Stories

A list of published short stories, including details of publication history and links to online copies where appropriate.

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  • The Red King’s Nursery First published in the collection The New Ships (NewCon Press, April 2017). What happens when a spaceship decides to swap places with a maladjusted revolutionary?
  • Forever Returning First published in the collection The New Ships (NewCon Press, April 2017). An unexpected malfunction with a new space drive causes problem to multiply at an alarming rate.
  • Hot Rats First published in the collection The New Ships (NewCon Press, April 2017). Time travel isn’t as simple as it looks, especially when you’re standing on a planet that’s spinning through space at a heck of a clip.
  • Lift Up Your Face First published online at Medium.com, July 2016. A coming-of-age tale set in a small town on the Welsh border. Click here to read.
  • Ride The Blue Horse First published by Matter, July 2015, as part of a climate fiction special about a world without oil, featuring contributions from Margaret Atwood, Bruce Sterling, Paolo Bacigalupi Click here to read.
  • This Is How You Die First published in Interzone #251, March 2014. The chronicle of a flu pandemic, related in the second person. The story received an honourable mention in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Second Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois.
  • Ack-Ack Macaque: Indestructible First appeared in 2000 AD, December 2012. A comic strip written for 2000 AD and illustrated by Nick Dyer. The story is a prequel to the novel, Ack-Ack Macaque.
  • Biz Be Biz (with Paul Graham Raven) First published in Colinthology from Wizard’s Tower Press, the memorial anthology for fellow writer, Colin Harvey, Oct 2012. This is a near future tale of rising sea levels, double-dealing local businessmen, and a teenage girl who wants nothing more than to find her brother.
  • Another Apocalypse First published in Solaris Rising 1.5 from Solaris Books, August 2012. This is a direct follow-up to my novel,The Recollection, and takes place a couple of months after the events described in that book. The story received an honourable mention in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois.
  • Railroad Angel Appeared in Interzone 241, July 2012. A strange encounter for a member of the Beat Generation, on a Mexican rail track, in February 1968. The story received an honourable mention in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois.
  • Eleven Minutes Appeared in Interzone 235, July 2011. Two technicians at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory bicker their way towards a shattering discovery. An audio version of this story was included in the podcast StarShip Sofa, episode 225.
  • The New Ships. Appeared in the anthology Further Conflicts from Newcon Press, April 2011. This story is a direct sequel to Fallout (see below) featuring the further adventures of Ann Szkatula. Reprinted in the collection Total Conflict from Newcon Press, January 2015.
  • Entropic Angel. Appeared in the anthology Dark Spires from Wizard’s Tower Press, November 2010. This  is a quasi-supernatural Western set in Somerset in the near future, featuring angels, wind farms, crossbows, and lone drifters wearing hair scrunchies.
  • The Bigger The Star, The Faster It Burns. Appeared in the anthology 2020 Visions from M-Brane Press, November 2010. This story is probably best described as a mash-up of Elvis songs,  fast cars, crashed UFOs, street parties, and the musicals Grease and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang… The day after I wrote it, I read the first draft aloud to a room full of students at Bath Spa University, as part of a lecture on creative writing. It charts the course of the doomed affair between a disillusioned London photographer named Ed, and Natalie, the smalltown diner waitress he meets on his way to visit a UFO crash site near the Welsh border. Read it here for free.
  • Fallout. Appeared in Conflicts from Newcon Press, April 2010. An excerpt also appeared in Andy Bigwood’s art book The Sixty from Immanion Press, April 2011 – ‘Fallout’ is the story of how Ann Szkatula leads an American boy band on a motorcycle tour of an abandoned English city, twenty years after it was irradiated by a nuclear detonation. The story received an honourable mention in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-eighth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois.
  • The Church of Accelerated Redemption (with Aliette de Bodard). Appeared in Shine from Solaris Books, April 2010 – Aliette de Bodard is a fellow Interzone writer who lives in Paris. We collaborated on this story via email in the autumn and winter of 2008, and had a lot of fun in the process. The initial inspiration came from a photograph of a street protest, and a girl in a gas mask.
  • Approaching Storm. Appeared in Outshine, February 2009. Reprinted in the Shine anthology from Solaris books, April 2010 – Possibly the shortest story I have ever had published, at 25 words in length.
  • Gonzo Laptop. Appeared in Hub Magazine, January 2010 – What would happen if you took an artificial intelligence and uploaded it with everything an author ever wrote? Would it have enough material there to simulate that author’s personality, or would there be missing pieces? And what happens if that author was a rebel to start with?
  • What Would Nicolas Cage Have Done? Appeared in Future Bristol from Swimming Kangaroo Books (USA), April 2009; and released in audio podcast form in issue 2 of Dark Fiction Magazine, December 2010. I read the first scene of this story at the launch event for the Future Bristol anthology, and had the audience on the edge of their seats – so much so, they actually groaned when I said I couldn’t read any more.
