New Anthology: Switchblade: Tech Noir

Tech Noir list of contributors.
Switchblade: Tech Noir is now available on Amazon.

I’ve always enjoyed reading noir fiction and cyberpunk – so I was excited to find out Switchblade magazine wanted stories for a new anthology called Switchblade: Tech Noir. I was even more excited when my story Bad Score was among the ten tales selected by the editor, Scotch Rutherford.

Bad Score is a mix of hard-boiled crime story and dystopian SF, set in an America where cybernetic advancements have not created a perfect future.

The other contributors to the anthology are Callum McSorley, James Edward O’Brien, Mandi Jourdan, Hugh Lessig, Rob D. Smith, Matt Gomez, Nick Kolakowski, Eric Beetner and Alec Cizak.

Switchblade: Tech Noir contains 222 pages of new fiction.

If you like tough noir with a dark SF edge, I hope you will check it out!

Amazon US / Amazon UK

My New Science Fiction Collections 2018

Hi. It’s been a while since I updated my blog. I’ve been busy working on two new SF short story collections, which I’m happy to say have just been released as ebooks:  Strange Blue World and Future Imperfect.

Future Imperfect

Future Imperfect is a collection of eight science-fiction short stories set in the far future. It includes five tales previously published in anthologies and three new ones exclusive to this SF book.

Future Imperfect Amazon US/ Amazon UK

Future Imperfect cover

Strange Blue World

We all live on one strange blue world called Earth. This collection of SF is set on Earth – but not necessarily our Earth. This book contains a wide range of speculative fiction, including short stories about parallel universes, artificial intelligence, steampunk societies, alternate histories and many other science-fiction topics. Strange Blue World explores our planet in nineteen short stories for fans of quirky collections of science fiction.

Strange Blue World Amazon US/ Amazon UK

Strange Blue World cover

Both books are available on Amazon and other retailers.

I hope you’ll check them out.

Future Imperfect Amazon US/ Amazon UK

Strange Blue World Amazon US/ Amazon UK

Other retailers: Future Imperfect / Strange Blue World


New Release: Visions VI: Galaxies – science fiction anthology

New Release: Visions VI: Galaxies

Visions VI book cover
Includes “Canyon Falls”

The sixth anthology in Lillicat Publisher’s series of science fiction books is now available to buy on Amazon and other major retailers. Visions VI: Galaxies contains thirteen short stories, including my story Canyon Falls.

Visions VI: Galaxies is the latest anthology from Lillicat Publishers edited by Carrol Fix – a collection of thirteen science-fiction stories. They include Forecasts by Bridges DelPonte, involving a research station beset by the psychic trauma released by a genocidal event. It’s an interesting story with some great ideas. There’s also an alien abduction story called Shidee by W.A. Fix, which reveals the disturbing activities of the so-called Grays. I also enjoyed reading an intriguing aliens-meet-humans first contact story called Cloud Marathon by Gustavo Bondoni.

Visions VI contains a diverse selection of SF – a mix of hard and soft SF, some space opera, some military SF, some dystopian, some not.

From the publisher:

Edited by Carrol Fix, the sixth anthology of the Visions Series features: Bruce C. Davis, W. A. Fix, J. Richard Jacobs, John Moralee, Sharon Kraftchak, Gustavo Bondoni, Mary Madigan, Al Onia, Thomas Olbert, Sidney Blaylock, Jr., Bridges DelPonte, Doug C. Souza, and Amos Parker.

You can check out Visions VI: Galaxies on Amazon via these links:

Amazon US: Paperback/Kindle version

Amazon UK: Paperback/Kindle version

or at Smashwords

Visions VI: anthology submissions

Visions VI book coverThere’s still time to submit a story to the sixth anthology in the Visions science fiction series by Lillicat Publishers. I’m lucky enough to have already had my story Canyon Falls accepted – but the deadline remains open until September 15, 2016. Payment is $25. The subject for the sixth anthology is practically unlimited. They want futuristic short stories between 3000 and 8000 words.

You can read more about it via this link: Visions VI

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The Visions books can be bought from Amazon US and Amazon UK, as well as other retailers.


