Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Friday, January 29, 1999

About the Author

Hal Duncan is a scion of 1970s Scotland, a queer kid who left Kilwinning to study at Glasgow University and never looked back. In the early '90s, he joined the Glasgow SF Writer's Circle, torched everything he'd ever written, and wrote his first functional short story, "Slab City, April 16," published in the Flamingo Book of Scottish Short Fiction 1994. The gods having patently smiled upon his sacrifice, he figured maybe he should take this writing malarkey seriously after all, and set to work.

His debut VELLUM was published in 2005, garnering nominations for the Crawford, Locus, BFS and World Fantasy Award, and winning the Spectrum, Kurd Lasswitz and Tähtivaeltaja. He's since published: the sequel INK and a collection of four stories in the same Book of All Hours mythos, ERRATA; the novella ESCAPE FROM HELL!; a poetry collection, SONGS FOR THE DEVIL AND DEATH; two chapbooks, THE A-Z OF THE FANTASTIC CITY and FABBLES: 1; and numerous short stories in magazines or anthologies. He's also worked as anthology editor himself, on CALEDONIA DREAMIN'. His first short story collection, SCRUFFIANS! will be released from Lethe Press in April 2014, alongside a non-fiction book RHAPSODY, a book-length study of strange fictions.

Hal is represented by Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

Work in Other Media

Hal has written two musicals: the "gay punk Orpheus" musical, NOWHERE TOWN, staged most awesomely and much to his delight by the University of Chicago Theater Group; SODOM! THE MUSICAL, a rock opera based on a 17th century farce, The Quintessence of Debauchery by Lord Rochester. For the Ballads of the Book album, he wrote the lyrics to Aereogramme's “If You Love Me, You'd Destroy Me,” and more recently, he collaborated with Skye band The Dead Man's Waltz, filmmaker Johnny Barrington and artists including Kate McMorrine and Cat Ingalls, on the Story's End project, a multimedia show that played the CCA in Glasgow before running at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe as part of the Made In Scotland showcase. Other musical ventures include a stickman slideshow "animation" of his 43 verse sea shanty about the gay pirate gods of Love and Death, "The Ballad of Matelotage and Mutiny." If he was any more prone to throwing himself into left-field projects, he'd probably write a queer adaptation of As You Like It as a screenplay for a John Hughesian high school movie. Oh, wait. He did that too.

Homophobic hatemail once dubbed him "THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!" (sic).

He's getting a t-shirt made up.

Contact

Agent email: howard AT morhaimliterary PERIOD com
Direct email: hal AT halduncan PERIOD com

Elsewhere

Follow him on Twitter: @Hal_Duncan
Watch him on YouTube: TheSodomiteHalDuncan

A Spot Of Ink

He sits in the cafe, sipping at the thick sweet tar somewhere between Italian espresso and Turkish coffee. Hints of rosewater and liquorice, bitter sediment at the bottom. On the tabletop, the page of the book is lain face-down in front of him, his charcoal name smeared by the act of flattening the crumpled paper. He's just about to turn it over to see - just to see - if it has anything useful to say, when a hand comes down on top of his own and the man with dirty-blond hair scrapes a chair up beside him, sits in it and says:

- Sure and ye'd be better not to do that right now, here, where everyone and anyone could see it, like. Because you and me both know what it is, sure - Christ and I could smell the angel skin a mile off - and, well, let's just say there's some as would cut your right arm off just to get their greasy fookin fingers on it. Not their right arm, mind. Yours.

The man peels Reynard's hand from the page, picks it up and folds it, gives it back to Reynard.

- Ye want to keep that tucked away for now. Christ, don't ye know that there's a fookin war on?

Reynard puts the vellum in his pocket, numb with questions.

- King Finn, says the man.

He waves at a waitor.

- Kave, grazzis.

Reynard finds himself shaking hands.

- No doubt yer a little confused and all, having only just arrived right in the middle of things, but sure and isn't that life for ye? It'd be nice to think that the little folk like yerself and yours truly would be in on the grand schemes of the Powers-That-Be right from the off, but sadly that's not the way it works. No, we're just the ones wake up one day and realise that the world's gone fookin mental and it's us that has to deal with the big pile of shite the Powers-That-Be have gone and got us all up to our eyeballs in.

Who? What? Where? How? Why?

- Anyway, if I could make sense of it to ye here and now, I would, believe me, but, ye see, that's your job - if ye'll take it, like. And seeing as how yer carrying that wee bit of the Book about with you, I hate to say it, but I think ye'll find it's what yer meant to do. To make sense of it all.

