Wednesday, June 22, 2022

 

Robot Poems


My new book of robot poems (entitled Robot Poems, logically enough) has now been published. It's a collection of long and short poems about robots, androids, cyborgs and other assorted cybernetic beings, and it includes a mini-epic, 'The Mime of the Android Stammerer', one of my longest ever poems.

It is available in both paperback and ebook editions, and in fact the ebook edition is a free download for the next five days (in other words, until June 27th). This is the link to the American Amazon but you can find the ebook on any Amazon outlet.

All in all, I think it's my best poetry collection to date. Some of the poems concern themselves with competent robots, our future overlords, but most are about robots that have been wired wrongly or who aren't sapient at all. A few are even powered by clockwork.

I have been interested in Artificial Intelligence since I was young and many of my favourite works in the science-fiction genre are about robots (rather than spaceships, aliens and distant galaxies). I am especially thinking of Stanisław Lem's Cyberiad and Mortal Engines, and John Sladek's Tik-Tok and Roderick. The first Brian Aldiss story I truly enjoyed and which turned me into a lifelong fan was about robots ('Who Can Replace a Man?'). Robots can be very amusing as well as instructive. They can be terrifying too.

My own robots tend to be comical, absurdist, whimsical creations, but not always. The earliest poems in this book (from the early 1990s) tend to be more serious; the later ones tend to be more humorous. I now hope to have a rest from writing poetry about robots...

Thursday, June 16, 2022

 

My One-Thousandth Story

I have finished writing my one-thousandth story. I regard the entire set of stories as one story-cycle. The linkages between the stories are sometimes direct but more often subtle, tangential, symbolic. The last part of the last story is a prequel to the very first story, so the whole thing goes around in a big loop.

Total wordage? About four million words, though I will have to do a proper wordcount soon. That will involve putting all the stories into one document. It is going to be a big document for sure. The overall name of the story-cycle is Pandora's Bluff. Pandora opened the box of troubles and after the final trouble had emerged, the figure of Hope appeared. But Hope is often false, a trick, a jest. This is the harshly ironic point I want to make with the title of my story-cycle.

I have a lot to say about this project and doubtless in the coming weeks and months I will say much of it. In the meantime I will confine myself to the statement that this is surely the largest fiction project ever attempted by a Welsh writer. Begun in August 1989 and finished in June 2022. Thirty-three years.

When I began writing it, I had no idea that all the stories were going to be connected and form a single story-cycle. I must have written 100 or so stories before the idea came to me. Almost every story in the cycle can be read as a standalone. That is important. But the wholeness of the entire scheme is vital to my vision.

The photo above captures me moments after I typed the last word of the last story. Not a particularly special photo in objective terms, but one that will doubtless have significance for me in the future. A complete list of all the titles in the cycle can be found here. Titles on their own reveal little, but I am pleased with the euphony of the best of them, which are almost one-line poems.


Saturday, May 21, 2022

 

Wuxing Lyrical

I have edited a book called Wuxing Lyrical and it has now been published in both paperback and ebook editions. I am pleased with the way it has turned out, which is even better than I was hoping it would be. An article on why I wrote it can be found at Borderless Journal. The book is an anthology of verse themed around Chinese astrology but done in a specific manner.

I often use social media for telling jokes. When I was younger I used to wonder who the people were who invented new jokes, never suspecting that one day I would be one of them. These days, when I see one of my old jokes, I tend to turn it into a poem. In some ways a poem has greater reach than a joke: it is an art object. This doesn't mean that the poem is necessarily better than the joke, but that's a different question. Anyway, I turned one of my old jokes about a fire horse into a poem. Another writer saw it and responded with a poem of his own about a water rat.

The idea for the anthology instantly came into being! There are sixty combinations of animals and elements in Chinese astrology. Why not a poem for each of those combinations? I asked for poets to consider submitting material for the book; they did so; the book was created. The end result is funny, witty, silly, musical, occasionally even profound. I believe it is a good example of how light verse can be just as serious an artform as heavy poetry.

Contributors include prize-winning poets such as Mustansir Dalvi and Maithreyi Karnoor, but also poets who are published here for the first time, and many others in the zone between these two extremes. The book was put together in less than a month. It has made me think that other anthologies should follow. I don't have any plans to regard myself as an editor but I do have several ideas for viable projects. I shall give details about them, if they ever happen, here.

Wuxing Lyrical is available from Amazon (is there anything that isn't?)


