David Stevens

Posts Tagged ‘three-lobed burning eye’

The thing was globular in the moonlight. Heavy breasted. Round haunches curving to a woman’s thighs that soon became dog’s legs. Or a jackal’s.

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2018 at 12:33 pm

And now you can see what that looks like! Very happy that my story in CHTHONIC has been graced with an illustration – you can see it in the Martian Migraine Press video, just click here. Don’t give her a kiss, you don’t know what she has been eating.

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Some Corner of a Dorset Field that is Forever Arabia

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2018 at 11:26 am

“Some Corner of a Dorset Field that is Forever Arabia,” being the true history of Lawrence of Arabia, aka TE Lawrence, TE Shaw, John Ross, ??? Surely you did not think the truth had already been told?

This is a story I took a particular pleasure in writing, and I am proud of the result. It was mentioned in despatches, with Ellen Datlow describing it as a “strong dark story” in her round up in Best Horror of the Year 7. It was published in Three-Lobed Burning Eye magazine in 2014. At the time, there were some restrictions on my ability to publish under my own name, and it was published under the name Lloyd Connor.

The story now appears under my own by line, a source of tiny pleasure to myself. if you have not come across it before, you can read it here for free with just one click, or even listen to me proving my written vocabulary is wider than my oral.

nighttime reading

YMV

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2018 at 1:11 pm

I’m writing a story featuring a blind person, which led me by some circuitous and probably inappropriate path, to think that I should mention two of my stories that are available free for your listening pleasure, via podcast.

First up is my first ever published story, “Good Boy”, no longer in print, but available in audio in a slightly redacted version, on Pseudopod right here, just one click away.

“Some Corner of a Dorset Field that is Forever Arabia” can be read or listened to at Three Lobed Burning Eye, by clicking here. Your reader is yours truly, under the pseudonym Lloyd Connor, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but probably wasn’t. Delight in the fact that my written vocabulary is wider than my oral vocabulary! The story will be appearing again early this year under my own name.

Oh, and Happy New Year, Space Cadets!

Read for free …

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2017 at 4:02 pm

… you know you want to!

Christmas is coming, as I can tell from the 4.30pm sunset. O Southern Hemisphere, I miss you and your heatwave Christmas! A hot roast lunch with a side of cold prawns. Hot Christmas pudding, followed by pavlova with chilled fruit and cream. Everyone knows Jesus wasn’t born in winter …

I digress. If you are so interested, the following of my tales are available for your (free) reading pleasure. In the words of my father, don’t say I never give you anything. Just click on the titles to be transported to a winter wonderland (possibly of hell and suffering, but a wonderland nonetheless). All this by way of prelude to a new story being published in the next few days.

My Life as a Lizard

Some Corner of a Dorset Field that is Forever Arabia

This Neil Armstrong is not dead

The Big Reveal

 

 

 

 

Long listed

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2015 at 3:42 am

My alter-ego Lloyd Connor is very pleased that his story, Some Corner of a Dorset Field that is Forever Arabia, appears in the long list of recommended horror stories of 2014 from Ellen Datlow. I eagerly await her yearly anthology of horrible goodies, so it is a big massive thrill for me to make that long list. Thanks very much Ms Datlow!

(And you can read the story here for free in Three-Lobed Burning Eye)

Insert huge smiley face here!

Best Horror of the Year

In Uncategorized on August 8, 2015 at 6:38 am

Years ago I was helping a junior staff member who was having some difficulties. Ours can be an arduous profession, with long hours, lots of conflict, and difficult policy decisions which have to be defended. She was talking about some of the difficulties she was facing, particularly as a woman of a different background in a profession dominated by white males. I am a white male, but not from the privileged background of many of our colleagues, and she turned the conversation to what I would like to achieve. I decided on total honesty. I pulled from my briefcase a copy of the latest edition of Stephen Jones’ Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, and said “One day, I want to have a story in here”. She laughed and was good natured about it, but she was puzzled, especially by the lurid cover.

