This is my virtual library if you’d like to browse some of my work. I’ve put a select list of my published and unpublished fiction below and you can click on each title for a fuller description:

Short Fiction:
‘The Socratic Problem’ (2012)
‘Raleigh Dreaming’ (2012)
‘Black Mischief’ (2013)
‘The Baker Street Dozen’ (2014)
‘Sleeping Giants’ (2015)

Novels:
Hail Muse, Etc. (Unpublished)

Screenwriting:
The Search (2016)

SHORT FICTION

tales-of-the-city‘The Socratic Problem’
From Tales of the City, ed. Philip Purser-Hallard (Obverse Quarterly 2:1, 2012)

‘If I’m here as a researcher, I ought to be allowed to get on with my research, don’t you think? How am I to accomplish that if I’m not allowed to ask questions?’

This was my first published science fiction story and is set in Philip Purser-Hallard’s City of the Saved, a fictional city beyond the end of time which houses a copy of every human that ever lived.  It’s a fabulous setting for a story and I particularly enjoyed imagining how some of these cross-cultural influences might play out on campus. My tale takes place in the philosophy department of a liberal arts institution, the University of the Seven Ages, where, in an effort to keep his semi-permanent lectureship and get one over on his academic rivals, a disenchanted 21st century ethicist called Inigo Faber manages to get Socrates appointed as a Visiting Lecturer with unforeseen results. This is perhaps my favourite of the short stories I’ve published so far (I’d been reading Bethany Hughes’ The Hemlock Cup at the time of writing it, and once I gave him a voice, the character of Socrates just took over). If you’d like to read an extract click here. To buy the anthology click here. The collection also has some fantastic stories by Blair Bidmead, Juliet Kemp, Helen Angove, Dave Hoskin, and Dale Smith.

raleigh-dreaming‘Raleigh Dreaming’
From Burning with Optimism’s Flames, ed. Jay Eales (Obverse Books, 2012)

Even if my life is forfeit by the stratagems of unworthy men, sure they have no power to command the motions of my soul any more than they have power to put out the sun or stop-up the ocean…

‘Raleigh Dreaming’ takes place in the world of Faction Paradox, familiar to Dr Who fans as a shadowy organisation with the ability to manipulate history. This story gave me a chance to ventriloquize some different figures from early modern England, including Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, and the enigmatic ‘Wizard Earl’ of Northumberland, all of whom become involved in the Faction’s clandestine plots. I spent quite a lot of time working on this story because I wanted to make the voice of Raleigh as convincing as possible but I’ve taken some glorious liberties with Marcel Proust. ‘Raleigh Dreaming’ is a mystery, a thriller, an improbable love story, and I’m not sure what else. To read the opening of Raleigh’s Journal, click here, and here to buy the anthology it appears in, along with Faction fiction by Alan Taylor, Cate Gardner, Daniel Ribot, Kelly Hale, Stephen Marley, Helen Angove, James Worrad, Juliet Kemp, Simon Bucher-Jones, Jonathan Dennis, Aditya Bidikar, Sarah Hadley, and Philip Purser-Hallard.

black-mischief‘Black Mischief’
From Storyteller: A Found Book (Obverse Books, 2013)

People said the cats were strange just as they said our Will was, but you always knew Will’s strangeness meant you good somehow, whatever outlandish forms it took.

Storyteller is a collection that ought to be more widely read, not only because it contains some terrific fantasy fiction but because every sale raises money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Written in memory of author Matt Kimpton, the book has an interesting genesis. Browsing in one of those ubiquitous second-hand bookshops of Charing Cross Road, Nick Campbell came across a copy of Antonia Barber’s The Ghosts and was intrigued by the list of titles at the back (‘Also available in Two Star Unicorn Books…’ etc). The list prompted a playful discussion on social media which resulted in Obverse publisher Stuart Douglas commissioning us all to pick a title and write a story to fit it. ‘Black Mischief’ was my contribution, another early modern mystery told from the perspective of Shakespeare’s father. Click here to read the opening, and to buy the whole anthology as an e-book click here. I never knew Matt personally but am honoured to have a story included here alongside a number of outstanding contributions from some very talented writers.

baker-street-dozen‘The Baker Street Dozen’
From Tales of the Great Detectives, ed. Philip Purser-Hallard (Obverse, 2014)

‘Every institution has its big guns, Watson; its crème de la crème and secret orders of merit. The Special Council comprises the sharpest minds in the field. If there’s a Moriarty out there, it will find him.’

‘The Baker Street Dozen’ is my longest piece of published fiction to date, and appears in the third anthology of stories from the City of the Saved, Tales of the Great Detectives. My story features a futuristic English department in which Remakes of the most popular criminals from Victorian fiction are interrogated by literary critics and a cloned Watson who breaks his programming to outsmart multiple versions of Sherlock Holmes. You can read an extract here and buy the whole thing here, along with more Holmesian and City-inspired fiction from Philip Purser-Hallard, Stephen Marley, Jess Faraday, Kelly Hale, Andrew Hickey, and Chantelle Messier.

furthestcover

‘Sleeping Giants’
From Furthest Tales of the City, ed. Philip Purser-Hallard (Obverse, 2015)

‘It’s that District that looks like a giant, isn’t it?’
‘It doesn’t just look like a giant, Lem; it’s an actual giant. A postman colossus made of flesh and stone.’

‘Sleeping Giants’ is my third story for the City of the Saved series. Sci-Fi is sometimes referred to by the older label speculative fiction, and its speculative power doesn’t stretch much further than in this anthology, probing various extremes of City life. One of its stranger inhabitants is a sleeping giant called Bribori Zadig, who struck me as a good subject for a story. Once again I’m in good authorial company here with some excellent short fiction by Philip Purser-Hallard, Juliet Kemp, Lawrence Burton, Paul Hiscock, Louise Sellers and Helen Anglove. You can read an extract here and buy the whole anthology here from Obverse Books.

NOVELS

novelHail Muse, Etc. (Unpublished)

‘Of course there will always be poets who live to write, but don’t forget the ones who write to live: the ones who find their muse in the spaces between dreaming and waking, in the gaps between sense and insanity, the bottle and the floor… I’m talking about the mystics and the madmen; the lotus-eaters and the dragon-chasers; the rebels and the romantics — my poets, Polly. Most don’t give a fig for your brand of fame but you can’t refuse them a place in your canon.’

I started writing this story at university and finally completed it in 2010. It’s a many-headed hydra of a novel: a comic fantasy about the Greek gods in Canterbury, a coming-of-age-tale and a haphazard history of classical literature. Its main characters are a teenager called Chris and the god Apollo, who tries (and fails) to turn his young protegee into a poet and only really succeeds in becoming more human. It’s my first finished novel, and with all its faults, I’m still fond of it. If you like, you can read one of my favourite chapters (where Hermes calls up Achilles and Helen of Troy from the Underworld) or the ending.

BLOGGING

I blog every couple of weeks if I can. Here are a few of my favourite posts from my personal blog, Art in the Attic: