Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Darkest Shade Of Grey, episode 2 now live

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February 28, 2012

My serial novella, The Darkest Shade Of Grey, is being published in four weekly installments by The Red Penny Papers. It’s free to read online, so get on over there and check it out.

Episode 1 is here.

Episode 2 is here.

Episodes 3 and 4 will be published over the next two weeks.

If you enjoy it, please do share the links with your family, friends and colleagues.

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Thirteen O’Clock Australian dark fiction news and reviews – launched

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February 27, 2012

thirteenoclock square 150x150 Thirteen OClock Australian dark fiction news and reviews   launchedI’m very happy to be able to officially announce this new venture. Myself and writers Andrew McKiernan and Felicity Dowker have put together a new website, to fill a void in the Australian dark and weird fiction scene. Since the untimely demise of Horrorscope, there’s been a gap where good dark and weird fiction can be reviewed and reported. We’re hoping to fill that gap with Thirteen O’Clock. And, after all, you can’t have too many sources of news and reviews in this game. Here are the relevant links:

Thirteen O’Clock website.

Thirteen O’Clock on Facebook.

Thirteen O’Clock on Twitter.

All the details are in the official press release, here.

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Kraken by China Mieville – review

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February 24, 2012

cover kraken 196x300 Kraken by China Mieville   reviewI really, really wanted to like this book. But, ultimately, I was a bit disappointed. It’s the sort of thing I should love. Hell, it’s the sort of thing I should fucking write! Competing religious cults, magic and technomancy in contemporary London. This has my stamp of approval all over it like a particularly virulent venereal disease. And for the first third, I was along for the ride.

Some things bugged me. I love what Mieville does with language. I get it. He wants to challenge readers, and that’s cool. I’m down with his excessive adjectives and long rambling descriptions. Rules are there to be broken when you’re good enough to do so, and Mieville most certainly is. But there were many flaws with that work in this book. For some strange reason, there’s a serious dearth of commas. The comma is a valuable piece of punctuation and is often abused. People overuse it when it would be better to have two sentences and stuff like that. But it’s necessary. It helps us ride the words smoothly and evenly, rolling with their hips, as it were. When there’s a lack of commas for no readily apparent reason, words in a sentence run into each like bean juice into egg yolk in your Saturday morning fry-up. Words get all mixed up and you have to stop and go back, read the sentence again. I don’t mind being challenged by language and writing, but I resent having to keep stopping and starting, being forced to unravel a sentence that punctuation should unravel for me.

There’s also the dialogue. Everyone in this book talks just like real people. That’s essentially a good thing. But it’s a bit overdone here. I understand what he’s trying to do old China I really do, with his characters all Londoners talking stream of conscious like and being right there with the slang and fucking honesty. But combine it with a lack of commas and you see what happens. I grew up in and around London. I know he’s done a stellar job of the dialogue. Only he’s done it so much and in such a way that it sometimes becomes a chore to read a conversation.

But fine, whatever. I’ll play along. That’s the style of this book. I can live with that. And, as I said above, for the first third I did live with it quite happily. I was loving the different cults, the styles of magic being employed, the whole city of London as a living character in the story. As usual, Mieville’s imagination was going off like November 5th fireworks and that’s great. But the story doesn’t quite hold it up. I started to get a bit bored with who had the Kraken, and why. I got to the point by the final third where I really just didn’t give a fuck any more and was only reading to the end for a sense of closure. It all built towards something massive, tripped over its own feet at around the two thirds mark, and stumbled over the finish line with its trousers around its ankles. Which is a bloody shame, because it should have been awesome.

I’ve only read one Mieville book before, Perdido Street Station, and I loved that. It was overly long and convoluted too, but it worked. I lived and breathed the city and the story, and was happy to wallow in it with Mieville all the way. This time around it didn’t work out for me.

