• Endless Joke
    Endless Joke
    by David Antrobus

    Here's that writers' manual you were reaching and scrambling for. You know the one: filled with juicy writing tidbits and dripping with pop cultural snark and smartassery. Ew. Not an attractive look. But effective. And by the end, you'll either want to kiss me or kill me. With extreme prejudice. Go on. You know you want to.

  • Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip
    Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip
    by David Antrobus

    Please click on the above thumbnail to buy my short, intense nonfiction book featuring 9/11 and trauma. It's less than the price of a cup of coffee... and contains fewer calories. Although, unlike most caffeine boosts, it might make you cry.

  • Music Speaks
    Music Speaks
    by LB Clark

    My story "Solo" appears in this excellent music charity anthology, Music Speaks. It is an odd hybrid of the darkly comic and the eerily apocalyptic... with a musical theme. Aw, rather than me explain it, just read it. Okay, uh, please?

  • First Time Dead 3 (Volume 3)
    First Time Dead 3 (Volume 3)
    by Sybil Wilen, P. J. Ruce, Jeffrey McDonald, John Page, Susan Burdorf, Christina Gavi, David Alexander, Joanna Parypinski, Jack Flynn, Graeme Edwardson, David Antrobus, Jason Bailey, Xavier Axelson

    My story "Unquiet Slumbers" appears in the zombie anthology First Time Dead, Volume 3. It spills blood, gore and genuine tears of sorrow. Anyway, buy this stellar anthology and judge for yourself.

  • Seasons
    by David Antrobus, Edward Lorn, JD Mader, Jo-Anne Teal

    Four stories, four writers, four seasons. Characters broken by life, although not necessarily beaten. Are the seasons reminders of our growth or a glimpse of our slow decay?

  • Indies Unlimited: 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology
    Indies Unlimited: 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology
    Indies Unlimited

    I have two stories in this delightful compendium of every 2012 winner of their Flash Fiction Challenge—one a nasty little horror short, the other an amusing misadventure of Og the caveman, his first appearance.

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Three In One Week

Reviews of Dissolute Kinship, that is. Varying from the indepth to the brief, all three of them kind and thoughtful and fair. Honestly, I wish I could express the right degree of gratitude toward people who not only bother to read my work, but who then go the extra mile and review it. I hear too many authors complaining about how too few readers review after reading. Well, how often does any one of us take that extra step? I do on occasion, but certainly not for every book. Reviews are gold, but they're not an automatic right.

Anyway to the first: Jim Devitt succinctly delivers the following, in a generous 5-Star review entitled A Grand Perspective:

David Antrobus captures the essence of community and perspective in this vivid account of 9-11. The pages come alive, not with destruction and tragedy, but with hope and meaning. The author opens his mind and feelings, leading us through the process from an outsider's point of view. In the end, he helps us understand by painting a masterpiece with words. He shares with us everything, from the guilt felt while viewing ground zero to the greater understanding how human lives are interconnected. Great job, Antrobus.

I have to say I'm extremely gratified how many readers of this little book get what I was attempting to do, that it was never solely about the actual attacks, but about how we moved on and how we created new connections after being brought together in such initially appalling circumstances.

Okay, on to the next. A.B. Shepherd, in a similarly brief but insightful assessment, has this to say:

This book focuses on the devastation he finds when he gets to New York City following the events of September 11, 2001 and the affecting and poignant way he has of describing what he sees. For some people, like me, who still find the devastation of that day very difficult to deal with, this sometimes evoked more emotion than I expected.

If you want to read a well written first-hand perspective of the visual aftermath of 9/11 this is an excellent book. A literary triumph. It's short length is not a detriment. My only criticism is the off-hand introduction of some very relevant emails that David sent to friends at the time. I feel they could have been incorporated a little more seamlessly.

Fair point about the emails, by the way. As much as they illustrate the more raw, unedited version of my reactions to events and scenes, I never did manage to blend them in a wholly satisfying way.

And finally, Carolyn Steele brings all her experience with trauma to bear in a very attentive and lengthy analysis of my book. I won't reproduce the entire thing here, but if you're interested, check out the link to Carolyn's blog. I will, however, quote some of my favourite parts of her astonishingly empathic response, many of which choked me up, quite frankly:

[T]he traveller in question is a poet, a philosopher and somewhat acquainted with trauma and you have a book that transcends genres such as ‘memoir’ or ‘travelogue’ and even ‘poetry’. It is simply unique.