Monday, May 16, 2022

 

Three Novellas


Back in 1994 I began writing The Darktree Wheel, a series of stories about Robin Darktree, a highwayman, but I didn't know it was going to be a series when I wrote the first tale, 'Flintlock Jaw'. There ended up being five tales in the series at first, but things became more complicated because in 1995, between the writing of the second and third tale in the series, I also wrote a Darktree novella called Eyelidiad that was published as a separate book. Then I returned to the original series and finished it in 1997. The five stories combined made a novella.

So now I had two Darktree novellas and I put them together and decided to write a third novella called Ghoulysses. All together, the three novellas would make a fairly substantial novel. But I never finished that third part and still haven't, though I absolutely intend to do so one day (maybe this year). That big novel will be called The Clown of the New Eternities.

Anyway, The Darktree Wheel was published in an anthology called Leviathan 2 in 1998 and there it languished for two decades before it was resurrected to appear in a very prestigious book, the Big Book of Modern Fantasy, published by Vintage.

But in fact only part of the novella appeared in that Vintage anthology and so I have decided to reissue The Darktree Wheel in its entirety. Then it occurred to me that it might sit well with another pair of my favourite novellas, The Impossible Inferno and The Swine Taster, both of which I had considered at stages in my writing career to be my best works. The end result is a collection called THREE NOVELLAS and it has been published by my own Gibbon Moon Books press.

I would say that this book is absolutely representative of my best work as a whole. In other words, if you don't like this book I can confidently state that you probably won't like any of my others.

The book is available as a paperback and an ebook. Earlier this year I paid for ten proper ISBNs for my small press and I will be issuing ten of my own books to form a set. This book is perhaps the most vital part of this set.


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

 

Clumsy Carnacki - the Ghost Loser


My new book has just been published. It is a novella (or set of linked stories) about the inept non-canonical son of the renowned Carnacki.

I have had the idea for writing these stories for many years but only completed the project recently. Carnacki's son wants to follow in his father's footsteps but is simply not up to the job. He earns the nickname 'Clumsy' as a result of his occult bungling. Whereas his father was known as 'the ghost finder' the son is 'the ghost loser'.

And yet he often muddles through despite his incompetence... at least until he bites off more ectoplasm than he can supernaturally chew....

I am very pleased with this book. I believe that my stories of Clumsy Carnacki are both a genuine tribute to the original tales of William Hope Hodgson and an ironic variation on them in postmodern mode.

Whether hardcore Hodgson fans will like them is a different question entirely. But my own view is that variations on a theme or style or tradition are valid and can be amusing or even epiphanic in some cases.

Anyway, the book is now available from Amazon and elsewhere in both paperback and ebook editions and in fact, as a promotional offer, the ebook is free to download for the next four days. 


Friday, February 11, 2022

 

The World Beyond the Stairwell


"'The World Beyond the Stairwell' may well be the finest tribute (with love) to Hodgson ever written." — John Clute.

First published twenty years ago as part of a limited edition hardback collection from Sarob Press, my novella THE WORLD BEYOND THE STAIRWELL is now available as a standalone paperback and ebook. It is simultaneously a tribute to Hodgson and Borges, with a bit of Lovercraft thrown in for good/bad measure.

This novella received many enthusiastic reviews when it first came out and I am delighted to be able to give it another chance to reach a wider readership. The Sarob Press volume where it originally appeared was limited to only a few hundred copies.

"Enter the weird and original world of Rhys Hughes, an eerie nightmare place of monsters, demons, devils and other strange horrors. If you haven’t read anything by this author previously, then get ready for a truly terrific helter-skelter ride of the imagination." — Jeff VanderMeer.

The novella is avaialble as a paperback and ebook from Amazon and elsewhere.


Monday, January 31, 2022

 

Get a Room!


My new poetry book has just been published. It's a collection I am very happy with because it has a satisfying unity. The official description says it all: "A slim book of poems about the thwarted passions of implausible and even impossible lovers who nonetheless manage to get it together thanks to some timely and snappy advice. Star-crossed, moon-spangled, kiss-splattered romantics should rejoice!"

This is one of the three new poetry collections I recently decided to put together. The other two are called Big Baboons and Sorry I'm Late, Sir: Barnacles! and I will be submitting them to publishers soon. Get a Room! has been published by Gibbon Moon Books and there will be a total of ten of my books from this imprint. At least that's the idea and my hope...

