andrew leon hudson

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by Andrew Leon Hudson

I have a little news: in 2013 I had a short story included in an anthology – called Lucky or Unlucky? Thirteen Stories of Fate - and very proud of it I was too. Well, in 2014 I’m going to be in a follow up anthology marking the centenary of World War One, and it could be available before the month is out.

This is an Alternate History collection, so instead of the War to End All Wars, we have…

There are seven stories in the collection, all written by members of the forum. Wilson Geiger and I were both in the last volume, and are joined this time by Igor Ljubuncic, Lee Swift, Dan Beiger, and the double-headed entity G. L. Lathian. Our headliner is Elizabeth Moon, a fine science fiction author and winner of the 2003 Nebula award for The Speed of Dark, a novel about the future of autism that I happen to really like.

As with the previous anthology, some of the proceeds from Wars to End All Wars will be going to charity – this time, we’re supporting Médecins Sans Frontières (aka Doctors Without Borders), which also happens to be my personal charity of preference, so all things considered I’m delighted to be involved. I hope you’ll buy a copy, links to follow when we’re published…

The Glass Sealing

by Andrew Leon Hudson




Enterprising engineer Arthur Singleton is on the verge of achieving all his dreams when they are snatched away from him. His sympathies for the plight of mistreated workers lead him to speak up in their support, but for doing so he is made a scapegoat by the heads of industry, falsely accused of inciting a riot which they orchestrated to keep the people in their place. With his reputation ruined and his career in tatters, Singleton vanishes into the squalid streets of Southwatch, determined to make a difference where it really counts: in the lives of ordinary men and women, forgotten or ignored by those who live in comfort and luxury above the Dark Cloud. 

Years later Singleton emerges from obscurity again as a secret leader in the Workers’ Movement, an underground protest organisation dedicated to challenging the status quo–but no change comes easy, especially when it threatens the profits of the wealthy. Looking down on their activities is Jocelyn Duville, heiress to a unique airborne transportation empire, who once considered Singleton more than a colleague and was an unwitting player in his wrongful disgrace. Now a darling of high society, Jocelyn is far from a conventional figure herself, refusing to simply marry and give up her independence. She has big plans for Southwatch, a proposal that will change the face of the city and write her name in the history books in the process. But her goals epitomise everything the Workers’ Movement struggles against, and they will not stand by and watch without a fight. 

However, these are not the only forces at play. Street gangs, the city government, and the strange, inhuman beings that live in Southwatch’s deep shadows all have vested interests in the outcome of the building conflict. Arthur Singleton and Jocelyn Duville will face off across a chasm of class, each wielding very different kinds of power–unaware that they are pitted against each other, and of the terrible consequences their actions will have on the city they both love.


Amazon UK    |    Amazon US    |    Amazon ES

Barnes & NobleSmashwords | MUSA | Goodreads

Countdown: Three, Two, One…

by Andrew Leon Hudson

On January 4th, 2013, I learned that Musa Publishing planned to launch a Steampunk shared world project.

On May 23rd, 2014, The Glass Sealing will become the third title of The Darkside Codex.

What do I hear you cry?


You won’t have to for long…

Countdown: Four…

by Andrew Leon Hudson

This is the week that was - the last week I wasn’t a novelist! But before I wave goodbye to the life I lived before…

The Darkside Codex has a large body of “canon” characters for the visiting writers to use as they see fit – providing they don’t spoil the fun for whoever follows them, that is. However, every writer is free to create their own inhabitants of Southwatch, and those we can treat as well or as badly as we might want!

So, I’d like to introduce the three main characters that I’ll be tormenting in the pages of The Glass Sealing: Arthur Marlen Singleton, Jocelyn Melody Duville, and Ben Shay.

TGS Trio

Not necessarily how I imagined they’d look, but they look the part all the same!

Arthur Marlen Singleton

Sole child of hard-working, middle class parents, Arthur Singleton was a talented student and secured a place at one of Southwatch’s fine universities to study engineering – but he never forgot his origins and took to his studies with a serious dedication his mother and father would have approved of. Tall and pale beneath dark, dishevelled hair, he stood out in the corridors of learning and was similarly marked as a rising star in academia. He completed his degree and immediately joined the faculty, content to teach the odd class, grade student papers and pursue his own interests – which is to say, putting his skills into practical effect.

And doing exactly that threatens to lift Singleton out of dusty obscurity and into the big time, when his work catches the eye of Martin Duville, the moderately wealthy owner of unique transportation company. He is given a chance to break from his past (and the easy safety of university life) and prove himself in the real world. However, in the real world the rich sit on top of the pile and everyone else does a hard day’s work below them. A wise man would bear that in mind before he goes opening his mouth…

Jocelyn Melody Duville

A diminutive figure with striking rather than beautiful features, Jocelyn Duville is high society by birth but a businesswoman at heart - and she refuses to conform to the expectations of her class, at least regarding her gender. Heiress to the Duville transportation “empire”, a paltry fleet of reconfigured airships considered by its more conventional rivals as ill-suited to their new purpose, Jocelyn’s keen mind for business transforms the company’s fortunes. Suddenly her inheritance looks like a fine dowry, but Jocelyn subtly deflects any potential marital entanglements in favour of conducting romance on her own terms – much as she does in business.

