David Stevens

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Eyes are burning

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2018 at 3:35 pm

What’s that you say, 3LBE?

“The voices from the shadows of the things long extinct loose whispers that a new issue will visit soon.”

You don’t say? And I wonder, why is it that I have a special interest in that? Hmm …

I hear that the next issue of Three-lobed Burning Eye magazine will be available in May. …

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Philip K and other stuff

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2018 at 4:15 pm

Sitting in the cinema with my mate Stephen back in another lifetime, as the opening credits for Total Recall unfurled. The year before, I had had a job which involved some proof reading of a corporate newsletter. We were told not to bother with certain parts, as they had been there for years. One of the new guys disregarded his instruction, and found an error that had been sent out to clients for years. (I laughed a lot, and learned a lesson.) You reach a point where mistakes just hit you in the eye. And there it was. Our favourite writer’s name misspelled in the credits as Phillip K Dick.

The world didn’t end. I knew I was right though, because back in primary school, we received a booklet every year that was supposed to be an educational resource but was mainly industrial puff pieces for major corporations operating in Australia. Philip Electronics made a big deal that their name was spelled with only one ‘l’ – just like electron. And for some reason, whenever I meet a Phil(l)ip, that sticks with me. I knew PKD was like the electron.

Anyway, nearly 30 years on, watched the start of Total Recall again earlier today, and waited for it, and there it was, PKDs name still misspelled. And still, the sky did not fall. And why do I remember this stuff?

***

Some science fiction people I sometimes read – Charles Stross and Ken Macleod – wrote / spoke recently and separately about how they don’t read / haven’t read much science fiction from the past (respectively one and two) decades. No judgement here – I gave up on speculative fiction entirely at one stage, and at another realised that all I was reading was non-fiction. Sick of tropes, sick of same-same, sick of same but different. I understand / sympathise / empathise completely. I never required that Len Deighton read non – Len Deightons.

It made me think, though, as a person who is not a member in any sense of any speculative fictional community – no conventions, fandoms, gatherings, groups, first name bases, whateverseses: could something similar be said about most genre writers, or at least, established genre writers? So when people are on panels together, are they largely speaking past each other, without engagement, or perhaps at best, only momentary engagement?

Does it matter? I suppose my mind comes back to it a bit because (again as an outsider), I always thought that somewhere else out in the world there were all these sf writers reading and commenting on and fighting about each others work (reinforced most recently by reading “The Night Ocean” by Paul La Farge). I may have just assumed that all sf writers were Brian Aldiss, with many thoughts about such things. But these were childish, unexamined thoughts, perhaps.

Maybe Margaret Thatcher was right (did I really just write that?) – there is no such thing as society, or at least, speculative fiction society. Say it isn’t so! 🙂

***

On the recommendation of a trusted reading friend, I have the first three Bernie Gunther novels of Philip (spelt correctly!) Kerr sitting on my bookshelf. I will read them. Seeing Kerr’s obituary the other day, I felt a little guilty. Honest, one day, I will. They sound right up my alley – noir, Berlin, WW2 and after, etc. What’s stopping you?, asked my friend. I admitted it: I did read one book he wrote, and I read it to the end, and it was one of the worst books I have ever read. My friend looked at me like there was something wrong. I wanted to like it, I added quickly. The subject matter was interesting. You know I like horror, and my interest in religion, and I race through a good thriller. Hang on, he says, what was it called? “Prayer” I said. His face changed. Oh yeah, that! He almost spat. I had blocked it out. That one’s fucked. But the others are good.

So I shall read the others

Night sky in the day time

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2018 at 10:03 am

Night sky in the day time

 

Relief after the storm

when rain washes the sky clear

grit and grain

drained away.

Awake to a sense of purity:

tensions resolved, static removed,

humidity vanished.

Walk outside

Bewildered at the streaks,

paint trailing at the bottom of a dome

See as you have never seen,

Darkly, though no longer through a glass.

Who knew the stars

were eyes?

Clustered, staring, unblinking

greedy.

Who knew the sky is a face?

The earth at your feet is a mouth,

full of teeth.

 

(with a nod to Laird Barron)

****

I miss Sydney thunderstorms – the urgent, commanding nature of weather that demands your full attention, slamming the skies, shaking your house. The cosy thrill / of knowing it can kill / while you are safe (-ish) indoors. And then afterwards, the air is clear and clean and everyone and everything can breathe so very deeply. Not like this monotonous seasons long European grey that wears you down until you are dead but you don’t realise. Dramatic much?

Twice we have heard thunderclaps here. Single individual booms. We waited, happy, ready for the follow up. Though it never came, we spoke about those thunder claps for days afterwards.

The story is crowded with observations that seem unnecessary and bizarre

In Uncategorized on March 19, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Quite. Otherwise, what would be the point?

Peter Temple RIP

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2018 at 7:45 am

Sad news today. He was an excellent writer. Australians are great at claiming others as their own, but Peter Temple claimed us, and caught us so well in his writing. He had a great way with wounded characters, and not only was there toughness and grit, there was also a lot of gentleness in his writing. I enjoyed his work very much.

 

Mormon boys

In Uncategorized on March 5, 2018 at 5:47 pm

Lonely Mormons

far from home

wandering through the great apostasy.

Tempted by Coca Cola,

shunning coffee and other like beverages,

is your truth too good for me?

You rush to share it

with the pretty Asian girls.

