Fifteen new stories in six collections or one jumbo-sized Omnibus–out now from Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple, anywhere that sells books! I hope that’s a thought of interest to my readers, particularly those who have been following my career from the very beginning.
Between 1990 and the middle of 1995, I wrote seventy-odd short stories.* About half of these stories were fit to be published. A quarter were rightly confined to the bin. The remaining quarter were somewhere in between.
I wrote these stories in a fever of creativity, fired up by the works I loved as a young adult. The mark of certain authors is stamped all over them, and so are story ideas that I went on to use elsewhere years later.** Like a lot of writers who outgrow their early work, I cannibalized the best cuts for richer stews–but only after trying very, very hard to find someone who loved these original stories as much as I did.
Two of them found a home. “Cold Sleep, Cold Dreams” was bought by Peter McNamara for his landmark Australian science fiction anthology Alien Shores. It appeared under the name “E. W. Story” because Peter wanted another story by me as well, and he suggested using a pseudonym so he could publish both.*** The other is “On the Blink”, which appeared in the Canberra SF Society newsletter in 1992, under the name Bradley MacMillan.**** It is the oldest of these stories.
Now, twenty years later, I’m embarking on a plan to make all my short stories available online. Perversely, perhaps, I’m starting here, with six novella-length anthologies containing those stories that never quite made the grade, plus an omnibus with one very special bonus story (fans of the Books of the Change will be interested – see below).
Why? Well, because I still love these stories, and few people have ever seen them. That’s as good a reason as any to put them out there. (Also, the best of “E. W. Story”, I think, is better than the worst of “Sean Williams”, but that’s a matter of opinion.)
These stories–two hard-to-find reprints plus fifteen never published before, a fat novel’s worth of new material–were written by a young man high on old ideas. He can be obvious and clichéd–and rarely as diverse as I’d like him to be, twenty-five years later.***** He was naive, like everyone in the 1990s, but I find his naivety infectious.
I hope you do too.
* That sentence might read more accurately without the hyphen.
** Including Geodesica, Orphans, Astropolis, “The Jackie Onassis Swamp-Buggy Concerto“, and (if you buy the omnibus) The Books of the Change.
*** I chose the name “Story” because it was my grandmother’s maiden name, “W” for “Williams” and “E” because, well, I thought it sounded right. Also, my grandmother’s first name was Evelyn.
**** Why that name? I have no idea, but I think of it now as a pseudonym within a pseudonym. (There’s another published pseudonym not collected here, just to keep things interesting.)
***** One thing I learned about the younger me, reading over these stories, is how much he yearned for smart women who were often absent. The story story of my life, back then.
Before getting to the books themselves, a huge shout out to Gabriel Cunnett, responsible for the gorgeous cover design and illustration, inspired in part by Gollancz yellow-jackets and old graphic novel images (credited in each book). Internals and pretty much everything else by the awesome Emily Craven. These books look so great because of all their hard work. Huge thanks to both of them!
Alien colonists who warp spacetime as easily as lighting a cigarette . . . Refugees searching for a home in a hostile landscape . . . A mysterious disease whose source is out of this world . . . Virtuality reality brings out the worst in humanity, and much more.
Among the ruins of Earth, stealing a sacred relic is much easier than escaping with it, particularly when the fragment of the One God begins to stir . . . Caught in the middle of an interstellar war, one lone priest seeks to complete his pilgrimage in peace.
The price of seductive alien technology might be too high, even when it’s a lifesaver . . . Mysterious melodies lead humanity’s first exomusicologist to a world stranger and more deadly than any he has experienced before.
The survivor of a terrible car accident wakes oddly changed, leading his wife and best friend to suspect that he is no longer, or not entirely, himself . . . The dying discoverer of the Golden Screaming Tree Frog finds comfort in the strangest of places.
A lover lost, a world destroyed . . . Time in tangles and our fate in the balance . . . A fugitive’s flight through a maze as deadly as the creature at its heart . . . Humanity’s last hopes bicker on the brink of extinction.
When a brilliant scientist goes missing in the heart of an alien artefact, her husband will stop at nothing to get her back . . . A meeting of impossible people in a world that shouldn’t exist.
All the stories that never were.
All six volumes at rock bottom price! Comes with a bonus novella never published before: “The Prophet of the Change”, which was the seed story for the entire Change series, starting with The Stone Mage and the Sea.