Jocelyn’s success derives from a willingness to think creatively, to challenge the status quo; but when a certain Mr. Singleton encourages her to consider the subject of workers’ rights, he inadvertently exposes her to an uglier side of the lower classes and she is finally driven onto a more traditional path, putting such nonsense behind her. Then Jocelyn receives an offer she can’t refuse. It seems not all her privileged peers are so eager to merely toe the social line: a small number work in secret to champion the interests of Southwatch, even against the will of the city’s officials. They invite Jocelyn to join them, gifting her the opportunity to achieve more than she ever could alone – but her proposal in return is beyond even their expectations…

Ben Shay

Ben was born an impoverished Bricktowner and learned to blend into the background to avoid childhood beatings, first from his father and then from his fellow slum-dogs. He grew up to be the perfect informant for one of Southwatch’s street gangs, flawlessly melting into crowds and reporting back on everything he heard – eavesdropping on disgruntled factory workers, for example, so his intimidating boss can send a pack of strike-breakers in timely fashion. Being unobtrusive isn’t his only skill, mind, though it’s the only one he shares with his employer. He also has a handy knack for finding hard-to-spot things, a useful trick he keeps under his hat.

Now in his late-twenties, Ben is an average-looking type who rarely stands out and gets noticed, provided he keeps to the right kind of environment. This habit is compromised when he is given an unusual new assignment: instead of keeping a low profile, and one ear to the ground, Ben is to babysit a person of interest – an engineer with dubious notions of social equality. And because Ben knows what’s good for himself he does what he’s told, even though he can’t imagine what the leader of a street gang might want with some toff who calls himself “Arthur Marlen”


There’s plenty more where they came from… and I hope that whets your appetite, because The Glass Sealing will be available to read at the end of this week!


Countdown: Five…

by Andrew Leon Hudson

It’s just one week until The Glass Sealing is published - but before that happens, I want to introduce you to the world I was allowed to play around in.

The Darkside Codex is a shared world project: that is to say, the details of the world were created independently of any particular story, with the intention of allowing various writers to contribute to an ever increasing corpus of fantastical fiction. In the past there have been some notable shared world projects – Bordertown, Thieves’ World and The Fleet are the ones that most get mentioned – the hope is this one will be too.

So, without further ado:

Welcome to Southwatch!

Imagine a city of high towers, built over the ancient ruins of its predecessor. At its heart a huge steamworks provides power to the entire city, and a vast network of tunnels, sewers, caverns and more provide a home for myriad creatures that prefer to avoid the sun. But the sun doesn’t reach far in Southwatch.

The upper reaches of the city go by the name of the Aerie, and the Aerie shines in the daylight. Between the tower peaks glide dirigibles constructed of the unique alloy Bessem, glowing like jewels and home to only the wealthiest of citizens. In their midst two stand out: the Caelimane Temple, an enormous vessel housing thousands of priests devoted to the sun goddess Dione, and the airship-palace of the baron, absolute ruler of the city – though which of these truly wields most influence is a matter of opinion.

Aerial walkways, cable-cars and gyrocopters provide less elaborate means of getting around the heights of the city, and in the Aerie proximity to the baron’s airship reflects the prestige of the city’s most important families, but in Southwatch there is a more general indicator of significance: altitude. As one descends towards the streets far below, one’s position in the social hierarchy also falls. The gradient between the upper classes and the lower may be a subtle one, but one dividing line is not: the Dark Cloud, a free-floating mess of toxic smog that mars the city’s image like a cancerous shadow on an X-ray. This is the real city of Southwatch.

At ground level, the streets are bustling with steam- and clockwork-powered vehicles and, amongst the thronging pedestrians, primitive robots and other automatons hurry on the business of their owners. Here, Southwatch’s beauty is nowhere to be seen. In the Aerie the sun shines freely. Below the Dark Cloud, the city endures perpetual twilight, and the air is so fouled by deposits from above that the darksiders – as they are known – must wear breathing apparatus at all times if they are to have any hope of leading a long and fruitful life. But there are other threats to a person’s health than just going outside without a working mask.

Southwatch is a city of intrigues. From the financial district of Downtown to the docks and the Bricktown slums, there are a thousand ways to put a foot wrong and find yourself out of your depth. Gangs struggle for territory, politicians and businessmen vie for power and profits, and the ordinary people do what they are told to, if they have any common sense. And bubbling away beneath everything else is the Underground, that half-mapped warren where visitors should take great care they don’t attract the attention of other, perhaps less human, dangers…

However, this is also a place of endless potential. Salesmen and innovators ply their wares, inventors and scientists push back the boundaries of what is known, and artisans, artists and performers can always find an audience – maybe even a wealthy patron. Whatever else they might think or fear, the people of Southwatch know one thing for sure: they live in the most interesting city in the empire, bar none.

And it’s good when life is interesting. Isn’t it?

My gratitude goes to Ruslan Grebeshkov (Руслан Гребешков) for licensing that great steampunky image through Creative Commons. Click on the picture (or follow this link) and you can see just how skilled this piece of compositing is.


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