Saturday, 28 December 2019

2019: THE YEAR THAT WAS

This year’s annual round-up is pretty brief. One of those outwardly calm years when nothing much seems to be happening.

It started with a short SF piece seeing publication in KZINE #23 in January – “A World in Aspic”. Set in the Derry & Toms roof garden, in an alternate 1920s/30s, with the sort of clunking robots that graced the old movie serials I’d catch the odd episode of at the Jacey cinema in Birmingham during rare childhood Saturday afternoon visits.

I also worked on a couple of novellas I’d promised people in moments of weakness. One was for Fringeworks: a steampunk Sherlock Holmes sequel to my VALLIS TIMORIS mash-up; the second for Dion Winton-Polak’s TWISTED EARTH shared world. All that interspersed with editing a couple of novels for a friend.

During the latter half I teamed up once again with old mate Adrian Cole to co-write another Damian Paladin/Nick Nightmare team-up for Stephen Jones’ THE LOVECRAFT SQUAD: RISING. Entitled “Hastur La Vista, Baby”, we somehow kept things going over two separate timelines that eventually merged; and I took the chance to shake things up a little in the Paladin-Oswin universe.

Speaking of Paladin and Leigh, they continue to fight the good fight in “Digging in the Dirt” for THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF HORRORS 2 (out early 2020), and their decidedly VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA-inspired adventure “Cradle of the Deep” is due to appear imminently in STARTLING STORIES #1.


I also kept the Sherlock Holmes banner flying with the decidedly non-canon “The Direction of Sunbeams” for the self-explanatory SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE OCCULT DETECTIVES anthology coming from Belanger Books.

And in late 2020 I’ll be making another appearance in a Stephen Jones edited anthology, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF FOLK HORROR, with “All I Ever See”.

The year ended with one of those coincidences that crop up infrequently: two interview requests, each coming hard upon the other. One was for Trevor Kennedy’s PHANTASMAGORIA #13, the Christmas special, and the second for an article by Stephen Jewell on DC Thomson’s STARBLAZER digest comic of blessed memory, commissioned by the JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE. Both issues emerged just in time for Christmas.


As for 2020 itself? Who can say. I continue to fly by the seat of my pants, with little to no planning – but at least I’m keeping boredom at bay. And life still, on occasion, surprises me.

And so may I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year, and continuing good fortune in these trying days. 

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