  • Memory Dust. Appeared in Interzone 220, January 2009 – Utilising the same “random jumping” concept as Six Lights Off Green Scar, this story was my attempt at a full-throttle retro space romp, complete with a cynical hero, a ruined Lovecraftian city, and a dusty planet circling a dying star.
  • Flotsam. Appeared in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008. Reprinted in Concept Sci-Fi, November 2008 – Another sequel to The Last Reef, this story was inspired one bank holiday weekend in 2007, by a scattering of oil tankers lying at anchor off the coast of Pembrokeshire.
  • Arches. Appeared in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008 – The initial idea for ‘Arches’ came to me on a DLR train from Island Gardens to West India Quay. I was with my brother, Huw. I’d been helping him move house and now we were on our way to a tapas bar to get something to eat. The lights of Canary Wharf shone through the rain. Lightning flickered over the Thames. As we descended from the brightly-lit platform to the dark street, it felt as if we were being carried from one world to another.
  • Hot Rain. Appeared in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008 – Set in Buenos Aires, this is the second story to feature Kenji Shiraki, the protagonist of The Last Reef, and expands on an incident from Kenji’s past that was mentioned in that story.
  • Falling Apart. Appeared in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008. This story is set in a near-future version of  Weston-super-Mare, a real life Victorian seaside resort in Somerset, on the banks of the Severn Estuary. It’s a story of entropy and collapse; everything’s failing and falling apart, and the challenge faced by both the writer and the main character was to wring some sort of positivity from the ending.
  • The Long Walk Aft. Appeared in Illuminations from Odd Two Out Press, 2008. Reprinted in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008. This particular piece of Friday Flash Fiction came to me in a dream. I woke up one morning having dreamt I’d written a story, and remembered enough to copy down this creepy scene.
  • Coffee House. Appeared in Illuminations from Odd Two Out Press, 2008 – An account of something that happened to me during a business trip to Amsterdam.
  • Fresh Meat. Appeared in Illuminations from Odd Two Out Press, 2008
  • Lost Toys. Appeared in Illuminations from Odd Two Out Press, 2008
  • Natalie. Appeared in Illuminations from Odd Two Out Press, 2008
  • Snowball. Appeared in Illuminations from Odd Two Out Press, 2008
  • Thai Curry. Appeared in Illuminations from Odd Two Out Press, 2008. Translated into Spanish in Efímero Ezine (Spain), June 2007
  • The Point Furthest From The Sun. Appeared in Illuminations from Odd Two Out Press, 2008
  • The Winding Curve (with Rob Starr). Appeared in Rob’s collection Sophistry By Degrees from Stonegarden.net (USA), January 2008 – This is a classic revenge story. The everyman character strikes back at a young hoodlum on a motor scooter, in revenge for the death of his wife at the hands of another youth, a year previously. It’s not a happy story, but its an exploration of blame and empowerment. The initial idea occurred to me while driving with my youngest daughter on the coast road between Portishead and Clevedon, and I wrote it down as soon as I got home. But I didn’t know how to approach it, so I sent it to Rob and between us, we hammered it out.
  • Pod Dreams of Tuckertown. Appeared in Byzarium (USA), October 2007. Reprinted in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008 – After Arches and The Redoubt, I wanted to cut loose and write about humans enslaved by giant cockroaches in retro silver saucers… and this is what I came up with.
  • The Redoubt. Appeared in Aphelion (USA), December 2007. Reprinted in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008 – The setting for this story was inspired by a dusty week I spent in France at the age of sixteen, camping with friends in the grounds of an Ecumenical monastery near Cluny. Although the characters and events in the story are mostly fictitious, I’ve tried to describe the countryside, the village church and the thunderstorm as closely as I can to the way I remember them.
  • A Necklace of Ivy. An early version of this story appeared in Cambrensis: Short Story Wales (Wales), September 1995. The updated version appeared in Fiction Online, September 2007. Reprinted in  The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008. Reprinted in Elastic Press Sampler: BSFA Special Edition No.3, October 2008 – I wrote the first draft of this story as a penniless student in the summer of 1992, after walking with my (then) girlfriend in some woods in the rain. It first appeared in the Welsh short story magazine Cambrensis, edited by the late Arthur Smith, before being substantially rewritten for publication in issue 4 of the online magazine Fiction.
  • Ack-Ack Macaque. Appeared in  Interzone 212, September 2007. Reprinted in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008. Appeared as a podcast read by the author on Transmissions From Beyond (TTA Press), July 2009. Winner of Interzone Readers’ Poll for best short story of 2007 Ack-Ack Macaque was my second sale to Interzone, appearing in issue 212. Warren Ellis memorably described it as: “The commercialisation of a web animation into some diseased Max Headroom as metaphor for the wreckage of a fucked-up relationship.”
