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Wizard of the Wasteland is now live!

I am very excited to announce that my debut novel Wizard of the Wasteland is now available in paperback, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited.

Wizard of the Wasteland is a post-apocalyptic adventure set a generation after the end of the civilised world. It follows the story of Abel, a reformed drug addict, who joins a travelling showman’s magic show.

When the pair come across a group of children being held captive by the brutal drug gang The Family, Abel must give everything he has to save them.

Early reviewers have said the book is like Stephen King’s The Stand meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and offers a fresh take on the genre.

Click HERE to read today.

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Addict of the Wasteland paperback now available!

Addict of the Wasteland, the prequel novella to my Wasteland series, is now available to as a paperback for just £4.99/$4.99.

The addict leads a desperate life, stealing and robbing to pay for his next fix.

When the addict arrives at a settlement to hawk some stolen books, its leader offer him something he did not expect: the chance to get clean.

The addict must resist the temptations of a world without hope and live under the strict rules of settlement. And even having help on his side may not be enough…

Available for the first time as a paperback, Addict of the Wasteland is a post-apocalyptic novella about finding hope and redemption against all odds and includes the short stories from Jon Cronshaw’s collection of post-apocalyptic tales, Host.

Click HERE to buy today or click on the link to the right to claim your free ebook.

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Announcing: Her Name Was Red and Other Fantasy Tales

With no knowledge of her identity, the mysterious messenger known only as Red travels the land in search of her past. An urgent delivery puts her on the path to the secretive Gottsisle monastery, where she is captured by slavers.

She fights back to save her dark glass blade, the only connection to her forgotten past, and unwittingly awakens its dormant magic. Can Red control the power or will it control her?

Her Name is Red and Other Fantasy Tales brings together nine stories of magic, dragons, and wizards – all released from the imaginative mind of Jon Cronshaw.

Do you believe in magic?

Click HERE to buy Her Name is Red and Other Fantasy Tales today. Available in Paperback and Kindle formats.

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Announcing: The Gibson Continuum and Other Stories

In these ten short stories, ghosts of 1980s nostalgia haunt a young man searching for the essence of cyberpunk; sentient AIs respond to the death of the last human; a cleaner on Titan Orbiter becomes embroiled in a workers’ revolution; and a man figures out he can live forever by gaming subjective time.

Ranging from a portrait of a dystopian future where institutionalised cannibalism is commonplace to a post-Earth solar system where pirates fight against copyrighted seeds and unaffordable medicines, Jon Cronshaw’s poignant tales reflect on themes of technology, memory, love, and madness with startling imagination.

The Gibson Continuum and Other Stories is a thought-provoking collection examining what it means to be human — perfect for fans of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Samuel R. Delany, and Robert A. Heinlein.

Click HERE to buy today.

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Announcing: Host and Other Post-Apocalyptic Stories

After the plagues came, humanity’s only means of survival was the hosts — but at what price?

This collection of three post-apocalyptic stories by Jon Cronshaw brings together dystopian tales of hope, horror and wonder.

In To Grip the Bright White Chains, an elderly drug dealer tries to bring hope to a hopeless world. But how will she protect the children from the drugs she sells?

In The Wizard of the Wastes, a travelling showman travels the wasteland, showing the wonders of ancient technology. How will a roadside settlement of superstitious people react to his magical extravaganza?

Click HERE to buy now.

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Announcing: Addict of the Wasteland

The addict leads a desperate life, stealing and robbing to pay for his next fix.

When the addict arrives at a settlement to hawk some stolen books, its leader offer him something he did not expect: the chance to get clean.

The addict must resist the temptations of a world without hope and live under the strict rules of settlement. And even having help on his side may not be enough…

Addict of the Wasteland is a post-apocalyptic tale about finding hope and redemption against all odds.

Download Addict of the Wasteland to survive a twisted future today!

Click HERE to get your FREE copy of Addict of the Wasteland.

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I’ve signed up for #NaNoWriMo 2016

I’ve signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) to write my debut novel, Wizard of the Wasteland.

