Notes from New Sodom

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

Cover blurbs!

So I got a couple of fricking awesome blurbs in for the Survival Guide:

“The post- post- modern Victorian fables that comprise Hal Duncan’s The Scruffian Survival Guide inhabit a unique dark fantasy world – a feral dream. The language is mad genius.” -- Jeffrey Ford

"Hal Duncan's cheeky and charming Scruffian stories hide a steely shiv of inspection that digs uncompromisingly into the ribs of  the establishment. This latest volume, populated as always with wonderful characters old and new, deepens that exploration and brings it bang up to date. I loved every word of it." -- Neil Williamson

And with that we now have the absolute final covers for the hardback and trade paperback:

There's still copies of the hardback going, and of course the paperback too, with both now printing right now and hopefully arriving in time for the August shipping date.

I have to say I'm pretty fuckin chuffed at how these have turned out--inside as well as out--enough so that I couldn't resist a look at the stories of the mythos to date. I was thinking initially of just re-issuing Fabbles:1 with a new matching cover and a bit of spruce on the interior design, mainly just so's to have a nice matching pair for meself. But with "How a Scruffian Sleeps Sound" only available in the deluxe Scruffians!, and the stories in Fabbles:1 now in The Boy Who Loved Death... except for The Taking of the Stamp, it didn't really strike me as still sensible, the original reason for that chapbook being to collect what wasn't in the first short story collection. They're all kinda scattered across the two collections now with that one story only in one edition and the novella a stand-alone ebook, so... aye...

Anyway, needless to say I got sucked into my collagist mindset and started trying to work out how all the fabbles might fit together as components in the bigger narrative arc and in yer more abstract compositional sense--rhythm, form, dynamics, thematics--if I was thinking chapbook(s).

Long story short, yes, I now have two more of these fuckers in the pipeline, A Scruffian Primer and A Scruffian Feastiary, rearranging and (in minor ways) tweaking the stories, and with a few wee illos and such inside just to give it the same finish. I'll do hardbacks, but mainly so's I can stick a set on me own shelf. Mostly it's for paperbacks to try and flog at events, for folk reticent about jumping into an ongoing series. And kinda because now I'm seeing the planned stories falling into a couple of chapbooks like this to complete that big narrative arc. Both clock in at the same length as the Survival Guide, and both--if I say so meself--have the same kinda unity as works in and of themselves. I think all three, and the others to come, are gonna work really fucking nicely together.

So, yeah. I'm reckoning on a Christmas release for those two, so I can take a break from hustling and maybe even get some review copies out in a timely manner. And in the meantime, Imma get back to Scruffianising new crib mates and scribbling new fiction. Watch this space, as they say.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Pre-Orders Open for A Scruffian Survival Guide

As the title says, pre-orders are now open over at my Bandcamp merch stall for the fancy dan lettered first edition hardback and the signed trade paperback edition of the new chapbook... A Scruffian Survival Guide.

Urchins scrobbled down the centuries from yer poor and persecuted. Foundlings Fixed in imperishable waifhood by the Stamp and sold to rich groanhuffs as child labour. Hellions with spirits as resilient as their flesh, less like to cower from a kick than nick yer boot, hamstring yer and fuckin leg it. That's what it is to be a Scruffian, mate, and there ain't a rhyme sung or tale told in a Scruffian squat that ain't, at the end of the day, out to learn yer how to survive. So cosy in, scamps, quit yer fidgeting, and hark to the fabbler of this here crib...

Aimed at readers old and new, as latest instalment or stand-alone introduction, A Scruffian Survival Guide is a ~116 page illustrated chapbook collecting four new works of dark queer fantasy in the "Scruffian" series. Wielding whimsy in the service of satire, with a wink to Peter Pan, a sly nod to The Borribles, and a cheery salute to Sweeney Todd, this is punk fiction for yer inner feral child.

"Hal Duncan's cheeky and charming Scruffian stories hide a steely shiv of inspection that digs uncompromisingly into the ribs of  the establishment. This latest volume, populated as always with wonderful characters old and new, deepens that exploration and brings it bang up to date. I loved every word of it." -- Neil Williamson, author of BFA-nominated The Moon King

Sunday, July 02, 2017

A Scruffian Survival Guide: Scruffianisation

Orphans, foundlings, latchkey kids. Urchins, changelings, live-by-wits. Rascals, scallywags, ruffians, scamps. Scoundrels, hellions, Scruffians STAMP!

With the last word the girl or boy playing hopscotch would come down hard with both feet, and the rest would all stamp a foot. Made it all like some... war-dance. Weird. And some of them was a bit old for hopscotch surely.

Orphans, foundlings, latchkey kids. Urchins, changelings, live-by-wits.

They all had such sharp looks on their thin faces too.

Rascals, scallywags, ruffians, scamps. Scoundrels, hellions, Scruffians STAMP!

And they was all looking at him on that last word.

A Scruffian Gallery

A little gallery, that is, of Scruffianisations, to give yer an idea of what exactly that means. In order, we has Vermintrude Toerag, Tolliver Whistler, Upsadaisy Fagspuffer, Nuffinmuch O'Anyfink, Squirlet Nicely, and yours truly, Gobfabbler Halyard-Dunkling, Esquire. If yer fancies taking the Stamp and joining me crib, as comes with yer purchasing of one of them fancy dan lettered first edition hardbacks of A Scruffian Survival Guide, what yer gets is magically transmogrificated (by the power of various apps and a fair bit of filtery finagling and whatnot by Slickspit Hamshankery) into a Scruffianised JPG. Just like one of em above! How does it work? yer asks...

