My short-short tale, “Dear LZ-75-53b”, is now up at Daily SF. It’s an epistolary, dystopian tale about a consumer who refuses to consume… Click here to read the story.
On the short story front, I’ve recently sold two collections to PS Publishing: The Disciples of Apollo and other stories: the best of Eric Brown (which shows I’m getting old), and The Ice Garden and other stories. The first volume will be a hefty tome coming in at over one hundred thousand words; the second will be around half that length. They’re due out next October.
Novellas: with Keith Brooke I’m working on a series of novellas for PS Publishing entitled The Kon-tiki Quartet. The first, Dislocations, will be out next winter, followed by Parasites six months later. They chart humankind’s first extra-solar colony mission to a planet orbiting the star 19 Draconis – a series of high-tech stories featuring FTL travel, the consequences of time dilation, cloning, alien encounters, telepathy and much more.
Starship Seasons is now available to pre-order as an audio book from Circle of Spears…
On the backwater colony world of Chalcedony, Delta Pavonis, all is not what it seems… All David Conway wants after the death of his daughter and the break-up of his marriage is a quiet life away from Earth — and when he comes to Chalcedony he thinks he’s found that. What he does find is a group of people whose friendship will change his life forever, as well as a haunted starship, extraterrestrials with an uncanny ability to read future events, and a conflict between alien races that has lasted for millennia. . . and is about to begin all over again.
Approaching Omega is set aboard a vast starship carrying five thousand colonists in cold sleep and a maintenance crew of five. The crew is awoken every thousand years or so to carry out checks and repairs and to oversee the well-being of the sleepers. However, early on in the mission they are awoken to find that the ship has been damaged and many of the colonists lost. This is only the start of the horror…
(I missed out reviewing this story, earlier, as I didn’t have the issue of Galaxy in which it appeared. Thanks to Bob Wardzinski at the Talking Dead, that has been rectified. Bob supplied me with six magazines missing from my Coney collection – thanks, Bob.)
“Discover a Latent Moses” (Galaxy, April, 1970.)
Six desperate survivors live in the bell tower of an old church in a village buried beneath the snow. An ice age has descended on Britain, and the six face not only the privations of extreme cold and ravaging polar bears, but flesh hunters – bands of cannibals who roam the ice in search of prey. Coney paints a convincing picture of life on the edge of extinction, and excels at portraying the psychological dynamic of the group, the enmities and loyalties, loves and jealousies. Jacko, the alpha male, feels loyalty to the senile Old Man, much to the chagrin of Cockade, a bitter and cynical woman; Shrug, is an ineffectual alcoholic; Paladin a dreamy adolescent dotard. Switch, Cockade’s partner, is loyal to Jacko and exhibits moral strength in refusing Cockade suggestion to steal Jacko’s snow boat and leave the bell tower. The group scavenge food from a supermarket and shops in the ice tunnels beneath the tower, eat occasional polar bear meat, and squabble amongst themselves about the future – while the Old Man reminisces of a time of green fields and trees, sixty years earlier.
Events reach a climax when the flesh hunters locate the bell tower and wait until nightfall to make their move… Salvation comes from an unexpected source, and life continues. It’s quite unlike anything Coney has written before, in terms of setting, characters, and story, and once again demonstrates his versatility.
“Discover a Latent Moses” and a later story also published in Galaxy, “The Snow Princess”, became chapters in Coney’s fifth novel, Winter’s Children, 1974.
I have a novella coming out from NewCon Press in January next year, The Martian Simulacra: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. It features the detective himself, Dr Watson, and Professor Challenger, and their adventures on the Red Planet of H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds.
The other novellas in the quartet are: The Martian Job by Jaine Fenn, due out in December. Phosphorous by Liz Williams, out in February, and in March, The Greatest Story Ever Told by Una McCormack. The artwork is by the brilliant Jim Burns, and the spread below displays the covers of all four novellas.