Conrad will be at the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton for this year’s Fantasycon (30 September – 2 October) although due to work commitments, he’ll have to leave on the Saturday night, after his reading at 8pm in room 134. Conrad will be moderating a panel on making a living as a writer at 3pm on Friday (30th) in the Fitzherbert suite with contributions from Tony Lee, Guy Adams, Lisa Tuttle and Christopher Fowler.
You can also catch him at the Solaris book event on Saturday 1 October at 2pm (Regency Lounge) and the PS Publishing launches on Friday at 9pm (Bar Rogue) where Gutshot will have its trigger pulled…
They rode past six dead cows lying bloated and stiff-legged. Liver, blood, genetic diseases, sicknesses like Papa’s. All because of contaminated land soaked with liquid propellant for forty years. The old folk who worried about rockets dropping on their heads had no idea of the toxic heptyl infecting the ground under their feet. They looked at the sky instead of the ground they stood on. Death had seeped into the cycle of life while white shards of progress shot towards the stars.
Some Kind of Light Shines from Your Face by Gemma Files
Joe’d been a handsome young man once, ‘fore them Europe kings and such got to squabbling with each other. Now he took tickets with a bag over his head ’til it was time to stump up on-stage and exhibit himself, making women and kids squeal and grown-ass men half-faint with his flesh’s horrid ruin.
Fifteen men left Retribution that afternoon, all dead-eye gunslingers, fire in their eyes and grit in their souls. Less than half would ride back, and them that did would never be the same. They saw bad and did worse, and something inside them broke forever. They spilled bullets and tears, and left their faith burning on the badlands.
He came. Tall he stood among the warriors, tall as a god, his body copper-brown in the sunlight, and the sweat-gloss rippled over the flex-and-swell of his muscles. But a leader needs more than sweat and muscle, and the look in his eyes was as cunning as a coyote and as reckless as a maddened bull.
I had a gun too, but it was useless against them. I knew because I’d tried. I’d shot one of them three times, chest and face- if you can call a slitted helmet beneath a wide-brimmed hat a face- and knocked it to the ground, but it’d only shaken itself and stood again, then come for me. Now the only chance I had was a rumour I’d heard in the days and weeks of roaming the wastelands looking for food. The kind of rumour you had to be mad or desperate to believe.
Old Chaedy had been mighty sure of himself. I understood why when I caught sight of the raw blue wall of power, with its roiling clouds and stabbing forks of lightning. The blooming Tide held the whole town to ransom. Pots boiled over, prospectors stopped their bickering mid-feud.
He found a brick of bills thick enough to keep them warm through the winter. He allowed his best men to send small amounts of money home. There was also a cloth filled with gemstones, blood-red crystals the size of coat buttons, but they had no way of fencing such rarities, so Parson emptied fist after glittering fist into the river.
“Quiet on set!” a voice yelled, and Henry froze in place like everyone else not actively involved in the shot. From a few yards behind the director’s chair he watched as, up on the chapel roof and on the shout of action, an older man—lean, wiry, wearing a black coat and black hat—jerked his hand to his chest and staggered like he’d just taken a bullet between the ribs. Henry turned to see who’d shot him and felt like a rube when he saw that the actor playing the good guy, knowing he was out of frame, was simply standing and watching like everybody else.
Beneath the layer of dust on the man’s face, Badge could make out scars. They were not deep, those scars, but there were many, and they made a pattern across his cheeks, like stitch-marks in a knitted quilt. “You got a name, stranger?”