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SI CLARKE (she/her) – Author of neurodiverse, culturally diverse, gender-bendy, drunken-arguments-in-the-pub science fiction. Not bang-bang-pew-pew science fiction.

Dare vs the Doll

Dare vs the Doll by SI CLARKE


Editing by: Nicholas Taylor and Hannah McCall Illustration: Ricardo Mossini

Who expects a haunted doll to be such a nuisance?

When Dare’s dog discovers an abandoned doll on their doorstep, Dare assumes it’s nothing more than a lost toy… until it begins to talk.

After the doll offers up a string of bad suggestions and unhelpful advice, Dare is left wondering if the isolation of lockdown has finally proved too much.

Struggling to get rid of the bed-tempered toy, Dare has no idea that this not-quite-scary fiend will accidentally change everything.

With a dash of humour, this queer cosy-horror short story is a fun, quirky tale – perfect for readers who like the idea of being scared more than the reality of it.


‘I think it’s pretty safe to say that SI CLARKE can write literally anything and I will do everything I can to get my hands on it.’ Thieving Magpie, Goodreads user

‘A short and sweet little story. I really like the blend of horror, humour, and … just life.’ Caroline, Goodreads user

‘This was quick, quippy, and fun … and struck me as a pandemic retelling of Poe’s The Raven.’ Maddie, Goodreads user

Fans of these other spec-fic authors may also enjoy this short story: Robert Rankin, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Jim C Hines, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, Christopher Brookmyre, Kaia Sønderby, Nino Cipri, Grady Hendrix, J Emery, Mira Grant

File under keywords: comedy horror, speculative fiction, cosy, cozy, misfit characters, British, short story, bumbling hero, agender characters, asexual, autistic characters, found family, outsiders, London, Scotland, fictional pubs, humour, humorous short stories, dogs in fiction, haunted doll, disabled, isolation, anxiety, disability, sarcastic, queer