The Irishman takes his coffee from the waitor, smiles and nods his thanks.

- Cause sure and it doesn't make any fookin sense to me, he says.

Labels:

Scraps Of Vellum

1.

Thick With Trees And Thunderstorms

North Carolina, where the old 70 that runs from Hickory to Asheville cuts across the 225 running up from the South, from Spartanburg and beyond, up through the Blue Ridge Mountains and a land that's thick with trees and thunderstorms. It's on the map, but it's a small town, or at least it looks it, hidden from the freeway, until you cut down past the sign that says Welcome To Marion, A Progressive Town, and gun your bike slow through the streets of the town centre with its thrift stores and pharmacy, fire department, town hall, the odd music store or specialist shop that's yet to lose its market to the Wal-Mart just a short drive down the road.
#
She rides past the calm, brick-fronted architecture that's still somewhere in the 1950's, sleeping, waiting for a future that's never going to happen, dreaming of a past that never really went away, out of the small town centre and onto a commercial strip of fast food restaurants and diners, a steak house and a Japanese, a derelict cinema sitting lonely in the middle of its own car park - all of these buildings just strung along the road like cheap plastic beads on a ragged necklace. She pulls off the road into a Hardee's, switches off the engine and kicks down the bike-stand.
#
The burger tastes good - real meat in a thick, rough-shapen hunk, not some thin bland patty of processed gristle and fat - and she washes it down with deep sucking slurps of Mountain Dew, and twirls the straw in the cardboard bucket of a cup to rattle the ice as she looks out the window at the road, hot in the summer sun, humid and heavy. The sky is a brilliant blue, the blue of a Madonna's robes, stretching up into forever, stretching -

- and she stands in front of the mirror in the washroom, leaning on the sink a second, dizzy with a sudden buzz, a hum, a song that ripples through her body like the air over a hot road shimmers in the sun. The Cant. Shit, she thinks. She must be getting close. She looks at the watch sitting up on top of the hand-dryer. The second hand flicks back and forth, random, sporadic, like one of those aeroplane instruments in a movie where the plane is going down in an electrical storm.

It's August 4th, 2017. Sort of.
#
Steady again, she studies her eyes, black with mascara and with lack of sleep, and pushes her dark red hair back from her forehead. Even splashing more water on her face she still feels like a fucking zombie. Fucking zombie retro biker chick, she thinks. Beads in her hair, a beaded choker round her neck, a chicken-bone charm necklace over a gold circuit-patterned t-shirt. Shit, she looks like her fucking techno-hippy mother.

She picks up her watch and slips it over her wrist, reels out the earphones from the stick clipped to her belt and puts them in, clipping them into the booster sockets in her earrings so her lenses can pick up the video signals. The Sony VR5 logo flickers briefly across her vision as she shoulders her way out through the door, tapping at the datastick to switch it onto audio-only. She doesn't need a heads-up weather forecast with ghost images of clouds or sunbursts, or a Routefinder sprite floating at every turn-off to point her this way or that. Not today.
She grabs her helmet from the handlebar of the bike and puts it on as she swings her leg up over the seat, flicks up the stand, zips up her leather biker jacket, kicks the engine into life.
The antique creature of steel and chrome growls between her legs, and another antique creature - one of leather and vinyl - screams in her ears.

- Looooooooooooooord! howls Iggy Pop, and the murderous guitar of the Stooges' TV Eye kicks in, as Phreedom Messenger opens up the throttle on the bike and roars out of her pit-stop on the way to hell.
#

And 2:

Yellow Paper And Brown Pencil Lines
- Tommy boy, sometimes ye talk as much rot as I’ve got between me toes here. Sure and I don’t know what ye’re on about half the time.

Seamus looks at the small sketchbook that the boy treasures more than anything, more than any of them treasure anything, he thinks sometimes, more even than all the tattered, battered photographs of sweethearts and mothers, and the lockets, and the father’s watches, and all the decks of playing cards with the nudie women on them and all; and he thinks the boy’s daft, so he does, but, in a way, he understands. Seamus looks at the drawings that the boy spent so much time on, so much care, last month on leave in Lascaux when he could have been whoring it with all the rest of them, whooping it up, sure, the way a boy his age stuck in this shite to fight for someone else’s King and Country should be; and all that Seamus sees when he looks at the little sketchbook is yellow paper and brown pencil lines. But Tommy now…
#
Tommy reaches over and takes the book out of his hands, shaking his head.

