SixtyThird Time

August 1, 2010 at 8:27 am (Uncategorized)

A Man of Ice and Sorrow in Black Static...

Okay, I know I only blogged last week, but I won’t be blogging next week (for reasons I shall discuss later) so I thought I’d get ahead of myself. Right, news: Black Static #18 is out on August 13th, and it contains my story A Man of Ice and Sorrow. My recommendation would be that you subscribe to Black Static as a matter of some urgency , given that it’s a fine magazine with (clearly!) excellent taste in stories, and then when it arrives settle back and enjoy not only my story but also lots of other excellent ones, as well as my friend Stephen Volk’s Electric Darkness column, and columns and reviews by Christopher Fowler, Peter Tennant and Tony Lee. I mean, what’s not to like? Details of the most recent issue can be found here:

One quick update about Strange Gateways: I got my dates wrong! It’s due out in 2012, not 2011. That’s right, two years away. Now I know that this may disappoint some of you, but to all of you, I say: quality is worth waiting for. And then a strange thing happened: when I realised that I got the dates wrong, and that it was two years away, I started to think ‘Right, I need to make sure that I have things coming out between then and now, to make sure my profile doesn’t drop off’.

Eh? Profile? Drop off? What?

I’ve come to the conclusion that my attitude to my writing has changed a little over the last few months and years. I don’t consider it, by any stretch of the imagination, a job, but it is something that’s important to me for more than just the act of putting words onto a page. I may be a shameless tart for adulation, but I can’t deny that I like the fact that people seem to appreciate my stuff, and that they do appear to respond well to it. It does feel like I’m beginning to get a good reputation, and I don’t want to lose that – which means that two years between releases feels too long a time to let my adoring public wait for the next Simon Kurt Unsworth release! The bottom line remains that, the moment I stop enjoying the writing, I’ll stop writing – I have no objection to it being complicated, challenging, hard work, frustrating and knackering on occasion as long as I get some sense of satisfaction from it, which at the moment I do (more than my readers, I would imagine!). So, as I’m still enjoying it and I can’t guarantee that the novel will sell and I don’t want people to wait too long to read more by me, it looks like I’m definitely not going to abandon writing and submitting short stories just yet…

EDIT: I’ve just been given permission to announce the cover artist for Strange Gateways – I have great pleasure in being able to tell you that the fab dude doing the cover will be Mr Jason van Hollander! Given the simply fantastic job he made of the Lost Places, I can’t wait to see what he does with this one. More news as I get it…

Reviews: This week, I get to do something slightly uncomfortable but oddly pleasurable – I get to say that I’ve had my mind changed about something. Those of you who read this blog regularly may remember that I sort of inadvertently insulted the filmmaker Adam Mason a while ago, and was pleasantly surprised by his rather cool response. Recently I watched his movie Pig, which wasn’t the most comfortable of experiences, but this week, I watched his film Blood River. And you know what? It’s brilliant! Some of the things that I an issue with in his earlier movies (especially Broken and The Devil’s Chair), particularly the lack of what I might call a ‘moral heart’ and the sense that the violence on-screen was divorced from any real sense of consequence, have been emphatically addressed, and Blood River is all the better for it. Here, the violence (and there’s not that much of it) has a real emotional impact. It’s not as simple as ‘bad guys get their comeuppance’, but there’s a palpable sense of the violence as something harsh and unpleasant, and having some kind of purpose (as opposed to being onscreen simply to make the audience cheer). It’s a beautiful looking film as well, with a real sense of the vistas of the midwest crawling across the screen, and the small cast are all great (especially Andrew Howard and the frankly gorgeous Tess Panzer). It also, unlike Broken, is genuinely thrilling, with a story that’s hard to figure out and which (unlike The Devil’s Chair) doesn’t contain a cheat twist ending. I’ll probably never really enjoy Adam’s early stuff, but his most recent movies have been seriously good. I’m glad, in this case, to be able to say that Adam has effected a sea change in the way I think about his work, and I’m happy to stand, if not corrected then at least with my opinion forceably changed. Highly recommended.