One of those books will be a massive collection of my more fabular stories called My Big Glib Book of Flippant Fairy Tales and I am really looking forward to seeing that one in print.

In the meantime Get a Room! is available in both paperback and email editions from Amazon and elsewhere.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

 

Mathematical Ghost Stories


My first book of 2022 is a slim collection of five OuLiPo ghost stories that I wrote in the 1990s. One of them was published in the journal Ghosts and Scholars but I can't remember if any of the others were published. But I do know that they are being published all together for the first time now.

OuLiPo (Ouvroir de Litterature Pontentielle) is a perennial workshop of experimental fiction that was founded by Raymond Queneau and Francois le Lionnais in 1960. Its members attempt to create original fictions using mathematical and logical constraints that are arbitrary but rigorously applied.

Some OuLiPo constraints are complicated, some are simple. For these ghost stories a simple constraint has been chosen. Five of M.R. James’ stories (the more obscure ones) have been taken and sequels written for them. Each sequel is exactly the same length as the original and has an identical structure, which means it has the same number of paragraphs, the same number of sentences in each paragraph, the same number of words in every sentence, and all the punctuation marks are in exactly the same places.

The book is available on all Amazon outlets in both paperback and ebook editions.

Friday, December 31, 2021

 

Review of 2021



Another pandemic year. I read a lot, I wrote a lot, and to my delighted surprise I even managed to travel (not a lot but enough). Let's consider my reading first. I read more poetry this year than I normally do, including the vast majority of the poems of Richard Brautigan, who remains one of my favourite poets. But I also finally sampled the work of Philip Larkin and found it remarkable, quite unlike what I was expecting. He too is now one of my favourite poets. Another poet worthy of mention is Ai Ogawa. These three poets I can say I know well because my reading of them was comprehensive. I sought out all their collections.

As for prose books, I finally managed to finish the complete 'Maigret' series of Georges Simenon. I began reading the series back in 2014. Seventy-five novels in total. I am pleased to have read all of them but I must concur with the wisdom of those who claim that Simenon's best work can be found in his non-Maigret books. In 2021 I read The Man Who Watched Trains Go By. Sheer brilliance! I also re-read the five volumes of the first 'Chronicles of Amber' by Roger Zelazny, a series I first read when I was 17 or 18 years old. It held up well but wasn't quite as brilliant as I remembered it to be. I also finished the last volume in the 'Second Ether' series of Michael Moorcock and finished the final book (that has been translated into English) of the 'Captain Alatriste' series of Arturo Perez-Reverte.  It was a year of coming to the end of sequences...

But let's cut to the chase and talk about the best of the best. These are the books I was most delighted to have encountered in the year 2021: Venus on the Half-Shell by Philip Jose Farmer; Immortality by Milan Kundera; The Mournful Demeanour of Lieutenant Boruvka by Josef Škvorecký; The Housing Lark by Sam Selvon; The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton; and The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles. If I had to pick just one from this list it would be the Škvorecký. It might be noted that these works and writers are very 'male' in their outlooks and styles. Too bad. I am very male too.

But if we really have to make a distinction between men and women writers, then I wish to put in a very good word for the novel Sylvia: Distant Avuncular Ends by Maithreyi Karnoor.

Now let me talk about my writing. I finished a novella made up of five connected stories and I will soon be looking for a publisher for it. Clumsy Carnacki, the Ghost Loser relates the misadventures of the incompetent son of the famous occult detective and the first installment can be found here.

I wrote 24 stories in total, 3 short plays, 6 articles, and maybe one hundred poems.

I had eleven books published in 2021, but considering that six of them were self-published I think it is safer to say that I had five books published: a collection of stories, plays and poems called Weirdly Out West; the two novellas Students of Myself and My Rabbit's Shadow Looks like a Hand; another collection called Utopia in Trouble; and the first of my poetry collections to be published by a traditional publisher, Bunny Queue. I believe that the two novellas in this list are among my best ever works.

Maybe I ought to talk about films... In Bruges was the film I saw in 2021 that has remained most strongly in my mind. I was also pleased to finally get into the films produced by Studio Ghibli. No, I don't think I will talk much about films today: I hardly ever do.

