Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Contributor news: The Autist by Stephen Palmer

Stephen Palmer, who contributed "The Mines of Sorrow" to Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #46 (that was an excellent issue!), has a new novel out from Infinity Plus: The Autist.

"Data detective Mary Vine is visiting relatives when she uncovers a Chinese programme of AI development active within her own family.

Ulu Okere has only one goal: to help her profoundly disabled brother, whose unique feats of memory inspire her yet perturb the community they live in.

And in a transmuted Thailand, Somchai Chokdee is fleeing his Buddhist temple as an AI-inspired political revolution makes living there too dangerous.

In 2100 life is dominated by vast, unknowable AIs that run most of the world and transform every society they touch. When suspicions of a Chinese conspiracy seem substantiated, Mary, Ulu and Somchai decide they must oppose it. Yet in doing so they find themselves facing something the world has never seen before..."

Available on Amazon here for UK readers, and here for US readers.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #64: now out, at last!

free pdf | print UK | print US

Sorry for making you all wait so long for this issue, especially the contributors, who have been so patient while I've been kept busy by freelance work. Rather than keep anyone waiting longer, we're going to put out the pdf now and return later to add extra formats.

This issue contains four stories: “September Gathering” by Charles Wilkinson, “Disappearer” by Matthew Amundsen, “The Haunted Brick” by Walt Brunston, and “Chemicalia” by me, plus twelve reviews, by Rafe McGregor, Douglas J. Ogurek, Jacob Edwards and me. One hundred and thirty-eight pages of fabulous fiction and rollicking reviews!

In this issue our team reviews Artificial Condition by Martha Wells, Autumn Snow: The Wildlands Hunt by Martin Charbonneau and Gary Chalk, BFS Journal #18 edited by Allen Stroud, Hounds of the Underworld by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray, Pegging the President by Michael Moorcock and Kaijumax, Season Two by Zander Cannon, plus the films Spectre, Venom, The Meg and The Predator, and the television shows Agents of Shield, Season 5 and Westworld, Season 2.

Here are the splendid contributors to this issue:

Charles Wilkinson’s publications include The Pain Tree and Other Stories (London Magazine Editions, 2000), while his stories have appeared in Best Short Stories 1990 (Heinemann), Best English Short Stories 2 (W.W. Norton, USA), Best British Short Stories 2015 (Salt) and in genre magazines/anthologies such as Black Static, The Dark Lane Anthology, Supernatural Tales, Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction, Phantom Drift (USA), Bourbon Penn (USA), Shadows & Tall Trees (Canada), Nightscript (USA) and Best Weird Fiction 2015 (Undertow Books, Canada). His anthology of strange tales and weird fiction, A Twist in the Eye, is now out from Egaeus Press and his second collection from the same publisher Splendid in Ash is available to order. A full-length collection of his poetry is forthcoming from Eyewear. He lives in Wales.

Douglas J. Ogurek is the pseudonym for a writer living somewhere on Earth. Though banned on Mars, his fiction appears in over forty Earth publications. Ogurek founded the controversial literary subgenre known as unsplatterpunk, which uses splatterpunk conventions (e.g. extreme violence, gore, taboo subject matter) to deliver a positive message. He guest-edited Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #58: UNSPLATTERPUNK!, the first ever unsplatterpunk anthology, and then its follow-up, UNSPLATTERPPUNK! 2. He also reviews films for us. Recent longer works include the young adult novel Branch Turner vs the Currants (World Castle Publishing) and the horror/suspense novella Encounter at an Abandoned Church (Scarlet Leaf Publishing). More at Twitter:

Jacob Edwards also writes 42-word reviews for Derelict Space Sheep. His website is at, his Facebook page at, and his Twitter account is at

Matthew Amundsen has published novellas previously in Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #35 (“House of Nowhere”) and #50 (“A Murder in Heaven”) and short stories in such magazines as Cemetery Moon, Jersey Devil Press, Millennium SF & F and Starsong.  In addition, he has written literary and music criticism for alternative weeklies in Athens, Georgia, and When not writing, he is a sound engineer and musician in Minneapolis.