And yet, there is a lot to like about Kraken anyway, if nothing else just the scope of ideas and characters. I’m a sucker for a good sense of place, and London in this book is brilliant. Many of the characters are truly horrifying or endlessly entertaining. If you like urban fantasy and horror, and you’re prepared to put up with the issues I’ve mentioned here, I’d certainy recommend it. It’s not like anything else, and that in itself is reason enough for a look. It hasn’t put me off China Mieville and I plan to read more of his work. But Mieville is like pate on toast, with caviar on top. And some cream. It’s all a bit much and you might really enjoy it once, but you need a big long break before you consume anything like that again. Kraken is worth a try, but only three stars from me.

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My latest op-ed up at The Punch, in which I rant about DRM

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February 22, 2012

My latest opinion piece has been published today at The Punch, “Australia’s Best Conversation”. The title was the work of the editor, and is deliberately sensationalist, but the piece should clarify my position. It begins thusly:

Digital Rights Management doesn’t work. DRM is a method of locking digital media so it can’t be shared. Except it fails. For every form of DRM employed, pirates instantly break it.

DRM only inconveniences honest, paying customers. For example, in the case of eBooks, a person might justifiably want to have their book on their PC and their tablet, but DRM can prevent that.

I regularly get Google Alerts about my books being mentioned online and many times it’s when they appear illegally on filesharing sites. For every download like that, it’s a drop of cash not going to keeping food on my table, right? Actually, probably not.

Read the read here.

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Awards all over the place – Stokers and Nebulas

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February 21, 2012

Award season is upon us once again and all sorts of nominations are coming out.

Firstly, the Stoker Awards. Each year, the Horror Writers Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards™ for Superior Achievement in the field of horror writing, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the seminal horror work Dracula. Since 1987, the approximately 700 members of the HWA have recommended, nominated and voted on the greatest works of horror and dark fantasy of the previous calendar year, making the Bram Stoker Awards™ the most prestigious award in the field of horror literature. For the first time in 2011, half the nominees were chosen by juries.

The awards are presented in eleven categories: Novel, First Novel, Young Adult Novel, Graphic Novel, Long Fiction, Short Fiction, Screenplay, Fiction Collection, Anthology, Non-fiction, and Poetry Collection. The organization’s Active and Lifetime members will select the winners from this list of nominees; and the Awards will be presented at a gala banquet on Saturday evening, March 31, at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This year’s nominees are:

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A NOVEL

A Matrix Of Angels by Christopher Conlon (Creative Guy Publishing)
Cosmic Forces by Greg Lamberson (Medallion Press)
Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi (Medallion Press / Thunderstorm Books)
Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney (Pinnacle Books)
Not Fade Away by Gene O’Neill (Bad Moon Books)
The German by Lee Thomas (Lethe Press)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A FIRST NOVEL

Isis Unbound by Allyson Bird (Dark Regions Press)
Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs (Night Shade Books)
The Lamplighters by Frazer Lee (Samhain Horror)
The Panama Laugh by Thomas Roche (Night Shade Books)
That Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley (JournalStone)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Ghosts of Coronado Bay, A Maya Blair Mystery by J. G. Faherty (JournalStone)
The Screaming Season by Nancy Holder (Razorbill)
Rotters by Daniel Kraus (Delacorte Books for Young Readers)
Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Candlewick / Walker)
This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel (Simon & Schuster / David Fickling Books)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A GRAPHIC NOVEL

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (First Second)
Locke & Key Volume 4 by Joe Hill (IDW Publishing)
Green River Killer by Jeff Jensen (Dark Horse)
Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine by Jonathan Maberry (Marvel)
Baltimore Volume I: The Plague Ships by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden (Dark Horse)
Neonomicon by Alan Moore (Avatar Press)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN LONG FICTION

7 Brains by Michael Louis Calvillo (Burning Effigy Press)
Roots and All by Brian Hodge (A Book of Horrors)
The Colliers’ Venus (1893) by Caitlin R. Kiernan (Naked City: New Tales of Urban Fantasy)
Ursa Major by John R. Little (Bad Moon Books)
Rusting Chickens by Gene O’Neill (Dark Regions Press)
The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine by Peter Straub (Conjunctions: 56)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN SHORT FICTION

