Proteus, the prototype human, was speaking with the radiant Evita when Archie, the archaeopteryx, traced out a semaphoric flight path as a warning. Lulled by the night-lit lumens of his own voice, Proteus ignored the ancient bird and continued with his exposition of the integers.
When solar rays were manifest,
Proteus had an inkling that his feeble wisdom
did not limit the world, and recognized
the twin subversions of his dreams,
ignorance and arrogance,
but the revelation came too late.
This is the untold tale of Proteus,
the legendary beta man,
the greatest and only scientist of the Jurassic,
friend to the tasteless simpsonodon
and the slightly feathered archaeopteryx,
as bearded as da Vinci,
and in whose hair,
a flickering of iridescent wings,
mostly still attached to dragonflies,
glittered in the sunlight.
The wind drops violins, my ducks are misaligned,
and the day that you created is winding up
and winding down.
I’ve spread the margarine of time
across the bread and crossed it out.
I need no answers, Alícia,
to questions no-one asked.
Cakely words by Sara Lee
are baking in the oven
and I don’t know who’s to blame.
The Third Dimension appeared on-line in Plasma Frequency Magazine. PFM re-emerged in 2016 with help from Kickstarter, and they’ve introduced a number of new features including a rookie author program, revamped editorial process, and broad reading choices with stories free on-line as well as in print and ebook editions.
Note: Unfortunately PFM has now sunk again and all that is left is a terrible spam site.
‘The Third Dimension’ is pretty much sci fi, as long as you can suspend your disbelief—I find a glass of wine helps, except with politicians—and it owes something to Ian R MacLeod’s magical novel The Light Ages, plus a few other works that I won’t name to avoid spoilers.
Issue 11 of Fantasy Scroll Magazine with my totally non-apocalyptic story The Water Moon is now freely available online. Just like water crackers, the moon isn’t made of water, plus it isn’t made of cheese either. But water crackers and cheese go very well with Pinot Grigio, which I may have been drinking when I wrote this piece and which might explain why it isn’t apocalyptic.
The Water Moon appeared in Fantasy Scroll Magazine and is available online. FSM started in 2014 with the aim of publishing thought-provoking fantasy and sci fi, and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength. In 2015 they published a paperback anthology of their 2014 stories featuring a number of big name authors, and they produce a podcast of one story each week as well as the bimonthly magazine.
‘The Water Moon’ is in part based on my experiences in South America, and I’d like to think the piece says a little about belief systems and the violent acts that can arise from them. Continue reading
The ‘Love Hurts’ Anthology from Meerkat Press with my modestly apocalyptic sci fi/fantasy piece Jacinta’s Lovers is now in print.
Issue 2 of Shoreline of Infinity with my moderately apocalyptic sci fi piece Reliquaries is now in print.
‘Lighter than Claire’ has appeared in the summer (north of the equator) edition of the Colored Lens and is available at Amazon. It’s also freely available online. The story has various sources—a plate of pasta, ‘Mambo Italiano’ by Flabby and Carla Boni (playing while I was writing), Philip K. Dick’s “A Scanner Darkly,” and the evolution of the species, at least the way it works in my imagination.¹ Continue reading
‘Reliquaries’ has appeared in the second issue of Shoreline of Infinity, a new sf magazine from Scotland,¹ and it’s available at Amazon. It’s a great name for an sf mag, and they’re looking for inspiring stories with a vision of the future, whatever direction that might take. With ‘Reliquaries’ it’s pretty much a downhill ride.
I can’t identify any one source for this story, although it does borrow a broad concept from an earlier piece of mine. It also owes something to an unusual museum I once visited in the south of Chile. Continue reading
‘Jacinta’s Lovers’ has appeared in the Love Hurts anthology from Meerkat Press,¹ who are “committed to finding and publishing exceptional, irresistible, unforgettable fiction.” So no holding back there. The anthology is available at Amazon.
‘Jacinta’s Lovers’ is science fiction with a sprinkling of fantasy fairy dust, and the broad inspiration for the story was a collection of works by the Australian poet Peter Porter. I’d planned to quote a line from the magical poem ‘An Australian Garden’ which appeared in The Rest on the Flight—
‘The Rising’ has appeared in the autumn 2014 issue of the Colored Lens, and is now freely available online. From the publishers—
By publishing short stories and serialized novellas every quarter in genres ranging from fantasy, to science fiction, to slipstream or magical realism, we hope to help our readers see the world just a bit differently.
The main source for the story was the movie A Hora da Estrela (The Hour of the Star) based on the novel of the same name by Clarice Lispector. The background for the sf component was the technique of geological surveying with a magnetohydrodynamic generator.
With some pieces, I find it difficult to identify sources or inspiration and with other pieces I find it easy, but that doesn’t mean I’m doing some sort of copying from a source. Continue reading
Ambisia has appeared in Black Denim Lit, a new magazine with stories freely available online. One source for the piece was Erwin Schrödinger’s Cat in the Box Paradox, and like the paradox, ‘Ambisia’ takes a few liberties with quantum mechanics. Another feature of the story is that it follows the Planetary Rhyming Convention:
- All planets in a given solar system must have rhyming names.
- If the inhabitants have not yet evolved to spoken language or are unable to distinguish the planets, all planets are deemed to have the name ‘Ook.’
‘The Medusa’ appeared in the Canadian In Places Between 2013 collection of short stories from the finalists in the Robyn Herrington Memorial Speculative Fiction Contest. The story took first place in the competition. The contest is run by the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, who very generously help new writers by providing brief critiques of the submitted stories.
One source for ‘The Medusa’ was the curious myth of the headless mule. Continue reading
The slightly eponymous ‘Inconstant Light’ appeared in the August 2013 issue of Plasma Frequency Magazine; it was published by Plasma Spyglass Press and was freely available online.
The magazine aimed to publish stories which resonate, but probably not at an actual plasma frequency, which would be many megahertz and would require ionized gas rather than paper. The story is set in an alternate world where things are a bit different, and there are some mythical aspects to do with the hard-to-pronounce and mysterious Jacyuaruá, the Moon Mirror Lake.
‘Beaches’ (flash fiction, 900 words) appears in IF11 from Isotropic Fiction. The site has reviews, opinion pieces and background. Thanks to a dynamic publishing team possibly led by a stock broker, they’re producing some exciting stuff.
What is ‘Beaches’ about? Think of sand, surf, and summer fun. If you like.
I have written a little far-fetched material about organisms being created by the sea, as they are in the story.