- Ah, you’ve got no soul, Seamus, no soul.

But the boy is blushing shame even as he tries to play the old game of young lads, sure, they way they bandy abuse about but with a twinkle in the eye and a nudge of the elbow, because, aye now, ye know I don’t really mean it. The boy can’t really carry it off – too shy, he is, and too much of a young gent even if he wasn’t quite born with a silver spoon in his gob, not that he comes on all Lord Muck-a-Muck, like. He’s just… ach, he’s just a good lad what misses his mother and his home like the rest of them, only he shows it more. O, but he gets a right roasting from the other lads of the pal’s battalion sometimes, he does, just like he got back home, and where would he be without Seamus sticking up for him, as ever?
#
Seamus wanders over towards the door of the dug-out where, apart from the mud and the mud and the fookin more mud, ye can just see a wee blue hint of sky up there, if ye’re hunkered down a bit so ye’re looking up at the right angle, sure, which ye are anyways on account of the fookin low ceilings. He reaches into the inside pocket of his jacket to pull out a cigarette from the crumpled packet of Gauloise in there - fookin nasty shite that they are, but what’s a man to do when he’s smoked all of his and the quartermaster’s as crooked as a British politician, sure, and he’s just putting it to his mouth-

DOOM!
#
- Jesus Fookin Christ!

Tommy’s howling like a fookin wean and it’s fookin dark but Seamus can feel the fookin dirt raining down on him.

- Jesus Fookin Mary and Fookin Joseph! Fooken shite! Fookin Hun fookin bastards! Seamus is down on the ground, hands over his head – Christ, and he wasn’t even wearing his helmet – and he doesn’t even fookin remember diving down there, but he’s sure as fook happy to be there and he’ll just stay right where he is for the time be, thank you very much, ma’am, and…

- Jesus. Tommy are ye alright there? Ye’re not hit or nothing, are ye?
The boy’s panting like a dog, gasping for air like he’s fookin drowning, sitting there, just right there at Seamus’s elbow, with his arms wrapped round his knees and his teeth biting into his trousers, panting and kind of whining like a sick animal; and as Seamus touches his knee, he flinches.

He looks at Seamus like he's looking right through him, eyes wide, nostrils flared, seeing and scenting his own golden, pouncing death.
#

Labels:

Kouroi

I

Among narcissi, hyacinths and cypress trees
Pan teaches shepherd Daphnis how a pipe can please.
Here, let me show you... Lips purse, blow a tender breeze,
A touch of tasting breath, a gentle tease.

Eyes closed, Daphnis is blind as Thamyris who kissed
That flower of a boy doomed to Apollo's deadly disc.
His fingers, like Poseidon’s gaze on Pelops, trace the curve of white, so smooth
- A shoulder. On his foreskin he can feel the slip of tongue, the nip of tooth.

II

Now Dionysus minces by, parading girly-boys, hermaphrodites, Achilles in a dress,
An arm around Acoetes or Ampelus, round Laonis or Prosymnus, and a whisper, yes.
Apollo’s flirty eye follows Amyclas and Iapis, goes from Tymnius to Paros - my oh my -
There’s Potneius, Carneius, Phrobas - why, its Branchus, Troilus and Zacynthus - ai ai ai.

The demi-god Heracles shared some lovers with these wine
And sun gods, fucked Adonis and sweet Hymen,
But had Nestor and Abderus, Corythus and Haemon to himself,
Dryops, Eurystheus, Telamon... and God knows how many else.

Along with Chonus and Nireus, which proud Argonauts gave great Herakles peace?
With Elacatus and Polyphemus, was Jason naked on his golden fleece?
Did Euphemos, Admetus, Iphitos and Hylas snuggle to the lion’s skin?
Did Stychius get sticky, Philoctetes icky, or Iolaus, or sweet young Phrynx?

And high up in the sky, Zeus has his eagle-eye on Ganymede, planning abduction
Fuck, it seems like Hades is the only god not set on some young lad’s seduction.
Ah, but then... it was in his domain that Orpheus said, Never again!
Vowing from then to lose his head only for love of men.

III

So, more than lovers, less than brothers, maybe something deeper and more close
Glints in the armour of Achilles strapped to Patroklus, or in the clothes
Of Jonathon as David wears them, lifts a sleeve, a scent of sweat, up to his nose.
More than lovers; more than brothers? Or, like Castor and Pollux, both?

