science fiction and fantasy writer

Archive for April, 2015|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on April 29, 2015 at 1:02 pm

I’ve just sold my story “The Baby Eaters” to Asimov’s, my fifth sale there. Booyah!

This story shares a universe with my last Asimov’s story, “Extracted journal notes for an ethnography of bnebene nomad culture”, which was published in early 2014 (and which you can find in my Angel Dust collection, along with my other previous Asimov’s stories).


Weird Westerns!

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2015 at 6:12 am


Attend these words from Scott H. Andrews at Beneath Ceaseless Skies [with commentary from me]:

“The Ceaseless West: Weird Western Stories from BCS e-book anthology is now out early at (the indie ebook store run by Gavin Grant of Small Beer Press). It’s available for pre-order at Amazon Kindle Store, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo and will be released there Tuesday.
The table of contents [including such genre luminaries as me and fellow CSFGer Alan Baxter, as well as Gemma Files, Saladin Ahmed, E. Catherine Tobler and a few more of BCS‘s usual suspects], cover, and links to it at Weightless and the other stores are here. It’s $3.99, and all proceeds go to pay BCS authors such as [me and Al].
We’re also running a sale on the anthology at Weightless Books. Any reader who buys Ceaseless West from will get a free copy of Ceaseless Steam, our steampunk anthology, and a coupon for 30% all other BCS anthologies and ebook subscriptions.
For Weird Western fans, we’re doing a special Weird Western issue of the magazine next Thursday, BCS #172 on Apr. 30.”

Guest post on Alan Baxter’s blog

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2015 at 8:20 am

Apropos of an opportunity to unsubtly plug Angel Dust whilst pontificating about the writing process,  I have a guest post on the Warriorscribe blog of Alan Baxter, author of the Alex Caine series. My chosen topic is “Plotting and structure for cheats (or, how to gaff-tape your cardboard thingy)“, and it starts like this:

I’ve banged on elsewhere about the themes that tie together some of the stories in my new collection, Angel Dust, such as my possibly neurotic obsession with the consequences of men failing to be “good men” and (possibly contrarily) my enduring fetish for shiny ladies with wings. There’s also a couple of fantasy worlds that I return to more than once through the book: an alternate Australia where the dreams of the land prey on people and your shadow won’t reliably stay under your feet; and an early steam age faux-Europe, where tax collectors and little girls turn out to be the ultimate bad asses.

Another thing that connects quite a number of the stories in the book is how they were written. In wrestling with the challenges of transitioning from being a “professional” short fiction writer to trying out as a novice novelist, I’ve discovered something about my writing.

What I’ve realised is that my writing has a number of strengths – I can do character, setting, action, dialogue, mood and tension fairly reliably. But, by comparison, I suck at story structure and plot. It’s like I have the full six-pack, but the cardboard thingy that holds it together has gotten soggy and if I don’t put my hand under it, all the receptacles of fermented goodness will fall out the bottom and smash on the path. In short stories, I think you can get by with being weaker on structure and plot if you’re strong enough on the rest, but even in short form it’s something I’ve needed to address.

Read  more…


In Uncategorized on April 15, 2015 at 8:48 pm

Angela Slatter has just posted an interview with me on her blog about Angel Dust, writing and inspriations:

1. So, what do new readers need to know about Ian McHugh?

Buy me a beer and I’ll be your friend. Buy me two and I’ll follow you around to see if there’s any more. My first short story collection, Angel Dust, was published by Ticonderoga Publications in late 2014. It brings together about a third of my published stories to date. Most of the rest – and a few of those in the book that are archived at online magazines – are posted on or linked from my website, for anyone who might like to try before they buy.

2. What was the inspiration behind your new short story collection, Angel Dust?

Crass opportunism? Russell offered and I said yes. There’s four original stories in the book, but the rest are reprints, so it’s one of those books that kind of unintentionally accumulated over time until someone (Russell) came along and said, “Ooh, I reckon there’s a book in that lot, and I’m the person to publish it.” That being so, there are a few recurring themes. Angels are one that immediately leapt out to Russell – hence the cover and the title. If I was to let my inner wanker become my outer wanker for a moment I might say that “a recurring motif in my work is that of the angel, both literally and in the form of redemptive proxies that inspire my protagonists” or somesuch. A more honest answer might be that I appear to have a fetish for shiny ladies with wings.

Read more…


In Uncategorized on April 13, 2015 at 9:21 pm



Thanks to everyone who came along to the launch of Angel Dust on Saturday. It was lovely to officially (if belatedly) welcome my book into the world with a pub full of friends.

Thanks to Russell B. Farr and Liz Grzyb of Ticonderoga Publications for giving me the gift of a book with my name on the front. Thanks to Nicole R.Murphy for doing such a great job of big-noting me at the launch / threatening attendees so they’d buy copies of the book.

Photos of the launch are here, courtesy of Cat Sparks – including of me, Nicole and Russell looking like dodgy special effects from Doctor Who.


Feel for the folks at ASIM right now

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2015 at 8:39 am

The poor bastards have been Sad Puppied. Here’s their reaction to their unasked-for inclusion on the Sad Puppies slate for the Hugo awards:

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine is absolutely thrilled to have been shortlisted for semi-prozine in the 2015 Hugo Awards. We’re grateful to our wonderful readers, our excellent authors and our hardworking team of editors and minions for this honour – in particular David Kernot and Sue Bursztynski for editing our two 2014 editions that have garnered the nomination.

We’ve been publishing for more than twelve years now, with our rotating editorial system. We’ve been immensely proud to publish authors who have gone on to gain wider recognition, such as Ann Leckie, Rachel Swirsky, Eugie Foster, Jim C Hines, Doug Van Belle and Ian McHugh.

Our mission has been and will always be to publish fiction that we believe readers want to read; to be a pageturner of a mag that you can’t put down. We will be providing a sample for the Hugo Packet that we hope will demonstrate our commitment to that mission.

However, it’s been a rollercoaster journey for the ASIM collective this past week. Delight as we discovered our nomination, and then dismay as we collectively discovered about the existence of the “Sad Puppies” just before the Hugo shortlist was announced.

We would like to state from the outset that we have never been contacted by anyone to let us know that we were listed on the Sad Puppies slate, and nor were we ever asked if we wanted to be on it (or given a chance to remove ourselves). We would have removed ourselves if offered the chance.

We hope you’ll judge us by our works, not by a small, but vocal, element of fandom.

For further comment from ASIM see Simon Petrie‘s and Sue Bursztynski‘s posts.

So yeah, poor buggers. ASIM really don’t deserve to be dragged into the shitstorm surrounding the Sad Puppies’ gaming of the Hugo ballot this year. (One suspects this is the case for many of those included on the Sad Puppies slate.)

Angel Dust book launch this weekend!

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2015 at 11:13 pm
When: This Saturday 11 April at 3.30pm.
Where: At The Phoenix in Canberra City (on East Row, in the bus interchange). It’s a pub, so come and have a beer even if you don’t want to buy a book.
What for: My short story collection “Angel Dust” (which may or may not be an Aurealis Award-winning short story collection by the end of Saturday).
Award-winning or not, it’s real pretty – see here. Also, it has stories in it – see here. You can follow the links to a couple that are archived online and check them out. Perhaps they might make you think you’d like to read the rest, and buy the book. Did I mention that the launch is at a pub?

Apologies for the short notice, only got confirmation of the details today. No need to RSVP (it’s a pub, they have a bar).