I’m widely read, and I’m not a snob about any of it. I’m reading Jim Crace’s “Harvest”, and just finished “The Acolyte” by Nick Cutter and “The Buried Giant” by Kazuo Ishiguro, as well as “Seveneves” by Neal Stephenson. I love literary works as well as science fiction, crime and especially horror and weird fiction. I like works of unease, especially things that in a long and jaded reading life actually elicit a response from me. Last year I was moved by “Lila”, intrigued by “The Maggot People”, and I enjoyed “Moxyland”.

When people find out I like horror, they are sometimes confused. You seem normal, you have a family, you work, you are educated … I don’t say this to get a pat on the back; invariably I feel judged, as though there is something not quite right about me, as though I watch snuff films.

While blood and gore are par for the course, I don’t particularly like slasher films, and get bored by lists of atrocities. I do like work that suggests the world is not as we know it, that there are deeper currents, shadows, and doors that open to places they shouldn’t. I like the exercise of the imagination. i like all sorts of genres and works that are not supposed to be genre, but a comfort food I have always come back to, is horror. Most of it I don’t like – like anything, there is only a small proportion that is good, or that matches my tastes, but when I find it, I crack a smile from ear to ear. The good stuff.

No story of mine has found its way into a collection of Mr Jones’, or any of the yearly best of anthologies. Perhaps they never will. However …

Last year, I published a story in a magazine that I really like, “Three-Lobed Burning Eye”, edited by Andrew S Fuller. It is called “Some Corner of a Dorset Filed that is Forever Arabia”. I like all of my stories, but this was a favourite. I decided, perhaps wrongly, to publish it under a pseudonym – Lloyd Connor – for professional reasons, I was working under a particular contract at the time which could have made things difficult for me and my family.

The new volume of “Best Horror of the Year”, edited by Ellen Datlow, is about to be released. In its introduction, where Ms Datlow goes through some of the work published last year, she states regarding Three-Lobed Burning Eye that “in 2014 there were strong dark stories by Lauren Dixon, Lloyd Connor, and Bonni Jo Stufflebeam”. That might not seem like much to you, but consider me chuffed, I’m really happy someone liked the story enough to mention it. If you left click here, you can read it for free – please do!

Who do you think you are, George Orwell?

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2015 at 4:06 pm

(Having published five short stories (one of them twice!) its fairly important that I make an arse of myself by drawing a comparison between George Orwell and, well, moi.)

I purchased a copy of a slim George Orwell volume, ‘Why I write’, part of the Penguin Great Ideas series, last (European) summer when I was in Paris. To be honest, I was in Shakespeare and Company, and I wanted to buy something so they could stamp it – there was nothing in the book I didn’t already have in some other compilation.

In the title essay, Orwell gives his reasons for writing: sheer egoism; aesthetic enthusiasm; historical impulse; and political purpose. I can understand Orwell writing such an essay – after all, he was a brilliant writer who wrote great works, he was an insightful thinker, and his thoughts on writing were worth recording and sharing. For a long time, I liked to think that I shared such motives, but the fact is, the first, and maybe a version of the second, are the only ones we share. And that’s ok by me, because I’m not George Orwell and as much as 1984 is on my list of favourite novels, and my copies of his books of essays are well dogeared, I am never going to produce work like that. (Neither am I going to fight in a Spanish war or go undercover as a tramp, and that is all fine by me.) And of course, not being George Orwell, my motives are of no interest to the world. But dear reader, seeing there is just the two of us here, I figure there is no problem with me sharing a little in this private place where no one else treads – its not like this is going to be sold to tourists in Shakespeare and Company on an overheated day where beers call one’s name like frothy sirens from tourist traps along the Seine, is it?

