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dark fiction & other materials

j. ashley smith

J. Ashley Smith is a British–Australian writer of dark fiction and other materials.

J. was born in Cambridge, UK, and spent his childhood hiding with imaginary companions in the foundations of an Edwardian townhouse. He studied film and creative writing, then lost fifteen years to the British indie music scene, clothed in unfashionable sweaters, releasing unpopular records. He now lives with his wife and two sons in the suburbs of North Canberra, gathering moth dust, tormented by the desolation of telegraph wires and whispers from the Hills Hoist.

J.’s story Old Growth won the SQ Mag Story Quest Short Story Contest 2016. On The Line, won the Australian Horror Writers Association Short Story Competition 2015. Both stories have been shortlisted for Best Horror Short Story in the 2017 Aurealis Awards. Duplicity has been shortlisted for Best Fantasy Short Story.

J. haunts the internet as @SpookTapes.


The Further Shore, Bourbon Penn 15 (tbc)

On The Line, Midnight Echo 12 (December 2017)
Shortlisted for Best Horror Short Story, 2017 Aurealis Awards
Winner AHWA Short Story Competition (2015)

Duplicity, Dimension6 (July 2017)
Shortlisted for Best Fantasy Short Story, 2017 Aurealis Awards

Old GrowthSQ Mag 31 (June 2017),
Shortlisted for Best Horror Short Story, 2017 Aurealis Awards
Winner SQ Mag Story Quest Short Story Competition (2016)

Our Last MealIn Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep (September 2015)

To The Music We HearHeater Vol.3 No.2 (March 2015)

apocalypse then

The Cold War is over, and with it the golden age of atomic fiction. But are we really over our fear of nuclear war? Some thoughts on the end of days, survival narratives, and teething babies. Three AM with a teething baby. It may not surprise you to learn that my...

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a case for books

Are words enough? Or do books themselves contribute to our experience, enjoyment and ability to remember once they’re back on the shelf? Our bookcases are just too small. Or too few. Or something. They’re already over-stacked, yet seem daily to accrete new piles to...

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never trust an englishman with a book…

It’s been a long time since I’ve read an honest-to-goodness page-turner. Like the best thrillers, Alan Baxter's Bound drops you in the thick of the action from the very first sentence and doesn’t let up until the book is closed. But, unlike a simple airport potboiler,...

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last year, when we were young

I should have written this review months ago. It was sometime in June that I finished Andrew J McKiernan’s Last Year, When We Were Young and it’s close on September now, and in all that time I’ve been mulling on what I could possibly write that might do justice to...

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WiHM7 review #3: The Road by Amanda J. Spedding

I thought I was getting off lightly this week. When The Road To Golgotha, Cohesion Comics’ first double A-side release, turned up on my doorstep I figured it would be a breeze. There’s less to read. There’s pictures. Easy. Nope. Amanda J. Spedding’s tale The Road is...

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WiHM7 review #1: Fence Lines by Joanne Anderton

It was hard to choose which story to review from Joanne Anderton’s award-winning collection, The Bone Chime Song. So many, gnarled, unusual tales, so many weird, memorable worlds, each rendered in spare, vivid prose. Fence Lines drew short straw for being one of the...

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judge not… oh, wait…

Here's a bit of exciting news... Zoe Downer, Lee Murray and I will be judging the 2016 AHWA Flash Fiction and Short Story Competition. Not sure what I'm letting myself in for, but looking forward to it...

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our last meal

In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep is unleashed today! To celebrate, I’ve knocked together a little audio teaser of my story, Our Last Meal. You can listen to it here, or download to keep forever. Enjoy! And if you want to read more, you can purchase your copy of...

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