Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My lovely dog, Nia, died today.

Nia's heart finally beat its last today at about 12.30pm and she died as she lived, quietly with no fuss or bother and with a dignity that I find hard to explain. She was only about nine, quite young for a dog, but she had an enlarged heart which only manifested itself last spring when after returning from a walk she had a very bad coughing fit. I thought she'd swallowed something but upon visiting the vet's the under-lying problem was discovered. Part of her heart wasn't functioning at all well and blood was backing up and pooling in her stomach area causing her to not breathe properly. For many months she managed to cope pretty well on the drugs that were prescribed but eventually they began to have little effect and this morning she died in my arms. She was such a lovely dog, never growled at anyone, never bared her teeth, very rarely barked and was always obedient and full of love for everyone in the family, even for Sheba our other dog who used to pester her and tended to want to rule the roost, even though she was a third of Nia's size.
This is the last photo taken of her on Christmas Day 2010. I can't begin to tell you how sad I'm feeling today, I know, she was only a dog, but WHAT a dog.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Estronomicon 2010

Steve Upham of Screamingdreams has just released his Christmas Estronomicon 2010, a free on-line magazine of horror/fantasy/sf which is in both pdf format and Issuu format which is quite neat, a page-flipping version and can be found here and on page 60 you'll find my contribution which is called 'Ecstasy' hope you get the time to take a look.

Merry Christmas 2010!

Best wishes to you all this Christmas 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Empathy Effect Review In Black Static

Black Static (what a great name for a magazine) is a sister-magazine to the world famous Science Fiction publication, Interzone and the December issue (No.20) features an in-depth review of my latest offering, The Empathy Effect.
The reviewer is Stephen Theaker (he of Theaker's Quarterly & Paperbacks) a well-established ezine and one I've had some work featured in.
Stephen's review is quite favourable and he's treated me kindly over-all (thanks Stephen), it's always scary picking up a review of your work and reading whether or not the reviewer enjoyed your tale or not!
Copies of The Empathy Effect can be ordered from Screamingdreams or you could just pop over to the website and read the first chapter for free.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I'm entry number four in Interzone's Advent Calender

This time of year it is always a treat to visit the Interzone website where they host a free advent calender of short stories. Each story has been previously published somewhere and features main-stream writers and 'little' writers like myself that have contributed to their forum over the years. I'm pleased to say that I am day number four (today 4th December 2010) and my story is entitled: 'A Zombie Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas' and can be found here: ADVENT I hope you enjoy it and take the time to read the other offerings.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Empathy Effect gets a good review :)

I'm so chuffed with this review of The Empathy Effect from the celebrated SF author Neal Asher :)


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mother, please don't cry for me

Mother, please don't cry for me, for I have gone
My pain's embrace has left, though you feel it still
Turn your anguish to joy, for I am at peace
In our trench's arms I lie; a sweet release

And softly the tender rain falls like blood
Upon our upturned faces that see no more
Lovingly sweeps the red mud from sightless eye
With purest tears wrought from God's own summer sky

And our trench fills with a profuse torrent then
Carries remains of its hopeless protection
Earthen walls, sandbags and bodies, everyone
Seeks to escape the carnage we have become

We're but empty vessels of our former selves
The flow that seeks to wash away our remains
Blushes as it turns an even redder hue
Shamed witness of those, who know not what they do

Mother, the foe were like us; all someone's child
No malice in their hearts; there was none in ours
Around their feet I beg you let no blame pool
Cheap were our brief lives; sent here by those who rule

We were as but leaves on a great tree grown old
But as the leaves fall, so shall the strong oak too
Weakened, helpless to stand against folly wind
Roots consumed from within by men who have sinned

Leaders who knew the cost in our blood and lives
At their spotless boots must all blame be now piled
Vain, they called the piper, but bade us pay the tune
In granite should their shame be forever hewn

So... to grave we go; I hope for the best cause
As symbols of the imprudence of conflict
Peacefully safe with our friends, our enemies, men, brave and true
War, that took so many...
... Begun, by so few...

