Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Simon Clark / Bruce Golden



The Idiot Whistled Dead (Nemo 1)

How Am I Getting On?
I've been writing full-time since 1995; it's a wonderful if precarious way to earn a living (sometimes crazily so). To be published by Nemo anonymously was a departure for me but gave me an opportunity to take off the Simon Clark mask and don another that allowed me to venture into a place where there were no limits, and no precedents to write in a certain way. Since my appearance in Nemo 1 I've continued writing horror novels and short stories.
In 'Vampyrrhic Rites' I got the chance to name-check Nemo and mention the fictionalised editor, Mr. Siwel -- ok, as codes go it won't win prizes. My latest novel is 'London Under Midnight' and deals with my fascination / phobias of urban rivers and hidden, underground places. And it's places that often latch onto my imagination to the point I find myself writing about them. Last year I made the short film, 'Inspired', about how a walk along a Roman road near where I live helped trigger a story. If you want to take a look it can be found at

What difference Nemo made:
I am proud to be part of such a courageous venture as Nemo. If anything Nemo has become a little voice in the back of my head telling me to be more courageous and more adventurous with my writing. Lately, I've ventured into a more experimental fiction that fuses horror with science fiction. 'Death's Dominion', due out in November is inspired by a bizarre mix of Frankenstein, graveyards and the music of Jacques Brel.



"The Withering" (Nemo 4)

How I Am Getting On:
Shortly after "The Withering" was published in Nemo #4 back in 2004, my part-time job as a communications director for a non-profit youth group ended. The good news was that, since then, I’ve been able to write full-time. The bad news, I’m trying to live on a meager savings and the pittances I make from my fiction. I now list my occupation as "starving artist." Since Nemo I’ve sold stories to 'Farthing', 'Forgotten Worlds', 'Lenox Avenue', 'Reflection’s Edge', 'Leafing Thru', 'Aberrant Dreams', and 'Shadowed Realms'. My story "Moonlight Serenade" (based on the mysterious disappearance of bandleader Glenn Miller) will be published in 'Oceans of the Mind' June/2006. My story "I Found Love on Channel 3," which won the Firebrand Fiction award, will be included in the anthology 'North of Infinity II', which is also due out June/2006. After nine months of writing and more than two years of searching for an agent or publisher, my second novel 'Better Than Chocolate' was acquired by Zumaya Publications. It will be out early in 2007. My third novel, 'Evergreen', is complete, and currently making the rounds to find itself a publishing home. And, despite its release by a tiny publisher with absolutely no marketing or distribution, my first novel 'Mortals All' ( has now sold more than 500 copies – a minor miracle of sorts.

What Difference (if any) Nemo made:
What my Nemo sale was to me was another tidbit of encouragement to keep at it. A reward for the hard work, because, even though I’ve managed to sell much of my writing, we all know it’s not an easy process, and often takes years for even a short story to click with an editor and find a home.


Allen Ashley / Paul Kane



("The Quiet House" in Nemonymous 1)
("Like A Slow Motion War" collaboration with Andrew Hook in Nemonymous 4)

How I am getting on:
After years and years of (figuratively) knocking on doors, my writing career is finally in a decent state of health. My debut collection "Somnambulists" (Elastic Press, 2004) has sold out and my next collection "Urban Fantastic" is published by Crowswing Books in June 2006. The story "The Quiet House" features in "Urban Fantastic". In 2005, I edited "The Elastic Book Of Numbers" for Elastic Press. In May 2006, I also published a non-fiction collection, "The Days of the Dodo" (Dodo London Press). Current projects include a collaborative collection with Andrew Hook – "Slow Motion Wars", due from Bradan Press late 2006 and a possible reprinting of my Science Fiction / Slipstream novel "The Planet Suite" (original publication – TTA Press, 1997). I've also finally acquired a web site at:

What difference (if any) Nemo made?
Being published in such an unusual and great-looking publication was a real thrill, particularly as I was in the very first issue. All acceptances, appearances, publications and royalty cheques are always a valued and, indeed, necessary part of the confirmation that a writer is doing some things correctly. Long live Nemo!



Strobe (Nemo 1)

Where does all the time go? A hell of a lot has happened since my story 'Strobe' appeared in Nemo 1, in November 2001. Back then I'd only just had my first collection published - Alone (In the Dark) - and a handful of short stories. I've been lucky enough in the intervening time to see two more collections published in trade paperback, and more recently a novella called "Signs of Life" introduced by Stephen Gallagher. My website went online the same year 'Strobe' was published and had a lot less on it then than it does now (I've known people get lost in there for days sometimes now, and we have to send in search parties). Along with my good friend John B. Ford we took Terror Tales online into its print format - recommeded for a BFS award last year - and I got to edit a couple of anthos gathering together Guest Writers from my site (which nowadays has contributions from authors like Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Michael Marshall Smith, Kim Newman, Christopher Fowler etc). I also became Special Publications Editor for the BFS and have worked over the past few years on projects involving writers like Clive Barker, John Connolly, Muriel Gray, Graham Masterton, Poppy Z. Brite, Stephen Laws and Kelley Armstrong. I'm working on some non-fiction stuff, graphic novels and short film projects too (I was even asked to be in a documentary talking about my work). Needless to say I love my job...

