Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Errata Audiobook

The print edition and ebook of Errata have been out for yonks, but now, by the wonders of Bandcamp, you can get the full audiobook too as digital downloads, for a bargain price of £3.50. Read by yours truly, it clocks in at about three and a half hours, and ye'd be hard pushed to get a pint for that price these days, so that seems pretty fair to me.

And if you haven't picked up the actual text already, in binary bits or dead tree, you can also buy a package at whatever level suits ye: the ebook and audiobook for a mere £5; or the signed paperback and ebook and audiobook for a quite reasonable (I'd say) £8 plus P&P.

So, aye, if ye fancy it, go ye and order. It's a damn sight better way to support me than buying via Amazon.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Worldcon Schedule

European Myths and History in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Thursday 17:00 - 18:00, 206 (Messukeskus)

Europeans come often from very different backgrounds when it comes to writing. The history, major historical conflicts folklore and even misconceptions of Europe have had their impact how authors feel about their native countries. The panelists discuss how their background as Europeans has impacted their writing.

Karolina Fedyk, Hal Duncan, Teodor Reljic, Mari Ness, Saara Henriksson (M)

Signing: Hal Duncan

Friday 15:00 - 16:00, Signing area (Messukeskus)

Rise of Weird Fiction

Friday 17:00 - 18:00, 205 (Messukeskus)
Weird Fiction is alive and well and, perhaps, weirder than ever! Fans and authors discuss the genre, its popularity and legacy.
Helen Marshall (M), Hal Duncan, Shivaun Hoad, Pete Sutton, Siobhan Carroll

Monday, July 17, 2017

Cover blurbs!

So I got a couple of fricking awesome blurbs in for the Survival Guide:

“The post- post- modern Victorian fables that comprise Hal Duncan’s The Scruffian Survival Guide inhabit a unique dark fantasy world – a feral dream. The language is mad genius.” -- Jeffrey Ford

"Hal Duncan's cheeky and charming Scruffian stories hide a steely shiv of inspection that digs uncompromisingly into the ribs of  the establishment. This latest volume, populated as always with wonderful characters old and new, deepens that exploration and brings it bang up to date. I loved every word of it." -- Neil Williamson

And with that we now have the absolute final covers for the hardback and trade paperback:

There's still copies of the hardback going, and of course the paperback too, with both now printing right now and hopefully arriving in time for the August shipping date.

I have to say I'm pretty fuckin chuffed at how these have turned out--inside as well as out--enough so that I couldn't resist a look at the stories of the mythos to date. I was thinking initially of just re-issuing Fabbles:1 with a new matching cover and a bit of spruce on the interior design, mainly just so's to have a nice matching pair for meself. But with "How a Scruffian Sleeps Sound" only available in the deluxe Scruffians!, and the stories in Fabbles:1 now in The Boy Who Loved Death... except for The Taking of the Stamp, it didn't really strike me as still sensible, the original reason for that chapbook being to collect what wasn't in the first short story collection. They're all kinda scattered across the two collections now with that one story only in one edition and the novella a stand-alone ebook, so... aye...

Anyway, needless to say I got sucked into my collagist mindset and started trying to work out how all the fabbles might fit together as components in the bigger narrative arc and in yer more abstract compositional sense--rhythm, form, dynamics, thematics--if I was thinking chapbook(s).

Long story short, yes, I now have two more of these fuckers in the pipeline, A Scruffian Primer and A Scruffian Feastiary, rearranging and (in minor ways) tweaking the stories, and with a few wee illos and such inside just to give it the same finish. I'll do hardbacks, but mainly so's I can stick a set on me own shelf. Mostly it's for paperbacks to try and flog at events, for folk reticent about jumping into an ongoing series. And kinda because now I'm seeing the planned stories falling into a couple of chapbooks like this to complete that big narrative arc. Both clock in at the same length as the Survival Guide, and both--if I say so meself--have the same kinda unity as works in and of themselves. I think all three, and the others to come, are gonna work really fucking nicely together.

So, yeah. I'm reckoning on a Christmas release for those two, so I can take a break from hustling and maybe even get some review copies out in a timely manner. And in the meantime, Imma get back to Scruffianising new crib mates and scribbling new fiction. Watch this space, as they say.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Pre-Orders Open for A Scruffian Survival Guide

As the title says, pre-orders are now open over at my Bandcamp merch stall for the fancy dan lettered first edition hardback and the signed trade paperback edition of the new chapbook... A Scruffian Survival Guide.