Bob Lock

Poppy photo:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween, unlucky for some?

An insistent little kid turned up twice tonight, tricking and treating. I got fed-up and closed the door abruptly, on his foot. He went down screaming so we had to help him inside and let him sit down while we checked his foot. One of our dogs took an instant dislike to him and started barking. The kid, instead of keeping still, tried to hobble out of the house, the dog bit him on the arse.
When we finally managed to separate the two and calmed the kid down we thought it prudent to stock him up with a few lollipops to shut him up. It worked better than I thought, he choked on one of them and we are now trying to bury him under a rose bush in the garden whilst it is still dark,

but don’t tell anyone....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back to the grindstone!

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was short-listed in The Golden Blasters' Script Competition which was part of Octocon 2010 (The National Irish Science Fiction Convention) that took place last weekend. Unfortunately I didn't win however, but it was a buzz being one of the final nominees. The winner was American screenwriter Stuart Creque (well done Stuart) for his script 'He Knows', here are the short-listed scripts:

1) The Special By Ruairi Moore
2) An Other Woman by Alexander Major
3) He Knows by Stuart Creque
4) City of Vampires by Niall Byrne
5) Meeting Amadeus by Bob Lock
6) The King of Nowhere by Thomas Mulhall

Oh well, no fame and fortune, no option to buy 'Meeting Amadeus' by Spielberg or Ridley Scott, back to the grindstone then... hehe

Other news:
Had a great review of one of my short stories that is in DF Lewis's Null Immortalis. My story is called 'Haven't You Ever Wondered?' and Peter Tennant of Black Static and Interzone said:

Bob Lock knows how to
pander to the vanity of editors, with not
only Tullis but Lewis himself as a character
in ‘Haven’t You Ever Wondered?’ and the
whole Nemonymous project reified as a
matter of multiversal importance in a witty
and cheekily audacious story that delights
with its playfulness.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Meet The Author - Alastair Reynolds

I attended a 'Meet The Author' night tonight at Pontardawe Library and met Alastair Reynolds who gave a talk on SF in general, his work and how it all began.
At one point Alastair handed around a folded notebook made from A4 paper upon which was written (in felt tip) his first ever SF story. It was also illustrated by him too and when one of the audience asked how old he was when he wrote it I was very tempted to shout out 'twenty-five!' for a bit of a laugh but managed to control myself :) I was only twenty years out, he wrote it when he was five!
He spoke of how he was first published and I wasn't surprised to learn that the first story he ever sold for 'good' money was to Interzone, something he was very proud of and went on to say that:

Of all the SF magazines around, Interzone is designed by someone who has a clue about what they are doing

After the talk I managed to get him to sign two books of his that I have in my collection, get a photo done with him and pick his brains about a problem I have in a SF novel I'm writing about folding space and wormholes. He was very patient and helpful and the evening was an enjoyable one.
He said he'd be attending BristolCon in November and hopefully I'll be able to have a chat with him again (unless he sees me first and does a runner!) hehe :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Steam-Powered Singularity

Charles Babbage was the first to translate himself into the vast Matrioshka Brain that enclosed the young star in its ironclad Dyson sphere grip. The giant leap in computing power required for this happened accidentally when his Difference Engine was left running un-supervised over the weekend. It had overheated, and had somehow spewed out the blueprints for a Mark Two version of itself. Enthralled with this accidental discovery Babbage tried to duplicate the action by purposefully running the Mark Two Engine beyond its safe working parameters.
It worked.
Time and time again.

He started thinking about the possibility of creating a Singularity.


Sometime later, in the cold, hard vacuum of space.

Huge plumes of superheated steam crystallized into diamond droplets of water immediately upon being expelled into space from the city-sized vents as the furnace, deep within the Singularity’s centre, chugged-away happily consuming the star’s inexhaustible power.