Her Husband’s Hands by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed Magazine, October 2011)
Herman Wouk Is Still Alive by Stephen King (The Atlantic Magazine, May 2011)
Hypergraphia by Ken Lillie-Paetz (The Uninvited #1)
Graffiti Sonata by Gene O’Neill (Dark Discoveries #18)
Home by George Saunders (The New Yorker Magazine, June 13, 2011)
All You Can Do Is Breathe by Kaaron Warren (Blood and Other Cravings)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A SCREENPLAY

True Blood, episode #44: “Spellbound” by Alan Ball (HBO)
The Walking Dead, episode #13: “Pretty Much Dead Already” by Scott M. Gimple (AMC)
The Walking Dead, episode #9: “Save the Last One” by Scott M. Gimple (AMC)
Priest by Cory Goodman (Screen Gems)
The Adjustment Bureau by George Nolfi (Universal Pictures)
American Horror Story, episode #12: “Afterbirth” by Jessica Sharzer (20th Century Fox Television)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A FICTION COLLECTION

Voices: Tales of Horror by Lawrence C. Connolly (Fantasist Enterprises)
Red Gloves by Christopher Fowler (PS Publishing)
Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan (Volume One) by Caitlin R. Kiernan (Subterranean)
Monsters of L.A. by Lisa Morton (Bad Moon Books)
The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates (Mysterious Press)
Multiplex Fandango by Weston Ochse (Dark Regions Press)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN AN ANTHOLOGY (EDITING)

NEHW Presents: Epitaphs edited by Tracy L. Carbone (Shroud Publishing)
Ghosts By Gaslight edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers (Harper Voyager)
Blood And Other Cravings edited by Ellen Datlow (Tor Books)
Supernatural Noir edited by Ellen Datlow (Dark Horse)
Tattered Souls 2 edited by Frank J. Hutton (Cutting Block Press)
Demons: Encounters with the Devil and his Minions, Fallen Angels and the Possessed edited by John Skipp (Black Dog and Leventhal)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN NON-FICTION

Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne (Pelican Publishing)
Reflections in a Glass Darkly: Essays on J. Sheridan Le Fanu edited by Gary William Crawford, Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers (Hippocampus Press)
Starve Better by Nick Mamatas (Apex Publications)
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies by Matt Mogk (Gallery Books)
The Gothic Imagination by John C. Tibbetts (Palgrave Macmillan)
Stephen King: A Literary Companion by Rocky Wood (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers)

SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A POETRY COLLECTION

How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend by Linda Addison (Necon Ebooks)
At Louche Ends: Poetry for the Decadent, the Damned & the Absinthe-Minded by Maria Alexander (Burning Effigy Press)
Surrealities by Bruce Boston (Dark Regions Press)
Shroud of Night by G. O. Clark (Dark Regions Press)
The Mad Hattery by Marge Simon (Elektrik Milk Bath Press)
Unearthly Delights by Marge Simon (Sam’s Dot)

(From http://www.stokers2012.org/)

Also, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has announced the nominees for the 2011 Nebula Awards (presented 2012), the nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book. Here are the nominees:

Novel

God’s War, Kameron Hurley (Night Shade)
The Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Firebird, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
Embassytown, China Miéville (Del Rey)
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine (Prime)
Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)

Novella

With Unclean Hands, Adam-Troy Castro (Analog 11/11)
The Ice Owl, Carolyn Ives Gilman (F&SF 11-12/11)
The Man Who Bridged the Mist, Kij Johnson (Asimov’s 10-11/11)
Kiss Me Twice, Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s 6/11)
The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary, Ken Liu (Panverse Three)
Silently and Very Fast, Catherynne M. Valente (WSFA)

Novelette

Six Months, Three Days, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com 6/8/11)
The Old Equations, Jake Kerr (Lightspeed 7/11)
What We Found, Geoff Ryman (F&SF 9-10/11)
The Migratory Pattern of Dancers, Katherine Sparrow (GigaNotoSaurus 7/11)
Sauerkraut Station, Ferrett Steinmetz (GigaNotoSaurus 11/11)
Fields of Gold, Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse 4)
Ray of Light, Brad R. Torgersen (Analog 12/11)