Urchins scrobbled down the centuries from yer poor and persecuted. Foundlings Fixed in imperishable waifhood by the Stamp and sold to rich groanhuffs as child labour. Hellions with spirits as resilient as their flesh, less like to cower from a kick than nick yer boot, hamstring yer and fuckin leg it. That's what it is to be a Scruffian, mate, and there ain't a rhyme sung or tale told in a Scruffian squat that ain't, at the end of the day, out to learn yer how to survive. So cosy in, scamps, quit yer fidgeting, and hark to the fabbler of this here crib...

Aimed at readers old and new, as latest instalment or stand-alone introduction, A Scruffian Survival Guide is a ~116 page illustrated chapbook collecting four new works of dark queer fantasy in the "Scruffian" series. Wielding whimsy in the service of satire, with a wink to Peter Pan, a sly nod to The Borribles, and a cheery salute to Sweeney Todd, this is punk fiction for yer inner feral child.

"Hal Duncan's cheeky and charming Scruffian stories hide a steely shiv of inspection that digs uncompromisingly into the ribs of  the establishment. This latest volume, populated as always with wonderful characters old and new, deepens that exploration and brings it bang up to date. I loved every word of it." -- Neil Williamson, author of BFA-nominated The Moon King

Sunday, July 02, 2017

A Scruffian Survival Guide: Scruffianisation

Orphans, foundlings, latchkey kids. Urchins, changelings, live-by-wits. Rascals, scallywags, ruffians, scamps. Scoundrels, hellions, Scruffians STAMP!

With the last word the girl or boy playing hopscotch would come down hard with both feet, and the rest would all stamp a foot. Made it all like some... war-dance. Weird. And some of them was a bit old for hopscotch surely.

Orphans, foundlings, latchkey kids. Urchins, changelings, live-by-wits.

They all had such sharp looks on their thin faces too.

Rascals, scallywags, ruffians, scamps. Scoundrels, hellions, Scruffians STAMP!

And they was all looking at him on that last word.

A Scruffian Gallery

A little gallery, that is, of Scruffianisations, to give yer an idea of what exactly that means. In order, we has Vermintrude Toerag, Tolliver Whistler, Upsadaisy Fagspuffer, Nuffinmuch O'Anyfink, Squirlet Nicely, and yours truly, Gobfabbler Halyard-Dunkling, Esquire. If yer fancies taking the Stamp and joining me crib, as comes with yer purchasing of one of them fancy dan lettered first edition hardbacks of A Scruffian Survival Guide, what yer gets is magically transmogrificated (by the power of various apps and a fair bit of filtery finagling and whatnot by Slickspit Hamshankery) into a Scruffianised JPG. Just like one of em above! How does it work? yer asks...

Your Scruffianised Selfie

Just place yer order and I'll pop yer a wee email to ask for a selection of selfies to work with. Slick'll do his jiggery pokery, see what works best, and I'll send yer back a JPG as brings out yer inner scamp, scrag, scallywag or scofflaw. Whether's it looks like an olde timey photograph, a 1970s polaroid, a painting or whatever... well, we'll just has to see. That's kinda a product of the process, says Slick. Yer has to discover it in the pic, he says. Whatevers. Yer free to use this JPG as yer will, of course, as avatar or whatever. But it'll be just between the two of us far as I'm concerned, unless yer explicitly says, Bollocks to that! I wants to be on Twitter! in the next chapbook! I'd be chuffed! It's your image, the original, so yer has yer rights, and privacy's top of the list.

Selfie Quality

Now, them apps can be a bit sticky over recognising faces now and then, I has to say, so if yer sporting a big bushy beard and sunglasses, yer might well stymie one of em. If the pic's fuzzy as fuck or right close up or too far away or crazy askew, that might throw a spanner in the works too, so three or four is best to choose from, Slick says. There oughts to be summat usable in an half dozen if they's different enough, if yer goes that far, but if there ain't nuffink working... well, I'll know soon enough, and ask yer for a few more to try, so don't fret. Tell yer what! Here's some befores and afters, so's yer has an idea of what works best.





As yer can see, we can deals with some facial hair. So if yer does have a beard or muttonchops or whatnot, we'll give it a go. If yer has a pic without the face fuzz though, it might be an idea to rummage it out as backup, just in case. Whatevers. We'll do our best to sort yer out, and yer should end up with a JPG as captures yer Sekrit Scruffian Self--just like Slick's managed to magic them pics of that writer bloke into portraits of Foxtrot and himself. (Why, if I didn't know better, going by this, I might think both of em scruffs was just confabblationisings invented by that Hal Duncan bloke out of thin air! But as if!)

