Saturday, February 10, 2018

Varying Distances by Darren Speegle

Release date: February 9, 2018
Subgenre: Horror collection

About Varying Distances


Prepare to lose yourself in the mesmerizing voice and worldview of author Darren Speegle…

“Speegle’s delicious evocation of landscape delivers the reader, quite seamlessly, from places of precisely-evoked geography into landscapes of haunting spiritual menace…”Graham Joyce

In his latest short story collection of dark, unsettling tales, Darren Speegle takes us on a journey through the textured layers of time and space. From Flower Age Ibiza, Spain to present-day war-torn Iraq, from the mysteries of America’s Deep South to those of a haunting future landscape where humans and machines are virtually indistinguishable, these stories explore what it is to be us among the varying distances. 

An infamous German writer searches for the meaning of consciousness.
A future artist is forced by a cult leader to try to capture his soul in a portrait.
An American contractor working a camp gate in Iraq is confronted by incoming vehicles the likes of which he has never seen before.
A godlike being welcomes in Halloween with a special device.
A hitman tries to determine which woman among a party of three is the android, his target.

This surreal collection includes:
  • Introduction by Jeffrey Thomas
  • In the Distance, a Familiar Sound
  • The Flesh Winks While the Ghost Weeps
  • The Staging Yard
  • For Love of War
  • Balearic Moon
  • A Carousel of Faces
  • Death Paper Burn
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Amsterdam
  • That’s the Game
  • Song in a Sundress
  • A Puddle in the Wilderness
  • Nowhere
“There is much poetry in these pages. It is a major component of the original voice of Darren Speegle… And his dialogue? Throughout, it sings, and scintillates. It’s one of his strongest virtues.”Jeffrey Thomas

Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.




A sliver of crescent in the darkening sky had sparked the comment. The three of us, Paulson, Egger, and myself, stood outside the shack that served as an office, a cloud of dust still choking the air from the passage of the day’s last push. It was Egger who’d spoken, the words coming lazily in spite of the unnecessary volume of his voice, which still compensated for the now diminished rumbling of the convoy. The words hung unaddressed in the dust.
Look, the moon’s on R&R.
We were. We had been. Looking. There was nothing else to do in the desert, with the nub of the last bobtail disappearing in the distance. The sky was far more interesting than what lay below it. Sunsets, sunrises, cloud formations, moon cycles…these were highlights of days that stretched grainily into infinity.
“What the hell does that mean, it’s on R&R?” Paulson finally said. “Sometimes you make shit for sense, Longfellow.”
“I’m being metaphorical, brickhead.”
“It left a little of itself behind,” I said, tracing the moon’s thin metallic arc with my finger, half expecting to leave a smear against the cobalt backdrop.
“Don’t we all?” said Egger. “We keep coming back to this godforsaken place.”
Paulson sneered. “I keep coming back for the money, sport. Only place I leave a little somethin’ of myself is with those bitches in Thailand and the Philippines. This place… Fuck this motherfucking place.” He flicked the stub of his cigarette out into the dust to emphasize just how much respect he had for the soil he earned his wages on. Iraq to him was a worthless patch of earth. Mention to Paulson how long it takes a cigarette butt to break down in the environment and you’ll get a discourse on the idiocy of preservation where there ain’t nothin’ to fucking preserve.
It was hard to argue the point when a look in any direction produced only more of the barren same.
“I don’t know,” I said. “In spite of it all—the dust storms, the mud, the blazing heat—there’s something about the place…”
“It’s the desolation, man,” Egger said. “It calls to your soul.”
Paulson said, “I’ll tell you what, Egg, cut that monthly check of yours by, say, five grand, then let’s see how sweet the song of the wasteland sounds to your soul. Don’t get me wrong, I know where you’re coming from. But I also know it’s a lie. All the dust seeps in and you begin to believe you’re in touch with something the rest of the world ain’t. I been five years in this wretched hole and I’m telling you, brother, the Lawrence of Arabia bullshit’s an illusion. If your soul’s hearing anything, it’s the sound of slow rotting. We don’t come back for the desert. We come back for the greenery.”

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About Darren Speegle:

Darren Speegle is the author of seven books, including his recently released debut novel The Third Twin (Crystal Lake Publishing). His second novel, Artifacts, is due in 2018, while a third, The World Is My Oyster, has recently been completed. His fifth short story collection, A Haunting in Germany and Other Stories, was released in 2016 by PS Publishing. His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous venues, including Analog, Best New Horror 28Subterranean, Cemetery Dance, Clarkesworld, Postscripts, ChiZine, Crimewave, The Third Alternative (now Black Static), Fantasy, Dark Discoveries, and Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy. His human-evolution-themed anthology Adam’s Ladder (co-edited with Michael Bailey) was released in September 2017 by Written Backwards Press. A widely traveled American, Darren often sets his stories in exotic or interesting places where he has lived (Germany, Alaska, Southeast Asia) or otherwise explored (broader Europe). Between gigs as a federal contractor in the Middle East, Darren resides in Thailand. When not writing, he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and biking.

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