Short Story

Her Husband’s Hands, Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed 10/11)
Mama, We Are Zhenya, Your Son, Tom Crosshill (Lightspeed 4/11)
Shipbirth, Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s 2/11)
Movement, Nancy Fulda (Asimov’s 3/11)
The Axiom of Choice, David W. Goldman (New Haven Review Winter ’11)
The Paper Menagerie, Ken Liu (F&SF 3-4/11)
The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld 4/11)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

The Adjustment Bureau
Attack the Block
Captain America: The First Avenger
Doctor Who: ‘‘The Doctor’s Wife’’
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Source Code

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

Ultraviolet, R.J. Anderson (Orchard UK; Carolrhoda)
Chime, Franny Billingsley (Dial)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson (Greenwillow; Gollancz as Fire and Thorns)
The Boy at the End of the World, Greg van Eekhout (Bloomsbury USA)
Everybody Sees the Ants, A.S. King (Little, Brown)
Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor (Viking)
The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman (Big Mouth House)
Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Laini Taylor (Little, Brown)

The winners will be announced at SFWA’s 47th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend, May 17 – May 20, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. Connie Willis will be honoured with the 2011 Damon Knight Grand Master Award for her lifetime contributions and achievements in the field. Walter Jon Williams will preside as toastmaster, with Astronaut Michael Fincke as keynote speaker. (From Locus.)

Congratulations and best of luck to all the nominees!

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Tuesday Toot – Martin Livings

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February 21, 2012

Tuesday Toot is a semi-regular feature here at The Word. An invite-only series of short posts where writers, editors, booksellers and other creatives have been asked to share their stuff and toot their own horn. It’s hard to be seen in the digital morass and hopefully this occasional segment will help some of the quality stuff out there get noticed. It should all be things that readers of The Word will find edifying.

Today, it’s Martin Livings.

livingscollection cover Tuesday Toot   Martin LivingsWho is Martin?

Perth-based writer Martin Livings has had over seventy short stories in a variety of magazines and anthologies. His short works have been listed in the Recommended Reading list in Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and have appeared in both The Year’s Best Australian SF & Fantasy, Volumes Two and Five, and Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2006 and 2008 editions. His first novel, Carnies, was published by Hachette Livre in 2006, and was nominated for both the Aurealis and Ditmar awards.

What are you tooting about?

Now, six years later (and twenty years after his first published short story), Martin is releasing his first collection, Living With the Dead. Due out later this year from Dark Prints Press, the book will contain twenty reprinted stories from two decades of publications, plus three brand new stories original to the collection. The cover art was recently made public, created by UK artist Vincent Chong, and it’s utterly gorgeous. So check it out, and stay tuned for more exciting details!

Link to the book: http://www.darkprintspress.com.au/books_living.html
Link to Vincent Chong’s blog entry about the artwork: http://vincentchongart.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/living-with-the-dead/
Link to Martin’s website: http://www.martinlivings.com

[I'm a big fan of Martin's work - I even published one of his stories in my short lived small press venture. Heart Of Ice by Martin is in Dark Pages, Volume 1. I'm very much looking forward to this new collection, and that really is a freaking sweet cover. - Alan]

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The Darkest Shade Of Grey Episode 1 now published online

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February 20, 2012

I’ve been very excited about this one for a while. My novelette, The Darkest Shade Of Grey, is finally published. At least, Episode 1 is now up. It’s being serialised over four weeks at The Red Penny Papers. Firstly, check out this sweet cover, by awesome artist Megan Eckman.

the darkest shade of grey cover med 213x300 The Darkest Shade Of Grey Episode 1 now published online

Click on the cover for a bigger version.

I just love that image – it really captures the heart of the story. The publisher describes the story thus:

It’s a bit of stunning supernatural noir about a hard up journalist whose drinking problem goes beyond the usual need for self-medication. David sees things he shouldn’t be able to see, that no one could handle seeing — and he has no one but himself to blame for opening the door to them.