I remember jumping for joy when 'Strobe' was accepted. I'm a bit self critical of my work (show me a writer who isn't) and there are only a few of my pieces that I personally can look at and say, I really like that one; that one doesn't need anything else doing to it... 'Strobe' is one of those pieces. And although Nemo published it without my name attached, I really liked the concept of the work being judged more for what it was than who had written it. Of course, I was desperate to see who I had appeared alongside, and the wait nearly drove me mad - but it was worth it. I can honestly say I'm proud to have featured in the first edition of Nemo, especially as - at the time - real print markets (and paying ones too) were pretty few and far between. It definitely gave me more confidence to try my stories with other bigger anthologies, and who'd have thought it - some of them actually published me! You're all very nice people :-) I have no idea where the story for 'Strobe' came from - the notion of a man with photo sensitive epilepsy becoming addicted to the fits - but it was very different for me. And I've tried to do more stories in this style since that date, which can't be a bad thing. So thanks Des for starting the ball rolling.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Michael Kelly / Keith Brooke

Post-Nemo bios are now pouring into Nemo HQ. And there is a number of corkers among them. It is true to say, I feel, that any writer's life must be either pre-Nemo or post-Nemo...

"The Bluest of Grey Skies" (Nemo 3)

How I Am Getting On:
For the past three years I've been fiction editor at "The Chiaroscuro/ChiZine" ( I've also placed a number of stories in some very fine journals and anthologies, including "All Hallows", "Flesh & Blood", "Surreal", "Alone on the Darkside" (Roc/NAL), and "Dark Arts" (Cemetery Dance). I've co-written a novel, "Ouroboros", and my first collection of short fiction, "Scratching the Surface", will be published February 2007.

What Difference (if any) Nemo made:
After it was revealed that I'd appeared in Nemo, I got a few e-mails from readers and writers familiar with my work saying that my contribution didn't seem typical of most of my work. Indeed, I was riffing off Rhys Hughes, who was riffing off Italo Calvino. It made me realize that fiction is an experiment. And that I shouldn't just settle for my "typical" stories. I need to challenge myself each time I sit down at the keyboard.



Embrace (Nemo 4)

How they are getting on:
2006 has been a good year for me, with two novels out in the first two months: "Erased" (written under my teen fiction pen-name Nick Gifford, Puffin, Jan 2006) and "Genetopia" (adult SF, Pyr February 2006; a
novel 15 years in the writing, and which is now picking up excellent reviews all over the place - it's good to be back!). To cap it all, the movie option on "Piggies" (Nick Gifford, Puffin 2003) has just been renewed and it looks like there will be a new 2007 edition of "Parallax View", my collaborative collection of stories written with Eric Brown. Outside writing, I stood for the Green Party in the council elections in May (coming a noble, erm, fifth), and we're currently pursuing our efforts to live a sustainable, yet relatively normal, lifestyle, as documented at

What difference (if any) Nemo had on their career or whatever:
To be brutally honest, I've been knocking around for so long that appearing in Nemo isn't going to make much difference to my career. However, it was a venue where I dearly wanted to appear: beautifully produced, with high quality content and the boldness to be different - so much better than some bland publication where every story's going to be okay (*those* are the publications that are truly anonymous, not Nemo!). I was thrilled to get in, and it's still a magazine I'm proud to tell people about.


Len Maynard & Mick Sims


WARP (Nemo 3)

WARP was published in 2003, since when our writing has been very satisfying. Our first novel SHELTER is being published by Leisure on July 4th 2006 (, we have got an agent, our second novel, DEMONEYES, is being read for (hopefully) publication, our collection FALLING INTO HEAVEN has been very well received, our third novel is 50% written, a movie script from "Shelter" is being written, one of our stories was in an anthology that won World Fantasy Award (Strange Tales from Tartarus), another has been optioned for a US movie, another was in "Best New Horror 16" from Stephen Jones, and a new novella DOUBLE ACT is being published in 2006. All the details can be found at

"Warp" was originally written in 1990 and went through various guises, at one time being 8500 words long. The finished piece at 3300 was always fun to read but never really fitted in with any of our other stories and that is why it never appeared in any of our collections. Getting WARP published, well the acceptance actually, provided a lovely underscoring of our many years of writing and helped propel us to the things we are doing today. Our thanks will always be to Des for liking the story and publishing it in such an elegant and eloquent publication as Nemo.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Rachel Kendall / Simon Kewin

Two more in the occasional series depicting the Post-Nemo Bios of the eighty Nemonymous writers in issues 1-6:


So, for the info on what I am up to now (this is a great idea by the way):-

"Leaves Like Hearts" (Nemo 4)
"Solid Gold" (Nemo 5)

How I am getting on:
I have had a number of short stories published since "Solid Gold", mostly flash fiction though, as I am working on a new novel. I have also been editing the art and lit zine "Sein und Werden" ( since 2004 (see here for the interview with Des Lewis ( Currently I am also working on an ongoing photoproject, updating my journal (, and collaborating on three art and music projects. My self-published short story collection 'Her Black Little Heart' came and went in 2005, and later this year should see a new collection published by D-Press (Whispers of Wickedness).

What difference (if any) Nemo made :
"Leaves Like Hearts" was my first 'proper' paid short story (aside from "Connections" and my very first short story for which I was paid with a herbal tea bag). I had been in a deep depression/creative block and wrote the story when my therapist told me to 'Just write. Write something for me. Anything'. There were two stories that came out of that time. I happened to send Leaves to Des, despite being rejected for Nemo numerous times before. Being accepted at that time, by a magazine I considered one of the most important of the small press, gave me the motivation I needed to keep on writing.