Oh, and one other thing: I moved out of Britain and I am now an expat and a glomad. I currently live on a very nice island at a latitude of 6.2 degrees north and a longitude of 80 degrees east. Have a great New Year! :-)


Monday, December 20, 2021

 

My Second Omnibus Volume


The second omnibus volume of several of my OOP (out of print) books is now available, with cover art by the always excellent Selwyn Rodda. The books contained in this omnibus are:

(1) The Young Dictator

(2) Twisthorn Bellow

(3) The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange

(4) The Further Fangs of Suet Pudding

I am not sure how many omnibus volumes there will be in total. Maybe four or five. I certainly have enough material for ten or more. I believe that this particular omnibus represents extremely good value. It is very large and features four of my best novels and is available from Amazon in both paperback and ebook editions.

The Young Dictator is perhaps my most accessible book, described by the original publisher as "Roald Dahl meets Spike Milligan and Kurt Vonnegut." It was published in Ireland and I have fond memories of the book tour arranged to promote it. Twisthorn Bellow is the first of my 'warped superhero' novels, about a golem who accidentally falls into a vat of nitro-glycerin and turns into a living stick of dynamite.  The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange is my second 'warped superhero' novel and relates the exploits of an apeman test pilot. The Further Fangs of Suet Pudding is its sequel and concerns the same apeman in later life, in a remote corner of Africa, battling resurrected Nazis.

Some blurbs about my work....

"Rhys Hughes seems almost the sum of our planet's literature... As well as being drunk on language and wild imagery, he is also sober on the essentials of thought. He has something of Mervyn Peake's glorious invention, something of John Cowper Powys's contemplative, almost disdainful existentialism, a sensuality, a relish, an addiction to the delicious." — Michael Moorcock

“It’s a crime that Rhys Hughes is not as widely known as Italo Calvino and other writers of that stature. Brilliantly written and conceived, Hughes’ fiction has few parallels anywhere in the world. In some alternate universe with a better sense of justice, his work triumphantly parades across all bestseller lists.” — Jeff VanderMeer

“If I said he was a Welsh writer who writes as though he has gone to school with the best writing from all over the world, I wonder if my compliment would just sound provincial. Hughes’ style, with all that means, is among the most beautiful I’ve encountered in several years.” — Samuel R Delany


Saturday, November 27, 2021

 

My Little Halloween Book


I created a little book for Halloween, but then I realised it was good for any other time of year too. It's a slim pocket-sized volume featuring four horror stories, two of which have been previously published in anthologies, two of which haven't. The stories are diabolical, kafkaesque, macabre and grotesquely comical in turn. Anyway, it is available on all Amazon outlets at the cheapest possible price that I was permitted to set for it.

I supposedly gave up writing horror stories ten years ago, but here I am, still writing the occasional horror story. How do I resolve this contradiction? I guess I could say that my 'horror' isn't conventional horror and maybe isn't horror at all, but something else: dark absurdist fantasy, perhaps, or ironic gothic fantastika. But no, that doesn't really wash.

The truth is that I hardly read horror now but I read it when I was young, in my early teens, and began to move away from it over the subsequent years. By the time of the publication of my first short stories I had completely abandoned horror for other kinds of writing. The stories I wrote between the ages of 14 and 17 (all lost now) were probably the purest horror I have written. However, formative influences can never be entirely disengaged from. There is some horror still deep in my writing soul and it comes out now and then.

That's all I will say for the time being. I guess I ought to also mention that I have left Britain and moved abroad, this time to Sri Lanka. It's nice here, up in the verdant hills above the old capital of Kandy.


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

 

The Seven Deadly Sinbads


My new book has just been published and is available as a paperback and an ebook.

The Seven Deadly Sinbads is a set of linked stories featuring the famous sailor, but they are rather different from the traditional tales in which Sinbad is the hero.

On the surface they are fantasy adventures in which Sinbad visits strange islands, dips beneath the sea to meet mermaids, is shipwrecked and rescued and shipwrecked again, finds a message in a bottle that tells a most remarkable story and ends up performing in a very unusual music festival.

And yes, he has learned wisdom over the years and wraps legends around himself like a cloak.

But here also are the delights and perils of experimental forms. Sinbad is locked into a rigorous numerological exploit with previously unknown brothers, is compelled to find safe passage through labyrinths of layered, divergent and fractured narratives, and must put his supreme talents to surviving cultural catastrophes.

"The wages of sin are death, they say, but we sin every day, and Sinbad earns his salary anyway, on seven salty seas."


Saturday, September 04, 2021

 

Cthulhu Wants You!