Was there nothing on

those buried gold plates

Elohim wanted you

to share with me?

I’ll just have to cross my own desert.

Not for the first time.

*****

Those Mormon boys were hanging around Chinatown in Sydney, and no matter how many times I walked past, ready to talk to them about Joseph Smith, they were too busy sharing their truth with pretty girls.

A jewel in the dark …

In Uncategorized on March 4, 2018 at 12:57 pm

In his introduction to CHTHONIC, editor Scott R Jones very kindly remarks

Finally, David Stevens’ Some Corner of a Dorset Field That Is Forever Arabia gives us the secret history and fantastic death of a famous English colonel. I count this last as a jewel in CHTHONIC, and I think you will, too.

When I first described my monster, I thought it was harmless enough, as monsters go, but then I saw Fufu Fruenwahl’s drawing, and it freaked me out on several levels. Hmm, there may be something wrong with me.

If you enjoy reading the weird, and/or supporting small independent publishers, I recommend CHTHONIC for your reading and purchasing pleasure, with not a jot of self interest (you can trust me, I’m Australian).

…..

Martian Migraine Press presents seventeen diverse tales of subterranean horrors and abyssal wonder.
CHTHONIC: Weird Tales of Inner Earth features stories by Ramsey Campbell, Gemma Files, Nadia Bulkin, Antony Mann, H. P. Lovecraft, Aaron Besson, Christopher Slatsky, Adam McOmber, John Linwood Grant, Scott Shank, Sarah Peploe, Orrin Grey, S. L. Edwards, Belinda Lewis, David Stevens, Adam Millard, and Tom Lynch . With cover art by Lucas Korte, interior illustrations by Fufu Fruenwahl, and an introduction by editor Scott R Jones.
Only $11.99USD via paypal

 

  If you’re Canadian (and congratulations if you are!)
you can order CHTHONIC: Weird Tales of Inner Earth HERE (11.99 + 3.50CA shipping & handling)

  If you’re American (brave! free! delightfully weird!)
you can order CHTHONIC: Weird Tales of Inner Earth HERE (11.99 + 8.00CA shipping & handling)

  If you live anywhere else on this bizarre spinning mudspeck,
you can order CHTHONIC: Weird Tales of Inner Earth HERE (11.99 + 10.00CA shipping & handling)

CHTHONIC: Weird Tales of Inner Earth is also available in electronic book formats ($7.99 in the US and Canada): .mobi via Amazon’s Whispernet instantly and direct to your Kindle or Kindle-enabled device, and in EPUB (Kobo and Nook readers) and PDF (most computers and iDevices) formats direct from our site (via Paypal, with an under-12-hour delivery time). Links below…

CHTHONIC: Weird Tales of Inner Earth (mobi) for your Kindle ($6.99) HERE

CHTHONIC: Weird Tales of Inner Earth (EPUB) for your Kobo or Nook reader ($6.99) HERE

CHTHONIC: Weird Tales of Inner Earth (PDF) ($6.99) HERE

Martian Migraine Press: the Best Kind of Headache

 

 

 

 

CHTHONIC is here

In Uncategorized on February 27, 2018 at 12:09 pm
The rock vibrates beneath the soles of your feet, and your headlamp flickers, fails. But then, you knew it would, eventually. This place is not for you,  but here you are.

 

Yes, here you are …

CHTHONIC is here, now available for ordering by clicking here.

 

I am very happy that CHTHONIC includes my true history of Lawrence of Arabia, Some Corner of a Dorset Field that is Forever Arabia, where it gets to hang out with cool tales by Ramsey Campbell and HP Lovecraft, amongst others.

 

 

You had me at …

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2018 at 2:00 pm

Dear Ms Kiernan.

If you didn’t have me before, you had me at “…militants from the Earth- Yuggoth Cooperative”. Insert extremely large smiley face here.

An electronic version of the original Black Helicopters has been lost somewhere in my PC for a few years, and I haven’t read it. However, I was very pleased this week to read “Agents of Dreamland”, from the same universe (which I deeply and sincerely hope is not my universe – yes, my – you, your all on your own, start practicing “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”), from which this time shifting perspective quote is taken. Between this and most of the works of Jeff VanderMeer, I have certainly had my evil mushroom fix. And between blood pressure and worrying about our future dark ancient elder overlords, I have had to give up on further extraction work on my PC. However, I am told by the Book Depository that the extended version of “Black Helicopters” will arrive in my letter box in 2 months or so.

Such wonderful sentences

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm

‘Michael took both her hands in his own, leaning close. “Such eyes. How did they fit such enormous eyes into your beautiful face? They had to boil your skull to make it flexible to expand the sockets for those beautiful eyes.”‘

“I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody from Denmark.”

“Denmark is misunderstood. I’m not sure I understand it myself.”

“I don’t know what that means.”

“… I made out the words, but not their meaning:

He’s my panda

from Uganda

he’s my teddy bear

they say things about him

but I don’t care

Idi Amin

I’m your fan

” – I read it several times. The rhyme scheme interested me.”

“Reality is not a fact.”

“You just tickle them in their terrorism bone, and they ejaculate all kinds of money.”

“Where’s the doctor?”

“The doctor is sick.”

I am really enjoying The Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson. I suspect a horrible end awaits everyone (perhaps because a horrible end awaits everyone), but in the meantime, the writing is wonderful.