A vast improvement upon the prototype coal version, Babbage thought.
However, as the last human being on Earth was finally uploaded, and the ravaged planet, which the uncontrollable landslide into the Industrial and Technological Age had generated, was finally returned to Nature, no-one was left to notice that the Niagara Falls-sized water tube (which showed the boiler’s water level) was not as full as it seemed. The gargantuan glass was stained at the full mark by the oxides in the water. The tube was actually empty and the boiler was burning unabated. Yet another overheating problem that the genius had overlooked. The last thing that went through Charles Babbage’s virtual mind before the Matrioshka Brain went supernova was:

‘Is it hot in here... or is just me?

By Bob Lock

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Empathy Effect - Audio Taster

Here is the first couple of chapters of The Empathy Effect, narrated by yours truly. It will take a minute or two to download, just enough time to get the cotton-wool :)

If you don't have the Apple Quicktime Plugin then try this, it should allow you to either download the mp3 file or select a media player of your choice:

The Empathy Effect

Warning: Contains bad language

Monday, September 06, 2010

Hoping to 'Kindle' some sales!

Messing about on Amazon a couple of days ago I managed to upload 'A Cloud Of Madness' to the Kindle zone of both Amazon UK and Com. It is £2.93 (cheap as chips!) and is a SF novella with robots/a nasty virus/a comet/a post apocalyptic Earth and Native American Indians :) and can be bought here:

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Coming Soon! - The Empathy Effect

"Cooper Jones is an alcoholic with a super-power,
he is an Empath, almost able to read minds... almost!
He's also a Swansea traffic warden and doesn't have
to read minds to know what people think of him.
However, he had no idea how hated he was until
he was bound to Mumbles Pier and left to drown."

Based in Swansea, Dylan Thomas' 'lovely, ugly town', The Empathy Effect is an urban fantasy that will be in print soon and can be purchased from my publisher
and probably Amazon and Barnes and Noble,
and who knows, perhaps from a bookshop near you!

Cover photograph 'Hands' by Christer Austad
End photograph of Consitution Hill by Bob Lock
Cover designed by Steve Upham.

"Allow Bob Lock to turn the key in the lock of imagination
and throw wide the gates of wonder -- if you pass through you'll find the journey
more than worthwhile!"
Rhys Hughes

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy 10,000 to me!

Just checked my blog and I've had 10,000 visitors since its creation, who'd have thunk it eh?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Null Immortalis Lives!

Today I received my complimentary copy of D.F.Lewis's Nemonymous 10 - 'Null Immortalis' -, his last anthology and I'm really pleased to say that I'm in it with a little story entitled 'Haven't you ever wondered?' There are about twenty-six short stories in this tome and if they turn out to be as good as previous Nemos then they'll be a real treat to read.

Copies can be bought here: NULL IMMORTALIS so get ordering and be part of an end of an era!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

An elf and a vampire walk into a bar...

Just a quick script:

‘So, you’re an elf?’

‘Yes, Elvin’s the name, and you?’


‘Foreign are you?’

‘Not in the country I was born in.’

‘But here you are. You don’t look like an elf. Really tall and your skin, it’s so white. You an albino?’

‘No, not an albino but I suppose my skin is rather white. ’

‘So, what’s up?’

‘Out for a drink. You? What’s a plump little elf doing out alone?’

‘Just up to mischief, usual stuff. What sort of drink are you after?’

‘Oh, a short seems preferable.’

‘I don’t drink spirits.’

‘Neither do I.’

‘But you just said...’

‘I know.’

‘... am I really plump?’


‘Perhaps I need to slim down.’

‘I can help with that.’

‘Oh? How?’

‘Let me see your neck...’

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I'm in Null Immortalis!

I'm so pleased to announce that my short story 'Haven't You Ever Wondered?' has been accepted by D.F.Lewis for inclusion in his last ever Nemonymous anthology
It sadly brings to an end a run of ten anthologies that have broken the mould in many, many ways.
Des' Nemonymous series will be remembered as the world's very first multi-authored anthology specifically collected as anonymous stories. However, Null Immortalis will end the run with all the authors having their by-line alongside their stories, they will not be anonymous.

