Category Archives: Short stories

Shortlisted for BFS award

I’m chuffed. Once Upon A Parsec has been shortlisted for a BFS 2020 award. This Book of Alien Fairy Tales was edited by David Gullen and published by NewCon Press and it’s where Alpha42 and the Space Hermits live.

The challenge was to write a non-human fairy tale or myth and I have to say it was surprisingly difficult. I chose an AI myth which meant I had to think especially carefully about the protagonist. Alpha42 was the result and I have to say I did develop strong feelings for Alpha42, probably because there’s quite a personal angle to the story.

Here’s hoping that Once Upon A Parsec wins this wonderful award.

Once Upon A Parsec: “Have you ever wondered what the fairy tales of alien cultures are like? For hundreds of years scholars and writers have collected and retold folk and fairy stories from around our world. They are not alone. On distant planets alien chroniclers have done the same. For just as our world is steeped in legends and half-remembered truths of the mystic and the magical, so are theirs.”

Where do they come from?

Where do you get your ideas from is a question often asked of authors, particularly speculative fiction writers. A question seldom fully answered because it’s more difficult than it appears.

“I don’t know, they sort of come to me,” is not a good answer, but true in part.

“I spent five years undercover in a cutting edge medical facility,” is also not a good answer, mainly because it’s not true. Except for when it is of course.

Here’s my answer for a story that has just been published by The Centropic Oracle as an audio piece read by a professional actor.

So, how did Happy Forever Day come about?

Firstly, I was intrigued by listening to Aubrey de Grey at a Virtual Futures event titled End Aging (

Secondly, I ran a survey to find out people’s attitudes to living forever, in particular what age they’d like to stop aging and why.

Then I mulled stuff over and wrote Happy Forever Day. I hope you enjoy the story and the way that Rob Gillespie brings it to life.

photo credit: Theo Crazzolara light Bulb via photopin (license)