Ashcan Comics Needs Some Help!

So, Ashcan Comics (a Brisbane-based, independent comics publisher) needs your help.

They’ve got a huge backlog of comics, and need to free up some space in their warehouse.

And make some cash so they can keep printing cool comics, can buy tables at cons…all those sorts of things that I have no idea about when it comes to being a publisher.

My short story UTOPIA is illustrated in Issue 9. Is that a graphic short story? I don’t know.

Awesomely, they don’t just publish super-hero comics.

If they publish them at all. Mine’s sci-fi (surprise!)

Anyway, buy some. Help an indie publisher out!

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A BURNING DESIRE: The Culture of Censorship

A page from Maurice Sendak’s THE NIGHT KITCHEN, one of the most frequently challenged books in the United States (because it shows a penis!)

So, my latest article, A BURNING DESIRE: The Culture of Censorship, is up on the Kill Your Darlings website.

It focuses on literary censorship, especially the recent banning of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes in ALDI Supermarkets, and on censorship in general, particularly in Australia and the United States.

Let me know what you think!

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The Boys are Back in Town (part 4 of 4)

Image by Kessiye – via Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

I can wait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Boys are Back in Town (part 3 of 4)

Stormtroopers Advancing Through Gas – Otto Dix, from his Der Krieg series

In flying drones

and limbless children.

In falling bombs

and chattering machine guns.

Beheaded men, stolen women.

In your talk of peace

I lurk.

Glory, honour, destruction.

I am in you.

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The Boys are Back in Town (Part 2/4)

Victims of the Great Famine, India, 1876-78

Distended, swollen bellies, meandering flies.

Scrape your plate clean. Throw it all away.

Thigh gaps and size 0’s.

You are not good enough.

You are not good enough.

You are not good enough.

Eat less. Waste more.

You are too fat.

Eat less. Consume more.

Forget about those hungry children.

They live so far away.

You are not good enough.

They don’t have enough.

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The Hidden World of Underground Cities

Derinkuyu Underground City in Cappadocia, Turkey (photograph by Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia)

My latest on Atlas Obscura -

From Defence to Desperation: Why There is a Hidden World of Underground Cities

The Boys Are Back in Town (Part 1 of 4)

Image by Roger McLassus, used under Creative Commons 3.0

 

 

Rust spreads at his touch,

in delicate filigrees,

erupting from his fingertips.

Corruption flows in his veins,

lifeless,

undeath.

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A Sort of Justice

Southwyck House, by Kibwe X-Kalibre Tavares

“Who in the name of Hell was that?” The gunshot echoed in the hallway, deafeningly loud – I lay face-down on the floor, counting the seconds, counting my blessings. A fist-shaped hole punched through the wall above my head. It bled slowly, trickling plaster down to cake in my hair. “I’m gonna need a bucket of tea after this.” It sounded like a whisper, even inside my head.

“Third Precinct,” the Boss said, “bastards. They’re trying to snatch the case.” He stood up, adding the roar-and-click, roar-and-click of his hand-cannon to the sound of shrieking civilians. The leaning walls of the capsule hotel were grimy, the rust-water pooling on the concrete floor. Shells hissed in protest as they hit the puddles. My own gun shook as I drew it, caressing the fingertip identifier. There was no way we were going to lose this case to a bunch of pricks like Third. We had only a glimpse of the corpse as it lay there on the cold floor – I had no fucking idea what was going on there.

And neither would Third, if I had anything to say about it.

The Boss flicked a flash grenade around the corner – visors down, we chased after it.

“Second Precinct!” I shouted. The Boss just shot one, clean through the top of her head.

“Looks like a double homicide, eh, Constable?”

“And it looks like we found our prime suspect, Boss.” I grinned beneath my helmet. All he could see were my teeth.

And my baton, as it swung down.

The first victim’s lower intestine was looped around his neck, and an ankle was missing. As well as a couple of his teeth.

This bastard from Third would pay for that.

The Boss would come up with his usual, intangible proof.

And the killer could keep us in a job.

Continue reading

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Another New Non-Fiction Piece

Photograph by Melissa Toh, reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Licence.

I’ve got an article up on The Lifted Brow (yikes!), a brief history of hacking:

What Colour is Your Hat? From Phone Phreaking to Political Hacktivism.

Check it out, let me know what you think!

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Speculative Fiction is World Literature

300px-War-of-the-worlds-tripod

Or at least that’s what I’m arguing over on Gate 37. Click the link, the more people that read it, the more I get paid! Tell your friends!

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Stronger

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” he wheezed, as they peeled him from the rack and swung the rusty gibbet closed.

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A Silver Chrysalis

Insekter

Alex raises insects. Well, not raises so much as breeds. Enables to live, feeds, encourages. Harvests.

It was not his habit, not to begin with. Not originally. His father raised insects. Alex just kind of fell into it. Whether it was Alex’s father (John) who started the family business, Alex isn’t sure. People are not too forthcoming, where his father is concerned. Not that there’s anyone, really, who he could ask, that he trusts well enough to answer those questions – there’s not really anyone who can answer any of his questions.