This last edition is scheduled to be published this September.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Campaign For Real Fear - My rejected story :(

Maura McHugh and Christopher Fowler have had a Campaign For Real Fear competition going on where you have to write a really scary story in 500 words. The top twenty stories will then be published in Black Static and some of those will also be turned into audio and be downloadable as podcasts.

I sent off mine - A Matter Of Taste, but unfortunately it was rejected. However, a group of us rejects have gotten together and posted our stories anyway on the TTA Forum site. The stories can be read for free here and the site also has links to some of the other rejects, they are pretty good, makes you wonder what the ones getting chosen must be like!


Well?’ he asked, the empty fork hovering in Gail’s line of sight, ‘am I right? Does it taste delicious or not?’
She wanted to vomit. To spew it back into his face. To rub it into his eyes. To claw those eyes out and grind them into the worn carpet with her bare feet. She smiled.

‘I take it all back. I’ve never tasted anything like this before. It was out of this world. Fabulous. Devlin, you are a genius. What’s next?’

The man’s face simply beamed with delight. His furrowed brow smoothed out and his eyes twinkled upon receiving the compliment. The fork lowered. She relaxed a little and waited.

‘Right. Something special next. It’s a Czech dish, one my grandmother used to make; it’s called Jatrov Knedliky. The broth just has to simmer a little longer. Meantime please help yourself to some finger dips. That one is asparagus guacamole, it’s quite a delicate flavour and the other is honey mustard. You might find it a little zestier. Please, enjoy.’ He pointed to them with the fork and she tried not to flinch. He turned his attention to the saucepan simmering away and for perhaps the hundredth time she tested her bonds. They did not budge. Apart from her right hand she was totally secured to the chair. If he would allow her to use a knife perhaps she could try to cut through the wide leather straps holding her down, but she had no knife and she dreaded to think what he would do if she attempted to escape again. It would bring forward her turn to cook for him and that paralysed her with fear. He turned suddenly, as if tuned in to her thoughts.

‘Come on slow coach,’ he said, grinning. ‘Tuck in.’ He moved the sauces and the finger dips closer to her and waited. She took one and dipped it into the honey mustard sauce. She imagined it would have the strongest flavour. A flavour which would mask everything else. Gail bit into it. She had to bite hard. She had to chew vigorously. She had to force it down her throat.

'Lovely,’ she said, keeping it down.


The Jatrov Knedliky proved to be chopped liver dumplings in a chicken broth. How he’d managed to remove part of his liver she couldn’t imagine. The first course, the prairie oyster appetizers, was easier she thought. Although the removal of his testicles must have smarted. The remaining thumb and finger of his left hand seemed adequate enough for him to continue cooking with, but it definitely impeded him. She needed a way out before it was her turn to cook for the madman and have to carve into her own body.

She smiled at him. ‘Do you know what I really enjoy?’

He clapped enthusiastically. ‘Oh do tell!’

She blushed. ‘I have a terrible craving for brawn cooked in white wine sauce.’

‘Terrific!’ He cried and ran off to get his electric saw... and a mirror.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pass me the baby oil, it's time to massage my ego :)

Some time ago I filled in a questionnaire compiled by The British Science Fiction & Fantasy Association which consisted of approximately eleven questions, ten of which were a repeat of questions for a similar survey carried out twenty years ago by Paul Kincaid for the Mexicon Convention in 1989. I forgot all about it. Today I received a free contributor's copy of the book that Paul Kincaid and Niall Harrison have compiled and I'm quoted in it three times! I find myself amongst 84 other contributors who responded to the survey, BIG names such as Joe Abercrombie, Brian Aldiss, Iain Banks, Neil Gaiman, Paul McCauley, China Mieville, Michael Moorcock, Richard Morgan, Charles Stross to name but a few, but ALL of them heroes or heroines of mine in the writing world. And I'm in there with them! My name's in the middle of this prestige bunch of scribblers on the back cover! So, from now on I'm going to say 'Yes, I've been published in a book with... ' and name drop the other eighty four writers :)

Friday, March 19, 2010


On your life’s journey you have somehow happened upon a strange page of script, will it entice you to read on or just close the book and once again continue on your way?

