But there aren’t many laughs in it, I’ll grant you that.

The kindly folk at Literary Hatchet have put it in Issue 9. (Thanks, Stefani!)

You can download a copy of the magazine for free by filling in the online form, or you can pay for a print version. It’s as true for all the other issues as it is about issue 9, so there’s a lot to keep you busy if you’re wanting something to read. To do that, all you gotta do is click here.

mad scientist journal, spring 2014 ebook

Anyone who's been reading this blog -- which I reckon amounts to two guys in the Australian Outback and a mule somewhere in the deep forests of Montana -- might remember I had a short story called "We Shall Make Monsters" up on the Mad Scientist Journal site earlier this year. You can still read that tale, completely free of charge, by clicking here.

But if you'd rather read the piece on your trusty e-reader, along with the other tales that appeared in spring of this year, then you can buy for very little money a copy from Smashwords here. Or by going to Amazon.co.uk here. In a few weeks' time, the tale should blow through onto the Kobo store. I'll put in a direct link when it's appropriate.

Jeremy Zimmerman and Dawn Vogel have done the editing and compiling. Big cheer for them and raise your glass in their honour.

dr aljimati, professor of the forlorn sky

The good folks over at Bad Dream Entertainment have been kind enough to publish one of my short stories. Editor in-chief Brett Reistroffer (here's one of his short stories) went the extra mile in helping out with a good edit. (I didn't know, for instance, that the plural of ballast is ballasts. You learn something new every day. Brett caught my mistake - among other bits and pieces that needed a twiddle - thus helping to make me look better, and there's nothing finer that an editor can do for you than to make you look sweeter and smarter. Thanks, Brett!) The story's all the better for his guiding hand.

Anyway, my short story is called "Dr Aljimati, Professor of the Forlorn Sky," and here're the opening paragraphs.

I’m near the barrier before La Vite comes in. I’m here early. The crowds will arrive later. They will gasp and sigh at the lines of the rail network’s answer to supersonic passenger flights.
Beside me is a dusky coloured man in a tired suit that doesn’t quite fit. It’s worn to a shine at the elbows and knees, mottled across the shoulders with what I imagine is chalk-dust rather than an excess of dandruff. Through professional necessity I’ve become something of a people watcher, and I take this gentleman’s measure from the edge of my eye, fielding more direct glances as I pretend to look around the station concourse. If he notices me watching him, he doesn’t appear to care.

You can carry on reading by clicking here.

I hope you do, and I hope you like it.

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