Rafe McGregor lectures at Leeds Trinity University and the University of York. He is the author of The Value of Literature, two novels, six collections of short fiction, and two hundred articles, essays, and reviews. His most recent book is The Adventures of Roderick Langham, a collection of occult detective stories.

Stephen Theaker is the co-editor of Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction. His reviews, interviews and articles have appeared in Interzone, Black Static, Prism and the BFS Journal.

Walt Brunston’s adaptation of the classic television story, Space University Trent: Hyperparasite, is now available on Kindle.

As ever, all back issues of Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction are available for free download.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Ready… set… gross: seeking extreme horror submissions for UNSPLATTERPUNK! 3

Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction aims for three-pugnance with third instalment of controversial anthology that aims to shock, disgust, and morally enlighten.

Sixteenth century English poet Sir Philip Sidney encouraged writers to teach virtue and delight. If readers aren’t delighted (i.e. entertained), he argued, they’ll walk away.

Now that we’re in the twenty-filth century, the unsplatterpunk movement has put a new spin on Sidney’s advice by asking writers to teach and shock and/or disgust readers.

Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction launched the unsplatterpunk movement in 2017 with UNSPLATTERPUNK!. The British Fantasy Society called this inaugural collection “memorable and thought-provoking”. Last year, TQF upped the muck with UNSPLATTERPUNK! 2, which criminologist, aesthetic commentator, and novelist Dr Rafe McGregor called “a provocative, confrontational, outrageous, and innovative collection”.

Next year, TQF will flay new trails with UNSPLATTERPUNK! 3, edited by Douglas J. Ogurek. We challenge authors to submit short stories that submerge a positive message in filth, carnage, and whatever else shocks people.

We’ll take ultraviolent humour, perverted country bumpkin, and raw realism. We’ll take vile fantasy, gruesome sci-fi, and grossmance… anything so long as it defies contemporary sensibilities, repulses us, and integrates a virtuous message.

Bear in mind that this is not an easy task. “Unsplatterpunk is an exceptionally demanding genre in which to write, requiring an almost impossible balancing act between the disgusting and the morally uplifting”, writes Rafe McGregor in the foreword to UNSPLATTERPUNK! 2. “If it doesn’t convey a positive moral message, then it’s splatterpunk, not unsplatterpunk; if it isn’t disgusting enough, then it’s neither unsplatterpunk nor splatterpunk.”   

Also remember that gore is the new norm. Popular TV shows and films drip with eviscerations, decapitations, and amputations. Then there are the splatterpunk/extreme horror books that make those TV shows and films look like children’s programs. The most abhorrent stuff imaginable? We think not. Writers can take it to the next level.

Submissions are open to both established writers and hobbyists. Alas, the only payment we can offer is a pdf copy (available for download to all) and recognition – or is it notoriety? – for contributing to this genre-defining series.

Send your vile concoctions of 10,000 words or fewer (no poetry please) to

  • Try to gross out or appall the person who thinks he or she has seen everything.
  • Convey a positive message, whether blatant or subtle.
  • Make the story as attention-getting as a death metal concert in a spa.
  • Give us something we haven’t seen.
  • Avoid traditional revenge stories. Torturing a bad guy isn’t a positive message.
Some people say, “Nothing’s shocking.” Make them eat their words. Give us your worst.

Deadline: 31 July 2019

Word count: 500–10,000

Reprints: No

Multiple submissions: Yes

Simultaneous submissions: No – we’ll get back to those who submit for this project within a couple weeks.

File name: [story title]-[author surname].doc

Payment: Non-paying zine (free epub, mobi, and pdf copies available to everyone including contributors) plus participation in an emerging subgenre

Send submissions as a .doc or .rtf attachment, along with a 3rd person bio, to Please include UNSPLATTERPUNK! in the subject line.

After publication, you are free to reprint your story elsewhere, but please credit Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction for original publication.

See standard guidelines for additional information on rights and legal matters.