"Earthworks" (Nemo 2)

How I am getting on :
I'm still writing, whilst being a full-time software developer and, indeed, father at the same time. I've had several other stories and poems published since Earthworks, none of them really in the same mold. I'm currently working on a novel, which I plan to complete this year. My web site is at should any one want to browse on by. As well as other delights you can read my poem "Tribute to John Cage", which predates Des's own 4'33" by some way ...

What difference (if any) Nemo made :
Getting published in Nemo was a major lift to me as a writer. I had been published before, but Nemo felt like my first professional sale and remains one of those that I'm proudest of.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Dr Who (Maureen Lipman)

Last night's episode of DR WHO on BBC television was a masterpiece. With Maureen Lipman playing the best Dr Who monster ever!!

Being five at the time, I do remember everyone crouching around the few available black and white TVs (tiny screens embedded in huge consoles: a very new medium at the time) to watch the 1953 Coronation. It has haunted me ever since - and many of my stories published since 1986 have been inspired by the act of contemporaneously watching Fifties TV rather than by Fifties TV itself.

This is just one example: BLACK CEILINGS.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Clarity Of Sight

Someone recently said elsewhere: The clarity of sight can be regarded as a form of blindness.

I replied:
But the precondition of believing that to be literally true (as I do) is fully to empathise with -- and then use -- the clarity of sight that one hopes eventually to slough off when it has finished serving its purpose in establishing the fact of its blinding you to other possibilities and potentialities of constructive difficulty and blurred inspiration.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Red Brain

The beginnings of PFJ's Golden Goddess and Bloody Times/ Of Bondlings and Blesh : HERE.

The former is a work on religion/spiritual autobiography and the latter a novel written over the past 20 years but set in the future.

More about these and their author in the future.


STOP PRESS: Mark Samuels now has a website: HERE.

I was one of the first people to note his book WHITE HANDS in June 2003: HERE.


The Weirdmonger rock band was first mentioned in a story from 'Arrows Of Desire' magazine (1994) and you can find it here: THE RAW BRAIN.
It also features Sky-Blue Dog on Stilts.

Other possible names for rock bands:

Klaxon City
The Hawler
The Tenacity Of Feathers
The Angel Megazanthus
The Zeroists
Weirdmonger Wheel
Sky-Blue Dog on Stilts
The Raw Brain

The Red Brain (after Donald Wandrei)

Goldfrapp (oops, think this has been done already!)


Monday, May 22, 2006

Dominy Clements/ Margaret B Simon


'The Painter' (Nemonymous #4) was my first ever entry
as a writer, and as they say here in The Netherlands,
I 'fell with my nose in the butter'. Thus encouraged,
I've had a few minor successes with some other
stories, but having always wanted to have a whole book
to my name, I'm just putting the finishing touches to
a short/long story collection/novel called 'The Light
Rail'. Once finished, I shall of course have to do all
that dreaded phoning around trying to sell the thing,
so I've been resourcefully piling up excuses for not
finishing: getting a new job, writing CD reviews,
being a dad and keeping up a busy
performance/rehearsal schedule as a professional
musician and composer. I only have one story to go,
but as it supposedly answers the questions of life,
the universe and everything it's a bit tricky. Anyone
have a spare desert island?

DOMINY CLEMENTS (flautist/composer) for Duo Hofinger, Salonorkest SOFA,

Homepage @

Des says: I was very proud to be the publisher of Dominy's very first publication in creative fiction. I first 'knew' him on a Classical Music discussion forum where I sneakily advertised 'Nemonymous'! Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that I had accepted a story by Dominy and, in my view, a masterpiece that will long last.
And there have been many other Nemonymous fiction fledglings in the Nemonymous canon who have gone on to bigger and better things.


STRIPED PAJAMAS (Nemonymous Two)

Des says: Margaret B Simon and I had a very enjoyable and fruitful regular correspondence by handwritten letter (do people still write letters?) during most of the nineties between USA and UK...
She is a very successful artist and poet/ prose stylist over many years and I am one of her biggest fans. She wrote the short report below as a result of my recent call for 'items' by previous Nemo writers:

<< Sam's Dot Publishing is doing a collection of my flash fictions, and "Striped Pajamas" is included (Issue #2). It will probably be published late this year or early next year. :) I also sold a piece I'd submitted to Nemo 5, which was on the final cut list, to From the Asylum this year. >>

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Tony Mileman

Tony Mileman:

Across the Hills (Nemonymous 1)

Sexy Beast (Nemonymous 4)

How they are getting on:
Relocated to Brno in the Czech Republic in 2004. Works as an English teacher and occasional scientific proofreader. Studies Czech language in his free time. Has translated Helena Marna by the weird Czech writer, Ladislav Klima (1878-1928), for the first time in English (not yet published). More translations are being worked on.

He has completed a few new stories (definitely Nemonymous-type stories), and also a few new poems, to be submitted later. Last year his bibliography of Simon Clark’s short fiction (1972-2005) was published in Midnight Street magazine with an introduction by Simon Clark. Tony has recently completed an interview with fantasy writer Raymond E. Feist for the 2006 FantasyCon programme.

What difference (if any) Nemo had on their career or whatever:
Tony’s stories in Nemonymous have been read by several Czech friends/students, with much discussion of the whole project over coffee and black beer.

The above is hopefuly the first of a series of items about previous Nemonymous authors.


