Tag Archives: short stories

Books, Writing and Stuff

So, I’ve been quiet on this site for a while. Mainly because the South West Coast Path adventure is on hiatus. It will return in the autumn.

But I haven’t been idle. I’ve been busy with some new short stories, and a novel due out later this year. If you’re interested in science fiction or fantasy matters, check out my new author website at Chris Barnham Books.


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Lenin’s Nurse – New Stories 3

The third recent story was a little darker than the others. It appeared in the online magazine ‘Electric Spec’ towards the end of last year. The title was ‘Lenin’s Nurse: Notes for a Dissertation’.

electric-specThis features the mysterious Elizabeth, from my novel ‘Among the Living’, but takes place a few years after that story ended. It was great fun to write. Not just because of the pleasure of renewing acquaintance with an old character, but also because the story features extracts from a range of historical documents. All made up, of course!

Here is a taster, of the opening paragraphs. You can read the whole story (and plenty of others, all for free) at Electric Spec online.  You can also read a blog post, about the writing of the story, here.

Lenin’s Nurse: Notes for a Dissertation

Chris Barnham


       ‘. . .it was said and printed that the Red Guards. . .had killed some of the ministers in cold blood. . .An astounding jumble of rumours, distortions, and plain lies. All these stories were swallowed whole, even preposterous tales of sacrifice and fanatical Bolsheviks who bathed in or drank human blood, such as the notorious revolutionary fighter referred to as Veta B. . .’
–John Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World, New York, 1919 (uncorrected draft)

“Priceless stuff. Now I see why you stuck at it after Moscow.”

Daniel drapes his flamingo body across the train seat while he reads my notes. He looks like he could be in his usual perch in the senior common room. We are fifteen minutes out of Croydon and already rattling through open countryside beneath steep hillsides furred with trees.

“Everyone said you were losing it. But I told them, don’t underestimate Will’s creativity.”

We shoulder our packs and step out of the train at Penshurst station, descending a ramp onto a quiet country lane. Daniel says, “Your little detour isn’t going to take too long is it, Will? You promised me lunch in the Spotted Dog.”

“The path goes right by the cottage. It won’t delay us much. Even if there’s anyone there.”

“Pity if they’re not. I’ve been looking forward to hearing you explain your, ah, quest.”

It takes us half an hour to walk to the village. Daniel keeps up a constant stream of chatter. Next week he’s playing golf with the chairman of the research grants committee, has he told me about his invitation to that reception at the House of Lords, pity I didn’t get invited, but never mind, it will come.

“Shame your Zoe couldn’t come today,” he says. “Always lovely to see her.”

Lovely, I think.

A hot wind blows into our faces. Whenever we step out of the shade, I feel my skin evaporating in fierce sunlight. I drank a whole bottle of water on the train but my mouth already feels as if it is lined with dry denim.

We don’t pass anyone, which is good. I thought it best to keep away from the roads. We approach Penshurst across fields baked yellow by the August heat and finally through a churchyard. Most of the gravestones around the church are old and faded. Daniel can’t resist reading aloud from the stones. He stops at one and squats.

“Christ! Look at this: the children of Frederick and Martha Cowell. Three of them, all died between May 1876 and February 1877, aged eight years, ten years and six months. Nothing like a bit of history to make you glad you live in the present.”

He walks on and I read the lines of verse at the foot of the Cowell children’s stone:
‘Blessed are the dead, no weal or woe
Can touch them when from us they go
And we that are left long more and more
To join the loved ones gone before’

We emerge into a narrow lane. On the far side there is a wooden gate in a high hedge. Beyond, a gravel path leads between rose bushes to the front of a two-storey house. All of the windows are blind with internal shutters, throwing back the sunlight as if from a mirror.

This is it: the childhood home of Charles Oates….

(Read the rest at Electric Spec.Com)


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All That is Solid – New Stories 1

What with one thing and another I’ve neglected blogging and writing lately. So it was pleasing to publish three new stories at the back end of 2016. Over the next couple of days, I’ll post links to where you can find them (mostly for free!).

Here’s the first

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Ravello Steps in Black Static 40

Black Static 40With all the excitement of local politics, I’ve neglected my other careers. Including the one that pays least – writing pulpy fiction.

But I was really delighted recently to make my debut in Britain’s foremost magazine of Horror and Dark Fantasy, Black Static.

The story was called Ravello Steps, an unusual one for me in that it did not feature nasty things happening to people in south London. Instead it was set in Italy.

If you like fiction of the darker kind, you can buy Black Static here.


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PUSHING – new story

Another of my short stories has just been published, this time in Anotherealm – the online magazine of speculative fiction. The magazine is well worth exploring. After you have read my story – Pushing – of course.

Here is a link to the story and mag.

And here, to whet your appetite, is a taster of the story itself. Described by the magazine as a bit ‘edgier’ than most stories they publish:

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Urban Occult Published This Week

GetAttachment.aspxI mentioned before the Anachron Press anthology ‘Urban Occult’. It’s now out in print and ebook. You can buy it from Amazon, or more cheaply (and with preferable ethics?) from other places like Kobo.

Either way, it really is good if you’re at all interested in short stories with a dark side. Obviously I must declare an interest, because my own story ‘The Other Woman’ is included. But I’ve been in anthologies in the past, and I’ve never felt as proud to be nestling among such a high-quality collection. Editor Colin Barnes has done a really good job.

My particular favourite so far (still a few more to read) is ‘Spider Daughter Spider’ by Jennifer Williams, which really spooked me and has a coldly devastating ending that will stick in your mind.

More please!

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Urban Occult Limited Pre-Order


The fine author and editor Colin Barnes has been good enough to pay me actual (if modest) money for a story in his latest anthology, ‘Urban Occult’. The story is a tastily nasty little piece called ‘The Other Woman’.

I am of course delighted to have the chance to cling to the coat-tails of the fourteen other (better, sexier, scarier) stories in the book. So it’s the least I can do to bring to bear the mighty marketing power of my nine and a half readers to help the book find its place in the world.

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