Perhaps it's all just poets’ dreams from Horace and Catullus
Down to Whitman, Allan Ginsberg, William Burroughs.
Is it just the appetence of an Omar Khayyam, the leer of an Abu Nuwas,
Less Alexander and Hephaestion, more Rimbaud lusting after Verlaine’s ass?

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Blog Post Backdrop


ERRATA

ERRATA: CoRN / PoET / WatCH / ToMB

A way away over fields of illusion is this city, far ago & now here, on the edge of blueblack night & sea...

Built by bitmites in an afterworld of myth & history, the city has been known by many names in its time—Urauk, Enoas, Babalon, Atlantium, Byzantis, Arom. Its truest name though is Errata, an apt name for a city in which language itself has been unleashed to shatter & reshape identity, where even space & time are in flux.

Collecting for the first time, and revising for this edition, all four stories in the ERRATA sequence—“The City of Rotted Names,” “The Prince of End Times,” “The Whenever at the City's Heart,” & “The Tower of Morning's Bones”—this chapbook is a cubist collage of wordplay & worldblazing, a mosaic narrative of the battle for the city of the soul. Here, fans of VELLUM & INK can delve deeper into the mythos of The Book of All Hours, while new readers will find a stand-alone story, a wild ride into the worldscape of a work described as “the Guernica of genre fiction."



Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu. 

Or order direct to support the author:


Labels: ,

One-to-One Creative Writing Tuition


BESPOKE tuition sessions available afternoons/evenings for those in the Glasgow area on all aspects of creative writing:
  • manuscript presentation
  • narrative prose
  • point of view/voice
  • dialogue
  • action vs. deposition
  • premises/worldscape
  • setting & character
  • passages/scenes/chapters/acts
  • general plot structure
  • the fantastic -- literary/commercial

HANDS-ON, one-to-one teaching from an award-winning, internationally-renowned professional:
  • novelist, short story writer, poet
  • songwriter, playwright, critic
  • translated and published around the world
  • winner & nominee in multiple high profile awards
  • judge in the 2012 British Fantasy Awards.
  • over twenty years experience in workshopping
  • professional editor with the Writers Workshop, providing in-depth feedback on manuscripts*
  • "Duncan has created, at the very least, the Guernica of genre fiction" -- Lucius Shepard on VELLUM
 TAILORED MENTORING: Geared to your skill level, working directly with your fiction and/or an example text, sessions will involve step-by-step study of the mechanics and dynamics involved in making bad fiction good, good fiction great. From the most practical techniques in writing narrative at the sentence-level, through to the theories that will help you see the shape of a story, you'll be taught the skills required to conjure your imaginings in a reader's mind.

RATES: £20 per hour for a 1-3 hour session. Discount for students.

CONTACT: hal@halduncan.com to arrange an informal introductory meeting/session, free of charge.



* If you're not based in the Glasgow area, unfortunately email, Skype or MSN just can't replicate the dynamic process of one-to-one real-time tutoring with its constant feedback, so your best bet in the first instance is really to contact The Writers' Workshop, requesting me specifically for written feedback on your work. In lieu of the personal, hands-on back-and-forth, the in-depth critique & follow-up discussion offered via that route is likely of better value to you than a piecemeal email correspondence simulacrum of the same.

Vellum and Ink: The Book of All Hours

VELLUM: The Book of All Hours 1

It's 2017 and the end days are coming, beings that were once human gathering to fight in one last great war for control of the Vellum - the vast realm of eternity on which our world is just a scratch. But to a draft-dodging Irish angel and a trailer-trash tomboy called Phreedom, it's about to become brutally clear that there's no great divine or diabolic plan at play here, just a vicious battle between the hawks of Heaven and Hell, with humanity stuck in the middle, and where the easy rhetoric of Good and Evil, Order versus Chaos just doesn't apply. Here there are no heroes, no darlings of destiny struggling to save the day, and there are no villains, no dark lords of evil out to destroy the world. Or at least if there are, it's not quite clear which is which. Here, the most ancient gods and the most modern humans are equally fate's fools, victims of their own hubris, struggling to save their own skins, their own souls, but sometimes...just sometimes...sacrificing everything in the name of humanity.


