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Archive for May, 2011

Dishpig

Marvo, in Mistification, has a lot of jobs. He learns all he knows from the stories people tell, so he moves around a lot, speaking to people in odd and ordinary places.

His work as a dishwasher reminds me of one of my favourite comic stories, written and drawn by the brilliant Anna Brown. She also did Ben Peek’s Nowhere Near Savannah.

Dishpig is hilarious and brilliant. I’ve read it dozens of times since it first appeared in Northbourne and Glory Bound and it still makes me laugh. Anna has given me permission to reprint it here.

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Mistification

The cover and sample chapters of novel number three, “Mistification” are up at the Angry Robot Site.

I’m really happy with the cover. It captures the nature of Marvo, the magician at the centre of the novel, beautifully.

In the sample chapter, you’ll read about some books Marvo finds:

He flicked through the books. Each had a different coloured cover; purple, mauve, aqua, dark blue, red and green. He read them so he knew every word, every figure. He flicked through them for hours, trying to pick the one he knew the least. He flicked through them, wishing hard for something new, something exciting, he flicked through them and one changed colour. It was brown. Tan brown. It was a new book inside too. He didn’t tell his grandmother. He put the books away and didn’t look at them for a while. He thought he must have missed the brown one, thought there must have been seven from the start.

Re-reading this, I remember how long the image has been with me. When I was seven or eight, I was given a set of workbooks; maths, English, puzzles, that kind of thing. I’d filled them all out in a week or so; I loved those books. I was sitting on my bed on a rainy day, flicking through them, desperately wishing that I had a new one, that there was an empty book in the pile that I could fill in.

I flicked through them once more…and there was a new one. It was tan brown. I swear I never saw it before.

But inside; I’d already filled it in. I shut the book and looked again; it was just the light. It was the pale purple book after all.

I’ve never forgotten that moment of magic. When I really believed that I had wished a book into my hands.

I’ve tried to capture this absolute belief in magic in Mistification.

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A Pot to Piss In

I think that’s one of my favourite story titles ever! I wrote this story for the charity e-anthology ‘Voices from the Past’, now available from H&H Books.  Researching it and writing it creeped me out. It’s one of those stories where I gathered snippets from all over, the last a small detail from my favourite magazine, Harper’s Weekly.

The table of contents is stunning, and all money goes to the charity the Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Another Kind of Lightning by Alasdair Stewart
Ascension Day by Alastair Reynolds
The Lab Gang by Andrew Smith
Master of the Game by Bill Willingham
Just Do It by Cavan Scott
The Maharajah’s Star by George Mann
Dr Wormhole by J. Robert King
He Loves Me Not by Jacqueline Rayner
The Screams Next Door by Jason Arnopp
Shuttle by Jasper Fforde
George V by Johnny Mains
Success by Joseph Lidster
The Wisdom of the Ages by Juliet E. McKenna
A Pot To Piss In by Kaaron Warren
Twisted by Lee Harris
Beauty Will Come by Mary Robinette Kowal
Mustn’t Grumble by Maura McHugh
Receipt of Fern Seed by Maurice Broaddus
750,000 of Your Friends Like This by Mur Lafferty
A Map of Lychford by Paul Cornell
The Curious Package by Paul Magrs
The Runt by Robert Shearman
The Chaos Exhibition by Scott Harrison
The Victim by Scott Sigler
On The Road Again by Stuart Douglas
Never Go Back by Susan Murray
In Leon’s Room by Thomas Fletcher
The God Confusion by Toby Hadoke

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