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Matt Dovey

A photo of Matt Dovey, smiling, dressed in a white shirt, black waistcoat and purple tie, photographed against an out-of-focus background of leaves

Matt Dovey is a writer of science fiction and fantasy short stories. He is very tall, very British, and most likely drinking a cup of tea right now. Although his surname rhymes with “Dopey”, any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental.

He is an associate editor at PodCastle, a member of Codex Writers and the Villa Diodati writers group, and gives far too much attention to his Twitter. You can start reading stories now, for free: there's 19 to choose from so far, but if you're not sure where to start he'd recommend The Bone Poet & God for fantasy or The Ghosts of Europa Will Keep You Trapped in a Prison You Make for Yourself for science fiction. You can also listen to him narrate others' stories, or find out more about him.

Latest story

Vikram watches with growing uncertainty as Isaac turns round and around, searching for a landmark in the heavy fog. Neon signs glow through it like stars, tinted green by the algae; it's like a rainbow galaxy surrounds them, dotted with light. They may as well be floating in a nebula cloud for all they can see of San Francisco, anyway.

Vik signs a question. Their face-masks muffle whispers, and they daren't raise their voices and alert any drones, of course. They're not stupid. Every SF kid knows sign language for fog running, and Vik has picked it up fast since moving here from Sacramento.

Do you know where you're going? Vik exaggerates the signs so they're obvious even through plastic goggles. Every inch of skin is covered for them both.

Remember to Breathe

11:25am, 9th August 2019

Collected Updates

A Lego man wearing a baseball cap and holding a spade stands by a yellow flowerIt's August, and I've made zero new posts so far this year. Ouch.

In my defence, it has been a year. As was 2018. As was 2017. Hmm. But it'll let up at some point, right?

Right?

Herewith, then, a few overdue updates collected together as briefly as I can manage (he says, laughing)

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TAGS: Dublin2019, interview, new story


1:27pm, 26th November 2018

Awards Eligibility 2018

A brown bear walks away from the camera, through some trees lining a slope(Updated 3rd January 2019, because one last story snuck into the year right at the death.)

Good grief, how is it that time again already?

In brief--and I really can keep it brief this year--my best story this year (IMHO) is The Bone Poet & God, which is still only available in the Sword & Sonnet anthology, so you can only read it if you buy that. Which you should! But let's be honest: a story still exclusive to an anthology is not a story with much chance in a world filled with more free online stuff than any one person can read. So it goes.

For clarity, I'm also no longer eligible for the Campbell. Many excellent people are, but I, alas, am now too grizzled and embittered a veteran to be considered a newcomer.

But there's always some introspection to be done too, isn't there? Circumstance means this post will form something of a counterpart to last year's post, moreso than you'd expect from simply being a post of a similar nature. We'll do stories first, waffling after.

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TAGS: award


3:20pm, 20th August 2018

New story: “The Bone Poet & God” in Sword and Sonnet

Cover for the Sword and Sonnet anthology: a battlepoet, armed with a large book and a fistful of fire, faces away from the viewer in a flooded library. Something scaled and monstrous moves through the knee-deep waterIt is an all-too-rare delight to write something with a specific aim in mind and have that pan out. To sell something where you hoped to sell it. To be involved in a project you desperately want to be a part of. And, more than that, to have the story come out the way you'd hoped it would, when it was just a shining, nebulous dream in your head, a shifting canvas of possible scenes and emotional moments.

Because most of the time when I actually sit down to write, that floating cloud of possibility resplendent with golden sunlight and soaring birds collapses into a slightly dreary grey raincloud low overheard. A Tuesday sort of cloud. There's something particularly banal and dull about Tuesdays, even more so than Mondays. By the time you get to Tuesday you can't even muster the energy to hate it. That sort of cloud. Anyway.

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TAGS: new story


9:23pm, 31st May 2018

Homebrew Wine Recipes for One Favourable Effect, That Effect being Drunkeness, from the Dog-eared Notebook of the Author

A collection of empty wine bottles and a demijohn"Write what you know," they say. Easier said than done with sci-fi & fantasy though, innit? I've never actually worked in a magic cotton factory or cut a barbarian's knob off or run experiments on a Jovian moonbase.

