David Stevens

Archive for May, 2018|Monthly archive page

Hear my song!

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2018 at 12:33 pm

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I loved that film! From a time before Superintendent Ted Hastings was running down bent coppers and anyone who doesn’t do things by the book. See the picture, Adrian Dunbar can smile. “I’ve been born in peace time. I haven’t been where you’ve been. I haven’t seen what you’ve seen.”

I digress, we’re talking about MY song. But not really.

Podcasts. If you prefer to read with your eyes closed, or with your hands free, or some such thing or combination, three of my stories are available for your ezy-listening pleasure. Just click on the links to be taken to the horror destination of your choice.

“If he looked out of the window now, into the night, he knew that there would be no street, no sky. Just a dim hallway, thin walls rattling with the wind tunnelling though it, rain dripping from a soggy ceiling. This is all that there is.” Good Boy

“His shame was exposed, the scar where a shell splinter had torn through his groin and ripped away his manhood. Albert no longer cared. He was counting the moments until he died.” Some corner of a Dorset field that is forever Arabia

“Transformation by force: a man enters the shop at noon. He walks through the door to the tinkle of the bell. Once inside, he reaches around and throws the bolt of the lock. He twists the sign from Open to Closed. He faces the woman in the store as she stands alone — the power of the words ‘in broad daylight’.” The gods of the gaps

Or perhaps you are an odd sort of bird, the type who actually wants to hear a song. Well, I suppose there is this:

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Serial Killer Blues

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2018 at 5:41 pm

The latest edition of The Literary Hatchet, is available now, just click here for details.

Which reminds me, you can read my own contribution to The Literary Hatchet, Serial Killer Blues, for free – just click here, fill out the form, and a PDF of volume 14 will be sent to you. You can also buy hard copies at Amazon if you are so inclined.

A Small Town in Germany

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2018 at 5:43 pm

John le Carre’s 5th novel is 50 years old, but the world it describes is only yesterday, a modern world with the only discrepancies the make of cars, or whether everyone has a boilerman enter their home to start the morning. In their concerns and the way they live their lives, the folk described don’t seem much different from people today, except for the lack of references to smartphones, I suppose. And that sort of difference is equally true for novels written in 2005. The filing systems it turns on are not computerised, but then friends of mine who work in archives are still dealing with pre-digitalised material. Perhaps the UK is not as class-ridden, but I am sure there are still officers made to feel out of place because they wear the wrong shoes or have the wrong accent, as occurs in the novel.  Not that I was reading any novels in 1968, but I suspect that if I was, I would have felt a greater difference with the characters and setting of novels written in 1918.

The novel describes a world where the UK is desperate to enter the European common market, seeking German support against French opposition. It is interesting to read that in a world of Brexit, but as a main character points out towards the end, it is not the detail of the cause célèbre that matters, but just that there is one.

Wait! Brussels … the Market … all this. Next week it’s gold, the week after it’s the Warsaw pact. We’d join the bloody Salvation Army if it pleased the Americans. What does it matter about the names?

And the rejoinder:

Crises are academic. Scandals are not.

There is always something, and the something will change. However, it is human beings and lives that are damaged along the way, the causes and the victims of scandal who are ultimately disposable. All of our running around, all of the work of days, that a year or a decade or half a century later are reversed, by people who are also running around and who can proclaim that they are doing the right thing. What does any of it matter in the end?

Every night, as I go to sleep, I say to myself: another day achieved. Another day added to the unnatural life of a world on its deathbed. And if I never relax, if I never lift my eye, we may run on for another hundred years.

Well, we are half-way there. 50 years on from the crises and scandals of 1968, a year famous for many things, many events. And not that I want to bring the end of the world one second closer, but personally, I need to relax!

Three-Lobed Burning Eye Magazine – new issue

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2018 at 5:47 pm

After a 19 month hiatus, Three-Lobed Burning Eye Magazine is back. I am particularly pleased as the latest volume contains a new horror story by me, The Gods of the Gaps. Click here to read it for free. Additionally you may wish to spend 17 minutes of your life listening to me narrate my own tale (no doubt proving once again that my oral vocabulary is more limited than my written vocabulary).

witches

Well, that wouldn’t get through the slush pile, would it?

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Julian Barnes’ review in The Guardian of William Trevor’s final collection really inspires me to get it now and read it, despite the toppling pile of books my puritan-self (who the hell is that? I’ll fight him!) says I have to read before I can buy any more. Here I steal, not from the stories of course, which I have not read, but from the review, which I have:

There are also slippages of identity and function to be endured.

And there are doubts and ambiguities at every turn.

Trevor’s fiction is full of precise evasions – and evasive precisions.

And:

But it is the reader’s pity too, as we go back over her story and better understand …

Hmmm…

Trevor does not make a point of being demanding or obscure; but he is very subtle.

