After the publication of his first novella Torment in 2009, Australian author Greg Chapman shifts gears in a largely new direction and creates, via The Noctuary, a dark and wandering homage to the tales of old to have inspired him on his journey to publication. Dedicated to both E.A Poe and Clive Barker, respectively, a reader will find snapshots of both those muses layered throughout the writing style but interspersed with a brand new voice slowly gaining louder momentum and pitch with each new story to come along.
Simon Ryan is a strung out writer looking to escape the mundane world of writing cheesy biographies for pittance. He dreams of finding an audience for his darker work that would validate his talent as a scribe for fiction. A human audience. What he soon discovers is there is another audience of a different being entirely … one that lives just beyond the curtain of night and waits patiently for the right voice to come along. His name is Meknok, and he resides in Hell.
A demon muse appearing to would-be scribes in physical form, the creature offers Simon a chance to not only pen tales of horror, but to rewrite history itself for the entertainment of Hell’s legions. Soon Simon is battling a force of wills that will not only see him travel back in time to right childhoods wrongs – but he will walk the halls of purgatory itself and come to understand those who reside there are even more devious in true form than the most sophisticated imaginings of our greatest horror writers.
Like his previous debut, The Noctuary is a short excursion – but it will certainly appeal to all the fledgling dark fiction writers out there. Whether it’s Stephen King composing about the creative process or someone like Greg Chapman, there is something oddly comforting about taking a journey encapsulating the inventive pain some of us know all too well. Simon Ryan is the everyman in every writer – and a character resembling the author’s profile enough that at times The Noctuary leans more toward metafiction. Here, Greg has created the infant seeds of a new mythology, one rich enough for an encore performance.
There are a number of up and coming writers in the Australian echelon deserving of serious attention, and Greg Chapman is at the top of my list to break through sooner rather than later. His stories are compulsory mainstream – yet have just enough unorthodox slippage in the narration to appeal to an alternative audience. Taking off my professional voice I will state that I know Greg Chapman somewhat, and he is a person that cares about his audience and work. A more authentic writer is hard to come by.
The Noctuary is available now in both print and digital formats.