Anyways, then all's we need do is find yer a monicker.

Scruffian Monicker

If yer's read "How a Scruffian Gets Their Name" then yer knows Teh Roolz, how a fresh-Fixed scruff sits round with their cribmates playing "Eeny Meeny Miny Mo" and coming up with suggestions for that scruff to say, Pffft! Nah! or, Banged to rights! And though it ain't but the two of us, that's how's it'll work here. I might thinks I recognise yer straight off the bat, as I done with Vermintrude, Squirlet and Nuff above--Blow me, if ain't the very spit of Squirlet Nicely! So then it'd be: eeny meeny miny mo, catch a nipper by the toe, if they squeals, let em go, eeny meeny miny mo, you are not... Squirlet Nicely? Could be a scallywag what's famous in the fabbles. Could be a scamp what ain't even been heard a peep of... yet. Like as not, if it's the latter, yer might well notice that scamp piping up in the background of some fabble down the line, innit. (Again, I won't use yer pic unless yer says explicitly it'd tickle yer to be in some future chapbook, so pipe up if that sounds cool, else I'll assume it ain't.)

But I mights be wrong. If yer all, Nah, that ain't me, why, then it's your turn. If yer knows yer own name fine well, thanks... that's just dandy, eh. Sorted! Or, chuck yer vague notion in the hat--Summat McRaggedy?--and I'll see if I can't suggest summat to replace the Summat, like, savvy? Mights end up at Fusspot Pickybrat if we's had three turns each and yer still swithering, but I'll do me best to get yer satisfied. It's your name, innit? Yer has to be happy with it.

Dedicative Decorationising

Well, once we has yer fizzog and monicker sorted, we can put it in yer copy, in that there "This here book belongs to:" page. I'll get me crayons out, or coloured pencils, or pens, maybe's some glitter, though that were right messy the last time so... well, we'll see. I ain't guaranteeing any great artistry, but I can do yer enthusiasm. And then ye'll has a picture of yerself and yer monicker in there so's if any fucker filches it, yer can be all, Oi! That's mine, ya bastard tea-leaf! Give it back!

(This here placeholder pic is of the paperback, which ye'll has to dedicatively decorate yerself--sorry, mate--though no doubt that Hal Duncan bloke'll sign it for yer if yer buys it direct.)


We gots August as the release date, and if pre-orders ain't open already they should be up soon, and if all goes to plan, we should has the first batch printed for the middle of July. With the last two weeks or so in July then, we should be OK to get yer copy done and out to yer on schedule. I'll be straight-up though, and say now that yer might have to wait a few weeks if, like, every single copy is snapped up but like every single buyer don't get round to sending me their pics till July 34th or summat daft like that. I mean, I ain't a bleeding miracle worker. But with only 26 copies in this first edition, with enough folk as pre-orders it sending pics in sharpish... well, I reckons shipping a fortnight after orders officially open is doable with the head start. The personalisation does make it a bit less predictable though, so I'll begs yer understanding and patience if it turns out more time-consuming than I'm hoping.


Hopefully that's all clear. Any questions, just pop em in the comments. I'm posting this in advance for reference from the order page on Bandcamp, which will be opening soon for pre-orders if it ain't already open. If yer reading this cause yer follows the blog, or seen it linked on Twitter or Patreon, and pre-orders ain't open yet, feel free to pop me an email at to ask for notice pronto when pre-orders do open.



Friday, June 23, 2017

A Scruffian Survival Guide

A Scruffian Survival Guide is a ~116 page illustrated chapbook collecting / collaging four new works of dark queer fantasy in the "Scruffian" mythos of writer Hal Duncan--author of various works including the internationally renowned debut novel Vellum, nominated for the Crawford, Locus, BFS and World Fantasy Award, and winner of the Spectrum, Kurd Lasswitz and Tähtivaeltaja.

Waifs stolen from homes & streets down the centuries, Scruffians are fixed as ageless and indestructible by a magical Stamp for use as child labour, but with spirits as resilient as their flesh, they're underdogs more likely to bite back than submit. In the rhymes and "fabbles" by which they remember their secret history, they're always already rallying and resisting, a fierce sodality of the abject determined never to let marginalisation mean victimisation. Though nodding to classic children's fiction like Barrie's Peter Pan or de Larrabeiti's The Borribles, this is fiction wielding whimsy in the service of satire and LGBT themes, aimed squarely at an adult audience.

