16 Tales of Terrible Beauty

Open WatersOpen Waters, my first short story collection is now available from the publisher’s website. If you’d rather have an e-book, then the Kindle version is coming very soon. (And if you’re subscribed to this blog you’ll see my post here as soon as it’s available.)

Just in time for Christmas!


Open Waters…
At once beautiful and dangerous, a sun-dappled ever-shifting landscape, restless, emotionless , impenetrable, capricious and heartless.

Open Waters…
Across which the voyager will sail to wars without end and to the hiding places of the desperate survivors of alien invasion, will follow in the footsteps of lonely, far-from-home explorers and colonists, journey back to Creation itself then burrow into the darker recesses of the human psyche.

Open Waters…
Sixteen tales of terrible beauty from the imagination of David Gullen



Open Waters – Cover Art

Open WatersHere is the cover of my new short story collection, Open Waters, from theEXAGGERATEDpress.

Daniele Serra has created a wonderful impressionistic cover, the style and use of light reminds me of Turner and Manet. I am indeed a lucky man.


Friday Flash – Wilson & Masters

Wilson & Masters

They cruised along the elevated section. City lights spread all around them in constellations and reefs of light in an ocean of night.

‘We think we’re at the centre of things but we’re not,’ Masters said. ‘There is no centre.’

The road rose and dipped. Streams of red and white vehicle lights flowed away and towards them.

Wilson missed the old certainties. ‘We’ve done some pretty amazing things.’

‘We’re still lost.’

Wilson looked up at the night sky and imagined planet earth a lonely speck in the endless dark. ‘I wish you wouldn’t say things like that.’


No. 20 in the ‘Beyond the Streets‘ sequence.

Friday Flash – Mr Crane’s Garden

Mr Crane’s Garden

 Every night Crane put his shrapnel, the smallest of his small change, in an old glass spaghetti jar. When it was full he took it to the charity shop. Between times it served as a door stop.

‘Look at this.’ Crane held out three pennies and two five-pence pieces. ‘No wonder today’s been so difficult.’

I was impressed. Even so, extraordinary claims etc… ‘How does this keep happening to you?’

‘I don’t know, They-’ In Crane’s world ‘They’ was always capitalised.

‘And that was the only change in your pocket?’

‘No.’ He glared suspiciously, hurt. ‘Even so…’


18th in the ‘Beyond the Streets‘ sequence.

Honourable Mention – Year’s Best SF

Hurrah! I’ve just discovered my short story ‘All Your Futures Are Belong to Us’ from ARC 1.3 magazine has an honourable mention in Gardner Dozois’ The Year’s Best SF, vol 30.

I’m told there’s a good crop of other ARC authors in there too – congratulations to you, and everyone else on the list.

Friday Flash – The Cop

The Cop

One day I asked him: How do you cope?

He showed me his basement, a well-lit, clean and empty space. Against the back wall was a sea-chest, the old type with iron straps and reinforced corners. The padlock was as big as my fist.

‘I go through it, now and again’ he said. A key hung on a nail. ‘Go ahead, take a look.’

Alf sat forwards, ‘And did you?’

‘I didn’t need to. There was a luggage label on the handle, brown card, tied with a bit of string. On it he’d written, “Not Needed On Voyage.”’


Number 17 in the ‘Beyond the Streets‘ sequence.

Friday Flash – Cash Flow Problems

Cash Flow Problems

Along these streets people didn’t sit on the carriages, they rode inside them. Night lamps glowed atop metal poles, and high, oh so very high, enormous flying things with motionless wings slid through the rumbling sky.

There were no horses.

Clegan had walked through a door, a very ordinary-looking door, and everything changed.

He didn’t understand any of it.

He knew he didn’t fit. He tried not to look vulnerable. This city, like any other, would have predators.

His heart shook. Where on earth was he? More important, how in heaven was he going to get home?


This is #16 in the ‘Beyond the Streets‘ sequence.

Review: Kraken Rises anthology

This anthology came out of the Kraken Rises event at this year’s Bristol Literature Festival in partnership with Jared Shurin of The Kitschies, and Lee Harris of Angry Robot. The whole event was organised and co-ordinated by Pete Sutton. I was one of the three authors who designed the creative brief, and one of the six around on the day to provide story prompts and (hopefully) inspiration for the writers/contestants. I had nothing to do with the actual writing, judging and selection, or editing, so I was very interested to see the anthology and read what people had been inspired to write. The result is impressive.