 INK: The Book of All Hours 2

Once, in the depths of prehistory, they were human. But in a moment of brutal transfiguration, they became unkin, beings who possessed the power to alter reality by accessing the Vellum: a realm of eternity containing every possibility, every paradox, every heaven . . . and every hell. The Vellum became a battleground where forces of order and chaos fought across time and space. The ultimate weapon in that bloody war spanning through history and myth, dreams and memory, was The Book of All Hours, a legendary tome within which the blueprint for all reality is inscribed, a volume long lost amid the infinite folds of the Vellum.

Until, in 2017, it was found by Reynard Carter, a young man with the blood of unkin in his veins.

Until Phreedom Messenger and her brother, Thomas, were swept up in an archetypal dance of death and rebirth.

Until a hermit named Seamus Finnan found the courage to re-forge his broken soul, and a self-proclaimed angel called Metatron unleashed a plague of AI bitmites.

Now, in the aftermath of the apocalypse, several survivors search desperately for the remnants of themselves scattered across the Vellum like torn pages, determined to use the blood of the unkin to rewrite The Book of All Hours, and to forge a new destiny for themselves and all humanity. Reality will never be the same.



What the Reviews Say

"It's one of the most assured first novels of the decade, and it's a novel many writers beginning their tenth novel would kill to have written"
-- Vanderworld
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-- San Diego Union-Tribune
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-- Rocky Mountain News
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-- New York Literary Society
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"Overwhelming in its complexity, sumptuous in its recitation, this is a truly monumental work."
-- The Good Book Guide
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-- Front Street Reviews
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"Readers who enjoy the likes of Jeff VanderMeer, Theodore Sturgeon and Neil Gaiman will appreciate the burning energy and imaginative prose of Vellum and find themselves already anticipating Duncan's next novel."
-- Gavin Grant, Bookpage
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-- Matt Cheney, Locus Magazine (Best of 2005)
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-- Rob Bedford, SFFWorld
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"... a mind-blowing read that's genuinely like nothing you've ever read before... expanded fantasy's limits like nothing published in years."
-- SFX
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"... a novel of incredible ambition, a head-on collision between Borges and, say, Neil Gaiman, with a breathtaking metaphysical conceit..."
-- The Glasgow Herald
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-- Cape Times
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"A confident debut... a compelling alternative look at the world and its history."
-- Dreamwatch


Watch the fan-made trailer for VELLUM:



Watch the fan-made trailer for INK:

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Bibliography

Novels

Vellum: The Book of All Hours 1

"Hal Duncan has, at the very least, created the Guernica of science fiction." Lucius Shepard, author of A Handbook of American Prayer [more]
Macmillan, 2005

Ink: The Book of All Hours 2

"In the end, The Book of All Hours is a furious lament, a work of love and anger. It's very much about reality; not (or not only) in a metaphorical sense, but in its address of very real human experiences." Infinity Plus [more]
Macmillan, 2007




Short Story Collections

Scruffians! Deluxe Edition (w/ 1 bonus story & 40 full colour photos)

"... a wickedly entertaining collection of short fiction fantastical and queer in nature—full of “scruffians and scamps and sodomites,” with some pirates and fairies besides. These stories range from comedic romps to lyrical and meditative explorations on the nature of meaning-making..." Brit Mandelo, Tor.com [more]
Lethe Press, 2014


Scruffians! Trade Edition

"... a wickedly entertaining collection of short fiction fantastical and queer in nature—full of “scruffians and scamps and sodomites,” with some pirates and fairies besides. These stories range from comedic romps to lyrical and meditative explorations on the nature of meaning-making..." Brit Mandelo, Tor.com [more]
Lethe Press, 2014




Non Fiction


Rhapsody: Notes on Strange Fictions

"Rhapsody, though it is Duncan’s first long-form critical work, is a strong and elegant—and sometimes wickedly crass—project, complexly argued and incisive while also managing to remain eminently readable and engaging." Brit Mandelo, Tor.com [more]
Lethe Press, 2014






Novellas and Chapbooks
Errata

Collecting for the first time, and revising for this edition, all four stories in the Errata sequence--"The City of Rotted Names," "The Prince of End Times," "The Whenever at the City's Heart," and "The Tower of Morning's Bones"--this chapbook is a cubist collage of wordplay and worldblazing, a mosaic narrative of the battle for the city of the soul. [more]
New Sodom Press, 2013

An A-Z of the Fantastic City


“Loving, clever, entertaining, and of course as we expect from Hal Duncan, quite excellently written.” Rich HortonLocus [more]
Small Beer Press, 2012

Escape from Hell!

