Happy new year! My short story “Memory Spider” is now up at Abyss&Apex. It’s about mourning the dead, life with a famous parent, and a giant robot spider (but don’t worry, she’s friendly)
Editor Wendy Delmater had this to say about the story on Facebook:
““This is, to me, a quintessential A&A story. If you want to know what we buy? Study it.”
Click here to read the story for free
For the holidays, I’ve uploaded my 2014 holiday-adjacent weird-fiction story “The Egg Man”, a tale of Boxing Day, madness and the Beatles first published in the seasonal anthology Sanity Clause Is Coming. Download it below, and enjoy a nice antidote to the eggnog!
This week, I’m the guest on Fantasy Book Swap, the podcast hosted by literature specialist Ali Baker, where we discuss one classic children’s book, one modern children’s book, and anything else that’s relevant! Ali and I discuss Edward Eager’s Knights’ Castle, Stephanie Burgis’ The Dragon With The Chocolate Heart, and a lot of other things (like whether or not Anne is the Sansa Stark of the Famous Five). You can listen to it here, or via your favourite podcast app.
We’re in LEXX: The Soft-Porn Zone this episode, and before you can say “isn’t that every episode?”, the series answers “not this porny, it isn’t,” as Kai takes a shower with a naked lady, Prince gets up close and personal with Xev, and Xev stops Stan saying something he might regret with her breasts. No. Really.
Plot? Oh, yes, there was one. Kai visits Gametown, whose inhabitants spend all day playing Pyramid (the sportsball game from Battlestar Galactica, and yes, it is the same sportsball game) with very few clothes on, and May turns out to be working for Prince. That’s about it.
And before you can say, “isn’t LEXX’s third season the point where they find the right series length, and the right balance between mind-twisting space opera and occasionally tasteless body horror?” we’re back! The opener to this leaner, shorter season is an amusing riff on the Sleeping Beauty legend, as the LEXX crew have been drifting in cryogenic suspension for millennia, only to be wakened by a Prince– arguably handsome, depending on how you feel about a young Nigel Bennett. Personally I think Bennett is one of the most watchable actors of his generation, but I also watched “Fire and Water” suffering some whiplash from having recently seen Bennett as the police chief with the Dreadful Unspeakable Secret Life on Murdoch Mysteries.
The setup for the season, the war between the desert planet Fire and ocean planet Water, are well set up and the crew get separated off to their destinations nicely; there’s the usual body-horror grotesquery, rather toned down from the telemovies, but much in line with what we saw in Season Two.
Overall the only thing wrong with this one is that it was rather heavily padded out with flashbacks to explain a setup which was clear from five minutes’ worth of expository dialogue.
New story out! It’s “Lucky”, an artificial intelligence retelling of the legend of faithful dog Hachi, and you can read it at Every Day Fiction.
Just in time for Hallowe’en, my grimdark flash-fiction reimagining of “The Wizard of Oz”, The Great and the Terrible, is now up at Fudoki Magazine! Click the link to enjoy; it’s free, but it’s worth dropping them a tip if you like the story.
I’ve got a new FitzJames and Moyo mystery story out at Abyss&Apex this month: “Things Can Only Get Better“, where Detective Wilhelmine FitzJames of the London Met’s Automotive Division, and Noah Moyo, freelance car psychologist, come to the aid of a surgical bot turned smart taxi, and crack an artificial-intelligence gambling ring! Click the link to read for free; if you like FitzJames and Moyo, you can read the award-nominated “Jolene” on this blog, and/or check out other stories about AI in trouble in “Automotive Dreams“.
The LEXX is hijacked by a family of cannibal inbred hillbillies, and before you can say “Garth Ennis called and would like them back please”, Stan, Xev and 790 have figured out that not only is this not an impediment to their quest to get laid (at one point Stan states that their goal is to “find a home” but we all know better), it’s actually an asset, at least until the father/brother/husband finds out Stan’s banging his daughter/sister/wife, and Xev finds herself caught in a genocidal war between hillbilly clans. Light on plot but heavy on fun double-entendres, and it’s nice to see Lyekka back in the story.
The episode name isn’t the only thing they’re ripping off from Blake’s 7 this week, as the crew travel to a medical space station dominated by a psychopath of a surgeon who decides to steal the LEXX as soon as he sees it. There’s some pointed satire about American for-profit healthcare systems from a German and Canadian perspective, and Zev gets one of the funniest lines of the episode, interrupting the villain’s rant about his plans for universal domination with “…can’t we just have sex?” Definitely an improvement on last week’s episode, though still not quite as gloriously bonkers as S1 or S3.