New Science Fiction Anthology Release

I’m pleased to have one of my science fiction stories in the latest speculative fiction anthology in the Visions series edited by Carrol Fix. It is now available from Lillicat PublishersAmazon and other retailers.

Visions V: Milky Way is an anthology of science fiction.
Visions V: Milky Way is an anthology of science fiction.

From the publishers:

Visions V stories take place somewhere…anywhere…in the Milky Way Galaxy. Planets, stars, and aliens, with no limitations, form the subject and action taking place outside our Solar System and within the Milky Way.

Humankind has forded the immense stream of space between stars and reached our nearest solar neighbors. What will we discover on hospitable planets circling those new stars? Will we find almost familiar moons, asteroids, planetary rings? Or, could there be never before seen astronomical formations? The sky is no longer the limit for our soaring imaginations, because somewhere out there is a potential haven for the remnants of our beleaguered civilization.

The fifth anthology of the Visions Series features: Steve Bates, Sam Bellotto Jr., Tara Campbell, D. A. Couturier, Bruce C. Davis, W. A. Fix, Teresa Howard, Margaret Karmazin, Leigh Kimmel, S. M. Kraftchak, Marie Michaels, John Moralee, Fredrick Obermeyer, Thomas Olbert, Timothy Paul, Jonathan Shipley, E. J. Shumak, Doug C. Souza, Jay Werkheiser, and Richard Zwicker.

My review:

Visions V: Milky Way is the fifth SF anthology from Lillicat Publishers on the subject of space exploration. It contains 400 pages and 20 short stories, including one by me. (I’m a little biased – so I won’t review my own story.)

There’s a wide variety of stories in this collection, covering many aspects of space exploration and adventure. Some are hard SF (like the first story by Jay Werkheiser, a story first published in Analog magazine). Other stories focus more on social issues and satire. Timothy Paul’s Black Hearts and Blue Skins is a heartfelt tale about xenophobia, for example. There’s an unusual story called Dropworld by Fredrick Obermeyer set almost entirely in the sky, a clever tale of clones and copies in Mirror Dialogues by Richard Zwicker, and a very long-distance relationship story called Pan Ad Aster by Bruce C Davis.

These stories reminded me of the kind of fiction you’d read in Asimov and Analog magazines. I think Visions V is worth checking out if you like the SF stories in those magazines, like I do.




New SF release: Visions IV: Between the Stars

New anthology published May 2016

 Visions IV: Between the Stars

visions IV space beyond starsThis new SF anthology includes my story – Paradise Saved – as well as many others. Visions IV: Between the Stars is a diverse selection of science fiction edited by Carrol Fix, each exploring the space between the stars. It contains short stories by J. Richard Jacobs, S. M. Kraftchak, Tom Olbert, Timothy Paul, Mark P. Steele , Emma TonkinJohn Moralee (Me!), Sidney Blaylock Jr. , Sarah Buhrman , Preston Dennett , Jeremy M. Gottwig , Margaret Karmazin , Jeremy Lichtman , Mary Madigan , and Jonathan Shipley .

Visions IV: Space Between Stars is the fourth volume of science fiction short stories from Lillicat Publishing. Like the previous collections, volume IV explores an aspect of space exploration. It includes fifteen stories.

I particularly enjoyed reading Sari Sari by Mary Madigan for its rebellious cyberpunky feel, which reminded me of William Gibson’s early work. It’s an excellent story with a strong plot and characters.

The collection includes stories set on space stations, asteroids, colony ships and even inside a black hole. Many stories made me think of the great stories from the Golden Age of Science Fiction, when writers like Asimov and Clarke wrote upbeat hard SF stories about space exploration, telling realistic stories about the men and women (and aliens) living in space.

Each story has been carefully edited by Carrol Fix, making it an easy read.

If you like space opera, I hope you’ll check out Visions IV.

This anthology is now available from the publisher and Amazon.

Lillicat PublishingAmazon US /Amazon UK

kuiper belt coverI’m pleased to also have a story in the previous anthology, Visions III: Beyond the Kuiper Belt. It contains stories by seventeen authors, imagining life on the edge of our solar system. Hard lives, hard radiation and hard SF, it’s a 305-page collection about space exploration and the future of humanity.