A Scruffian Survival Guide follows on from and expands upon works previously published in the author's short story collections, Scruffians! and The Boy Who Loved Death, but is intended to work as a stand-alone volume, accessible to new readers as well as those familiar with the mythos. Self-published via Lulu under the author's own New Sodom Press imprint, it will be released in August in limited edition hardback and trade paperback.

"Hal Duncan's cheeky and charming Scruffian stories hide a steely shiv of inspection that digs uncompromisingly into the ribs of  the establishment. This latest volume, populated as always with wonderful characters old and new, deepens that exploration and brings it bang up to date. I loved every word of it." -- Neil Williamson, author of The Moon King

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Grand Competition

Chapbooks Afoot

So, after a loooooooong time since Fabbles: 1, it's looking like Fabbles: 2 is on the horizon. I've got three brand new stories, all of em of a good length ("A Scruffian Survival Guide" "The Waiftaker's Daughter" and "How the Fox Took London" to give you a hint of the flavour.) I'll be aiming to do this in hardback like the Sodom chapbook, with readings and some other goodies, something handmade and unique in there.

If I'm going hardback for Fabbles: 2 though, it did occur to me to also do, separately, a hardback edition of Fabbles: 1 to go with it... if enough folk were actually interested. Part of the reason: "The Taking of the Stamp" could be a lot of fun in an audio version, I reckon, but with the ebook rights for that licensed, I can't do it in instalments via the Patreon, say; that rights situation stymies the Fabbler reward level. I could do it in Bandcamp though, on the same model as the Sodom chapbook or Fabbles: 2.

However, while a new deluxe hardback seems fair enough for anyone who doesn't have the original, for those who do... it would be a bit of a swizz just slapping that in a nicer cover and playing on completism. Even with the addition of audio, it would be a bit cheeky to my mind if that's all there is to it. That's where the Scruffianisation mentioned in the previous post comes in, as an idea for filling out the goody bag, and as part of a Grand Competition.

Now, if there's not enough interest in a hardback edition of Fabbles: 1 (which would be perfectly understandable,) no matter. I might find time to do an audiobook of "The Taking of the Stamp" anyway just because I wanna. And I'd likely then just use the Scruffianisation and Grand Competition idea with Fabbles: 2. I'll freely admit that I'm a fussy aesthete who just can't abide the idea of not having a Fabbles: 1 with the finish to sit beside Fabbles: 2.)

If Fabbles:1 is doable on account of a demand for it though, the plan would be:
  • A lettered illustrated hardback chapbook
  • A digital download of readings
  • A JPG of your selfie Scruffianised
  • A drawing by Gob based on the JPG
  • A Scruffian naming by Teh Roolz (ish)

Note: The notion is for the JPG to actually be, strictly speaking, free to anyone who enters a Grand Competition, a runners-up prize for all. This being my sneaky notion for sourcing material for my illustrations.

With entrants submitting a wee selection of selfies (for a choice of material for me to work with) and granting permission for a one time use in the finished chapbook, the idea would be for a joint Second Place prize of a naming and visual Tuckerisation for those whose images I select as the most awesomely Scruffianised. There'd be a minimum of twelve illustrations, in B&W, each with the name invented for this alter ego, a wee rogues' gallery of winners.

The First Place prize would be this plus inclusion of that character in one of the stories plus one full goody bag: the copy lettered A and all the gubbins to go with it.

What If I Just Want the Audio?

If you like the sound of the digital download readings, but don't fancy the chapbook because you already have the stories elsewise, don't worry; I'll make them available on their tod.

What If I Don't Wanna Be In the Book?

If you like the sound of the chapbook but don't want your image used like that, again don't worry; as long as there's enough interest in the competition to make it viable, I'm planning to set aside some copies for orders from people who might not feel comfortable with their pic in a publication, Scruffianised or not. The JPG and drawing and naming would still come with the chapbook if you want them, but they'll be private.

How Would It Work Then?

So, as long as there's a dozen usable illustrations, that seems like a decent minimum to me. I'd set a deadline for contest entries, and if there's not nearly enough entrants when that date comes, well, I'll say the game's a bogey and that's that.

If there's just enough, a dozen and no more well, I can gamble on additional orders and go ahead, and everyone gets in the chapbook as wants in, yay!

If there's more than enough, I'd select the best twelve to definitely go in the chapbook, and maybe even slip in a few extra if the choice is too damn hard. And you'd get first dibs on a copy, natch, cause it would suck to be told your Scruffian alter ego's in, hurray, but they're all sold out already, oops and sorry.

Up until that deadline, if ye fancied a copy of the chapbook, maybe even a Scruffianisation, but yer not comfortable with your Scruffianised selfie being used in the book, I'd ask ye to let me know, (comment on the blog, hit me up on Patreon, @ me on Twitter, whatever,) so I'd get a rough idea of how many there are of ye, if any.