Saturday, May 20, 2006


The latest anamorphosis of Nemo:

Re questions I've received -- I have changed the submission procedures for hard-nosed reasons. Nemonymous being heretofore a failed experiment.

However, I do not intend to allow the name of the writer or whether the writer is a customer or not to affect my choice of stories from the final fifty.

Re the 'name', if I lean anywhere, I shall lean towards new writers, I guess (which is my instinct - to encourage new writers) bearing in mind that the final fifty stories chosen anonymously from hundreds of others are all likely to be suitable for Nemo 7. But I do not intend to lean in any direction other than the right story for Nemo 7!

Re the 'customer' issue, I think it important for writers to *believe* (or wonder if) the fact that they are a customer will be weighed in the balance by the editor choosing stories, even if (as should be the case in my opinion) the editor takes no notice whatsoever of this fact! (I think there are millions of budding writers and all existing and potential customers for all short story outlets are among them).

Regarding the final stories being divided between those published with a by-line and those published anonymously (late-labelled), this is a new experiment I wanted to conduct. I believe most writers will opt for being directly by-lined in Nemo 7, hence there will be a bigger fee for stories published anonymously!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Nemonymous Again

Since announcing the prospect of NEMONYMOUS SEVEN, a few people have written to me expressing varying degrees of concern that I’m selling out on the ethos of Nemonymity.

The five individual editions (anthologies) that represent NEMONYMOUS to date have received some very good reviews and also seem to have been thought-provoking in some circles. Despite this, many ‘professionals’ in the world of fiction treat NEMONYMOUS as if it doesn’t exist and has no bearing on any discussions on the state of the short story market etc. Indeed, I consider NEMONYMOUS to have been a failed experiment. This is what I said when it mock-folded to leave room for the blank edition (Nemo 6). A blank edition seemed a natural progression, following the blank story in itself, the stories about blankness and the blank cover. It simply had to be. In fact, someone has just written to me saying he would like a copy as he is obessed with completism!

So, in view of the failed experiment, what do I do? ‘Unmock’ the folding? Carry on as before? Or modify?

I feel I am coming up with a ‘package’ of changes that retain the Nemonymity but redirects its trajectory.

Based on experience, there will be hundreds and hundreds of anonymous submissions for Nemo 7. So if, say, Stephen King sends in a story and it doesn’t fit, I shall never know I rejected him! This is unique to Nemonymous.

From those initial anonymous submissions, I shall choose 50 stories that will then denemonise before I choose the final 12 or so. But coupled with this there will later be some method of dividing the final stories into two halves, whereby one half will be directly by-lined in print and the other half anonymous (late-labelled). The anonymous stories will be paid far more than the by-lined ones (but both will nevertheless be generously paid).

So NEMONYMOUS will still provide the *unique* opportunity for a writer to have his story published anonymously. Two strands of anonymity coupled with two strands of marketable non-anonymity. Seems an interesting experiment to conduct. An experiment that would seem radical, if it had not been proceeded by the initial radicality of my original concept of Nemonymity. Nobody else has yet followed in the footsteps of Nemonymity. So I thought I would follow tentatively in its footsteps myself!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Weirdmonger Wheel Selection


The amazing Reinvented Wheel: HERE for those not satisfied by this select one.


DFL had around 1500 stories published in print from 1986 - 2000 and gradually they are being posted to various blogs etc on the web as the 'Weirdmonger Wheel'.

Many have written to me saying how spoilt-for-choice they are when faced with coming up to a thousand stories on the full 'Weirdmonger Wheel' weblink list! Therefore, today, I have made a very short selection below. Tomorrow, if I were to do this again, I would not be surprised if the list became quite different!

Last Edited below: 27 August 2008

The Proscenium of Dispossession

Why Behind The Fence?

Mind The Gap

Yet Others

Tugging The Heartstrings

Don't You Dare (2)








GOLDEN DAWNS with sound















Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Nemonymous Seven

I am pleased to announce that I intend the next "Nemonymous" - Issue Number Seven - to be published in May 2007.

I shall be issuing submission guidelines in November 2006. This will remain a generously paying market for writers, but there will be at least one change from previous guidelines, ie. fifty stories will be chosen as a short list from all the anonymous submissions and, at that point, the identity of these fifty stories' authors will be revealed to me as the editor before I choose the final twelve stories.

I confirm that there was only one printed copy of Nemonymous Six this May and all the stories were blank ones (like 4' 33" in Nemo 2). Denemonisations for these and for the stories in Nemonymous Five will be printed in Nemonymous Seven.

You could say, therefore, that Nemo 6 was The Blank Edition. It just had to happen. After the blank story and the blank cover and...
Forgive me.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Climb Down Every Mountain (2)


Saturday, May 13, 2006


I've now heard the podcast review of NEMONYMOUS FIVE: HERE.

I am really pleased with this review. Just two examples: it gives the impression that the story Huntin' Season by Monica O'Rourke really grossed him out in an extremely artful way. Probably the most gruesome story he had ever encountered, by the sound of it! Another example: there is a rave review of The Scariest Story I Know ending with the statement: "If this story doesn't win an award, there ain't no justice" and when the reviewer subsequently found out who'd written it, "his jaw dropped" with surprise.

Latest in DF Lewis' brand new series of connected but self-contained stories HERE.