I have collected many (or most) of my 'Lovecraftian' tales into one volume. These stories are not parodies or pastiches but darkly ironic fantasies that connect with the Cthulhu Mythos at a tangent. Open-minded devotees of Lovecraft may find amusement in the offbeat ideas, paradoxical plots, whimsical language and strange originality of these tales. Lovecraft purists and horror fans with a visceral dislike of comedy might be repelled and outraged. Or they might not be. I am quite unable to anticipate the reactions of individual readers, let alone readers in groups or sets. There may well be no reaction to my book at all.

I regard Lovecraft as an important writer for several reasons, but these reasons tend not to be the same as those offered by his devotees to justify his high standing in the world of weird fiction.  He strikes me as a wholly emotional writer (rather than the cool philosophical rationalist he is often portrayed as) and the currents that froth and flow beneath his work are surely powered by an organic frustration instead of a scientific fatalism. I may be wrong about this, and I surely have no intention of viewing his stories through a Freudian lens, but it seems to me that his palpable yearning for a better life drove his creativity and his visions do not originate in a deliberate turning of his back on the petty concerns of humanity.

Does any of that make sense? Whether it does ot not, my book features twelve stories written over the past 25 years, from the deliberately silly humour of 'Bridge Over Troubled Blood' (only barely a Lovecraftian story and thus highly vulnerable to derision from any Lovecraftians who read it) to 'On the Other Hand' which I wrote late last year. In between there are stories I really am very proud of, such as 'A Languid Elagabalus of the Tombs' (about the dire consequences of semantics), 'Sigma Octantis' (about an attempted manipulation of astronomical forces), 'How Gangrene was my Sally' (concerned with the overlap of layers of different narratives) and 'The Sauce of the Guile' (in which I believe I finally truly fused the comic with the horrible in an effective manner).

This volume doesn't contain all my 'Lovecraftian' stories. Missing are 'Get Recipe for Mina' and 'The Whisperer in Darkness Bangs his Head on an Unseen Projection' among several others, but I believe it is a comprehensive enough showcase of my short prose fiction in this particular milieu.

The book is available from Amazon and other online bookshops in both paperback and ebook editions. The cover of the paperback was meant to mimic the cover of the Led Zeppelin IV album.


Wednesday, September 01, 2021

 

Utopia in Trouble


My latest collection of stories is now available from Raphus Press in Brazil. This is an ultra-limited edition of only 30 copies. Unlike my other Raphus Press books I won't be issuing a POD paperback edition, though I might eventually include it in an omnibus edition of works.

I am especially pleased with this collection, which thematically is dear to my heart, as the concept of utopia is one I have thought about a lot over the years. Utopia in Trouble includes my longish short story that is a tribute to the film director Jacques Tati, 'The Playtime of Monunculus', the kind of story I only write occasionally because of the complexity of its multiple layering.

The book has already been treated to a real time review by Des Lewis. It is available from specialist bookstores such as Ziesing Books, Barnebys, and a few others.

Utopia in Trouble is the fifth new book I have had published this summer (I don't count self published books) and it may not be the last. In the meantime I have I have grouped eight of my "Get A" poems into one document to create a chapbook. People can print it out on both sides of one sheet of paper and then fold the sheet like a concertina to make eight separate panels. To download the PDF of the chapbook please follow this link.


Saturday, August 14, 2021

 

Bunny Queue


My new book has just been published. It's a collection of poetry and furthermore the first collection of poetry I have had published by a 'real' publisher (all my others have been self-published). I am grateful to ImpSpired Press for publishing the book.

The back of the book reads as follows: "The bunnies of imagination are seeking entry to your mind. Offbeat but timely, whimsical but wise, playful but perceptive, these quirky and mostly short poems may put you in mind of Ogden Nash, Ivor Cutler, Spike Milligan or any other absurdist poet you like, and put a smile on your face while doing so. It is sensible to be silly, profoundly so in some instances. That is the general message of this collection. The bunnies of imagination are already queuing. Will you let them in?"

It has blurbs from Samuel Delany, Bruce Boston and Maithreyi Karnoor (my favourite poet) and I am waiting for the first reviews to roll in (assuming there are any!)

I was on radio recently to talk about the book and that programme can be found here on Siren Radio.

I am a regular poetry contributor to Borderless Journal and three of the poems in Bunny Queue can be found online in the May 2021 issue (I have had poems and articles in every issue of Borderless for more than one year now).