You know I mentioned earlier that I wouldn’t be able to blog next week? Well, the reason is that on August 5th 2010, I will have been married to Wendy for 10 years, and we’re going away for the weekend. I’d just like to take this opportunity to say that, although the last 10 years haven’t been the easiest for any of us, I wouldn’t have wanted to go through them with anyone else. Best friend, fab mum to possibly the world’s noisiest 5 year old and sexy babe – what more could a man ask for in a wife? Here’s to the next years together…

…right, back to your lives Lords and Ladies. I have nothing else to say, and there’s nothing to see here.


  1. RIJU GANGULY said,

    The best thing about “Lost Places” was its consistency, by which I imply that each & every story had the ability to touch the reader in its unique way, and then scare the reader in the most ‘pleasant’ way. If waiting till 2012 enables us to appreciate another such collection, then I think every one of us would wait expectantly. And if, in the meanwhile, another collection comes our way, ….. I hope my lip-smacking is not audible!

  2. simonkurtunsworth said,

    I think Lost Places and Strange Gateways are quite different beasts, Riju – and thanks, by the way! Strange Gateways is an blend of very pulp-y fiction and my more usual ’emotional’ horror stories. I’m hoping you (and everyone else) will like it!

  3. David Surface said,

    Congrats again on all your successes this year, Simon. As you rightly suggest, being a writer (the publishing part) is a lot of waiting—waiting to get a response from editors, agents, publishers, etc., waiting for accepted stories and books to come out, etc.) Personally, I find the waiting to be more debilitating than the rejections. (If I suddenly amass a dozen rejection slips/Emails this week, I may change my mind about that..!)

    The healthiest thing to do, it seems to me, is the moment you find yourself waiting (rather, the moment the waiting-game starts to feel unpleasant), plunge back into writing again, into *imagining*, and let the waiting take care of itself. So I’m glad to hear you plan to forge ahead and create new things. I’ll try to follow your good example.

    And congratulations and best wishes to you and your wife. Ten years of that kind of happiness is a wonderful thing. Wishing you both a hundred more.


  4. simonkurtunsworth said,

    Thanks, David! I’d agree with your comments with one amendment: it’s not waiting that’s a pain so much as waiting and not knowing! I don’t mind waiting 2 years for my PS collection, because I know it’ll happen – I trust Pete and Nicky, and whilst I’m not sure how it’ll look, what additional material I need to produce for it, whether I’ll have someone writing me an introduction, etc, that’s part of the fun – it’s more anticipation of something I know’ll happen. I’m waiting for 2 other anthos to appear that I’m in (both within the next couple of months, I think) that have a story of mine in, and that’s a kind of pleasurable anticipation as well. Waiting for editors to make a decision on a story I’ve sent, however…that’s another matter! I’m at present waiting for two responses to short stories and to one novel proposal, and waiting for those emails is just killing me…

  5. Protral said,

    Two years is too long. That’s an eternity in the publishing world, the way things are folding all the time. And anything can happen on this mortal coil before 2012. But I wish you luck. In the meantime, write a WILL to take care of the loose ends to make sure your book doesn’t turn into some “Girl who kicked the Hornet’s Nest” fiasco, leaving your lady with no profits on it!

    I’m joking. Sort of.

    Seriously. 2012?

  6. simonkurtunsworth said,

    Hi Protral (what’s your real name, by the way??) – I’m sanguine about this. PS are a fine publishing house, so it’s worth waiting for (and don’t worry, my will is sorted!!). What I aim to do is to keep working on short stories for anthologies, start developing a third collection and keep writing the novel.

  7. Protral said,

    Since your will is sorted and PS seems strong and you’re happy, then I’m happy.

    The flip side (and the scary side) is that two years will be over before we know it!

    My real name can not be articulated by human vocal organs.

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