"... a gripping and stylish read from one of the most talented new fantasy writers to emerge in a long time." Keith Brooke, The Guardian [more]
Monkeybrain Books, 2008



Scruffians
 
Fabbles: 0.5 (ebook only)

Meet the Scruffians, workhouse tykes and street arabs scrobbled by the Waiftaker General, dragged to the Institute and put to the Stamp, Fixed forever as they are, never ageing, never starving... the perfect child labour. [more]
New Sodom Press, 2013
The Taking of the Stamp (ebook only)

Meet Flashjack the hellion and Puckerscruff the urchin; Squirlet Nicely and Vermintrude Toerag; Yapper, the Scruffian who learned to speak Dog; Whelp, the dog Fixed as a Scruffian; and Rake Jake Scallion. Meet Gob, the fabbler of this here crib, here to tell ye the most important fabble of em all... the fabble of how the Scruffians took the Stamp! [more]
Popcorn, 2013
Fabbles: 1 (print only)

Bringing together "A Scruffian Christmas" and "The Beast of Buskerville" from Fabbles: 0.5 with "The Taking of the Stamp," this chapbook is a print edition of all the Scruffians stories (to date) not included in the SCRUFFIANS! collection. ORDER DIRECT for a Speshul Edition collector's copy. [more]
New Sodom Press, 2013




Anthologies

Caledonia Dreamin' (ed. with Chris Kelso)

"Glaikit, mockit, droukit, drouthy, couthy, scunner, thrawn – the Scots language is rich with words too gallus not to glory in, dialect terms that deserve better than to be boxed away as precious oddities..." [more]
Eibonvale Press, 2013




Poetry Collections

Songs for the Devil and Death

"A primal collection of verse from the master of language, Hal Duncan, Songs for the Devil and Death touches the very heart of what it is to be human in this most inhuman world. Here is deep grief. Here is red rage. Here is the genesis of pain, and an ecstasy to soothe it. Here are words that pare lies from truth, and damn all those who think otherwise." Erzebet YellowBoy [more]
Papaveria Press, 2011

OUT OF PRINT






Scripts / Screenplays:

Nowhere Town: A Punk-Ass Musical

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
I bid you welcome, from a drunken poet to this cruel world.
Sit down, take off your coats, and just kick back.
We have a tale for you tonight, my friends, a tale of Jack. [more]

New Sodom Press, 2013
Whatever the Fuck You Want

A brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse, Orlando is the Breakfast Club all rolled up into one, Ross’s perfect man. But when they meet at the football try-outs, Ross is in drag, and it’s “Rosalind” that Orlando falls for. Fun and games ensue in this high school movie queering of As You Like It. [more]

New Sodom Press, 2013
Sodom! The Musical

Being an Adaptation and Modernisation of "The Farce of Sodom, or The Quintessence of Debauchery," by Lord Rochester, Rakehell and Libertine, as Versified and Perversified by THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!! (sic). [more]

New Sodom Press, 2013




Short Stories

"Slab City, April 16th"

The rasta angel started slowly down Jesus Hill, climbing round 'LOVE' and over the Sacred Bleeding Heart, cracking 'CONSIDER THE LILIES' under his feet and scuffing dirt on 'THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD'.

Flamingo Scottish Short Stories 1995, Harper Collins, 1995

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"The Face of the Divine"

-- But stories are like trees, growing into vast canopies from a single seed or from a broken branch that takes root in the right soil. They grow wild and proud, but sometimes, sometimes, they should be pruned back, no? [read]

Notes from the Geek Show, May 2005

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"The Disappearance of James H___ "

There is a new boy at the school. He sits at the desk where Brown once sat, and carved his name in the wood with a pocketknife's point, and was caned for it; but he is not Brown. He is green. [read]

Strange Horizons, June 2005

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"The Last Shift"

As a kid, he was always being told off by his ma for playing on the rock, him and his mates daring each other to walk out onto the slimy surface of it, jump, wings batting the air, across the whitewater where it broke through.

Nova Scotia, Mercat Press, 2005
Tähtivaeltaja #3/2007 (Finnish)

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"The Chiaroscurist"

His stunted body is of as little interest now as when it was hidden in the shadows of the nook. His deep-lined face, as robust as it is wrecked, is all I see. The face of God. [read]

Electric Velocipede #9, Fall 2005
Pandora #1, Frühjahr 2007 (German)
Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories, Bantam, 2007
Ikarie #18, Časopis 8/2008 (Czech)

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"The Angel of Gamblers"


“In a world of laws passed down from On High, good form is the most rebellious notion ever conceived, I’ve always thought. Whose bet is it?”