I write for pure pleasure, and that is why I often don’t write, because it is not pleasurable. I write because if I write often enough, sometimes I can live in the moment, and its just me and words, and they are coming out right, and some weird shit is coming together on the page in a way that pleases my inner ear, and I am not worrying about work, or bills, or the calls and demands of my family (whom I love – honest). None of that is any guarantee that what is coming out is any good, but I am enjoying it, it is pleasing me, and that is cool, because the internal critic has wandered off somewhere to annoy someone else for the afternoon.

And the pleasure is the passing of time engaged in something I enjoy. There is no historical impulse – there is little history in a story about a man who used to be a lizard. There is no political purpose, or none I can discern in a man receiving a telephone call from his dead son. I have aesthetic enthusiasm, but it is personal, and it is about words sounding right (to me, most likely to no one else) in service of whatever strange idea I am playing around with.

I think the main thing I am trying to do is please a particular reader. He’s a 16 year old boy with a sense of humour and a hunger for the strange. The compliment he likes the most is, how did you think up something that weird? He has some vague hope that maybe he could make a living as a writer. He’s long gone now. Don’t get me wrong, I am not writing stories for a 16 year old audience, certainly not a 16 year old audience of today. The boy might not even like or understand the story if he read it. I just like to think he would give an approving nod to the impulse behind the story, if that makes sense.

So in a strict sense, the aim in writing is not publication. Though true, that is also a lie. Mere publication does not impress that boy – he has read plenty of shit in his years. But he has also read the Dangerous Visions books, with Harlan Ellison’s comments in one or other of his introductions that writing for the trunk is masturbation, and  he agrees, what is impressive is to write the thing you want to write, and then find someone willing to publish that. So, getting a nod to the impulse, and then another nod that, hey, you managed to place that piece, well done, that’s what I mean by impressing that boy.

So yes, sheer egoism, I understand that, compliments are good, editorial acceptance is great, and impressing that boy is fine. So where is all of this going?

Last year I published a story under a pseudonym with a good magazine. I had written it originally for a themed anthology, then let it lie dormant after rejection. I came back to it and worked over it a number of times. The style was different to most of my other stories, and I had a genuine aesthetic enthusiasm for it, trying a couple of different things: telling two different though related stories; one set in the past but moving forward, the other in the present but using a series of flashbacks; and having two main characters who would never meet. I am always happy to place a story, don’t get me wrong, but I was particularly happy that this story had been accepted, that someone read it and liked it, and others would have a chance to read it.

For personal reasons, there were a couple of tiny aspects of the story I thought it best not to have associated with me in another capacity at the time – no self censorship, I just didn’t need a particular complication. So I decided to use a pseudonym. As publication time approached, I wondered how that would feel (remember, I’ve only had four other stories published, so there is a novelty in seeing my name in the byline) given sheer egoism is a motivating factor.

I kind of liked it. Most of the genre writers I admired from the good old days used one or more pseudonyms. I got to make up my own name (which ended up being a tribute to both my parents and The Terminator). I have no cachet attached to my own name, so the magazine lost nothing. And I loved seeing the story in existence, out there in the world.

Which is all a very, very long winded way of saying that if you are interested, check out ‘Some Corner of a Dorset Field that is Forever Arabia’ (just left click on the title) by that cool new writer, Lloyd Connor, in a recent edition of Three-Lobed Burning Eye magazine – it’s tops (and now I am doing an Anthony Burgess, except his review of his own work was slightly longer, and more critical, than ‘it’s tops’ – then again, I’m no more Anthony Burgess than I am George Orwell). You can even hear Mr Connor read the story in a very serious voice that sounds remarkably like my own attempt at gravitas. (Don’t tell him about the mispronunciations though, he must read more than he speaks.) Mr Connor is I understand very grateful to 3LBE and to its editor, Andrew S Fuller.

And of course, after all of that, ‘George Orwell’ is a pseudonym so, me and Eric Blair, we have that in common as well. (As well as what?)

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*

New editions

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2014 at 4:12 am

The latest editions of Aurealis and Three-Lobed Burning Eye are available now, always worth a look…

… recommended for your speculative reading pleasure …