  • Cat in a Box. Appeared in Aphelion (USA), November 2005, under the title The Kitten Box. Appeared in Ennea (Greece), October 2006. Reprinted under the current title in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008 – I redrafted and retitled this story following its appearance in Aphelion, because an American reader pointed out that “kitten box” has the same meaning as “litter tray” in some parts of the USA.
  • Dear Colleague. Appeared in Quantum Muse (USA), April 2006. An examination of the commercial applications of prediction engines.
  • The Last Reef. Appeared in Interzone 202, February 2006. Reprinted in Best SF, June 2007. Reprinted in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008. Appeared as a podcast on Transmissions From Beyond (TTA Press), December 2008. Came sixth in Interzone Readers’ Poll for best short story of 2006 – The Last Reef was my first sale to Interzone. It has since appeared as a podcast on the TTA Press website, been reprinted on the Best SF website, and been adapted for radio in the United States. The idea from the story came from a moment’s idle speculation: what would happen if there existed a machine that could turn you into anything you wanted to be? Would it be a curse or a blessing? And how would the authorities react?
  • Sunsets and Hamburgers. Appeared in Byzarium (USA), January 2006. Reprinted in Bli Panika (Israel), October 2006. Reprinted in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008. Reprinted in Phantastes (Portugal) September 2008. Awarded the Firebrand Great Fiction Award from SFreader.com. Reprinted in StarShipSofa Stories Vol 3, November 2011; and another audio version published by Dark Fiction Magazine, March 2012 – This was my first experiment with what Rudy Rucker calls “Transrealism” – taking chunks of autobiography and treating them as science fiction. It was published by Byzarium in both text and audio formats, the latter as a free MP3 download read by the American actress, Alice Dragoon. Translated versions of Sunsets and Hamburgers have also appeared in the Israeli magazine Bli Panika and the Portuguese magazine Phantastes. SF Reader called the story “profound and unforgettable” and awarded it their monthly Firebrand Great Fiction Award. In 2011, the story was reprinted again in the anthology StarShipSofa Stories Volume 3and  in March 2012, it appeared as an audio podcast from Dark Fiction Magazine.
  • Six Lights off Green Scar. Appeared in Aphelion (USA), April 2005. Reprinted in translated form in Nowa Fantastyka (Poland), August 2005. Updated & reprinted in Infinity Plus, June 2007. Updated version reprinted in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008 – After appearing in Aphelion, “Six Lights” was translated into Polish for the magazine Nowa Fantastyka, before being heavily revised for the Infinity Plus website in June 2007, where it appeared alongside work by Michael Moorcock, Jack Vance, Gene Wolfe, and Greg Egan. Reprinted in the anthology Space Opera, edited by Richard Horton (Prime Books, April 2014).
  • Distant Galaxies Colliding. Appeared in Quantum Muse (USA), February 2005. Reprinted in Ennea (Greece), January 2006. Reprinted in Infinity Plus, August 2007. Reprinted in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008 – After appearing in Quantum Muse in 2005, this story was translated and reprinted in the Greek magazine Ennea, which regularly attracts 200,000+ readers, potentially making Distant Galaxies Colliding one of my most widely-read stories. In 2007, it was archived – in English – on the Infinity Plus website as part of that site’s tenth anniversary celebrations.
  • Jaguars Falling From The Sky. Appeared in Quantum Muse (USA), July 2004 – The success of Catch A Burning Star encouraged me to write and submit further stories. This was the first, and it appeared in Quantum Muse a few weeks after the birth of my first daughter.
  • Morning Star. Originally appeared in Aphelion (USA), April 2004 under the title Catch A Burning Star. Revised, retitled and reprinted in The Last Reef and Other Stories from Elastic Press, August 2008 – This cyberpunk-influenced story was written while my wife and I were expecting our first child. Originally published in Aphelion in April 2004 under the title Catch a Burning Star, it was subsequently included in that webzine’s “Best of 2004” selection.
  • Tranquility. Appeared in TANK Magazine, 2002. Flash fiction about a tourist visiting the site of the first Lunar landing.
  • Providence. Appeared in TANK Magazine, 2002. Flash fiction set in the same universe as my first novel, Silversands.
  • Jazz. Appeared in Cambrensis: Short Story Wales (Wales), 1993. A lone alcoholic finds himself drawn to a jazz singer, but perhaps she is not all she appears.
  • Maybe We Can Catch A Movie? Appeared in Angry, 1992. A surreal piece set in Cardiff on the eve of World War Three.
  • Memoirs. Appeared in Cambrensis: Short Story Wales (Wales), 1992. Tuberculosis and misanthropy in a Cardiff teashop.
  • The Entropy Waltz. Appeared in The Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1991, Propaganda Press,1991. A tribute to Brian Talbot’s Adventures Of Luther Arkwright and Michael Moorcock’s Cornelius Quartet.
  • Shadows. Appeared in The Rosy Body Cross, 1989. Reprinted in Fatea as “Angel Falls”, 1990. A young woman finds herself caught between the darkness and the light, in an alley in Bristol city centre.