Robert Swartwood – who just signed a deal with W.W. Norton to edit an anthology of Hint Fiction – has recently launched a dark science fiction action novella called The Silver Ring.

“In 2000 I wrote a 22,000 word novella called The Silver Ring” says Swartwood. “I was eighteen. I submitted it to a major science fiction and fantasy magazine (I’m sure you can guess which one) and it was rightly rejected. In the rejection letter the editor said it was ‘ambitious.’ He was being too kind. What was ambitious about it was the length. At the time it was the longest thing I had ever written. But it needed work, and I knew it, and so I put it away and didn’t think of it again until just a couple months ago where I took it back out and rewrote the entire thing. Keeping the main storyline the same, I managed to cut out 4,000 words while adding in almost three times the amount of action.”

Description: 17-year-old David Beveridge is in the wrong place at the wrong time. When a gunman storms into a convenience store demanding money, he becomes spooked and shoots the cashier before shooting David. Only David doesn’t die. Neither does the cashier. She dies, yes, but David manages to bring her back to the life.


With the help of a mysterious silver ring he found earlier that night — a ring with amazing powers that David cannot control, a ring he cannot even take off his finger … and a ring that the darkest evil in the universe wants for its very own.

It’s coming for the ring.

It’s coming for David.

It’s coming to destroy us all.

Swartwood adds, “I’m presenting this novella online because the publishing industry is not as it used to be. Everything is going digital. Everybody wants stuff for free. There is, however, a donation button on the sidebar. Even though the novella is completely free to read here online, if you donate 99 cents I will e-mail you a printable PDF of The Silver Ring that includes a bonus short story. The story is one that was published when I was eighteen — the same year I originally wrote this novella. To show the difference in my writing, I’ve kept the short story the same as it was printed, word for word.”

Readers can read the free novella online here: The Silver Ring

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