Who knows?

Only you can decide.

Or rather, it should be you who decides.

However, imagine this, just for a moment…

Much like a camera hovering omniscient over a scene from some old black and white television show, late at night, you gaze down at a man hunched over a keyboard. His fingers shake as he struggles to type and his eyes narrow as they scrutinize the words that appear on his flat screen monitor. The room is dark, quiet, except for the almost insectile scrabbling of his typing and the occasional low mutter or expelled pent up breath from his mouth, which seems to be working constantly spelling out each word as it appears. It almost looks like an incantation.

Intrigued, the camera, or shall we say, you - for are you still listening? Alternatively, perhaps the story is unfolding with no witness to see or hear its conception? Whether or not it is observed or heard the story now unravels of its own accord as if knowing that someone somewhere will fulfil its need to be set free. The writer glances round, the camera pulls back but we are not seen and with a shuddering breath the man’s attention is once again drawn to the glowing screen where his words appear as if by magic and not by the input of the keyboard. We are drawn down to the luminous square of light that absorbs his awareness much as a moth is drawn to the flickering dance of a naked flame, seductive but ultimately pernicious. Finally, we are close enough to look over the man’s shoulder and are able to see his musings… and we read…

‘I despise myself for doing this to you, but it has become too much to bear. I thought I was a strong person, but my shortcomings have been shoved in my face. If there had been any other alternative then I would have grasped it with both hands, believe me. But there was not. Please forgive me. Perhaps I should start at the beginning. I will try to explain why I resorted to telling you all this; why I just didn’t let it run its course and let it all end with me. There is no excuse. I was too weak.

About four months ago, I would have been prepared to just sit at my computer and write with the hope of one day being published but that was before I walked into an antique shop in a very small village situated in a remote part of Wales. Rummaging through some of the items there, which were mostly rubbish, I came across an old book. It spoke of ancient Celtic legends and myths. There was no date on it, but by its method of manufacture, I guessed that it was aged. The covers were old black leather, cracked and mildewed with time. The spine of the book was broken and almost coming away; the pages were yellowed and age-spotted. I bought it for a very cheap price and the shop-owner seemed glad to get rid of the smelly old thing.

That night I set about cleaning it and checking that all the pages were intact. On starting to remove the spine-cover so that I could re-glue the pages, imagine my surprise when a slip of paper fell out. It was a hand-written note and started by begging the reader for forgiveness. Enthralled I could not do anything other than read further as it carried on explaining that the writer had imprudently disturbed something from its slumber; a something that was far beyond the writer’s control.

The name given to that something or entity was Samhain and it was known as the Celtic God of the Dead. Fascinated, I read on as the writer explained that he was a Druid and had thought himself wise in the knowledge of the occult. So much so that he had a vast collection of books on the subject and would secretly experiment in magic. One night he had dared summon Samhain, thinking he would be able to control the entity or if needs be, reverse the process. It was not to be. Soon, he found that once summoned the being would remain until it consumed anyone who had invoked it.

The Druid at first thought the summoning to have failed as nothing untoward or strange had happened. However, it wasn’t long before he started experiencing the sensation of being watched. Strange movements seen from the corner of his eye would make him turn quickly, but there was never anything to see. Time went on, and after a few months people commented on his loss of weight, the pale pallor of his skin. Day by day, he grew weaker as if his very soul was being ripped from his body. A darkness he could not fathom had begun to overshadow his life.

Then, one day, he found the answer. After much research, he finally found the only way to free himself from the curse. He wrote a note to a friend of his and begged him to read it to the end. The note explained what he had done and why he was suffering so. It explained that the only way for him to save himself was to pass the curse on by getting someone else to read the invocation; be it knowingly or unknowingly it did not matter.

