David Stevens

Grappling with the time available …

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2014 at 7:37 am

Duncan Felton is going to run out of time. He has, with designer Finbah Neill,  created/edited/assembled/published a calendar based anthology, The Grapple Annual from scratch, carving the parts, bolting them together, and all I can say is, hats off to him. Who does that? Each entry is related to a different day of the year. I’m worried he will run out of days – the first volume of the annual covers more than a month. Perhaps he will move on to non-Terran years: Neptune (previously the penultimate planet) has shorter days and a much longer year than the earth. Or perhaps a Mayan calendar. I digress (how unusual).

They have put together works from 34 bright shiny writers and 5 bright shiny artists, as well as something by neither bright nor shiny me. The volume is a lovely looking artefact, and one of the nice things about a physical object is that you can pick it up and turn it over and see your name on the back cover (my priorities remain unchanged).

This is something I could never make or do, and I am happy to be a small part of it. If you are so minded, I encourage you to support the first volume of the Grapple Annual, with a view to it expanding far beyond Earth years.

Click here for a link to where you can purchase the first Grapple Annual.

Click here for a link to Grapple Publishing.

Click here to see the little list of my published stories.

My Gregory gush

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2014 at 1:50 pm

If you are already planning on reading ‘Pandemonium’ by Daryl Gregory, don’t read any further. There are no more spoilers here than on the back cover blurb, but …

I went on a Daryl Gregory binge last weekend. I’d had ‘Raising Stony Mayhall’ on my wishlist at The Book Depository for some time, and received a price drop alert, so I pushed it up the queue and purchased it. While I was doing that, I looked at his other novels and immediately bought ‘Pandemonium’.

‘Pandemonium’ – what’s not to love? The blurb had me by the end of the second sentence: ‘It is a world like our own [except that in] the 1950s, random acts of possession began to occur’. OK, done, sold. If only I hadn’t read the description further, what a great ‘What the … ?’ moment I would have had (and I live for those moments, folks). His ‘quest for help leads him to Valis, an entity possessing the science fiction writer formerly known as Philip K Dick’. BAM! Hit ‘Purchase now’. Two of my favourite books are ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Valis’, all my buttons were hit and lit up.

I have to confess, I would have preferred a different resolution, that the clues that had been laid led to a different place, but hey, I enjoyed the weird ride, and the ultimate ending was satisfying. The stranger the setting, the odder the world, it is essential, but harder, to create believable characters. The protagonist was believable with his existential struggle and nightmare life, and I cared about him and the crises he faced.

I went straight from that to ‘Raising Stony Mayhall’, also set in a world like our own, except that George Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’ was a documentary of a zombie outbreak that was quickly contained, and now the world lives in fear of a repeat performance.

I know there are people who hate zombies. The official position of Clarkesworld is that there are no good zombie stories. ‘Stony’ is a good story, that happens to be about zombies. Purists might not like them, hell, for those for whom the big debate is fast v slow zombies, the deviations and twists to the standard zombie line here may be too much. Too bad, I enjoyed it, I liked the protagonist and the choices he was faced with, I was intrigued by the world of disappearances and secret prisons, of zombie politics and terrorism.

I was then in a bookstore and saw Gregory’s latest, ‘Afterparty’, and stopped myself. Patience, David, patience, leave yourself something for later.

I’ve said it before, I’m no reviewer (at least I didn’t use the word ‘nice’, bugger, there it is, it slipped in), but I can say I really enjoyed ‘Pandemonium’ and ‘Raising Stony Mayhall’, both rose above so much predictable genre work, satisfying my need for good story and weird shit.

Bio? The letter ‘C’

In Uncategorized on September 15, 2014 at 8:01 am

Submissions require an author bio. I struggle with this. I look to others for inspiration. Some people include a half page of whimsy, at which I cringe, and have no publication credits, because they have not published anything. Others have a stream of credits, and of course, I can’t emulate that. Some list all the information demonstrating how they comply with a magazine’s wish for greater diversity, but everything about me is mainstream (or if its not, would only make sense to a few people within a small region in Sydney – perhaps). Still, I look for inspiration from others. Let’s begin with the letter ‘C':

  • Career: There is of course the traditional writer’s gambit of listing the 372 jobs they have had, from lumberjack to polar bear trainer, or alternatively, describing the highly technical work they do to show they are the ‘science’ in ‘science fiction’. Until early this year, I worked in the same place for over two decades, and I’m in a profession that would want no connection with horror stories, so I keep that to myself.
  • Cats: I don’t get the cats. Everyone but me has cats. Cats kill at least around 4 million native animals in Australia each year. I like native animals. So no cats. Plus my dog died, and that was sad, and no one wants to hear about that in an author bio. Especially the details of peeing blood all over me.
  • Children: I have four children. I love them dearly. They are humans, not cats though, and I wonder if that upsets anyone. If you can see their pictures, it means you are the person who stole my wallet.
  • Clarion: haven’t been there. Not to east, west or even south (which I think doesn’t exist any more). So no Clarion workshop to put on the list. No doubt, that shows from my writing. When I publish something and I see another contributor has been to Clarion, for some reason that makes me feel good.
  • Cohabitation: I have a wife. She has a husband (me). I asked her to remind me how long we have been married. She paused before muttering ‘forever’. She encourages me to write. She encourages me not to talk about her here. So, enough.
  • Cool: I’m not. I’m old. That I was going to include here the phrase ‘hep cat’ says a great deal. Not hip, not a hipster. Neither am I a geek (though no doubt like most people, I would appear somewhere on the ‘nerd’ spectrum). I have no street cred. In Australia, I would be a ‘dag’. This is a reference to the dung encrusted wool at a sheep’s bum, so you can tell it is not a good thing.
  • Cultural activities: I watch too much television. I put that in my bio. Once. I read a lot. I have lots of things I used to do. I like bird watching. I dunno. (This is just getting worse…).

So I typically include some variation of: David Stevens (usually) lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and children. His stories have appeared in Crossed Genres, Aurealis and Three-Lobed Burning Eye magazines, Pseudopod podcast, and some small Australian literary magazines. One day he will finish his novel.

*Yawn*

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 139 other followers