DJ Lewis presents the Bird Flu Dance: HERE

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Old Familiar Places

It was like drowning in memories. Not those words about the whole of one's life flashing by before your eyes as you suffer death by drowning. Because I could never swim in any event. Equally, I could rarely remember much about my life – but like most people, memories of things reside on some back burner waiting for their turn to take a curtain call. Except mine were fast asleep dreaming of things not themselves. Memories with memories of their own. False memories. My real memories having unreal memories as dreams. A concept I could hardly grasp. I’d rather depend on the old familiar places rather than places that never ever existed other than in the pipe dreams of those very familiar places hatching up unfamiliar places for themselves. Unfamiliar places disguised as familiar ones. Unfamiliar, I claim, because, they never existed. Until now.

I look out from inside my head away from these thoughts on paper. And wonder if I am the same person who wrote them down. I look down again to read them – and the print has changed in the meantime. The words now say different things from what I originally intended. Except they seem to be the same words. But words with different meanings – and when they are linked together in what I can only describe as sense-patterns, they keep flashing from one narrative sense to another, like a pulse. Or a strobe. Memories strobing. Faster and faster. Could I really be drowning in memories? The words seem to indicate that I am so doing. Slowly enough to record the process. But too quick to understand what is going on. People’s faces flashing by. Loves and hates interchanging. Various stages of myself stripped out in separate essences of self, none connected between. The only consistency is the ladder or tear in the very texture of the words as laid out in the page. They seem to be dividing like a Red Sea to leave an emptiness among the sense-patterns. A false syntax. A gap-strewn paragraph of thoughts and misthoughts. Memories taking over my mind with a force my mind can’t withstand even though it is the same mind that is creating this strange onslaught on itself.

One of the faces flashing by in the stream of consciousness I drown in is you.

Simply that. The whirling onslaught slows to a silent last gasp of meaning. A face I recognise. It starts out, however, as a face without a feature. A white empty plate or recently emptied bowl. Then gradually a couple of eyes prick out. Wide rolling eyeballs that radiate an expression of knowing. Knowing me, if not itself. I say ‘it’ because there is no other word for a gradually emerging ghost of a person. Once it’s fleshed out by the ever-building flashes of identity that become stuck to it then I can begin to decide on he or she or me. I suggest me because I’m not yet convinced it’s not a mirror I see flashing into a steady state of existence. Rather than an explosion or implosion of a big bang.

I look down at the words again. I leave the slowly emerging features to thicken and define themselves. I feel the words may give me some clue as to the true resemblance of the face to whom or to what. The face itself is deceiving me as well as itself. Only the words can tell. The words will tell me who it is. And I notice that the crack in their texture has widened as if the tectonic plates of the sense-patterns are ever shifting to reveal a more meaningful pattern that is a white shape rather than a set of words describing a shape. A real shape rather than a shape imagined by the words I write. The whitening crack discards letters as if they are dead insects as it lays the paragraph into a flatland of nothingness. Alphabets fall off the edge of the paper like dead lemmings in full zombie flight. I shriek inwardly with fear. I seem to be heading towards some old familiar places that I once inhabited but had long since put out of my mind’s memory for fear of returning to them in the full flood of true present memory. Memories that are forming as new memories even as I think them. When does a memory become a memory? What is the time lapse needed to make a present event into a memory. A new unfamiliar place into an old familiar place. Place or face. Because a face is a sort of place. It has its own geography, its own secret alleys and hidden corners. Its own inhabitants sitting behind the eyes as if the eyes are windows to some apartments in a city’s high rise property. These little people look from the two eyeballs in the face, their own eyeballs rolling in their heads as they see some old familiar places for the first time. One hangs a huge rubbery nose between the two eyes as if hanging out a flag for a jubilee or something like a jubilee. A Mardi Gras. Or a fancy-dress festival that the city holds every year. The city is a strange one to them. It’s certainly not one of their pet old familiar places. Faces that find themselves in a foreign place.

I have taken my eye off the ball. The words have escaped my pen into new uncontrolled configurations of syntax and non-syntax, with that ever widening gap or crack that forces me to believe the meaning cannot bridge such an hiatus. And I have raised the head where I live in despair at controlling the words, raise it towards the ceiling, rising not with mere sight to see the rivers of geography in its cracked white plaster surface (otherwise blank). But the head actually rising in the air along with the sight itself to see it closer up. Either my neck has elongated like a giraffe’s or the head has actually separated itself to float up towards the ceiling.

One particular crack in the ceiling is so deep I can see daylight through it. And my sight or the head that carries the sight escapes through it into the open air – and I am a mere speck of consciousness being wafted by the wind. At least I am safe from those words now. And from the old familiar places of meaning that each word familiarly contains, despite the horror that they would otherwise convey with the unfamiliar meanings that they felt themselves dutibound to convey to the unwary such as I who releases them on to the page. Each dot, each pixel of the marks being just another me. Just another beginning of a face. Drowning in memories, in anarchic thoughts and in the forgotten white airinesses of space where familiarity breeds contempt for any steady state or big bang. Because neither is right. The old peculiar place of dreams dreaming dreams that is our Existence, yours and mine. The place that launched a thousand … no, an infinite number of familiar faces towards their inevitable sinking and drowning in the white water frenzy of words.

Does an author ever know whether he's breaking new ground?

Does an author ever really know whether he's breaking new ground? For example, with regard to the previous post entitled 'Bird Flu' about Selbi Cuderri's The Tenacity Of Feathers trilogy of novels (first blogged September 2005 - March 2006), how indeed *new* are its concepts or treatments of dream sickness, dream spam, strobe history, hawling, core mythos, blogging-real-time-action-day-by-day and characters trying to create their own Big Brother-type characters beyond the control of the author etc. etc. - plus Bird Flew (as recounted in part twelve of Klaxon City)??