The friend, not realising what he was doing, read the note, and unintentionally became the invoker. However, he was not as psychologically strong as the Druid, and within days degenerated into a witless imbecile. His heart gave out after less than a week and the curse was lifted. Samhain was placated. The Druid had saved himself but at the cost of his friend.

Distraught and unable to forgive himself the Druid decided to write out a confession and submit himself to his order for trial. Somehow, I don’t think he ever managed to find the courage to do so. How else could the confession be where it was? As I think the confession is the very note that fell from that book.

Amazed, I immediately started researching on the internet into the background history of Celtic folklore regarding this little known entity. I found that to most historians it was no more than myth. Being a strong-minded person, and not prone to believing in myths and legends too deeply, I accepted the writing as being the figment of a distraught man’s imagination. Witchcraft and magic were rife in those times and people could easily convince themselves that they had been cursed or haunted. However, now we are in the golden age of science and technology; in the twenty-first century, such things are easily dismissed.

Then I started noticing strange occurrences happening around me. I could be writing at my desk, intent on getting my formatting correct, when suddenly I would experience a “presence.” Turning quickly I expected to see my wife or perhaps one of my dogs behind me but there was never anyone there. Friends started remarking that I had lost weight or that my colour had become very strange. I looked strained as if over-worked or exhausted. Not feeling particularly well I went for a check-up, but my doctor found nothing unusual. The feeling of being constantly watched continued. My dogs, who normally sit near my desk in the evenings as I write have abandoned me and are reluctant to enter my bedroom, which serves as an office. If you could observe me now, writing this, you would see me alone and guarded. Even whilst writing this I feel as if someone or something is peering over my shoulder and I fight the urge to turn around.

It has taken me until now to realise what has happened. The curse is still active and somehow, unwittingly I have invoked the creature once more. I delved through the Druid’s note and realised that somewhere within it lay the answer. Then it came to me, in his explanation he had somehow erroneously included the summoning words.

As I have explained, I thought myself a strong person, able to combat this terrible thing and not involve others, but I was wrong. The spectre that was just beyond my range of vision had grown and soon will no longer hide from me; it is terrifying and I am not able to fight it any longer.

So I beg your forgiveness as I finish telling you this tale, as within these few paragraphs, I have incorporated the invocation, and as you finish listening, I begin at last to register a lessening of the oppressive feeling that has plagued me since finding the Druid’s note.

Now I am finally free.

But I am so, so sorry…’

The camera pulls slowly away, but the screen does not fade to black, Rod Serling doesn’t explain that what you have witnessed is just a story. However, we do hear a sigh from the hunched man as he stretches and smiles. It is as if a burden beyond human endurance has been lifted from his shoulders. And so, the story has run its course, the scene has been played, the trap set. If the story has been read or listened to then the trap has been sprung, only you, dear friend can confirm this. Perhaps the wind has picked up, is that why the curtain moved? Or the creak of the floorboard is just the settling of the house or the passing of your cat… oh, you don’t have one.

However, in the beginning I did say…


Friday, March 12, 2010

3am and all's NOT well

As a writer (well ok, as a wannabe writer) I make stuff up. But sometimes reality kicks in and proves that it can be stranger than fiction. Yesterday (Thursday) morning started a sequence of events that proved that.

