David Stevens

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Breach

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2018 at 9:50 am

Very happy that my weird story “Baby, cold outside”, has found a home in Breach magazine, and will appear in Breach #08 in August. More details to follow …

… meanwhile, while you are waiting, you can read (or listen to) my latest published story, “The gods of the gaps”, here at Three-lobed Burning Eye magazine.

… we have to be careful of our own disposition to irony. There is tradition, even for scientists. Spilled blood pays strange bills, and we have our fingers in so very many pies…

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I did not win an award

In Uncategorized on June 9, 2018 at 8:26 am

There, that’s a blunt factual title!

My story, The Big Reveal, did NOT win the 2017 Australian Shadows Award for short fiction. Congratulations to the winner, Matthew J Morrison for his story The Banksia Boys (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #66).

Nonetheless, feel free to click on the link to read my story which appeared in the Winter 2017 edition of Kaleidotrope, edited and published by Fred Coppersmith. I still like the opening (self-praise is no recommendation, as Mrs Carver used to say, the teacher who told me there was no Santa):

When he heard the cracking before the lights had even been doused — a noise he would later realize was the sound of small facial bones breaking — when he looked up and saw the man’s face turning into someone else’s, the boy stopped paying attention to the stuffed horse he had been pulling hair from all afternoon.

Or of course, you can read something else … like The gods of the gaps, in the latest 3LBE

(So many links. Somehow, I think there would have been less shameless self-promotion here if I had won… 🙂 )

It was excellent to have been nominated.

Sorry Fred …. Kaleidotrope … Mum … I let you all down … 😦

I think I am not getting the tone right, too many inconsistencies. Well, here is something that always cheers me up:

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.

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.

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. …

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.