As the narrative takes us deep into Manhattan, the city of New York becomes a character in its own right. Someone you become part of, convulsed with unfathomable grief.

One damaged soul who comprehends the need for repetition, the importance  of outing the trauma, more than most of us…gave the city the only gift he had. When he mentions a sense of shame for having been a tourist in those terrible days, we realise that his processing is not yet done. One day the author will understand that he was the right person in the right place, giving of himself for people who had no more idea than he did why he was there.

I cannot tell you that you will enjoy this book, but I can tell you that you won’t regret reading it. And that you will reread it more than once.

This book is a piece of poetry and a testament to what it means to be human.

See? I defy anyone to not be moved by her words. The bonus is that Carolyn also interviewed me for a podcast to be broadcast soon (watch this space for developments) and if you can get past my annoying Anglo-Canuck accent, you will almost certainly be afforded more insight into the experiences surrounding that maddening little book (and its upcoming sequel).

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also writes for Indies Unlimited and BlergPop. Be sure to check out his work there if you like what you read here.


Short Story Accepted

I had my short story "Unquiet Sleepers" accepted by May December Publications third anthology of debut zombie writers First Time Dead, Volume 3.

Indies Unlimited were also kind enough to announce it today:

Indies Unlimited staff writer David Antrobus is happy to announce that his short story “Unquiet Slumbers” has been accepted for inclusion in the May December Publications new horror anthology First Time Dead, Volume 3. The book is now available for Kindle on

David has written numerous short stories which loosely belong to the horror/dark fiction genre, but this is his first published zombie story. It is the post-apocalyptic tale of a suburban soccer mom who gets the virus and, while featuring the familiar gut-churning tropes required by fans of zombie fiction, the slow disintegration of her world is surprisingly lyrical and poignant, yet still gory.

As that writeup alludes to, I wanted to write a zombie story that doesn't simply wallow in the gore—although it does that, too, of course—but that locates the bleak heart of something I've always believed about this genre; that there's a deep sadness at the core of it, that the slow leaching of humanity from its victims is both harrowing and steeped in sorrow. So, as fun as it was to play with the idea of a zombie suburbanite/soccer mom (somebody said I should have titled it "ZILF"), I wanted to move slowly away from the goofy premise and explore those more sober and sobering aspects.

If you get around to reading it, let me know whether I succeeded, or just your thoughts on the story in general. It's not often I say this about anything I write, especially fiction, but I am fairly proud of that one.

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also writes for Indies Unlimited and BlergPop. Be sure to check out his work there if you like what you read here.



At first, we are voyeurs here on the street, chilled, reluctant.

Inside, Alicia is tapping polyrhythms with her broken nails on the display case, her eyes oscillating wildly, like those of a malfunctioning robot. The beaded change purse she pulls from the pocket of her torn flannel shirt is open like a bodysnatcher’s mouth. Someone asks her if she’s being helped. She glowers, says nothing, takes out a matchbook from the same breast pocket and reads the scrawl inside its fold, her other hand tucking a stray wisp of dirty blonde hair behind her stud-and-hoop ravaged ear.

She mimes a phone, thumb and pinkie aggressively extended, but is rebuffed by bovine looks. Her eyes roll like faraway thunder. Her fleeting anger is a tiny lightning stab. It is there, then it is gone.

But they see it, these bakery workers, just as we enter the store.  A small neat man appears, summoned from the labyrinthine recesses, from its brain department as opposed to its hands department. Ah, permission. A flint sparks in her eyes. Powder clouds of fine-ground sugar and flour float in the air. The aroma is as visceral as a diva’s swan song, powerful, melodramatic, tragically sweet.

However this plays out, frosted icing or lime filling, Alicia-baby will dine on something this afternoon.

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also writes for Indies Unlimited and BlergPop. Be sure to check out his work there if you like what you read here.


On The Bench

Late autumn afternoon, Paris. A low bench – its blockiness a predictable facsimile of the architectural backdrop – seats two people who gaze intently at a notebook in the man’s hands.


Why’s he sitting so I have to perch right at the edge of this damn bench? It’s uncomfortable enough, this low to the ground, with no back to rest on. Who designs this shit? What the hell is wrong with this city? I need to speak:

“So that was the name he was using?”