Click here to read Episode 1 and I’ll post each week when the next episode is up. Parts 2, 3 and 4 should be posted each Friday/Saturday (depending on your timezone) over the next three weeks. I’m incredibly proud of this story, so I really hope you all enjoy it.

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Mythic Resonance is out now, featuring a story from me

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February 16, 2012

mythic600 193x300 Mythic Resonance is out now, featuring a story from meMythic Resonance is The Specusphere‘s first printed publication. It is an anthology of speculative fiction short stories by Australian writers following the theme of myths and legends.

I’m proud to say that my story, The Everywhere And The Always, is included. Here’s the full ToC:

Foreword — Sue Hammond and Stephen Thompson
The Salted Heart — N A Sulway
The Everywhere And The Always — Alan Baxter
Annabel and the Witch — Paul Freeman
Through these eyes I see — Donna Maree Hanson
A Tale of Publication — Les Zigomanis
La Belle Dame — Satima Flavell
Glorious Destiny — Steven Gepp
Meeting my Renaissance Man — Vicky Daddo
Wetlands — Jen White
Man’s Best Friend — Tom Williams
In Paradise, Trapped — Kelly Dillon
Holly and Iron — Nigel Read
Brothers — Sue Bursztynski

The print version is available now with an ebook due out any time.

All the details here.

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Backing it up, old school

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February 15, 2012

I mentioned in a previous post recently that I’d been using modern technology to help me keep my work safe. The beauty of Print On Demand technology is that we can produce a single volume without any great effort or expense. The downside to this is the ever-growing mountain of shit out there, but that’s another story. The same thing applies to ebooks, of course. But there are many other ways we can use this technology for good.

For example, it’s easy now to gift someone a hardback, coffee-table edition of photos from a wedding or holiday. Rather than sticking photos in an album – Remember that? Does anyone actually print photos any more? – we can have a lovely, glossy book.

Equally, while it’s great to have all my writing saved and backed up, I still have a slight end-of-the-world niggle. My stuff is saved on the hard drive of my laptop. It’s also backed up on two extrenal hard drives, a USB memory stick and I have a cloud storage thing set up, so it’s on servers miles away. Every once in a while I also burn a DVD backup. But this is all digital. What happens when some fucktard supervillain drops an EMP and everything electronic becomes nothing more than a high-tech ornament?

You may think, Well, if that happens, who gives a fuck about your writing, Al? It’s the end of the freaking world, you narcissistic penmonkey! And you’d be right, to some degree. But, if post-apocalyptic fiction has taught us anything, it’s that the human race is one tenacious bastard and will survive. We’ll fight and claw and refuse to give in. We’ll end up with rag-tag bands of survivors, slowly finding each other and building civilisation anew. And who knows, we might even make a better job of it the second time around, though I have my doubts about that.

Regardless, if all our knowledge and culture is digital, we stand to lose it all. If we make sure there are hard, papery copies of as much as possible, we might not lose everything. Of course, that’s also assuming we don’t burn all the books to survive the hideous cold of the nuclear winter or the next ice age.

But there are other reasons to have hard copies as well. My wife likes to read my stuff, for example. Well, I often think she doesn’t like it, and she once called my “a sick and twisted little monkey”, but to me that’s a term of endearment. Anyway, she reads my stuff. But she has no ereader and doesn’t like to read on screen. Of course, she can read the contributor copies of magazines and anthologies that my work is in, and has read the print copies of my novels, but not all my stuff is produced in print.

There’s also the casual visitor. If I mention a story and they say, “Sounds sick and twisted, my friend, I’d like to read that”, then I can pull the book off the shelf and say, “Here, page 176.”

Plus, I’m a narcissistic penmonkey and like to see books of my stuff on the shelf.