I was sleeping soundly, only to be woken up at 3am with a pain in my left side (I suffer from diverticular disease and IBS) and I imagined that one or the other had decided to ruin my night's sleep, so I pulled back the sheets and started to get up and get my tablets and a hot water bottle, only to discover the pain was a hell of a lot worse than I was accustomed to. In fact it doubled me up and had me panting like the best Lamaze student ever. I couldn't straighten up, I couldn't take a deep breath. I checked if my wife had stabbed me during the night but no blood. My yelling woke her up. She phoned the ambulance. I panted, sweated, swore and waited. Five minutes later the paramedics arrived, excellent service. I was still in the feotal position with my knees pointing to the ceiling, wearing just a T shirt and boxers (I don't like sleeping in jammies) and looking for all the world as if on the verge of giving birth... to what felt like a calf. The paramedics were two women...
One of whom I knew, some mickey was taken... After determining that it probably wasn't a heart-attack they gave me a morphine injection so they could straighten me up and get me downstairs. Two minutes later the pain, which on a scale of 1 to 10, was off the scale but dropped to about five and I ended up in the ambulance. Where the pain returned. They gave me another morphine injection, then gas and air. However, by now my mouth and throat was so dry I could hardly inhale the gas and air, which had to be by mouth.
Got to Morriston Hospital by about 3.45am and got tested by the A&E doctor, given another injection, given a prostate examination, ouch... a suppository and put on an intravenous drip. The pain began to decrease. Next stop was an Xray. The drip was taken off the electric dispenser and laid on the bed, got the Xray done and was moved to the ward where they decide if an operation is needed. The drip wasn't re-attached, I asked if it could be. During the next six or seven hours I asked again, about four times. About 2pm they finally got it going again. By then I was as dried as a prune. No water, no food, no intravenous fluid. Results came in on blood test and Xrays. All pretty normal. I could eat and drink. I could go home later that evening if the food and water didn't cause any more problems. If I didn't explode. A doctor came and looked at me. He asked if I was always that colour. As I didn't have a mirror to hand I couldn't really say. Another doctor, a young Indian lady asked to see my stomach. Pressed it a few times and asked it my stomach was always that shape. I looked down at my small paunch and said yes, and that my six-pack had been a twentyfour-pack for sometime now. She apologized. I smiled, wanly.
5pm I was allowed home. Before leaving I asked what the pain had been. The doctors shrugged and said it could have been the diverticular disease flaring up, the IBS, renal colic or perhaps a kidney stone. They asked if there had been any blood in my urine. I said I couldn't really tell as doesn't blood sometimes not show up but could still be there? They asked what the urine test results had said. I asked what urine tests? They said, oh... can you do some wee for us? I had just wee'd, I was wee'd out. They said never mind. Drop some into your doctor tomorrow, ask for it to be checked for protein. It's an easy test, just a paper test.
Got home, phone my surgery and tried to setup a urine test for morning. Receptionist said sure, you got the paperwork? What paperwork?
Ahh.... Okay... drop some in anyway and I'll get the nurse to check it out.

Wee'd in a jam jar this morning as we had nothing else and took it to my surgery. The job's worth behind the desk informed me that I needed paperwork. I explained the situation. A couple of phone calls later she decided I could leave my jam jar, along with a letter of explanation and my hospital wristband and it would get tested. She gave me a sealed plastic bag to put my jam jar in. My jar was too big. However I inserted it and... I put it into the wrong part and it went straight through and fell onto the floor...
It didn't smash! First bit of luck in hours.
Got to wait now for results.
However, my side and left kidney still hurts. There is the spectre of another attack lurking at the back of my mind and I'm scared... really scared.
Now, how's that for a horror story?
And I didn't even have to make it up!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Impish Stories

Just found this site called Storyimp which, if you join, allows you to upload your musings for review and makes them a target for tomato throwing. As I'm not wasting enough time on Tweets, Blogs, Forums, Facebook, Myspace and loads of other stuff I thought I'd join this too.

A new short short of mine is there, so go get your tomatoes!

The Steampowered Singularity

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Read It Swap It

I found a neat little site (thanks to Holly) that will be of interest to readers, it's called Read It Swap It. You join and upload a library of books that you have and no longer want to keep, other members might browse through your library (or find it due to searching for a particular book which you may have) they then send you a request to swap that book and show you what they have in their own library. You decide if there is something of interest that you like and agree to the swap (or not). If it is agreed then you just post your book off and wait for the one you swapped it for to arrive. I've just done my first swap and have been told the book should be here about Thursday, cool!
You can also search for titles that you want, make a 'want list' and if they should appear on someone's library list you will be informed. Very handy little site... and free!