It is the first book in a post-apocalyptic series following the adventures of a reformed drug addict surviving in a hostile world. I’m thinking of it as being like The Road meets Breaking Bad.

You can follow my progress here or by following me on Twitter @jlcronshaw.

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The Speed of Boredom

I hold the yawn in my mouth, swallow the boredom. I look up at the clock while the lecturer talks and talks. How can time crawl like this? I fall into my mind, dividing time into the objective and subjective, the measurable and the personal. Time dilates at the speed of boredom. A minute seems like five, an hour an eternity.

The thought occurs to me: what if I push the edges of my own subjective time? What if I strive for boredom? They say ‘time flies when you’re having fun’. They say ‘live fast, die young’. I say slow down, make yourself a mug of warm milk. Live slow, live forever.

I walk home, take the blandest route. There’s no scenery, nothing of interest. The journey feels longer than it should. I gain several minutes.

Enthused by my revelation, I throw out all the things I love: my books (the good ones), clothes, videogames, movies, music, the wife.

I search online for videos that will extend my life; an hour-long documentary about the history of buses in Wolverhampton from 1972 to 1976 pushes me beyond the edges of boredom. I gain so much, so many hours squeezed into one.

My mum calls me. She’s telling me about her new decking. The temptation to hold my phone away from my ear is almost unbearable. But I think about all the time I’m accumulating. I ask again about Mildred’s hip replacement. So boring.

I tell her I’ve kicked out the wife. She’s not happy. She gets upset. This drama is eating into my life, accelerating my experience of time. I hang up, drop the phone in the toilet, flush.

The lights around the house cast interesting shadows on the walls. I take them out, flush them down the toilet.

There’s a knock at the door, loud and insistent. It’s the wife. She looks sad. She’s been crying. She says she’s worried about me, that I need help. I try to ignore her, turn her words into a drone. That way I’ll gain more time.

I sit in the dark for weeks, eating only crackers and custard creams. I read junk mail, copy the letters out into a notebook, catalogue their contents, make an extensive archive. I watch a video on YouTube about Belgian politics, but turn it off when it’s a bit more interesting than I’d predicted.

There’s a knock at the door. The wife’s back. She’s crying again. My mum stands next to her. She’s crying too. There’s a policewoman, a concerned-looking doctor and an ambulance outside.

I try to explain that they’re stealing my time. They don’t listen. They say it doesn’t work like that, that they can help me. I don’t need their help.

I focus on a beige patch on the wall when I’m strapped down in the back of the ambulance and smile. They can’t take away my time that easily.

This text is copyright 2016 by Jon Cronshaw, released under a BY-NC-ND Creative Commons Licence.

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Taking on the Ray Bradbury Challenge

I’ve decided to take on the Ray Bradbury Challenge. The Challenge is designed to encourage authors to improve their reading habits and write more short fiction.

Stephen King wrote that if you do not read, you have no business writing. Nothing has taught me more about the craft of telling stories than reading the work of others. My hope is that by committing to the Challenge, I’ll be a better storyteller as a result.

The Ray Bradbury Challenge is as follows:

1) Write a short story a week for 52 weeks.
2) Read a short story, a poem and an essay every day for 1,000 days.

I’m severely visually impaired, so I do my ‘reading’ either in an audio or ebook format. I usually read one or two novels and two or three short stories each week, but seldom read poetry.

To fulfil the essay requirement, I will count listening to podcasts such as TED Talks, seminars by the Long Now Foundation, Skeptoid, BBC World Service’s Witness, BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time, BBC Radio 3’s The Essay and the like.

I will document my progress on this blog and encourage you to join me in this Challenge.

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Eating

Grandma was delicious. It was probably the paprika that gave her that extra bite. Her funeral was boring, but once the vicar had finished telling us about a woman he’d never met, the eating was wonderful.

It’s a tradition in our family to specify a recipe as part of your will. I’ve opted for a rosemary crust and three-bean salad.

To share yourself with your neighbours and loved-ones brings everyone closer together. It’s nice.