So, I went to one of those POD sites where you follow all the guides and templates, upload a text file, and a couple of weeks later you get a book. I used a pretty small font to keep page numbers, and therefore cost, to a minimum, and it arrived in the post today. All my short fiction up to the end of last year. Just for my own shelf, a hardcopy backup:

print back up Backing it up, old school

I already noticed a couple of mistakes I made in the formatting. Nothing major, and it’s only for my records, so it really doesn’t matter. However, I think when I do another one, I’ll correct those things and maybe put a kickass dragon on the cover or something. Maybe a dragon eating a spaceship, dripping ectoplasm from its crystal fangs. Something like that.

So yeah. Backing it up, old school.

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Online Spec-Fic magazines you should be reading

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February 14, 2012

So I mentioned in my post a few days ago, where I gushed about my love of online magazines, that I would post a follow-up where I list some of the best ones. Here we go then. Please note that this is just a taster based on my own reading habits and by no means definitive. Please do comment below with your favourites so we can all find new good stuff out there. I’ve copied the About section from each of their sites to give you an idea of what they do. Click the title to visit their site.

Online Spec-Fic magazines you should be reading:

Lightspeed

Lightspeed is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine. In its pages, you will find science fiction: from near-future, sociological soft SF, to far-future, star-spanning hard SF—and fantasy: from epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, and contemporary urban tales, to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folktales. No subject is off-limits, and we encourage our writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope.

Lightspeed was a finalist for the 2011 Hugo Award, and stories from Lightspeed have been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Award.

Edited by bestselling anthologist John Joseph Adams, every month Lightspeed brings you a mix of originals and reprints, and featuring a variety of authors—from the bestsellers and award-winners you already know to the best new voices you haven’t heard of yet. When you read Lightspeed, it is our hope that you’ll see where science fiction and fantasy comes from, where it is now, and where it’s going.

Clarkesworld

Clarkesworld is a monthly science fiction and fantasy magazine first published in October 2006. Each issue contains at least three pieces of original fiction from new and established authors. Our fiction is also collected by issue in signed chapbooks, ebook editions/subscriptions and in our annual print anthology, Realms.

Strange Horizons

Strange Horizons is a magazine of and about speculative fiction and related nonfiction.

Speculative fiction includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, and all other flavors of fantastika. Work published in Strange Horizons has been shortlisted for or won Hugo, Nebula, Rhysling, Theodore Sturgeon, James Tiptree Jr., and World Fantasy Awards.

The Red Penny Papers

One rainy afternoon, I found my dear sister-in-law alone in the sitting room. To my shock and potential mortification, she had my collection of sensational literature out of its (obviously inadequate) hiding spot behind the leather-bound editions of Thackeray. She looked up from an eight-part adventure of Black Bess to say, “My dear Maggie! What is this rubbish?”

“Clara, my love, they’re adventures.”

“They’re those– those red pennies!”

“You mean penny bloods, my dear? Or perhaps penny dreadfuls?”

“Oh, yes. Perhaps I do.”

She looked from the lurid literature in her lap to me, and then back again several times. And then she finally said, “Have you any more?”

And so were born the Red Penny Papers.

Incidentally, Red Penny Papers are publishing my novelette, The Darkest Shade of Grey, in four episodes, starting this Friday. It’s a story I’m very proud of and I hope you guys like it too.

Wily Writers

The Wily Writers site publishes two short stories per month in both audio and text formats. They host a celebrity editor for each theme, and they choose the stories along with the producer (Angel Leigh McCoy).

They publish only short fiction that falls under the genre umbrella of speculative fiction: horror, fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal romance/mystery/adventure, and have specific themes that they ask writers to follow.

I’ve had great experiences with Wily Writers over the years. They’ve published two of my stories, Stand Off and Declan’s Plan, and I’m the current guest editor, where I’ve picked two great post-apoc stories for this month.

Cosmos

COSMOS is a literary science magazine with a global following. Australia’s #1 science media brand, it reaches 400,000 people every month via a print magazine, a daily online news website and a weekly e-newsletter. Our COSMOS Teacher’s Notes reach 65% of Australian high schools, and we produce a wide range of quality editorial products (such as websites, booklets, posters and DVDs) for a range of clients.

