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 reviews]
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
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
Songs for the Devil and Death
"Songs for the Devil and Death touches the very heart of what it is to be human in this most inhuman world." Erzebet YellowBoy
Scripts / Screenplays:
Nowhere Town: A Punk-Ass Musical
[download libretto and mp3 soundtrack]
Whatever the Fuck You Want
"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'.
"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]
"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]
"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.
Tähtivaeltaja #3/2007 (Finnish)
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]
Pandora #1, Frühjahr 2007 (German)
Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories, Bantam, 2007
Ikarie #18, Časopis 8/2008 (Czech)
"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?”
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]
Serendipity #9, 2008
"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.
Tähtivaeltaja #4/2009 (Finnish)
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
Wilde Stories 2008: The Best of the Year's Gay Speculative Fiction, 2009
"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]
"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]
Wilde Stories 2009, Lethe Press, 2009
Unloaded: The Web's Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy 2008, Wyrm Publishing, 2009
"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]
-- 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]
"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...
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]
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]
"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]
"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]
"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. [read]
"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. [read]
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.
"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.”
"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]
"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?
"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...
"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...
"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.
"The Shoulder of Pelops"
Tantalus scowls at the notion of his wayward son carrying meaning, carrying anything. That shoulder so slightly raised barely knows the clasp of a linen exomis, let alone a burden; labour's a stranger to the sportive lad, hunter of rabbits, racer of hounds.
"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.
"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.
Sonnets For Orpheus
How many souls feeding on ash in the houses of the dead
Lived as they died, in poverty, with dust for bread
And ragged scraps for skin, while TV vultures dined
On their vicious pity -- Faith and Hope and Charity divine? [read]
The Lucifer Cantos
A tick of clock, a click, a drop of pin.
The subtle hiss of gramophone begins.
The green glass lamp flicks on. Doors softly shut.
Death shuffles cards and nods for me to cut. [read]