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The Noctuary

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Simon Ryan is Hell’s new scribe…the safety of our souls will depend on his every word.

Struggling writer Simon Ryan’s life has gone to Hell.

Shadows are pouring into his reality and his words are not his own anymore. He has been chosen to become a scribe for some of the worst creatures of the Underworld–the ones whose sole purpose is to torment human souls–The Dark Muses.

As Simon writes he falls deeper into the abyss and before long he has no sense of what is real. With the help of another scribe, old and mutilated, Simon comes to discover that his writing can mould people and places–that he can write things out of existence.

To become a scribe he has to pass a test and the Muses offer him a chance to rewrite his horrible past. All Simon has to decide is how the story ends.

56 pages, ebook

First published November 24, 2011

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About the author

Greg Chapman

96 books103 followers
Two-time international Bram Stoker Award-nominee®*, Greg Chapman is a horror author and artist based in Queensland, Australia.

Greg is the author of several novels, novellas and short stories, including his award-nominated debut novel, Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum) and collections, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares (Specul8 Publishing) and This Sublime Darkness and Other Dark Stories (Things in the Well Publications).

He is also a horror artist and his first graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, (McFarland & Company) written by authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, won the Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel category at the Bram Stoker Awards® in 2013.

He was also the President of the Australasian Horror Writers Association from 2017-2020.

* Superior Achievement in a First Novel for Hollow House (2016) and
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, for “The Book of Last Words” (2019)

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5 stars
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10 (41%)
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2 (8%)
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Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews
Profile Image for Frank Errington.
738 reviews56 followers
March 12, 2012
Aussie horror writer, Greg Chapman, is someone worth paying attention to. The name may not be familiar to you right now, but it soon will be. Both a talented artist, currently working on illustrations for a graphic novel on the history of witchcraft persecutions from horror legends Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton and now an up and coming novelist in his own right. I first read Chapman in 2011 when his Novella, "Torment" was published in March. "Torment" was a terrific ghost story set in Scotland. Still available in both paperback and for the Kindle.

"The Noctuary" takes us in a different direction, but is every bit as good. It all starts when writer , Simon Ryan, starts conversing with his muse who reveals himself as Meknok, the thing in his dreams. It is easy to immerse ones self in the world Chapman has created here.

Along the way Simon Ryan meets Henry Schiller, another writer, and he learns that his soul is on the line, unless he writes for Meknok. Meknok's what you call a Dark Muse - one of the nine muses, whose soul task is to inspire mankind to darkness.

Ryan has a chance to rewrite his own history, in his own blood, something that he would love to do, given is disturbing past. What follows is a delicious story told to perfection. So much so, that I eagerly await Greg Chapman's next work. I'm hoping for a novel soon. Something to really sink my teeth into. "The Noctuary" is published by Damnation books and is available for the Kindle at Amazon.com.
Profile Image for Cameron Trost.
Author 49 books435 followers
November 24, 2011
The Noctuary is a haunting and hard-hitting tale of horror in the demonic tradition of Clive Barker. It carries the reader on a roller-coaster ride that weaves through the fabric separating reality from the hellish imaginary. Like Simon Ryan, Greg Chapman is striving to blossom as a writer - and this novella shows us that he is succeeding in his endeavour. However, unlike Simon, Greg does this without the help of Meknok... or does he?
Profile Image for Benjamin Ethridge.
Author 30 books234 followers
January 17, 2012
Fantastic, gory, intense, with imagery you can take to bed with you at night, Chapman has created a novella that is insistently relentless and grim. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Heavensent1.
253 reviews23 followers
December 9, 2011
The Noctuary is a Horror Novella.

Simon is an author with writer's block; he is unable to put onto paper what he imagines in his mind. On the night that Meknok arrives, everything Simon once knew, no longer holds true.

After his first encounter, Simon begins to see things in a different view, prostitutes become oozing, festering demons and the streets seem to be made of flesh. Feeling he is losing his mind, he stops in Marci's diner for a bite to eat and to gather his thoughts.