Kraken Rises is a flashmob book, true popup publishing. Stories were written in 24 hours using a creative brief not released until the day of the event.  Entries were judged and selected the next day – and the anthology was created.  This makes it, I believe, the fastest book in the world. As Pete Sutton says in his introduction, these stories, “were written under extreme pressure and in a very short period. Many of the participants hadn’t written before or hadn’t written for a long time … Due to our self-imposed deadlines there hasn’t been time to ask for redrafts or to do much more than correct typos.”

From this you might expect a rather scrappy collection of half-realised projects. It’s a pleasure to say the collection is no such thing. Considering the ferociously tight deadline for writers, editing and production, the anthology is remarkably well put together. From the absurdist and surprisingly mature humour of The Kraken Rises: The Dragon Slayers, by Jake & Riley Bailey (Aged 8 & 5) to my first encounter with a Politician as Hero in Ian Millstead’s Kraken Rises (There’s a theme to this anthology you know) there is consistently good writing, imaginative story-telling, and a real sense of fun.

There are two text/mail stories in the collection. Kraken’s Go d, by Elspeth Penny is a complex and ambitious gem I really enjoyed. Competition runner-up Kevlin Henney’s #KrakenEvent twitter-feed is witty, irreverent, and sadly poignant. One day we will all write about the end of the world in 140 characters.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Return, Rosie Oliver’s mythic tale of trees, time-travel and transcendence is charming and uplifting, a complete contrast to the joyfully apocalyptic tales forming the rest of the anthology.

Scott Lewis’s Kitty McLure and the Cult of the Kraken is a deserved competition winner. In Lewis’s richly inventive steampunk adventure the resourceful Miss Felicity Hartnett-Bly takes the role of Watson to Kitty’s Sherlock. Together they fight dastardly cabals. I sense a novel brewing in Mr Lewis’s cranium.

The second collaboration, The Kraken Binding by Claire Fisher and Helen Elliot-Boult is playfully rooted in genre fiction. The only Lovecraftian tale in the book, it also includes doomed redshirts, an opinionated view of Bristolian architecture and a hybrid guardian spirit of Mary Shelley and Frankenstein’s monster. If Ballard every wrote whimsy he surely would have written this.

A book in 48 hours. I don’t think it’s ever been done before. Should it ever be done again? Absolutely!

All profits go to support the Bristol Literature Festival, which receives no external funding.

Kraken Rises, £1.53
Pub:The Bristol Festival of Literature with assistance from Angry Robot

Review: Bite, by Gardner Goldsmith

Sylv is a vampire hunter, an ex-vampire hunter. He’s carried his past failures with him all his life and now he’s getting out of this deadly game. Except now there’s a woman. And now there’s one last job.

This novella is a real gem. If Chandler wrote vampire fiction he’d write it like this. Bite is hard-boiled noir all the way through, with great dialogue, fist-fights, beautiful women, and lonely evenings in the same old bar with the same old buddies. Goldsmith has taken the style and pace of this genre, made it his own, and added a dash of the supernatural.

What I really like about this story is the focus on Sylv, his life, his hopes, and how in the end he’s prepared to risk it all for one final chance. Destroying vampires is a job, Sylv isn’t the best but he’s good enough. This one last job gives Sylv the chance to open up and take some chances for a shot at the main chance. He takes risks, he puts his life on the line, and all to help a stranger. A beautiful stranger. And all the while he knows he shouldn’t be doing it, that he should walk away and take the safe path. Sylv isn’t just trying to save her, he’s trying to save himself.

Goldsmith gives us glimpses of the real Sylv beneath the tough guy, that hard-bitten street-wise gun for hire. It’s grudgingly given, revealed in brief introspections and slips of the tongue, the questions and comments of Zeke the barman and the other people in Sylv’s life.

Bite is Gardner Goldsmith’s debut novella and I thoroughly recommend you get a copy. Enjoy.

Bite, ISBN 978 1 906864 39 2
Pendragon Press, 2013

Friday Flash – Desert Night

Desert Night

‘So, yeah, this is where I crash. Come in.’

‘I found the lamp in a skip. The mattress was already here.’

‘I need a proper light so I can read.’

‘The books? Charity shops.’

‘Yeah, I know it’s still stealing. I can’t go to libraries-‘

‘Here? It’s just me.’

‘Most nights I sit and read. I read for hours.’

‘No, I don’t pay for the electricity.’

‘Candles? How the fuck can I afford-?’

‘Sorry. It’s just…’

“Look, ah, before you go- You couldn’t see your way-‘

‘Thanks, man, really appreciate it. Seriously, dude.’

‘Yeah, anytime. See you around.’


Number 15 in the ‘Beyond the Streets‘ sequence.