I enjoy narrative undependability and collusive omniscience where not even the author, let alone the author's created narrator, is *truly* omniscient or 'in control'.

Anyone read this book?
'The Rhetoric Of Fiction' by Wayne Booth.
I read it in the sixties.

Also in recent years, I have been studying a book called 'Style In Fiction' by Leech & Short (Longman 1981) which explores paragraphs of fiction, examining graphological, phonological, syntactic and semantic nuances and patterns, discussing how they affect the meaning etc.

Do we miss all this? Or do we instinctively absorb it, however fast we read? Does it apply to all genres of literature? And does the writer intend these effects (in a slow laborious fashioning?) or instinctively produce them (at speed?)?

I myself feel both reader and writer 'do' this thing together - instinctively and at speed.

Indeed, generally, I prefer a free-wheeling instinctive approach to fiction-writing. For example, a lot of my own fiction is about characters creating their own characters in a sort of extrapolated 'Big Brother' experience as intrinsic to the plot, with only a light touch on the tiller from myself as author or narrator. Or that's the theory!

I have a lot of strange theories, perhaps, but a book stands or falls in the audience arena (and that includes the arena that it first meets vis a vis the agent or publisher). Or in the blogged Tenacity of Feathers novels, the audience arena is anyone who simply clicks on a website and reads them there or prints them out as a book!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Bird Flu

I have just discovered that American TV viewers are about to be presented with a frightening fictional film about Bird Flu entitled Fatal Contact. Also, that migratory birds are about to land in USA as they always do about this time of the year.

As some may know, my trilogy of separate self-contained novels The Tenacity of Feathers (written and blogged between September 2005 and March 2006) is woven into a tapestry (or carpet!) of Bird Flu symbols and fantasifications. The trilogy starts HERE with The Hawler.

Please try this specimen chapter HERE (part twelve of the second novel Klaxon City).

Monday, May 08, 2006


Interesting discussion thread: HERE tangential to earlier posts on this we-blink (Irreducibles), ie. my posts entitled 'Fictpathy', 'Fiction' (Fiction as Magic), 'Wordy Weird', 'Obscurantism/ Norrell' and perhaps some others.

PS: a professional literary agent for fiction said today on this thread HERE:

It's an obvious thing for me to say, but no one in publishing in 2006 gives a damn what Virginia Woolf did in the 30s.


Fiction is the only form of writing where you don't know what you're writing. How truthful is it? How duplicitous? How good/bad or (a)(im)moral? How will it strike the reader, especially (or even?) fiction with didactic propensities? Where does it come from? Its aesthetics that burn through your own disintentionality?

Characters you supposedly create sometimes take over and make the piece even more unknowable as to direction and purpose etc. This is what defines fiction. Not knowing what it is.

Or fiction is knowing about everything that is not known.

"Both wanted to sit down in the shade at the edge of the woods: neither would suggest it."
from A Game Of Hide and Seek (1951) by Elizabeth Taylor

i.e. hiding and seeking truths amid the unsynchronised omnisciences of more than one fictional mind.

Chasing a noumenon.

Fiction is like two unknown but gradually known characters or threads that eventually may blend (almost beyond the writer's control) across some vast waste (in one case between the unknown and the known, the other between two beautiful minds whose two bodies happen to be in a Freak Show Circus trailer - as metaphors for the divide between writer and reader) by means of imputed incarnation-by-fictipathy or simply by imagination...

'Fictipathy' (a word I invented) has indeed become mainly concerned with the pathology of fiction, but also, more recently by common usage, it has become to indicate a form of active telepathy by fiction - distinct, however, from the more passive Jungian 'Collective Unconscious' or, even, from what I would call 'nemoguity'.

On the other hand, fiction is probably more akin to a transcending of genre, reality and self - not through what I described as 'fictipathy' above, but as a designer of words into non-pragmatic patterns. Stories are indeed unpragmatic (ie of no possible use) but they do allow one to evolve abstract musical journeys with extrapolated (pseudo and real) memory- or dream-recall resonated by the ricochet -- a ricochet of meaning, look, sound and syntax -- which the words inexplicably form plotically (as well as poetically) within the reading mind.

This may be relevant to other discussions about what is wrong with certain fiction genres. It is the genre that is wrong, not the stories that make up the fabricated genre. It is the self that is wrong (both writer and reader), not the 'ricochet' described above.

There is much fiction *about* religion but very little fiction that aspires to *be* religion.

And for 'religion', please read 'empowered spirituality' rather than any single sect of religion. Or it is, as I have said before here, magic. Magic in itself rather than about magic.

I think the Horror and/or Fantasy genres (not sects!) are the most likely to achieve this goal. And those who have approached it (even if it was not their conscious goal): Lord Dunsany, William Hope Hodgson, Robert W Chambers (King in Yellow), HP Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, Elizabeth Bowen, Thomas Ligotti, Rhys Hughes, Jeff VanderMeer, Susanna Clarke...
Any more?

Or is this a cul de sac, because you feel that 'religion' cannot be attained by fiction. Nor should it try?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Silly Automatic


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Obscurantism/ Norrell

I have had a large book of stories out since 2003 (one of which stories contains the phrase fustian to the nth degree). I notice very few readers seem able to get through it all ... even if they enjoy it -- or even with the carrot of being given the code to their own immortality should they manage to get to the end.