Henry Schiller knows exactly what Simon is going through, for he too is a protege of Meknok's and Henry believes that Simon should realize what he is getting himself into. Taking Simon back to his apartment, Simon comes to realize he is about to sell his soul in order to share his muse.

Meknok is one of the nine Dark Muses; those who bring anarchy and chaos through creative mediums in order to remove the souls of their hapless victims. Meknok's newest "pet" is Simon; Meknok believes Simon has the power to recreate all that he writes. Whatever Simon envisions and sets to paper, appears to occur in real life.

After a horrifying experience with his publisher, Christine, Simon demands that Meknok tell him the truth about everything, or no matter what the cost, Simon will never put pen to paper again. Each of the Dark Muses puts a stake into Simon and now his soul is on the line. Will Simon write the ultimate dark tale, the one that would ruin mankind forever or will his moral soul save the destruction of everyone around him?

I thought this was a well delivered novella that had enough creep to keep you reading. I enjoyed the whole premise of the plot and the twists, turns and mind-freaks kept you guessing as to what the final outcome would be.

I like Simon and reading of his struggles with the demons within himself and how his thoughts and actions were shared with the reader. I thought Meknok was a decent antagonist with all his doom and gloom and equally enjoyed his presence as I did the other muses. Their dark history was interesting to read.

There were a few issues with dialogue, sometimes it appeared trite and choppy, and other times forced, like the author wasn't quite sure what he wanted his characters to say. Though I found this a hindrance, I am sure it wouldn't be noticed by most readers.

I would give The Noctuary a four out of five stars. I enjoyed the plot and the outcome was equally pleasing, however, the dialogue fell short for me. It's not a very long read and could be enjoyed in one sitting, especially at night, when your all alone. There's just something about reading demons that requires a certain ambiance.
Profile Image for David Watson.
434 reviews20 followers
February 20, 2013
I recently read The Noctuary by Greg Chapman which I think is my favorite of Greg's works. Simon Ryan is a lost soul and a troubled writer. Things are about to change for Simon because he has unknowingly conjured Meknok, an 8 foot tall dark muse from hell that has plans on using Simon to inspire mankind to a new age of darkness. Now everything that Simon writes comes true and he's not sure what is real or not.

As a test to see how good of a writer he really is, he goes to hell and meets the other dark muses and is given a chance to rewrite his disturbing and violent past. Everything has a price and things never turn out like you want them to, What Simon writes about may bring him more darkness and despair then he can handle.

The best part of The Noctuary was Simon, he is a character that is in constant conflict. He has become something that he doesn't want to be, but he is powerless to change it. This doesn't stop him from trying to change and that is what makes him a great character, you root for him even though you realize he doesn't have a chance. Towards the end there was a scene I loved where he is contemplating murdering someone and asks himself if he does this will he be like the person who ruined his life? I also liked the relationship between Simon and his sister, one scene in particular that I enjoyed was when their eyes meet for a second right before something tragic happens.

The way Simon writes in the story is beautifully done and had me thinking about the works of Edgar Allen Poe. I also loved the description of hell and hearing about the mythology behind the muses. Greg did a great job with atmosphere in this book and there were some truly terrifying moments in the story. The Noctuary has all the elements to making a perfect horror story. Its stories like this that remind me why horror is my favorite genre and this is a story that all horror fans will enjoy.
Profile Image for Lucy Dosch (EBookObsessed).
1,068 reviews21 followers
May 25, 2012
The Noctuary is a short story in the genre of Horror. Simon Ryan is a writer who has had a traumatic childhood. His dark writings have attacked the attention of one of the Dark Muses from Hell. To prove to Simon his potential writing powers, Meknok gives Simon an opportunity to re-write his childhood in exchange for becoming a scribe for Meknok. Simon learns that trying to re-write your past and control your life is a lot harder then the stroke of a pen.

As a long time fan of Stephen King, I have read many, many of these bizarre story concepts, and I will admit at the end I had to stop a moment and think about the story as a whole. For a short story, it is broken up into two parts: one where Simon meets the dark muse who is trying to tempt Simon to write dark stories for him; and the second part is where Simon tries to re-write his past. Both parts of the story were very well written, and show that Greg can write various types of horror stories, one being the creepy, boogeyman hiding in the closet type, and the almost scarier, dangerous human with no moral compass and their only pleasure is in the fear and pain they cause others.

