British Fantasy Award Winner; 3x British Fantasy Award Nominee

Thursday 21 January 2021

New Website!

So, my new super-swanky website is now up and running at:

Please visit to find out more about my debut gothic suspense novel, Mirrorland, coming out in April 2021 from Borough Press in the UK and Scribner in the US.

And as a thank you and welcome, all new subscribers to the site will receive an exclusive short story set in the world of Mirrorland, and will automatically be in with a chance of winning a UK or US advanced proof copy of the novel itself every single month from now until publication!* All completely free, inc. P&P.

Goodbye from here and hopefully, I'll see you there!

*UK/US/CAN only.


Wednesday 5 August 2020

New Website!


In April 2021, my debut novel, Mirrorland, will be published by Borough Press (HarperCollins) in the UK & Commonwealth and by Scribner (Simon & Schuster) in the US & Canada.
(With translated editions in the Netherlands, France, Italy, Estonia, Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, S. Korea, and Brazil.)

I'll be launching a new website at  around September/October 2020.
Hopefully see you there! x

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Skinner Box

And now Skinner Box is available for FREE from website!

(Apologies to those who have already spent their 94p/$1.19--I didn't realise it would be free on Tor, honest guv...)

© Adam Baines

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Skinner Box

Skinner Box is out today!

This will be my first novelette from, a publisher I've wanted to be published by for years. I am VERY pleased!

A bit of a departure for me, Skinner Box is a sci-fi story about a seemingly routine scientific mission to Jupiter that goes horribly wrong--in the most part, because of the crew.

Be warned, it's full of sex and violence (why, oh why can I never say that without immediately thinking "...a heavy bass line is my kind of silence..."* etc.) Because I'm sad.

However, despite all that, and a whole lot of what I hope will be surprising/shocking twists, Skinner Box is, at its black dark heart, a love story. So there.

I hope you enjoy it.

Available to buy:
Amazon UK   Amazon   Amazon CA   Amazon AU
And it will cost you a mere £0.94 / $1.19!


*©Dizzee Rascal/Armand van Helden; Bonkers, 2009 (obv) 

Monday 20 August 2018


I've been hugely busy for months now, and have neglected a lot more than just this poor blog. Even this post is only going to be a flying visit for now.

A few publishing updates:

My short, The Eyes are White and Quiet (originally published in Titan Books' New Fears), is to be reprinted by Prime Books' Year's Best, 2018, edited by Paula Guran.

My novelette, Better You Believe, about an ill-fated climbing expedition in the Himalayas, gets first billing (and reprinting) in Night Shade Books' Best of the Year, Volume 10 (also to be published in audio). It was also selected for Best of the Best, which has already got a fantastic starred view from Publishers Weekly here. Both books are, of course, edited by the one and only Ellen Datlow. John Joseph Adams of Nightmare Magazine has also acquired the rights for reprint, and I'll update when the issue # is confirmed.

My novelette, Deep, Fast, Green--set in a modern-day Edinburgh and a World War Two submarine--is to appear in Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories, which will be published by Saga at Simon & Schuster in August 2019.

And finally, my first collaborative story, In the Gallery of Silent Screams, co-written with the very talented and very lovely Chris Kelso, is to be published in the next issue of Black Static (#65). It was an astonishingly painless experience that I would probably not be averse to repeating! See the fantastic accompanying artwork below, courtesy of Dave Senecal.

So, you know, I have been busy, honest.

And I also have something even more wonderful in the pipeline that I'm not allowed to announce yet, so watch this space!!

Sunday 4 June 2017


Just a few writing related updates:

  • The Eyes are White and Quiet is a short story I wrote some time ago. It was recently announced as part of the New Fears 1 anthology, edited by Mark Morris, and out from Titan Books on the 19th of September. I believe it’s going to be officially launched at FantasyCon in the same month, and I’ll post availability when that’s announced. Meanwhile, here is the relevant page on Titan Books' website.
And here is a preview of the front cover:

  • My short story, Better You Believe, about an ill-fated climbing expedition on Annapurna in the Himalayas, is out now in the Eric J Guignard edited anthology, Horror Library, Vol.6, out from Cutting Block Books. I loved writing this one. I’m a sucker for snowy. And for scary mountains with death zones!
Available from Amazon UK, Amazon 

  • My Sherlock Holmes short, The Cannibal Club, has also just been released as part of Constable & Robinson’s anthology: Sherlock Holmes and the School of Detection, edited by the brilliant Simon Clark. This, like my last Holmes story, was a toughy to write — and research — but I was hugely happy by the result. I feel I should say here that that’s pretty atypical; I don’t go around being pleased with myself every time I manage to write something or get it published. But…I do like to challenge myself, and I do like writing things that I think I can’t. The Cannibal Club was definitely one of those.
Available from Amazon UK and Amazon

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Wetwork: Black Static #52

My novelette, Wetwork, was the headliner of Black Static, Issue #52. Link to buy here.
I was very excited slash shitting myself about its reception as I really went all out on it. When that works, it really works. And when it doesn't...y'know. But I figure it's always too easy to stay where you are, doing what you do, especially when it's going ok. Writing every new story should be a challenge, but it should be a different challenge. I've played it safe plenty of times in the past, but stories like Wetwork teach me and show me what I could - and probably should - be doing instead. In this case: True Detectives meets Alien meets 28 Days Later. In mardy Doric and Glaswegian.

Artwork © Ben Baldwin

Thankfully, it's had a few great reviews already:

“...Some may find the phonetically-written Scottish drawls of various characters to be a little hard to “ken” (understand), but Wetwork is more than worth the effort, as it builds to a stunningly effective, tense, skin-crawling and “shout out loud” shock of a finale. This one’s a stunner.”
See full review here

“Wetwork, by Carole Johnstone, is a terrifying view of police work in Glasgow."
© ELLEN DATLOW SF Editors Picks

“...Johnstone pens a tale that is both horrific and human, emotional and devastating, but infused with a quiet, mounting dread. Utilising phonetic Scots speech in the dialogue (both Glaswegian and Doric), she grounds her tale in the grime of the city, while her sharp, economic but descriptive prose pulls the story inexorably towards its gut-punch ending. It’s a powerful start to the issue and sets a high bar for those following.”
See full review here

“This novelette sure needs working at to start off with, but your work is half the battle towards something great. The Glaswegian dialect dialogue needs to be transcended but half its power is its direct meaning which is eventually easy to absorb...Nothing can do justice to the onward extended compulsion of the whole story but particularly of its closing scenes...And the end-revelation, too, is devastating.
Go to it! Work at this work! And it will work hard back at you, with grinding relentlessness.”
See full review here

The Wildhearts also very generously allowed me to use lyrics from one of their brilliant songs as an epigraph to the story - which was a huge first for me, made all the more special because I've been in  love with them since I was about sixteen years old. Check them out - best decision you'll ever make!