Posted by: trisigmatic | March 23, 2019

Inappropriate Messages Sent Via Magic Mirror

Is this the mirror of the evil queen?
You have an urgent problem in the pass.
We’ve overthrown your fortress, and between
that and the peasant uprising, alas,
your crown will- what? Godsdamn this fucking glass!

Just bear with me, I’ve not aligned it right,
but- Come on, man! Is that…is that YOUR ARSE?

No don’t come closer, I’m a temple knight!
I’ve no interest at all in such a sight,
and, uh… Oh, my. Okay. Well, maybe that.
But – not right now? I’ve got a war to fight!
After I’ve slain that sorcerous autocrat,
what say you then? Perhaps, we two, with luck
could- Ohhh. It’s you. Delaying trick. Oh fuck.


Last month’s writing group prompt was to write a sonnet inspired by some truly dire voicemail messages that a friend of a friend had received.

I’ll let your mind fill in the (in-)appropriate visuals, and decide what kind of nasty creatures have just materialised on the other side of the mirror-chamber door…





Posted by: trisigmatic | January 2, 2019

2018 Award Eligibility

2018 was not a productive year for me, but there are a few highlights that I’m really, really proud of.

Editing – short form

Dani Daly and I guest edited Artemis Rising 4 for Cast of Wonders, with Alexis Goble as our assistant editor.  We had an amazing line up of stories, all of which deserve to be on your reading lists.

Cast of Wonders 294: Earn Your Breath by Jaime O. Mayer, narrated by Ibba Armancas, guest hosts Megan LeighCharlotte Bond and Lucy Hounsom from Breaking the Glass Slipper

Cast of Wonders 295: An American Refugee by Tiah Marie Beautement, narrated by Julia Rios, guest host Alexis Goble

Cast of Wonders 296: Canary’s Refuge by Wendy Nikel, narrated by Nadia Niaz, guest host Sandra M. Odell

Cast of Wonders 297: Where You Get Your Ideas by Megan Lee Beals, narrated by Dani Daly, guest host A. Merc Rustad


Short Fiction

I only had one original publication this year, but it found the perfect home at Terraform (Motherboard, VICE media). Congratulations on Your Recent Purchase is my story of a confused domestic smart appliance trying to survive the nanobot apocalypse.

**This is my second year of Campbell eligibility** I’m WELL out of the running, but hey, it’s worth mentioning, right? You can find my other stories from 2017 linked here.



I made my first pro sale of some poetry! I am SO damn chuffed to bits about that!  You can read Fortune Favours the Cold at Abyss & Apex [Issue 68]



And… that’s the lot.  I also ran the Cast of Wonders flash fiction contest, organised an academic conference, had a lot of fun being Assistant Beaver Scout Leader for kid#2’s colony, took on a major pastoral role at work, and won a team outreach award as part of STEM Gamechangers. Depression and anxiety have been seriously cramping my style and productivity, but I’m still here!  Bonus: kid#2’s plans for world domination (I’m not joking here…) have been tempered with compassion and an interest in oceanography. I’m sure his future minions will thank me….


Posted by: trisigmatic | January 2, 2019

Review: Fortune Favours the Cold

Specpotpourri has written a lovely review of this poem, alongside a whole host of other amazing works which are eligible for the 2018 Rhysling.  Head here to check out what they thought, and linger long enough to click through and read some of the other poems.

Issue 68 of Abyss & Apex was a full space themed issue – if Fortune Favours the Cold didn’t work for you, maybe one of the others will?  The whole issue is well worth a read.

Posted by: trisigmatic | December 29, 2018

Five Minutes to Midnight

It’s almost the end of the year, and what better way to end it than something seasonal and vaguely misanthropic and apocalyptic?

Five Minutes to Midnight

“So what is it that you lot do in that lab of yours?”

Under normal circumstances high energy physics is a complete conversation killer. But this was my sister’s New Year’s Eve party, we were all well on the way to being utterly bladdered, and her new bloke Craig was one of those gregarious, know-it-all twats that insists on steering the conversation towards plausibly-deniable mockery.

I wasn’t yet so drunk I couldn’t see what he was trying. A billion dollar machine to investigate something that can’t be seen, touched, or monetised?  Yeah, I figured we were about two sentences away from the kind of unforgiving straight line that would keep me the butt of his gibes for the rest of the evening.  I also knew several ways to avoid it all, but hell, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t see him again after tonight.

So I raised my glass, looked him right in the eye, and gave him the truth.

“We found God,” I said, and downed my scotch. It barely touched the steadily deepening chill inside my guts.

“You found God?

“Yep. Middle of last week.”

