___WORDS FROM ME_____________________________________

we shall make monsters

And now free to read on Mad Scientist Journal, there's my short steam-punk(ish) story, We Shall Make Monsters*. This piece has had an interesting non-publishing history, killing every anthology and magazine it's been accepted by, so that, incredibly, some many years after it was first written, this is its first appearance anywhere. Depressingly, it's still sort of relevant to today's music scene.

Anyway, fingers crossed, Mad Scientist Journal won't succumb to any bad magic now they've taken this piece!

After the fictional accreditation, the story begins thus:

Enough time has now elapsed that I might finally reveal my part in the whole sorry StepFor’d affair. Like the last grains of sand sliding from one bulb of an hourglass to the next, I feel my life slipping away. If I am to give an explanation–or perhaps some would see it as a confession–then it should be here and it should be now, before it is too late and the chance to do so has passed.

From the outset, I would have it known that I was not the sole creator of “the clone bands.” However, I accept that turning the tide of public opinion so late in the day is no easy matter and that blame will be more easily laid at my feet–solely at my feet, if you will forgive the pun–rather than spread among those others involved. It is the way with the masses, and believe me, I should know the masses after I have spent so long exploiting them.

Yet the truth remains that I was not alone in my actions; I was not the only one responsible for what followed. My remaining hope is that people accept this. Perhaps, in time, it will be so.

The whole of what follows will be dispassionately relayed, dictated on my mechanical word-loom with an eye only for detail, neither recrimination nor redemption an aim. Just the truth.

This is my testimony.

You can read the rest of it for free here.

An ebook of the Mad Scientist Journal anthology, containing We Shall Make Monsters, will be available at a later date.

* And yes, well spotted those of an eagle-eye. The title's taken from a line from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Hush now, no spoilers . . .

tied up good and true

I have a new short story in David Longhorn's excellent Supernatural Tales journal. It's about 4,000 words long, and it's called "Tied Up Good and True". It's one of those stories that came about when the title popped into my head. It felt like it needed exploring.

Here's how the story starts:

Where to begin on Mulberry's cruelties?
          The list of his misdemeanours was a long one, and the reading of it fit only for those whose eyes had been hardened to the terrible deeds one human being could inflict upon another. Even then I would be loath to suggest that such a soul could come away untroubled from its study.
Some records are appalling and best consigned to lead-lined vaults, never to be opened; and yet, come the time it ended, by comparison Mulberry’s file would need burying beneath a volcano. It was already filled with the most devious of exquisite tortures, some small, some large, from his early years on into adulthood. For pages and pages that list extended in a lexicon of injustices, itemising paltry cruelties and twists of relished vindictiveness, underscoring hurts and slanders administered with volatile delight. And that was only the beginning. Come its incomplete end (and it should be said that the list was only incomplete because there was potentially so much more to come, Mulberry being not yet out of his middle years and his imagination not truly unleashed), butchers would put away their cleavers and take up brushes to paint bucolic watercolour scenes. Warmongers would plant flowers in the muzzles of their weapons and throw away their uniforms of hateful conflict for ever.
The truth was clear: to the mortal eye there was not a smidgen of loveliness about Mulberry's crimes, however original they might be and no matter how much they were performed with a creative flourish. He was an adept little monster, a practitioner of stealing dreams and replacing them with nightmares. And he did it in the worst ways he could conceive.

And it carries on after that.

If you'd like a copy, then there's a link through here.

an insatiable hunger for cats

Proving that the Internet contains something for almost everyone, the guys over at Bizzarocast have kindly put a reading up of my short story, "An Insatiable Hunger For Cats". It's Episode 45 of their on-going mission to make people's ears turn inside out and their eyes question the reality of all they see.

The tale begins like this:

My hunger for cats started when I was young. That need, I guess you could call it a taste for things feline, stayed with me through my teens and now, years later, it’s still a part of me, no matter how many people disapproved along the way or tried to beat it out of me – like my father for instance, who took to walloping me regular, so that I got to thinking he liked doing that almost as much as I liked sniffing after cats.  

Listen to this and the rest by clicking here.

Readings can make or break a piece of fiction, and I think Chris brings a great "waster" drawl to the piece that's just perfect for the story. And it's a darn sight more listenable to with his voice than anything my flat Yorkshire vowels could produce. 

The story starts about 25 minutes into the cast, for non-regulars of the podcast who just want the fiction. And you can download it for free from I-Tunes. Or support the guys by making a donation to their site by clicking on the appropriately titled Donate button.

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