But I have brewed wine--lots and lots of wine--and now I've written a story about brewing wine, too! (When I say now, I mean it was published three months ago. I am not very good at timely blog posts.) And whilst I can't guarantee the magical effects of the recipes in that story (though you never know), I can guarantee that all the recipes are real recipes, describing a real method, and would get you real wine at the end of the day. Probably real drunk, too.

The story doesn't make the recipes particularly readable, though, and some of the quantities are a bit off (my fault, sorry), so here's a proper breakdown of the four recipes. And don't worry: unlike the story, you can just use tap water.

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TAGS: homebrew, new story


5:28pm, 13th March 2018

Event Horizon 2018 - the Campbell Anthology

Event Horizon 2018 anthology cover As with last year, Jake Kerr of Shirtsleeve Press has very kindly compiled the free anthology of stories from the Campbell eligible authors. The John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer is awarded alongside the Hugos, for the best new writer (defined as having their first professional publication in the preceding two years). That, astute reader, includes me, in my second and final year of eligibility.

This year's anthology--available for free again--has nearly a quarter of a million words' worth of fiction from 58 authors. Print editions should follow shortly, but for now you need only exchange your email address to get a DRM-free ePub, MOBI or PDF copy of the book. The anthology is only available for a short while--until the Campbell is awarded at Worldcon, sometime this summer--so get on it while you can!

Event Horizon 2018--a free anthology of authors eligible for the John W. Campbell award

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TAGS: award, free


8:00pm, 7th March 2018

Hurt and Harm: An Apology

I had a story come out on the 1st March in Galaxy's Edge: Things Said to Me in the Anxari 12 Station Bar When I Said I Wasn't a Xenosexual (and the Things I Wish I'd Had the Courage to Say in Reply). It's a small thing; only 444 words. Please don't read it if you're queer, especially genderqueer, at least not until you've read this post.

A week ago I'd have said this story was a silly thing, but it turns out that's not true. It turns out it's quite a harmful thing, fails to do the things I meant it to do, and then fails even more for other reasons I completely failed to anticipate. It's my biggest fuck up in writing, and something I need to apologise for unreservedly and explain at length.

I'm very fortunate that people have had the grace, patience and forbearance to send me private emails detailing the ways I got this so wrong and thus allow me the time to process this fully and react correctly. You know who you are, and sincerely: thank you, thank you, thank you. I'll be quoting anonymously from their emails, with permission, because they phrase it better (and more authoritatively) than I could.

And let me say this up front, because no-one should have to dig through more of my words to get to this important point: I am sorry, without deflection or excuse, for the hurt I've caused and the harm I've perpetuated. I have done both of those things, both upset people personally and contributed to stereotyped narratives that create and support real world problems for people. I'm mortified I didn't catch this one, and I can't apologise enough. I've donated my payment for this story (£25) to Mermaids UK, a UK charity supporting trans and gender nonconforming children in the UK.

This will take a few thousand words, and it'll be broadly split into two parts: the specific failures here, and the general lessons to take away. Please bear with me, because this apology is

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TAGS: apology, harm, lessons, new story, responsibilities, writing


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About

Matt Dovey is a professional writer of short science fiction & fantasy. He is very tall, very British, and probably drinking a cup of tea right now. His surname rhymes with “Dopey”, but any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. More →

Latest Story

Two corners, three, it's still on them, four, six, nine. Then Vik stumbles, trips, scuffs across the floor. When he picks himself up, his fibrous face mask is torn and shredded.

Remember to Breathe

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I met Molly in a real dive outside Zeta 5, called Braker. The kinda joint that sold untaxed synthetics. Clientele smoked but Braker never bothered to filter their atmosphere. When you could breathe, it smelled like grease and heated metal. It was on a moon, always in shadow. Red bioluminescent bulbs years past their expiration, provided the ambient lighting. I was just there to refuel my Boxer. In retrospect, she probably followed me there.

Horror on Habitat Seven by Zach Chapman
StarShipSofa #503

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Complaints that consent given under the influence of gin is not consent are patently ludicrous. Any man capable of signing his name to the papers clearly possesses sufficient of his faculties to understand his decision.
To the Editors of The Matriarch, re: Allegations of Pressganging