“Found God. Geez. I’d ask you what he looked like, only I’m guessing he’s some kind of particle rather than the beardy old dude.”

I cast around the room for a new drink.  “We’re all particles on some level.”

“You and your bloody god particles. ‘Bout as much use as-”

The room swam slightly. Craig blinked, gave a slight shake of his head. I checked my watch. It was down to fourteen minute intervals now.

“As, ah…” He gulped down half an inch of his pint. “Sorry, love. What was that you were saying?”

“I was telling you about finding God.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Nope,” I said. And I would have told him what had come next, if he’d given me the chance.

“Didn’t take you for one of them lot.” Craig rolled his eyes at someone standing beside me. “Fuck’s sake. S’posed to be a party.”

“Yeah. Sorry mate.”

I drifted away, made for the dining room. The table was half covered in random bottles of spirits and mixers for DIY cocktails. I grabbed a two-thirds empty Smirnoff by the neck and pushed through the crush to the garden.  The outdoor lights flickered and died as I stepped over the threshold and into the rain. Someone groaned. I took a swig from the bottle, and everything swam once again. The bottle split. Two copies. Three. My hand a shimmering ghost between them.

“I found God,” I whispered to no-one in particular. Maybe to myself. “I found him, and then I killed him. Bit of a mistake, that. He’s pretty narked at us all now.”

I checked my watch, and lifted my face to the rain. Closed my eyes. Inside, my sister’s guests had started the countdown. I took another swig and joined in. They wouldn’t be far off the mark.

On three, the falling drops turned warm as blood.

On two, the whole sky fell in.

Posted by: trisigmatic | December 3, 2018

Narrations in late 2018:

I need to start dropping hints at Podcastle…



Posted by: trisigmatic | December 3, 2018

Fortune Favours the Cold

I’ve been so stressed recently that I don’t think I had a chance to link to this one yet. Sooo… if you like poetry about Kuiper Belt (Sentient) Objects witnessing the end of the solar system, check out Fortune Favours the Cold at Abyss and Apex

Posted by: trisigmatic | December 3, 2018

Future Economics

BSFA members may have caught a glimpse of discussion of Congratulations on Your Recent Purchase! alongside a range of excellent short stories, in the Future Economics issue of Vector (#288).  That was rather unexpected!


Posted by: trisigmatic | August 14, 2018

Weekly Webzine Wrap-Up (2018-07-14)

The Alfven-80 gets another nod here!

Featured Futures

Weekly Webzine Wrap-Up imageOriginal Fiction:

The weekly/irregular publications brought us three flash pieces and two novelettes this week. They were of unusually high quality with a recommended story, two honorable mentions, and one close runner-up.

Grievous Angel put out two pieces this week but I could only find speculative elements in “Goth Robots,” which is naturally a downer about fake faux tatoos. (Ink…

View original post 389 more words

Posted by: trisigmatic | August 14, 2018

Review: Congratulations on Your Recent Purchase!

Charles Payseur has posted a lovely review of this little story of mine, which appeared in Terraform in July. Check out the review here.

Posted by: trisigmatic | July 14, 2018

subs update

Because all the other writers are doing it, here are my submission stats for the first half of 2018:

1 poem sub pending from 2017 (one prior rejection in 2017)
1 poem acceptance (pro rate, after 2 rejections in 2017)

2 short story subs rejected: one has been shelved, and the other is being revised prior to sending it out again
1 short story acceptance (SFWA rates, following 3 rejections in 2017 and 3 rejections in 2018)

1 reprint short story acceptance
1 reprint acceptance following two 2018 rejections.
1 reprint short story sub pending from 2017
1 reprint 2018 submission still pending response

What I’m really, really bad at is actually finishing my WIPs*. There are only two new stories in this batch, and I’ve decided that one of them is fundamentally broken. So, my plan for the summer is to fix that. I’m going to get that short story polished up and sent back out this weekend, and finally get around to revising another flash piece I wrote last year, which will work SO much better at twice the length or more. The alien horticultural show story and the chavvy-teen magical cynicism stories are also in my bucket list for July for getting out of draft and into good-to-go.  Over August, I want to get some longer short stories up to complete first draft – Evil Unicorns, Publish or Perish, and Crazy-Awesome Space Opera – along with my near-future homage to Guess How Much I Love You?, which will hopefully be short and quick.

* To which I say: day job, kids, awesome fun doing stuff with Cast of Wonders, Assistant Beaver Scout Leadering, Minecraft, and flopping exhausted on the sofa to watch telly with Jeremy. Plus bonus rampaging, creativity-sucking depression!  There’s no right way to write.


Older Posts »