» Prose » Short Stories

As a break from poetry, I often write short stories, usually very, very short. These include a man inadvertently making his way back to the wrong village in 17th Century rural Oxfordshire, a recently-deceased atheist having a tête-à-tête with God and a man struggling to square up to his reflection in the reception area of a large global business. After a prolonged wrestle, the collection was released in November 2012.

In a perceptive review on altblackpool, Vicky Ellis writes

Huxley, Orwell, Asimov, Hawthorne, Shelley, Dick, Adams, Abbott, Wells, Gaiman...Hadley.

If there's one word which binds this eclectic group it must be curiosity. The joy of infinite possibilities in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide series, the worryingly plausible dystopia in Phillip K Dick's Bladerunner, the weight of ethical ambiguity in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; the enduring appeal of science fiction lies, I think, in both the thrill of new ideas and the proximity of fantasy to reality. It is this slight gasp between the two which forms the crux of Keeping Light, the title story from Norman Hadley's short story collection, in which a scientist accidentally discovers a method for seeing into the past.

Scientific and philosophical intrigues permeate the book...CLICK TO READ THE WHOLE REVIEW

Sample story, "Pascal's Wager", based on the idea that it's strategically advantageous to believe in God. If you're right, you go to heaven when you die, because God rewards faith. If you're wrong, there's no downside. The notion is attributed to French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662. Scroll down to read the story.

Super-Short Story - The Hair Affair

When Rhys discovered he was having an affair, he was high on Helvellyn with a woman's hair clinging to his fleece. He held up the incriminating amber strand, imagining a gasp from the gallery in a courtroom drama.

An affair; the thought delighted him. On returning to the valley he would go to her, stealthily. Perhaps he would possess her. He would count himself blessed to be still married to her after all these years. And, even on high, he would carry her token.

Video extracts, including Mollie Baxter performing one of my stories, "Keeping Light," dramatised by Blackpool playwright David Riley.

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