This relates to an incident whose significance escaped me for two readings.

Mr Trevor certainly was not writing for any slush pile! Thank goodness. And how generous a reader is Mr Barnes.

The Passage

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Justin Cronin’s The Passage was an excellent book. You should definitely read it. A great thrilling scary read, one of my favourite vampire books, which means one of my favourite books.

Never had I looked forward to a sequel more. My excitement increased when I picked up a more recent paperback edition, with a special preview of the The Twelve. Woo-hoo, the sniper we were briefly introduced to in The Passage has his story told – shooting vampires, escaping soldiers, a nightmare journey through an underground car park. This is great, I thought, just like the fat guy in Animal House before the horse dies. Oh, but it wasn’t. It was shit, except for bits, and boring, and annoying. And then came The City of Mirrors, which was also shit, except for bits. (And part of that shit was that after having been teased about the role of Australia in the future, only to find out everyone died and Australia was colonised by Americans who lost their knowledge of everything but still had the University of NSW – I may be slightly wrong on the detail, my copy is in another continent.) Two fat shit books that I have probably read more than many good skinny books, I think because I kept telling myself I must have remembered wrong, they cannot be that bad, BUT THEY WERE. So you should definitely read The Passage, and then mourn the fact that Justin Cronin made so much money from it that he never bothered to write the sequels.

Any way,  so much for 8 year old books.

So, we live in a golden age of television. Its a fact, I should know, I watch enough. You know, all the shows, with their modern approaches to story telling, their realistic setting, their ARTFULNESS. And in this modern age, someone makes this …

As I said, shit. They took the good book and made a crappy cheap looking generic … well, ok its just a trailer, but why is it so clean, and where is the darkness, and the monsters, and the ATMOSPHERE? Has nobody learned anything? And is it just me, or are they actually remaking I Am Legend? – the Will Smith thing, not the excellent book, which again, is one of my favourite vampire books. Where is the creepiness? What, no murdered nuns? No Virals ripping cities apart? Oh, go to buggery …

The Big Reveal

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2018 at 6:16 pm

My story “The Big Reveal” is a finalist in the short fiction section of the Australian Shadows Awards. Big thanks to the Australasian Horror Writers Association for the nomination. And big thanks to Fred Coppersmith at Kaleidotrope for publishing the story.

I opened an email listing the nominees, thinking wouldn’t it be nice if my name appeared in here, and there it was, a big surprise (on a day when I really needed something nice!).

Read the story here.

Read the list of nominees here.

Check out the latest edition of Kaleidotrope here.

Bandwagon, jumped on; This is America as a horror film

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2018 at 4:07 pm

I keep coming back and watching this. Leave the social commentary behind (you don’t have to, of course, but please, just for a moment) and watch it as a short horror movie. The changes in tone. The riots in the background like anything out of 28 Days Later or World War Z. The Ironside theme type siren, accentuated at the end, that scared/thrilled me as a kid. The concluding grainy images and the absolute running for his life fear. Sudden violence. The smiling dancing imp that drops it all and murders with a dead face – a mockery of Lucifer as a naughty boy and sin as a bit of fun, this is something from primal chaos. The deeper fear hidden behind a happy face. The carpet pulled away, and the removal of any safe place, any safe person. This is one hell of a horror movie. Load back the social commentary, and it still is, and worse. This is really good.

Must … buy … must …

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2018 at 8:23 am

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The theme is set, and odd it is

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2018 at 5:46 am

Sorry, but this one is a little too odd for us

Two days in a row? Are you guys talking to each other about me behind my back? 🙂

Life is short. I am never going to have a career or find celebrity as a writer. Don’t want to. In the little bits of time that I have, my magpie eye picks up on crooked shiny things, and I play with them for a while. I ignore the ordinary, because I spend enough time with it the rest of the day. The strange bits and pieces from my own tiny corner of the universe, these are the things that I want to share. The characters I have met and had fun with. The man whose mind spent too much time in the brain of a lizard, and is having trouble unpacking into that of a human. A cosmonaut heading to the land of the dead. Neil Armstrong, trapped in a child’s bedroom. A spider woman and an insect man dancing the dance of death – and love! A man who never dreams, except of blackness and things shifting around a little bit, and what he finds near his back fence. The secret true history of Lawrence of Arabia, with djinn and ghouls.

If my little oddity catches the eye of an editor, as it sometimes does, and gives some pleasure to a reader, what a bonus. A little affirmation, and a joy shared, before heading back to the mundane world. And that, dear reader, is what it is all about, for me at least.

(“Why I write”: sheesh, now he thinks he’s George Orwell.)

Having said all of that – after something of a pause, there is a new edition of Three-lobed Burning Eye magazine appearing this month, and it is extremely important that you keep an eye out for it, burning or otherwise.