It’s when things get impersonal that I start to feel a bit weird about it. Take today: I had a great conversation with my cousin while we were working on the marinade. The last time we’d spoken was at uncle Jeff’s eating. He went for the full-on cajun-spiced, flash-fry. He was probably terrible for you, but he was so tasty. It was a real treat.

There was a woman who lived near my mother who died. She had no children or relatives. She was isolated, very lonely. It was sad.

Once the pathologist was done bagging and tagging, and the coroner released the body, she was sent in small parcels to the food-banks around the city. I don’t have a problem with this per se, but there’s something lost. It shouldn’t just be about recycling.

It’s like when there was the fire at that nursery. You couldn’t tell one toddler from another, and no one really wants to be eating some stranger’s kid. So they were shipped off to feed prisoners. I get that this is a good thing. I’m probably just being a snob, but I just find it a bit creepy.

I found out recently that my great aunt Maude is dying, and she’s opted to be stir-fried in walnut oil with garlic, chilli and ginger. I hope she hurries up: I love Chinese food.

This text is copyright 2016 by Jon Cronshaw, released under a BY-NC-ND Creative Commons Licence.

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Introducing the Short Science Fiction Review.

The Short Science Fiction Review is a podcast dedicated to providing short reviews of short science fiction stories.

I will review short stories and novellas by a diverse range of authors, from the earliest scientific romance tales to new voices in the genre.

The authors covered will reflect my own tastes. I enjoy science fiction works that are thought-provoking, mind-bending, political, satirical, or explore an interesting idea, concept or piece of technology.

It is highly unlikely that I will review stories about monsters, dinosaurs, or zombies; hard, technical scientific concepts; or action/adventure.

All of the works reviewed will have been published in established magazines or anthologies. My aim is to make the reviews sufficiently free of spoilers.

I’d love to hear from other short story fans for discussion and recommendations. You can follow me on Twitter @jlcronshaw, friend me on facebook.com/jlcronshaw or follow my Goodreads profile.

You can subscribe to the Short Science Fiction Review on iTunes HERE.

The Ray Bradbury Challenge: Day 304

Short story: Nyarlathotep by H. P. Lovecraft, listened to on the Voice Before the Void podcast. Recommended.

Poem: A Song of Swords by G. K. Chesterton, listened to through Librivox. Recommended.

Essay: Marcel Duchamp by Heather Jones, listened to on the BBC’s The Essay podcast, from June 2017. Recommended.

What is the Ray Bradbury Challenge?

The Ray Bradbury Challenge: Day 303

Short story: The One-Armed Man in the Luncheonette by Jim Fusilli, listened to on the Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine podcast, from May 2015. Recommended.

Poem: After Dark Vapours Have Oppressed Our Plains by John Keats, listened to through Librivox. Highly Recommended.

Essay: Catharine Edwards on Seneca and Facing Death, from the BBC’s A History of Ideas. Highly Recommended.

What is the Ray Bradbury Challenge?

The Ray Bradbury Challenge: Day 302

Short story: The Copper Beeches by Arthur Conan Doyle, from the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Highly Recommended.

Poem: The Show by Wilfred Owen, listened to through Librivox. Recommended.

Essay: The Power of Art by A. L. Kennedy, listened to on the BBC’s A Point of View podcast, from January 2015. Highly Recommended.

What is the Ray Bradbury Challenge?

The Ray Bradbury Challenge: Day 301

Short story: It’s a Summer Day by Andrew Sean Greer, from The New Yorker, June 2017.

Poem: Mending Wall by Robert Frost, listened to through Librivox. Highly Recommended.

Essay: Mind of Mixture – Anaxagoras, listened to on the History of Philosophy podcast, from December 2010. Recommended.

What is the Ray Bradbury Challenge?

The Ray Bradbury Challenge: Day 300

Short story: Kaleidoscope by Ray Bradbury, from The Illustrated Man and Other Stories.

Poem: The Soul Selects Her Her Own Society by Emily Dickinson, listened to through Librivox. Highly Recommended.

Essay: Proust, Pound and Chinese Poetry by Jacke Wilson, listened to on the History of Literature podcast. Recommended.

What is the Ray Bradbury Challenge?