Eidolon, Eidolon Press, 2006

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"Bizarre Cubiques"

In the Azurian Collection of the Louvre Zoo, I sketch a karibu, its eagle wings folded along its oxen torso, human head lowered to feed, the curls of its great braided beard, long as a hobben scholar's, jutting out beneath the nosebag. [read]

Fantasy #4, November 2006
Serendipity #9, 2008

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"The Last Straw"

I click the juice on full to let them know that I mean business. No mistaking that salty-ozone scent-and-tingle of orgone energy that fills the air. Sex pistols, honeybuns. Can’t beat them.

Glorifying Terrorism, Rackstraw Press, 2007
Tähtivaeltaja #4/2009 (Finnish)

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"The Whenever at the City's Heart"

Twelve o’clock and all's hell in the city, drunken angels screaming fire-bombs into crowded taverns, sandminers rioting in the Litan Quarter, host princes and rebel reachers murdered in unending vendettas.

Interzone #209, March 2007

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"The Drifter's Tale"

Anyway, yeah, so the Drifter is the stranger, right? The Man With No Name. Nobody knows him. You could be sitting at a bar beside him and you wouldn’t even know it. He could be me or you. You could be sitting at a bar with me and I wouldn’t even know it.

Dislocations, Newcon Press, 2007

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"The Prince of End Times"

Across the yellowed vellum of the book, across its pages thin and dry as parched skin, the black ink of the bitmites crawls in scribbles, scrawls a texture of text upon the parchment that the prince’s fingers, drifting over living Braille, cannot make smooth, cannot unrumple meaning from.

Solaris Book of New Fantasy, 2007

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"The Tower of Morning's Bones"

Opium smoke on Lethe water drifts, gold with the touch of day’s first light. A wake of shifting serpents in his streams slaps up a wash of water over this narcotic drowned in hyacinths and lotus petals.

Paper Cities, Senses Five Press, 2008

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"The Island of the Pirate Gods"

The toot of the flute sounds a little ways back in the trees, followed by more laughter, and I gather meself with a scowl and a growl. Right then, ye bugger, I think. I'll not be made a fool of by some tree-hopping powder monkey as dresses like a whoring parrot.

Postscripts, Winter 2007
Wilde Stories 2008: The Best of the Year's Gay Speculative Fiction, 2009

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"Die, Vampire! Die!"

Actually there’s a few things that are pretty damned lethal – basically anything with a sufficient concentration of carbon in it. And it took me – what? – a few months to find that out. The elders still think the worst they have to worry about is some mad Hun with a sharpened table-leg. [read]

Notes from the Geek Show, April 2008
New Sodom Press, 2013

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"The Behold of the Eye"

"The Behold of the Eye," Flashjack's laternal grandsister (adopted), Pebbleskip had told him, "is where the humans store the imagos of their appetence -- which is to say, all the things they prize most highly, having had their breath taken away by the glimmering glamour of it." [read]

Lone Star Stories, August 2008
Wilde Stories 2009, Lethe Press, 2009
Unloaded: The Web's Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy 2008, Wyrm Publishing, 2009

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"The Toymaker's Grief"

Once far ago -— or maybe twice or three times —- there lived a toymaker with a beautiful wife and a charming daughter. [read]

Lone Star Stories, October 2008

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"violent eRa"

-- And in their mouth was found the cowardly lie: Amen! And therefore are they before the Lord God the Almighty, and serve him day and night within his temple, his servants, the Lamb's murderers and destroyers of the earth. [read]

Notes from the Geek Show, December 2008

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"Last Drink Bird Head"

...and the world began to shudder apart again to trails of red and green streaming dreams down curtains, round the edges of it all, friend's faces glowing golden, leonine and haloed...