“We probably shouldn’t say it out loud, now that…”

“No, absolutely. Let’s refer to him as Dante.”


“Mmmm. Seems darkly poetic, with a trace of sulfur or something.”



“Nothing, doesn’t matter.”

And what’s with the prim pose, bony knees all hunched together like that? Or those skinny arms? This pointing with his pinky finger all of a sudden? He never does that. All this stupid melodrama and subterfuge. This “meet me at precisely 6:00 pm on the corner of Rue Merde du Taureau” bullshit. God, he’s creeping me out. And after what he did, too. Am I an ingrate? He does something like this (for me!) and all I want to do is scream at him to stop fucking crowding me and let me get back to my trashy paperback! His maps and charts just seem so prissy and irrelevant. Damn.


She must be overwhelmed. It’s the residual trauma, has to be. I don’t think she could’ve absorbed the enormity of it yet, of what I did for her: tracking the sick fuck down, all the way from Waukegan to the farmhouse just outside Fontainebleau; feigning long-lost camaraderie, then ending it with one wrenching thrust and twist of a hunting knife. Christ, does she think that was easy? Does she think there isn’t a moment when the memory of that ripping, bursting of warm innards giving way doesn’t invade my daily thoughts? That look in his eyes? Fuck! This reunion isn’t going how I imagined.

“You seem angry.”

“No, no, Martin, I’m not, really.”

“Isn’t this what you wanted?”

“What exactly?”

“This ending, here, in Paris, just as we planned a year ago. Here, on this bench, our trials over, justice served. Triumphant. Whatever.”

“You really did it, didn’t you?”

Yes. Yes. Except the word, waylaid by sudden emotion, merely ghosts past my lips. She doesn’t understand.

“You killed him.”

“He raped you.”

“Martin, you killed him. He was your father, too.”

Yes. Yes, he was.

The dark gauze of a viola drifts from gaps in the many panes behind them. Something dense and hulking reflects from the window itself. Traffic stains, like crime-scene blood-spatter, fan outward from the base of the wall to their left. The ground is uneven. Recessed lights prepare to illuminate. Or cast shadows. A cello joins the viola. It dawns on them simultaneously that a) they need to get home, and b) they’re no longer at all sure what that even means.

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A version of this short story appeared on BlergPop on 28 April, 2012. also writes for Indies Unlimited and BlergPop. Be sure to check out his work there if you like what you read here.


Ten Minutes

A ten minute writing exercise we did on BlergPop.

5:10 p.m.

The light outside is pale and delicate but the sky is oddly dark. There is nobody in the street. I hate the sight of that yellow house with the stupid giant Monarch butterflies on the side. But the branches have light green frosting, the instrument of nature tuning itself for the spring crescendo.

There are sounds above my head, footsteps on hardwood floors, happy married sounds. I can’t resent it. I just can’t bring myself to.

My keyboard is so dirty. I can’t actually believe how, all of a sudden, I can objectively see the ingrained dirt of food and drink spills, splashes. It’s disgusting.

What will I eat tonight? What is everyone eating? What are they eating in Paris now? It’s past one a.m. there. Maybe someone is drinking from a great litre stein filled with lager on the Champs Elysees. What about Marseilles? That is the France I would prefer right now, the smoky, jazz-filled night. The seediness around the next corner. Danger.

We have divided this world into arbitrary parts. We guard these artificial lines like they matter. They don’t matter. We shoot at others across these lines, if not with rifles with words. Harsh words. We blame in place of accept. We have all done this. When we fall victim to it, we pause. If we are not cowards, we learn to do it to others less. Most people, however, are cowards. They pass on the hurt instead of saying “no,” gently “no,” we’ll stop that here. Erase that line. Step across it, friend.

I have less than three minutes to finish this piece.

What would I like to say?

The outside light flattened out, became an old faded photograph. I don’t even hear a single dog barking. It’s as if I am trapped inside something from the past that can’t get here, can’t find its way to the present and is fading away because it knows something it can’t impart, as if in possession of some terrible secret it is doomed to keep to itself.

And now, the last minute has sounded. It’s all over.

5:20 p.m.

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also writes for Indies Unlimited and BlergPop. Be sure to check out his work there if you like what you read here.