COSMOS internationally respected for its literary writing, excellence in design and engaging breadth of content. It’s the winner of 45 awards, including the Magazine of the Year trophy in both 2009 and 2006, and twice Editor of the Year, at the annual Publishers Australia Excellence Awards. COSMOS has also won the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award, the Reuters/IUCN Award for Excellence in Environmental Journalism, the City of Sydney Lord Mayor’s Sustainability Award and an Earth Journalism Award.

While this is primarily a print magazine, with fiction included in the print edition, they have an excellent online section of fiction for stories they can’t fit in the print edition.

ticon4

ticon4 launched in 2008, the fourth incarnation of TiconderogaOnline, which began way back in 1999.

Originally published by Russell B. Farr, the webzine is now edited by Liz Grzyb. We provide fiction, reviews, interviews and other tidbits to do with speculative fiction.

ticon4 is part of independent publisher Ticonderoga Publications, and is able to present you with excellent fiction for free, through donations and book sales.

Hub

Hub started as a physical magazine in December 2006. Originally intended to sell as a bi-monthly title, with the very best new fiction, features, news, reviews and interviews, the magazine was well-received by all those that read it.

Despite healthy orders and a growing subscriber base, Hub was unable to attract the advertising revenue necessary for this type of magazine to survive, and the print edition folded after just two issues.

Buoyed by the reception Hub had received, I decided to keep the momentum going. Rather than allow Hub to fold, I and co-editor Alasdair Stuart turned the magazine into an electronic journal. Foolishly optimistic, we decided that Hub was to become a weekly magazine, publishing one piece of short fiction every issue, along with regular reviews and occasional features and interviews. The first electronic edition (issue 3) was distributed to around 900 readers on April 20th, 2007.

Kasma SF

Based in Ottawa, Canada, Kasma SF is a completely free online magazine featuring quality science fiction from some of the genre’s brightest new (and sometimes more established) voices. We publish fiction on the first of every month, our blog weekly, so have a look around, have fun, and please check back often.

My story, Mistaken Identity, was published at Kasma SF in 2011.

Redstone

Redstone Science Fiction publishes quality stories from across the science fiction spectrum. We are interested in everything from post-cyberpunk to new space opera. We want to live forever. Get us off this rock.

We have all been reading Science Fiction and Fantasy since we were children. It has been a key element in our lives.

From writing and submitting our own stories, we’ve learned that there are only a handful of online & print magazines that pay a professional rate for original science fiction stories.

We decided that there needed to be one more.

We know the magazine will probably not be profitable, but we have planned for that.

We will focus on producing a quality science fiction magazine and on exploring every opportunity to make Redstone Science Fiction a long-term success.

Abyss & Apex

There’s no About page for me to copy and paste for this one, but Abyss & Apex is a great magazine with consistently good fiction.

Daily Science Fiction

Original Science Fiction and Fantasy every weekday. Welcome to Daily Science Fiction, an online magazine of science fiction short stories. We publish “science fiction” in the broad sense of the word: This includes sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream—whatever you’d likely find in the science fiction section of your local bookstore. Our stories are mostly short short fiction each Monday through Thursday, hopefully the right length to read on a coffee break, over lunch, or as a bedtime tale. Friday’s weekend stories are longer.

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This was only a quick selection, and only a selection of online magazines. Much as I love them, there are loads of great print and other format magazines out there and it’s worth checking them all out. And, if you’re a writer, you should be submitting to all these places too!

So, I know I’ve missed plenty – fill in the gaps. What are your favourite online SF/F magazines? Give us a link in the comments.

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Welcome

The website of author Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter, Author

Author of horror, dark fantasy & sci-fi. Kung Fu instructor. Personal Trainer. Motorcyclist. Dog lover. Gamer. Heavy metal fan. Britstralian. Zetetic.

Learn more about me and my work by clicking About Alan just below the header.

Subscribe to my Mailing List: For occasional news, special offers and more. When you click the Subscribe button you will be sent to a confirmation page.

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Our world is built on language and storytelling. Without stories, we are nothing.

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