That way at the deadline, I could factor this in and not, say, slip in so many illos it puts all the copies on first dibs to someone else. I don't think there's a huge worry with that here, given that the poetry chapbook still has copies going and this would be a reissue. But if there's to be a copy basically earmarked for each scruff as is in it, I don't want that to end up a fuck-you to someone who'd love a copy but doesn't want their face put on display, even altered like so.

So Are We Doing This Or What?

As I say, I don't know if there's really interest in a reissue of Fabbles: 1 like this, or whether it'd be better to just leave that as a done thing and run this Grand Competition for Fabbles: 2. Hell, I don't even know what level of interest there might be in Scruffianisation, as commission or as freebie for entry in a contest. So I'll maybe try running a couple of polls on Twitter to gauge interest, but if you're not on there, by all means weigh in below--anonymous is fine if you prefer.


Orphans, foundlings, latchkey kids. Urchins, changelings, live-by-wits. Rascals, scallywags, ruffians, scamps. Scoundrels, hellions, Scruffians STAMP!

With the last word the girl or boy playing hopscotch would come down hard with both feet, and the rest would all stamp a foot. Made it all like some... war-dance. Weird. And some of them was a bit old for hopscotch surely.

Orphans, foundlings, latchkey kids. Urchins, changelings, live-by-wits.

They all had such sharp looks on their thin faces too.

Rascals, scallywags, ruffians, scamps. Scoundrels, hellions, Scruffians STAMP!

And they was all looking at him on that last word.

So, if you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen some of my dabblings in Scruffianising myself and, well, a bunch of random images off t'interwebs, to put some faces to the Vermintrudes and Puckerscruffs of the fiction. Well, I kinda like these creepycute little tyke faces that result, but Scruffianising random celebs is really just faffing, so it got me thinking: I should see if I can actually make this productivity rather than procrastination.

In the first instance then, I thought, I'd open up to commissions. A big part of the mythos for me, since its storybusking origins, has always been the importance of cribs and crib mates, and the way these fabbles try to engage with the audience to cast you as part of that. You wanna be a Scruffian or not? says Gob at the end of "Scruffians Stamp" and it's an invite to the reader as much as anything. A fabbler needs their cribmates after all, don't they?

So with those images I got to thinking about offering Scruffianisations--a JPG and a Scruffian naming by Teh Roolz (ish). Like a street artist doing caricatures. The JPG being a few hours work on four or five different apps, it's not so automated it'd be taking the piss to charge for it, but not so time-consuming I'd have to charge silly money. With a few photo to choose from, I could likely do you a Scruffian alter ego. With yer Scruffian name in place of that daft waterstamp as is left by one app.

See, while one fabbler and one crib-mate-to-be can't replicate Teh Roolz exactly, as per the game of eeny meeny in "How a Scruffian Gets Their Name", it's not entirely undoable. I mean, if a scruff knows their name already, well, Nuff said. If you're swithering though, so Gob and yerself have to take turns suggesting names until one sticks, knowing Gob, he could probably come up with some ideas based on answers to a few questions, like:
  • "Urchin or hellion or just plain scruff?"
  • "Scamp, scrag, scallywag, scofflaw?" 
  • "If yer was an aminal, what aminal would yer be?" 
  • "Is it eleven or oneteen?"
  • "Cake, shiv or Scalextrics?"

So, for a commission, you'd fill out Gob's questionnaire and send it in a few mugshots, with payment (it should be doable via Bandcamp), and by Teh Roolz, Gob would begin: Eeny meeny miny mo, catch a nipper by their toe. If they squeals, let em go, eeny meeny miny mo. You are not...? And "Scrumper Leggit!" ye'd shout out if it come to yer in a binding flash, or "Fucked if I know," if it don't--in which case Gob takes a turn.

There might be a limit, to be sure. If there ain't a name settled on after three turns each, I imagine Fob's guesses would be variations on Fusspot Pickybrat from then on in. But we'd want yer to be satisfied, eh? If that seems like an ace idea, by all means, in the comments below, do whatever yer equivalent is of a scamp bouncing up and down on their arse, waving an hand in the air and crying, "Me! Me!"

I'll have to think of what a fair rate is, but in the meantime, if it does appeal, I've plans afoot that would mean getting that for free, and more for one lucky winner. So hold that thought, cause Imma kick some more ideas about in the next post... for a Grand Competition!

UPDATE: A Grand Competition!