Is there an inspirational art to Obscurantism or is it something you need to work at or is it a curse one is born with? Can there be any justification for it? If you understand the question, please comment!

A review HERE says it is a book "to live with for several months, maybe even years." Replace 'years' with 'several lifetimes', I'd say!


A poetic fable (written by DFL in the last few days) and apparently enjoyed according to much feedback received:


Regarding my earlier post here ('Fiction') and its references to 'fiction as magic' in respect of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, I'd call it, on reflection, genuinely 'weird'. If Weird Fiction has any meaning at all, this is it. I don't think I've read true weird fiction before encountering this 'novel'. 'Weird' as well as its usual connotations carries a colloquial 'controlling of fate' sense. A Weird is also a spell or charm or geas. If you have dreams from reading books, with this book, you'll probably have a 'real life' instead.


Re yesterday's blog on Internet promotion, with me (and I don't know how typical this is of others), I'm all or nothing. If I'm on the internet, then I'm on it in a big way, as I have been*. I cannot reduce it. The only other option is to leave completely, and abandon my 'derelict buildings'.

* My blog entry of 27 April 2006: Chasing The Noumenon. Arguably - using a degree of pretentious objectivity with which I do not deserve to be indulged - my lifetime's 'opus' should not be seen as directly constituted of the various DFL fictions themselves. It is, rather, I feel, those very fictions' repercussions, i.e. their tentacular body of brainstorming accoutrements - from url to url to url to url - that I have tangentially built up (with the unselfconscious collaborative help of others) since 1999 on the Net.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Publishing/ Internet Promotion

An intriguing exchange between A and B elsewhere yesterday:

A: On a note of contention, and for the record, I still have a great deal of time for the view expressed below:

FELIPE ALFAU: I am not a professional writer. Only by necessity have I ever received payment for my work. Dalkey Archive Press offered money for my two novels but I refused to accept it. For my poems I received $500 because I needed to pay the monthly payment here, in the retirement home. The truth is, I was never interested in writing, nor did I ever dream of making a living at my craft. I hate full-time authors. I hate intellectuals that make a living from abstractions and evasions. The art of writing has turned into an excess. Today, literature is a waste. It should be abolished, at least in the form we know: as a money-making endeavor.

IS: How do you think writers should support themselves?

FA: I am not sure, but certainly not by selling their books as jewelry.


B: No one is going to force a writer to act commercially. Don't blame publishers for making money. Any author who doesn't want to submit their book to feelthy capitalists and thus sully their endeavours will be entirely left alone by said capitalists. Different strokes...

A: The problem is that the system, by which I mean the profit-driven mass-market publishers, will force a writer to act commercially. If, that is, said writer wants any wider recognition beyond the small press. Even those writers who profess strong left-wing views end up having to accept the system's market values (self-promotion, self-promotion, self-promotion) as opposed to allowing the quality of their work to speak for itself. This is one reason why the "mid-list" has been destroyed. The final say in mass-market publishing houses is now made by marketing departments and not, as previously, by commissioning editors. I suspect it also has a great deal to do with the smaller mainstream publishing houses being swallowed up by conglomerates as has happened over the past twenty or so years.
PS: Sorry, when I said "profit-driven", I should have said "substantial profits-driven". I realise that all businesses need to make a profit, but it's whether they're satisfied with a moderate, rather than a walloping profit that I had in mind.

B: As far as I'm concerned, one should want to make as much money as possible - it's a business. And as I said, if you don't want to be involved, that's fine. All businesses change over the years, and who knows when they will change again? Ten years ago, you couldn't give historical fiction away, but now it works every well. I'm well known for believing that sales and marketing departments have too much power in present-day publishing. However, new authors are still published successfully. It's pointless to wish it was the fifties again, because it isn't.

One thing I will say. I find Mr Alfau's attitude smug, self-satisfied and pretentious. He seems to feel that he is somehow better than those who write for money. He ain't. It's as smug, self-satisfied and pretentious as it would be for me to say that authors who ARE paid for their endeavour are obviously more important than those who choose not to be.

Dr Johnson said that only a blockhead wrote for any reason other than money. I'd say that was a touch extreme! However, I'm not having anyone tell me that they command moral high ground because they DON'T write for money.

I come back to my main point: it's a business. I've published a number of left-wing writers who work within that. What they then do with the money they make is up to them. But to have this...distasteful...attitude to commercial publishing is, I think, less than pragmatic or realistic.

And the mid-list was dying in the 80s, long before the rise of marketing power. I saw it happen.


Now from me yesterday (as I thought it may be considered rightly off-topic on the original thread):

I have sympathy with both the views of A and B. I will say at this stage that commercial demands can affect an author unduly: and if he concentrates his life on writing pot-boilers or even great commercial fiction, he may have written different and longer-lasting fiction without those commercial demands diverting him. That would be a shame. Equally, it can work the other way. Someone could beaver away for years at pretentious poetic prose which is not likely ever to be successful in any field of literature when, all the time, he could have been writing successful commercial fiction, but hadn't done so becuase he had a 'thing' against being commercial!!

From me today:

Well, A and B have happily come to agreement on the original thread.

