Author Archives: peterdarbyshiregenericuser

Who let the gnomes out?

The Broadsword Bandits are back with another instalment of Dungeons & Dragons! Join myself, Adrienne Kress, Kevin Sylvester, Arthur Slade, KC Dyer and guest gnome Lee Edward Fodi as DM James McCann takes us through his Beholder Ranch adventure!

Reintroducing Poplar Press

“The new vision for Poplar Press is to be a place for untraditional takes on the speculative.”

Wolsak and Wynn, who published my book Has the World Ended Yet?, has some exciting news for speculative fiction writers and readers. They are dedicating the imprint Poplar Press to spec fiction, with the first books to come out in 2023. I’m thrilled about this news. They did a great job with Has the World Ended Yet? and they are fantastic people. Canada certainly needs more homegrown presses like this. To the future!

The angels of inspiration

It’s quite lovely to see my book Has the World Ended Yet? included in a list of recommendations from the Edmonton Public Library and Shawna Lemay. Some of these creators have been an influence on my own writing, so it’s both gratifying and humbling to be on this list. Shawna talks more about influences and her forthcoming book, Everything Affects Everyone, over at Transactions with Beauty.

What happens in the dungeon stays in the dungeon

Unless of course you upload it to YouTube….

The Broadsword Bandits are back for another episode. Watch authors KC Dyer, Arthur Slade, Adrienne Kress, Kevin Sylvester and myself blunder our way through a James McCann dungeon, falling into pits and wandering into medusa rooms, all the while trying to find an answer to the eternal question: “Where do I find that on my character sheet?”

How many writers does it take to escape a dungeon?

The Broadsword Bandits return for an epic fantasy battle with…. a rug…? Yes, that’s right — in my first foray into Dungeons and Dragons in a legendary amount of time, I decided to go check out a suspiciously nice-looking rug in a room full of ghosts. We all know what nice rugs in a dungeon are….

Mimics!

Anyway, watch how writers Arthur Slade, Adrienne Kress, Kevin Sylvester, KC Dyer and myself figure out how to escape James McCann‘s Rug of Doom!

Episode One Part Two:

Episode Two:

Back to the Beholder Ranch with the Broadsword Bandits!

What happens when a bunch of writers get together to play D&D? I don’t know but I’m sure we’ll all have interesting back stories…. Watch it live Monday, April 26! (Link for livestream.)

If you want the meta back story, this whole project came out of James McCann’s Dungeons and Dragons Resource Guide and the Beholder Ranch.

Breakout at the Beholder Ranch!

I had the opportunity to talk with James McCann of the Richmond Public Library about Dungeons and Dragons and the creative process, and it was probably the most fun I’ve had during the pandemic. D&D has always been a big part of my life and probably one of the reasons I became a writer — if you can handle creating a D&D campaign, you can probably write a novel or at least a short story! Check out the video interview where we talk about the magic of writing, world building, and why I secretly want to be a necromancer. Also, we come up with the idea for a Beholder Ranch adventure! It’s all fun and games until something kills you with a magic eye….

Happy End Times!

The end of the world is now 30% off! My publisher Wolsak & Wynn is holding an apocalyptically good sale on my book Has the World Ended Yet? and other of their fine titles. Check out these terrifying tales of retired superheroes vs. mysterious angels, travelling deity salesmen, Craigslist miracles, demon investigators and more before the world ends (or Halloween, whichever comes first)! (Use the code “TREAT” at checkout or visit the usual haunts.) https://bookstore.wolsakandwynn.ca/collections/fiction/products/has-the-world-ended-yet

Clearly Gernsback was a time traveller!

I’m always delighted to see a new issue of Taddle Creek mysteriously appear in my driveway, and this work of art is no exception. I particularly like the letter to the editor about my story “Starseed,” published in an earlier edition of Taddle Creek. I’m no stranger to letters to the editor thanks to my previous career in the media, but this was an interesting change from the usual accusations of being a left/right wing shill for Big Publishing/indie anarchists.

Late last year, Taddle Creek, in quick succession, received possibly the two greatest letters ever to grace its e-mailbox. Both were from Kieran Dunn, of Guelph, Ontario, who wrote: “I have just finished reading ‘Starseed,’ by Peter Darbyshire, in the summer issue of Taddle Creek (No. 43). I was perplexed by the following passage: ‘The interior of that starship was indescribable by the likes of me. Perhaps Gernsback and his fellow science fictioneers could manage it, but it is beyond me.’ While I appreciate the homage in this ‘celebration of the . . . pulp magazine,’ I have to wonder when this story is meant to take place. The Battle of the Somme, the concluding event in the story, was fought in 1916. Amazing Stories, Hugo Gernsback’s first foray into what we now call science fiction, was not founded until 1926. It seems unlikely that the narrator, Archimedes Death, would be writing later than 1926 and, thus, unlikely he would refer to Hugo Gernsback as a ‘science fictioneer.’ I would be interested to hear your take on this.”

Read the full letter here at Taddle Creek, including my response. I like the way Kieran Dunn’s mind works!

And if you want to support Taddle Creek putting more beautiful ephemera into the world, there’s always the subscribe option!

When tomorrow’s headlines become alternative history

Ten years ago I published The Warhol Gang with HarperCollins, a dystopian tale of neuromarketing gone awry, viral murder videos, professional insurance fraudsters, an underground resistance to a mutated mall culture, rampaging office co-workers and more. At the time, I worked at one of the larger daily newspapers in Canada, and I was trying to reflect the strange stories I saw trending online — I was trying to write the headlines of tomorrow.

I have to admit I never saw 2020 coming.

So now The Warhol Gang is a quaint little alternate history, where malls are still open (albeit under attack by that underground resistance), people still gather in groups without face masks and murder hornets have not yet come swarming over the horizon. I think I did all right with the Gun World storyline, though….

Anyway, it’s still available for sale as far as I know if you’re looking for a little escapist fantasy reading.

If you’re more interested in contemporary fiction about current events, please check out Has the World Ended Yet?, my latest book. It’s pretty strange. But admittedly not as strange as 2020.