Your Scruffianised Selfie

Just place yer order and I'll pop yer a wee email to ask for a selection of selfies to work with. Slick'll do his jiggery pokery, see what works best, and I'll send yer back a JPG as brings out yer inner scamp, scrag, scallywag or scofflaw. Whether's it looks like an olde timey photograph, a 1970s polaroid, a painting or whatever... well, we'll just has to see. That's kinda a product of the process, says Slick. Yer has to discover it in the pic, he says. Whatevers. Yer free to use this JPG as yer will, of course, as avatar or whatever. But it'll be just between the two of us far as I'm concerned, unless yer explicitly says, Bollocks to that! I wants to be on Twitter! in the next chapbook! I'd be chuffed! It's your image, the original, so yer has yer rights, and privacy's top of the list.

Selfie Quality

Now, them apps can be a bit sticky over recognising faces now and then, I has to say, so if yer sporting a big bushy beard and sunglasses, yer might well stymie one of em. If the pic's fuzzy as fuck or right close up or too far away or crazy askew, that might throw a spanner in the works too, so three or four is best to choose from, Slick says. There oughts to be summat usable in an half dozen if they's different enough, if yer goes that far, but if there ain't nuffink working... well, I'll know soon enough, and ask yer for a few more to try, so don't fret. Tell yer what! Here's some befores and afters, so's yer has an idea of what works best.





As yer can see, we can deals with some facial hair. So if yer does have a beard or muttonchops or whatnot, we'll give it a go. If yer has a pic without the face fuzz though, it might be an idea to rummage it out as backup, just in case. Whatevers. We'll do our best to sort yer out, and yer should end up with a JPG as captures yer Sekrit Scruffian Self--just like Slick's managed to magic them pics of that writer bloke into portraits of Foxtrot and himself. (Why, if I didn't know better, going by this, I might think both of em scruffs was just confabblationisings invented by that Hal Duncan bloke out of thin air! But as if!)

Anyways, then all's we need do is find yer a monicker.

Scruffian Monicker

If yer's read "How a Scruffian Gets Their Name" then yer knows Teh Roolz, how a fresh-Fixed scruff sits round with their cribmates playing "Eeny Meeny Miny Mo" and coming up with suggestions for that scruff to say, Pffft! Nah! or, Banged to rights! And though it ain't but the two of us, that's how's it'll work here. I might thinks I recognise yer straight off the bat, as I done with Vermintrude, Squirlet and Nuff above--Blow me, if ain't the very spit of Squirlet Nicely! So then it'd be: eeny meeny miny mo, catch a nipper by the toe, if they squeals, let em go, eeny meeny miny mo, you are not... Squirlet Nicely? Could be a scallywag what's famous in the fabbles. Could be a scamp what ain't even been heard a peep of... yet. Like as not, if it's the latter, yer might well notice that scamp piping up in the background of some fabble down the line, innit. (Again, I won't use yer pic unless yer says explicitly it'd tickle yer to be in some future chapbook, so pipe up if that sounds cool, else I'll assume it ain't.)

But I mights be wrong. If yer all, Nah, that ain't me, why, then it's your turn. If yer knows yer own name fine well, thanks... that's just dandy, eh. Sorted! Or, chuck yer vague notion in the hat--Summat McRaggedy?--and I'll see if I can't suggest summat to replace the Summat, like, savvy? Mights end up at Fusspot Pickybrat if we's had three turns each and yer still swithering, but I'll do me best to get yer satisfied. It's your name, innit? Yer has to be happy with it.

Dedicative Decorationising

Well, once we has yer fizzog and monicker sorted, we can put it in yer copy, in that there "This here book belongs to:" page. I'll get me crayons out, or coloured pencils, or pens, maybe's some glitter, though that were right messy the last time so... well, we'll see. I ain't guaranteeing any great artistry, but I can do yer enthusiasm. And then ye'll has a picture of yerself and yer monicker in there so's if any fucker filches it, yer can be all, Oi! That's mine, ya bastard tea-leaf! Give it back!

(This here placeholder pic is of the paperback, which ye'll has to dedicatively decorate yerself--sorry, mate--though no doubt that Hal Duncan bloke'll sign it for yer if yer buys it direct.)


We gots August as the release date, and if pre-orders ain't open already they should be up soon, and if all goes to plan, we should has the first batch printed for the middle of July. With the last two weeks or so in July then, we should be OK to get yer copy done and out to yer on schedule. I'll be straight-up though, and say now that yer might have to wait a few weeks if, like, every single copy is snapped up but like every single buyer don't get round to sending me their pics till July 34th or summat daft like that. I mean, I ain't a bleeding miracle worker. But with only 26 copies in this first edition, with enough folk as pre-orders it sending pics in sharpish... well, I reckons shipping a fortnight after orders officially open is doable with the head start. The personalisation does make it a bit less predictable though, so I'll begs yer understanding and patience if it turns out more time-consuming than I'm hoping.


Hopefully that's all clear. Any questions, just pop em in the comments. I'm posting this in advance for reference from the order page on Bandcamp, which will be opening soon for pre-orders if it ain't already open. If yer reading this cause yer follows the blog, or seen it linked on Twitter or Patreon, and pre-orders ain't open yet, feel free to pop me an email at to ask for notice pronto when pre-orders do open.