It was an intriguing story and gives us a taste of Greg Chapman’s writing talent.

My only issue is that this short story is only 56 pages, but is listed on Amazon for $4.50 which seems very, very steep for a short story.

Received review copy from the author. Thank you.

see more at http://ebookobsessed.com.
Profile Image for Misty Rayburn.
Author 1 book16 followers
December 16, 2011
I’ve been a fan of the horror genre for a long time. Maybe I should say practically since I was in diapers. When you’re a fan that long, it’s hard to be impressed. It takes a serious master of the genre to pull out all the stops and paint something really wicked. That something wicked won’t make us fearful, nuh uh not us hardcore fans. It’ll make us grin wickedly with delight and that’s exactly what I did as I read The Noctuary.

I felt a pull towards this story. When I saw the cover and read the synopsis, I knew I had to read it. Something gave me the vibe that this was going to be really intriguing. Perhaps I could chalk it up to the fact that I as a writer am having problems with my own muses.

Simon’s haunting muse makes mine look like playful kitty cats. It’s dark and twisted, with quill tips for fingernails and he’s ready to drag Simon Ryan straight to hell. Just as with any muse, he fills Simon’s mind with moments of triumph, the promise of greatness and even a chance to re-write his own life. All he has to do is decide how the story will end. However, as we all know…. Everything has its price.

The Noctuary left me begging for more at only about 56 pages, it’s a read you can finish in one sitting. If you’re a horror fan, you won’t want to miss it or the prequel Invocation!
Profile Image for Gary Olson.
Author 8 books7 followers
September 5, 2012
In The Noctuary, a dark fiction writer is given a tempting offer–the ability to make his words become reality, if he becomes a scribe for underworld creatures known as the Dark Muses. He can write things out of existence, and rewrite the tragic elements of his past… but at a price. This novella is the kind of horror that appeals to me most–the slippery, chaotic kind where the fear comes from seeing how thin and easily torn reality could be, and being forced to face what is left–if anything–when all that defines us to ourselves is stripped away. Which isn’t to say it’s not gruesome and bloody–it certainly is. It’s also a lot more than that, and worth a look for supernatural horror fans.
Profile Image for Jake.
Author 11 books18 followers
January 14, 2013
This story has gotten more mileage than I'd originally thought. I find when I have idle time, I sometimes think about some of the parts of this novel that were particularly well done. I bumped it up a star because if a story can keep me thinking about it for nearly a year after I put it down, clearly I liked it more than the common read.

Below this line are my original impressions of The Noctuary.
How I rate books---

FIVE – the story has changed my life, the way I view the world, or has altered the way I write.
FOUR – the story has exceeded my expectations, this was truly a fabulous weave.
THREE – I liked it, my expectations were met, I got exactly what I paid for.
TWO – I was disappointed by this story and it wasn’t what I’d hoped for.
ONE – I’m not going to save this one from the next Nazi Bar-B-Que.

As an author, Greg Chapman has real talent. His ability to tell a disturbing tale is actually a little creepy. I'm wondering now if he himself has his own dark muse.

The protagonist, Simon Ryan has been chosen to be Hell's next scribe--an author who can write into existence his own reality--guided of course, by his new masters. This was a very clever story with gruesome visuals. It was a fast-paced story that never let up.

Although there were several incredibly well written scenes, my favorites being the prostitute in the alley, and the entire hospital scene, there were a few things that stopped this from being a truly awesome read. A character or two acted in ways I didn't find believable to their character, or perhaps their character just needed a little more fleshing out. These details barely hindered my enjoyment of this wonderfully-bloody story, it was rich in description and tension.

I look forward to Mr. Chapman's future tales with his unrelenting ability to grasp the darker side of story-telling. The end of 'The Noctuary' was very fitting. I will say no more, lest I become a spoiler. I'll be buying Greg Chapman's next story. I believe his style is going to evolve nicely.(or wickedly?)
Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews

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