Writing from a desolate scrub between science fiction and the supernatural, physically located in the north-east of Scotland.
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Trillions of years after the heat-death of the universe, a shadow is forced to journey across a dying realm to collect ingredients for an occult operation: the ritual murder of what was once a god.
It was said that the masters of Unshkrit once moved the stars in the sky with a word. When nomads first settled these lands, they would not have known it. Their fallen stars had long been covered over by earth, their pyramids now run down to mountains and tors. Every stack of smooth pebbles the shadow found at shrines along the road, he kicked over. Only the monastery stood here before those nomads came to build their eternal cities. Only the monastery stood thereafter.
“Be held,” said the monastery doors. “No great vision was relayed to eyes on small details. Be not by the light betrayed…”
“…all surfaces are veils,” replied the knowing shade.
The heavy bronze doors did not open. After a moment the shadow tutted to himself, and walked through their specious mass.
Read at Seize The Press
The second Sacculina story. A bit of recreational hypnosis goes horribly wrong; can Erzsebet save Thomas from what he wants?
Where to begin with these two? It began as an innocent joke. She was teaching herself hypnosis for pain relief and he hadn’t switched off for a year. When he asked, slightly drunk, if she could do it to him, if she could make him follow a line of chalk on the floor and cluck like a chicken, neither of them really thought anything would happen. He didn’t think he’d cry so softly when she undid all the knots in him, she didn’t expect to so profoundly get off.
Burned-out cosmic fixer Chris Cwej is brought to a woman who has been murdered more than once. Every time she recalls the unstoppable thing that killed her, the most recent attack is a little bit closer to here and now.
They have until sundown, then her past catches up to both of them.
…the ideas at the heart of stories such as Ring Theory, Crushing Reality, The Mushroom at the End of the Universe and The Eternal are smart existential horrors that maintain and develop the essence of what always made Faction Paradox stories compelling … These are stories which use the concept of hauntology in fiction the way the artists of the Ghost Box label do musically: exploring ruins, cannibalizing and repurposing them to present new and often startling ideas.
Jon Arnold, We Are Cult
UK / US
Tour a museum of clocks from all over the multiverse. Come see curiosities like the famous Papiermâchéhenge, the unthinkaboutable Grandmother Clock, the clocks from the capitalist planet where time is money, and the communist planet where money is time.
Two novella-length stories in Arcbeatle Press' 10,000 Dawns: Poor Man's Iliad anthology.
In ‘Enitharmon’young Lucy is moved to her mother's remote childhood home: a manor designed in a virtual world and built on a crack in reality. While her mother commits suicides in full-immersion VR, Lucy's own fantasies start to intrude from the dark woods beyond the property.
In Mud Nostalgia, a spy on the rogue colony ship Magellan has gone missing. Eric is sent in to find the spy's journal and bring it right back. Instead, he follows a trail into deadly status games, down to the urban warzones on the lower decks, and further down through the quarantined guts of the ship where only the hated ‘savages’ survive.
If this report is not just evidence of its author's shattering mind, what he found there might have already changed everything.
UK / US
The first Sacculina story. A prehistoric woman is exiled from her tribe and faces starvation alone. To survive, she must form a relationship with an exotic creature and the fertile, invasive ecosystem growing out from it. She returns to her old family bearing gifts beyond their comprehension.