He has tried to ask his computer, laboriously punching down on each key – it lets him really think about each question as he asks it. But the answers it gives him are usually confusing, or contradictory, or both.

Alex doesn’t much like the computer.

He uses it, when he has to. To order food, both for his insects and for himself. He doesn’t like to leave the house. When the credit card declines, he can sell some of his beloved insects, and start again. He uses the computer to ask those questions that no-one seems to be able to answer, and to answer those questions that people ask him. He is never confusing or contradictory.

He is proud of that.

Continue reading

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Less than a Week to go!

Just a friendly reminder that the Lane of Unusual Traders is closing to submissions in less than a week! Get on it!

Seamstress - Inspiration from the Lane

Seamstress – Inspiration from the Lane

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Aeolian Harps

Ever heard an Aeolian Harp? They’re stringed instruments, played by the wind.

And they’re the subject of my latest Atlas Obscura article!

Eerie Instruments Played by the Wind

Uncertain Certainty

“Uncertainty is worse.”

That’s what the guard had said, shrugging his shoulders. The loose-fitting black hood was an attempt at anonymity. Even though the same three men had looked though the bars each day, eight hours apart. The certainty of uncertainty had been welcome, really. Knowing that today was not to be the day you died. The certainty was far worse.

The sunlight was like a slap to the face.

“You are all the same,” he said, his hand resting on my shaking shoulder. “You all think you are invincible, invisible. But we catch you in the end.”

The rope swung from the scaffold. They hadn’t bothered to clean the shit from the floorboards.

“Any last words?” His breath was hot on my neck.

“And so the flowers screamed.” A coded phrase, my final plea.

He laughed, a boyish tinkle, odd coming from such a large man.

“They do little one, they do.” His hands reached out to encompass the prison’s garden, the neat rows of borlotti beans and staked tomatoes, the sprawling pumpkins and regimented stands of silverbeet. The droning of bees filled the silence he seemed to encompass with his gesture.

“They scream for your blood. We gotta fertilise them somehow.”

 

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Just a Reminder

 

Just a reminder that the Lane of Unusual Traders closes on the 31st of this month, for stories of up to 3,000 words.

Good luck!

Advice from Chekhov

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining;

show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

                                                               – Anton Chekhov

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Today

Man

I’m too

tired

To do anything

Other than write

This crap poem

Today.

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Gravedigger

Smoke curled, blue-grey-black

Into the night sky.

So damned cold.

He warmed himself

With the digging,

To get rid of this

Dead weight

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Interesting Spec Fic Markets for August and Beyond!

Toy Shop (Sirens) – Simon Cottee, for The Lane of Unusual Traders

Just some interesting speculative fiction markets I’ve come across this month, with a deadline sometime this month – I thought it’d be nice to share. All of these markets are pro-paying, by the way, unless I mention otherwise:

 

The Lane of Unusual Traders (Short Story component 1500 – 3000 words) – Tiny Owl Workshop, 31st August

The Lane of Unusual Traders is a world building project. The aim is to write or otherwise bring the Lane, the City of Lind and the world of Midlfell into existence through stories, illustrations, comics and, well, through whatever other creative means present themselves as the story grows.

The story begins in a lane known only as The Lane of Unusual Traders.

The Journal of Unlikely Cryptography (less than 5000 words) - Unlikely Story, November 1

 Genre isn’t particularly important to us—speculative, mainstream, slipstream, and the unclassifiable tales in between—we’ll read anything; all we ask is that the stories feature Information Technology as a prominent element of the tale. The focus of the magazine is Cryptography, so we’ll give preference to stories that involve cryptography (of course), ciphers, data privacy, surveillance, hacking/cracking, and so on. We’re interested in stories that demonstrate an understanding of the real technology, rather than pseudo-magical uses of information technologies which substitute “hacker” for “mage” and “source code” for “incantation.” We’re also interested in the wildly fantastical and surrealistic.

This Patchwork Flesh (under 7500) - Exile Editions, 31 August

This Patchwork Flesh is meant to be a wider lens on underrepresented stories, and on underrepresented voices. A chance for readers who identity as one of the many facets of QUILTBAG, or pansexual, fluid, and so on, to see narratives where they are not sidelined, where they are not depicted as secondary characters, always foils, aids, or victims of, or to, “normative” figures.

The Lost Worlds (up to 17,500 words) - Eldritch Press, December 30

“The Lost Worlds” will be a anthology in the Steampunk Horror Genre devoted to the post-apocalyptic theme. Send us worlds rebuilt by steam powered engines and mechanical marvels. Send us characters we can root for as they fight the good fight

 

Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide (3000-6000) - dreaming robot press, August 31

We’re looking for stories that: Have a main character a middle grade reader (ages 9-12) can identify with; Show a diverse set of real characters; Are well written, fun to read and encourage a love of reading science fiction; Tell of adventure, space, science. Give us rockets, robots and alien encounters, and we’re pretty happy. Steampunk, time travel, weird west and alternate history are all fine. We’re especially looking for stories: Where the main character is of a population that has traditionally been under-represented in science fiction, e.g. girls, people of color, differently abled people; Where the main character has agency, exercises it, and isn’t just along for the ride.

 

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