Friday, February 05, 2010

SF Sonnet

Tidying up my bookshelves I found a little chapbook that I have a poem published in and that I'd forgotten about. I'd even forgotten the poem! It was interesting to discover it again, especially as I didn't have a copy on my PC (must have been on a hard-drive that blew up) so I thought I'd post it here.

It's from The 2nd Annual SFPA Poetry Contest (USA) where it was in the top 26 sonnets entered.

It's called
Orion's Lost

Are we to be known as Orion's Lost?
For upon his belt our star-ships but dream
Relics on whose shells our names are embossed
Scant reminder of Earth's last dying scream

Distant stars we sought, the last trace of Man
As our globe we'd squandered with sparse regard
For we would conquest worlds! (That was our plan)
But we have barely left our own back yard

Our foolish grasp exceeds beyond our reach
And so here we rest as if to gather breath
Whilst our engines slumber and we impeach
The fickle fates that sent us to our death

The galaxies heave a relieving sigh
With a thousand year blink, wish Man goodbye

Monday, January 25, 2010

Time to whip off the mask and admit that I was...

...the writer of 'Cerne's Zoo' in Nemonymous 9 (Cern Zoo) edited by Des Lewis. Yes, all the anonymous contributors to this fine anthology can now lay claim to their story. My contribution was a little more laid-back from my Cone Zero one which was pure fun and sf.
Cerne's Zoo is a more contemplative piece where I delve into the prospect that humans are not the only creatures walking upon the Earth that have souls and the possibility of going to heaven upon their demise, could animals possess them too? And if so what does that mean to us, to those who capitalize, abuse and give no regard to them as fellow inhabitants of this little globe that we stumble around upon in the vastness of the universe?

Here are a couple of reviews where Cerne Zoo was mentioned:

Cern Zoo review by The Author of 'Salmon Widow'

Cerne’s Zoo: Animal souls slip through a gentle one. And - like “Devourer of Dreams (yet again!) - it’s a gift that keeps on giving. A little charmer.

Cerne's Zoo reviewed by D.F.Lewis
"...Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, among others who have contemplated the possibility that souls exist in not only people..."

Another important story that has so far escaped under the radar. A touching and original ghost story about Zoo creatures and the death-bed confession of Cerne Lincroft (Christened thus as he was said to be conceived under the aegis of the Cerne Abbas chalk giant) who once smuggled an elephant with him on an aeroplane between USA and UK because the elephant felt home-sick. However, the story is far more tender and serious than that implies. It has a telling connection with THEORY, too, vis a vis its take on Animism

Cerne's Zoo reviewed by Nick Jackson.
There is good characterisation and some humorous scenes in “Cerne’s Zoo”, a strange story about a man who is capable of communicating with animal spirits and his friendship with a young journalist.

One excellent thing that has occurred is that Steve Duffy has announced that his story 'The Lion's Den' from CERN ZOO has been chosen for Ellen Datlow's up-coming anthology THE BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR, VOL. 2. This is exciting news and I congratulate Steve on a fine story and a well-deserving place in the upcoming volume.

Next announcement is that a Mr.Tullis has won the competition of naming the anonymous authors in Cern Zoo (he had six correct) as therefore will have his name immortalised in the next (and final) Nemonymous 10 which will be called :


I hope to be in it, the final Nemomymous!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's only took me sixteen years to discover this!

In 1993 I had my first short story published by Alun Books in Wales. The story was called 'The Leaf In The Stone' and was featured in an anthology of supernatural/horror stories edited by Steve Lockley and Paul Lewis called Cold Cuts. However, it's only recently that I discovered that the story received an honourable mention in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's
'The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Seventh Annual Collection in 1994!
It has only taken me sixteen years to discover this and as you can imagine that's sixteen years of bragging I've lost... d'oh!

quote: The writing quality is high although the stories aren't all that original. A few standouts by Bob Lock, Christopher Evans, Jane Del-Pizzo, Steve Lockley and Catrin Collier.

Who said I'm slow?