Last Drink Bird Head, Ministry of Whimsy, 2009

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"Scruffians Stamp"

Orphan was the first Scruffian, they says. See, he had the sweetest voice ever heard, did Orphan; so sweet it was, there's many as think he must have come from Heaven. Well, he was found as a babe, abandoned on a mountainside. [read]

The Scruffians Project, Notes from the Geek Show

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"Jack Scallywag"

You challenge me? snarls the red knight. Do I get your armour if I win? says Jack. Impudence! roars the knight. Straightforward question, says Jack, but if you're going to be a twat about it, come ahead. [read]

The Scruffians Project, Notes from the Geek Show

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"How a Scruffian Starts Their Story"

All of them have weapons — chains, cut-throat razors and fucking — Christ, even the kids have Stanley knives. And all of them advance with slow menace, flourishing chains like nunchuks, thumping weapons against chests, stamping feet. Choreographed in perfect time with the chant. [read]

The Scruffians Project, Notes from the Geek Show

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"An Alfabetcha of Scruffian Names"

Fabbler? Well, mostly fabbles is fibs what we babble to fob off groanhuffs, but there's the tales what we tells between us too, so's to teach new Scruffians how it is. Every crib has to have a fabbler for that, like meself. Rest of me name's a long story what I'll tell you sometime, just not right now when we're trying to learn you letters. [read]

The Scruffians Project, Notes from the Geek Show

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"A Scruffian Christmas"

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the workhouse not a creature was stirring... on account of any stirring'd most likely lead to a sound thrashing and a night in the mortuary, like, if the master heard a peep of it.

The Scruffians Project, Notes from the Geek Show (limited release)
Fabbles: 1, New Sodom Press , 2013

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"The Beast of Buskerville"

But more'n that, scamps, this here's a tale of the single most villainest villain ever to prey on the likes of us, the vulture of vagabonds, the buzzard of beggars, the scavenger of Scruffians... the Waiftaker General himself.

The Scruffians Project, Notes from the Geek Show
Fabbles: 1, New Sodom Press, 2013

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"Oneirica"

Oh, the nights they have shared in honey rum and rotgut and ecstasy both chemical and physical, spray-painting Mercury's Dog on the most inaccessible walls of the city, tagging their names and their union -- The Messenger Boys. Daring each other to greater dangers.

Icarus #5, Summer 2010

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"The Tale of the Six Monkey's Tails"

“Silence!” said the fire goddess. “If I give one of you a boon, I must give you all a boon. And I must have something in exchange, the most precious thing that you possess — your tails. Give me your tails and I will grant you each one wish.”

Sybil's Garage #7, 2010

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"Styx Water and a Sippy Cup"

The formula feed is basically cold water, but the babe still locks his cherub lips around the rubber teat like it's the mother's breast he'll never now taste. They always do, right enough. [read]

Strange Horizons, September 2010

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"The Death of a Love"

You gotta let that love live for itself, find its own way, even if that freedom is the freedom to fade away or go cold; a cupid’s progenitors don’t own it, you know?

Speculative Horizons, Subterranean Press, 2010

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"Broken Hearts in Bullet Time"

It's Casablanca, 1941, a bustling market square of refugees and rogues. A corpse with a bullet in its back, face-down in the dust beneath a poster of Petain. That would be me, of course, Jack Flash, your ever-loving agent of eternity's resistance...

Icarus, Summer 2011

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"The Wolf and the Three Wise Monkeys"

Once upon a time, there was a Big Bad Wolf, a cultivated guy, top hat and tails, but a bit of a cad, a cur, a bounder, not a bad sort per se, but of dubious scruples and insatiable appetites... [read]

Cabinet des Fées, Issue 14, December 2011

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"Sons of the Law"

The four strangers know that every eye in the place is on them, flicking from one to another, to the next, to the last, watching them all the time. For their part, they study each other across the saloon, silent and wary, like cougars meeting in the woods might circle to size each other up.

Fantastique Unfettered, Issue 4 (Ralewing), December 2011

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"Sic Him, Hellhound! Kill! Kill!"

Skin-tingling shudders running up and down your spine, every inch of you alive with sensitivity. It's not so visual, natch, but if you can imagine a psychedelia of smell, that's how it rushes in on you when you turn wolf. [read]

Subterranean Magazine, Spring 2012
Wilde Stories 2013, Lethe Press, 2013

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"The Origin of the Fiend"

A five-and-dime store on Lincoln Street, just round the corner from Sam's Malt Café. You stand at the comic rack, captivated by Overman on the cover of Adventure Comics. Circus strong man's leotard in white, blue trunks, boots and cape, he's knocking seven bells out of a robot army straight from the Flash Gordon strips.

The Lavender Menace, Northwest Press, 2013
Best Gay Stories 2013, Lethe Press, 2013

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"The Boy Who Loved Death"

Death had come to the boy one day, as he walked home from school through catcalls and jeers he no longer even cringed at, a shape with the body of an ape and the skull of a wolf where its head ought to be. [read]

Apex Magazine, Issue 52, September 2013

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