I'd just add:
There is no complete distinction between Commercial, Literary and Small Press. They can fail or succeed at the time they are published in terms of monetary and/or critical considerations. Some Small Press becomes commercial many years in the future or becomes accepted 'standards' of literature much later (even in a later century!); some contemporary Commercial fiction immediately falters at the wayside or succeeds greatly in the short term or succeeds as an accepted 'standard' of literature eventually.

An overlapping spectrum:
(1) Pot-boilers
(2) Quality Commercial fiction.
(3) Acquired Taste literature.
(4) Off-the-wall/experimental!

And the discussion could continue if anyone wants to define the word 'quality' in the above spectrum!

And I'd repeat my point yesterday: many writers are diverted from their more natural course to get into what they consider to be their 'felt' aim ... whether it be (1), (2), (3) or (4). And most writers, I guess, aim mainly for (2) because of the pressures of peer rivalry, domestic constraints, agential editing etc.

Within each of (1), (2), (3) and (4) above, I feel there are two other spectrums, i.e. (a) Commercial, Literary, Small Press and, separately, (b) all the specific fiction genres.

An overlapping complexity, true, but one I feel that needs to be appreciated in the round, before being able to discuss the points made by A and B above and before any agreement can be reached.

I intended 'Nemonymous' (all 5 issues so far) to comprise all these spectra in working shape.


I think most internet communication comes out 'wrong'. With regard to self-promotion, I tried (but more for enjoyment than promotion) and am still trying blogs, experimental discussions, websites, spraying my previously published fiction in various places on the Net etc.
I am often misunderstood. Or mostly ignored.
Re the last bit - I don't know that what I say on the Net is ignored. It just feels ignored, despite some very kind people who have given me feedback. I suspect everyone feels ignored (or more ignored than they think they deserve). I am no exception. I agree that nobody owes me feedback.

I don't know if I feel more sensitive than I should. Experience doesn't always help, not even the experience of nearly sixty years!

Further thoughts: I believe that youths these days spend all their spare time socialising electronically; their whole conversation being about who said what to whom about what or about whom; they don't talk about films, books, music, TV programmes etc.; they just talk about their own inspiralling of electronic communion with each other?

Are we the same, we on these blogs, boards and elsewhere? Have I - at the age of nearly 60 - been trapped by these new modes of communication to live for each day so as only to carry on these electronic conversations, instead of concentrating on more tangible things?

Or am I an old fogey in thinking this?

Even further thoughts: My contention is that the Internet is so overcrowded, so fraught with misunderstanding, so susceptible to spontaneous mood (anger, joy, depression, intoxication, temporary stupidity, nepotism etc etc) that nobody reads anybody else's work or promotion on the internet. That's an exagerration! Temporary stupidity? But this morning, I believe it. For 'nobody' above , please read an extremely small number compared to the hordes posting work or promotion on the internet. It's just self-deception to believe otherwise. Of course, like pop stars or footballers, some 'famous' writers do get a lot of attention on the internet and elsewhere. But there are millions and millions of active creative writers compared to a handful of what I would call 'famous writers'.

Coupled with above, if your own promotion on the Net is noticed, it's often counter-productive, inasmuch as the Internet does not give good promotive techniques. It's good for information and discussion and sometimes creating new friendships (which, ironically, can so easily then be lost because of the nature of the Internet!), but for work promotion (however professionally done) I feel it is endemically counter-productive - and many people are becoming more and more averse to buying things on the Net with credit cards or whatever means of money electronic exchange because of fraud.
And all this ignores what I said earlier about how it's affecting badly the behaviour of future generations, grooming people from temporary stupidity to permanent!


Sales of Nemonymous seem to have livened up in recent weeks - as well as constructively giving away some of them. Fingers crossed that I'll be able to do Issue Six sooner rather than later, as there seems to be a gap in the quality-produced UK dark fantasy market at the moment.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Do you wish to read an undiscovered DFL novella? If so, please write to for the link.

It is entitled LADIES and written in the early-nineties. It was spectacularly printed by an independent publisher in 1999, but only one copy was published and this is in my possession. Not even the publisher kept a copy.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Rhys Hughes

Just remembered the following review I wrote about Worming The Harpy and Other Bitter Pills by Rhys Hughes (published by Tartarus Press), a review that appeared in the then prestigious American magazine Deathrealm in 1996:

"These stories are essentially literature in its purest form - wonderfully rumbustious, humorous, word-magical fantasies, liberally peppered with honest-to-goodness horror. They remind me of Lord Dunsany, John Barth, Jorge Luis Borges, Jack Vance, involving the fabulous traditions of surrealism, fairy stories and piquant wit. They strike me of the feeling one would have upon entering a treasure trove of a bookshop and discovering for the first time works that had been written in some ancient future, a future impossible to believe ever possessing the antecedence of a present let alone of a past. Rhys Hughes' book is one that I had dreamed of reading but never thought I'd be so lucky ever to do so in real life."


Ironically, one of my genuinely favourite examples of Rhys Hughes' prose is an essay from 2000 about a 1993 chapbook of mine:
Long lost Hughes prose that is brilliant.

Rhys Hughes has three stories in the Nemonymous canon: All For Nothing, Climbing The Tallest Tree In The World, The Small Miracle.

Gut Road HERE: A Rhys Hughes story pastiche of DF Lewis

"DF Lewis" seems to have written a story in A New Universal History of Infamy by Rhys Hughes (Ministry of Whimsy Press 2004)!

Four ancient DFL/RH story collaborations listed HERE for free internet reading.

Rhys Hughes obituary: HERE
DF Lewis obituary: HERE