Book Release: Visions III

kuiper belt cover

There were only two jobs I wanted to have as a kid. The first one was a writer. The second was an astronaut.

I gave up that second ambition when I realised the investment necessary for space travel wasn’t going to happen any time soon, making it very unlikely I’d ever get to go into space.

I’d still love to travel up there – but until it becomes as routine as train travel, I will have to satisfy my ambition by writing science fiction.

I’m pleased to announce one of my SF stories is in a new anthology published in December called Visions III: Inside the Kuiper Belt. It’s edited by Carrol Fix and includes stories by seventeen international writers.

Visions III is available from: Lillicat Publishing,  Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Inside the writer’s mind: Star Wars

inside the writer mind star wars

Trailer Trashed

Everyone knows a new Star Wars movie has just come out. We’ve all seen the trailers – even if you didn’t want to see them. A teaser for the film emerged years ago – showing a few seconds of action that fuelled the fire of publicity around the most anticipated movie event of 2015. That first trailer showed the Millennium Falcon flying low over some stormtroopers. It looked great – far more “real” than the CGI of the prequels. The trailer only lasted about thirty seconds – but it started a debate about it on social media, which was the purpose of making the trailer.

Unfortunately, that trailer also did something else.

It revealed clues to the plot for anyone not wanting to know what happens before they watched the movie.

Since then, more and more Star Wars trailers have appeared, showing teaser clips from the film. I didn’t want to see them. I did try to avoid them because I didn’t want them to ruin the film for me – but I couldn’t avoid seeing tiny bits of the movie in ads, promo clips and merchandising. I’ve inadvertently seen enough trailer clips to make me feel as if I’d already watched the movie before it was released. Aaaaarrgh!

I remember watching the original Star Wars and loving it because I didn’t know what would happen next because I hadn’t seen a single trailer. I also enjoyed The Empire Strikes Back’s shocking twist because it had not been spoiled for me – but imagine what would happen today if those movies were new.

(Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen the original movies, don’t read this.)

Six months before Star Wars: A New Hope came out in the cinemas, you’d see a trailer showing:

Luke Skywalker finding out his father was a Jedi.

Han Solo shooting that green alien dude.

Darth Vader defeating Obi Wan Kenobi.

Luke firing his missile into the Death Star.

The Death Star blowing up.

I wish the makers of movies would stop making spoiler trailers. To me, a trailer should only hint at the plot. It should just tell you the important things – like the genre, the writer, the director and (maybe) if a good actor is in it. A bad trailer is a trailer that gives away the plot in any way. The worst trailers tell you the whole story like a synopsis, usually spoken in a gravelly voice: “Ken Smith is a young and ambitious lawyer working for a corporation secretly owned by a vampire. When Ken finds out that vampire is his father, Ken soon realises he will have to form his own army and fight his father. Once he had done that, Ken falls in love with Sarah, but she is a werewolf planning to turn him into her slave. Luckily, she fails. The end.”

I can think of only a few excellent trailers. I admired the trailer for the movie Leon. It didn’t give away anything – but it set the scene and created a mood. It showed some guys with guns going into a seedy apartment building. It didn’t explain what they were doing – but it tantalised and made you wonder. It showed the movie was a crime story with action – but it didn’t show you anything else.

Another good trailer was for Jurassic Park. It showed no actual footage from the movie. It was designed to whet the appetite – but not give away anything else.

Bad trailers do some or all of the following:

They tell you the entire plot.

They show the end.

They show all of the exciting bits.

They show the best jokes out of context.

They ruin every twist.

They compare the film with something much better, guaranteeing disappointment.

They call it the best movie of the year so far – on January 1st.

They say it’s from the producers of a great movie that won twenty Oscars, but don’t tell you they did nothing apart from sign a cheque for it to be made.

Frankly, I’d like trailers only to tell you the minimum information required – just enough to let you know about its release. Then it would be up to me if I wanted to find out more.

I don’t want to pay money to watch a film that gives me deja vu.