The book itself is available at Amazon and other online bookshops and maybe in some bricks and mortar bookshops too.


Thursday, August 12, 2021

 

Belperron Reborn


I have had a new chapbook published by Mount Abraxas Press in Romania. BELPERRON REBORN is a sequence of four fictions linked by the themes of reincarnation and identity. It's a proper old-fashioned chapbook that folds out concertina-style. I invented the character of Belperron almost twenty years ago and he has appeared in several stories since. 

As my grand cycle of 1000 linked short stories finally nears completion it has become time to start wrapping up some of the mini cycles within it. The 'Belperron' stories form one of these epicycles. Most of the epicycles overlap with other epicycles. Any schematic of the big story cycle is going to be very complicated and the lines of connection may perhaps be inextricably tangled. One day I will have to sit down and map out all the epicycles, which means consigning the thousand stories into groups, but many of the stories fit into more than one group. I am sure I will eventually find a way through the problem.

This is what happens when a big project is allowed to grow organically rather than be planned with the precision of an engineer from the very beginning. But I have no regrets as to the way I have proceeded. Every story ideally has to work on its own no matter what epicycle it does or doesn't belong to. That is the most important thing. Anyway, the chapbook is now published, but obtaining copies might not be easy, as it is a strictly limited edition. I have exactly one spare one, if anyone wants to buy it.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

 

My Rabbit's Shadow Looks Like a Hand



My new novella has just been published and is available from many online outlets (for example Amazon and Barnes&Noble, etc). This work is the joint best piece of fiction I have ever written (in my own view; and the other one is Students of Myself, also recently published).

The title for this novella, My Rabbit's Shadow Looks Like a Hand, is one I have kept in readiness for many years, decades even. I have a notebook in which I write down the titles of potential future stories. Three years ago I finally began writing it and now here it is, in both hardback and paperback editions. Eibonvale Press always produce beautiful books. I am extremely pleased with the cover design.

The novella was partly inspired by Don Marquis and his 'Archy and Mehitabel' sequence of poems. In my novella there are twelve shadow rabbit's who create twelve texts (poetry and prose mostly) that are fully contained works but also interact with each other to form a bigger story. These twelve facets are set in a frame by another story and it turns out that this framing story is also potentially framed in a larger cosmos.

Publication of this novella is my main writing news of the moment. I have been lucky enough to have five books scheduled for publication this summer. Three are already out (this one is the third). But I always have snippets of writing news that I neglect to mention on my blog. For example, I recently was interviewed on radio about my next book, the poetry collection Bunny Queue.

I might also mention the publication of one of my three-part poems in the July issue of Mermaids Monthly. The publication of four of my poems in Borderless Journal. My article on William MacGonagall. The first review of my novella Students of Myself. I might mention many others things too, but let's not overdo it.


Friday, June 25, 2021

 

New Novella

My new novella, Students of Myself, has been published and I have my copies. I am very pleased with the way it has turned out. This novella is one of my own favourites among all the works I have written. In fact I regard it as being in the top two (the other one, My Rabbit's Shadow Look Likes a Hand, will be out very soon).

The publisher is Elsewhen Press, a marvellous publishing house.

The novella is available from Amazon and other online retailers in both paperback and ebook editions.

There is also a Goodreads page for the book.

And there will be a 'launch' at BookBub tomorrow....

I began writing Students of Myself back in 2017 and finished in early 2020. I wanted to create a complex story that had to be told from many different and often contradictory perspectives for it to be fully fleshed out. I think of this story as being like a circle with the truth as the centre point. This circle is divided into eighteen segments, each of which represent one 'view' of the truth. These views are only partly true but they do always contain some truth. Near the end of the novella the framing device becomes part of the story and is itself framed.

Enought of that! If you are interested, the novella is there to be read... and if you aren't interested there's not much point in trying to persuade you otherwise :-)


Saturday, May 29, 2021

 

Students of Myself


My new novella, STUDENTS OF MYSELF, is now available for pre-order from Elsewhen Press. This work is one of my personal favourites of everything I have written over the past 30+ years. In fact I regard it as my joint favourite with another forthcoming novella, MY RABBIT'S SHADOW LOOKS LIKE A HAND.

STUDENTS OF MYSELF is constructed with a framing tale and lots of stories within that frame. Together all these stories make up the bigger picture, which is the life of a university professor who is compelled to teach a subject he has no interest in. These stories are strange and become stranger as the book progresses. They feed back into the reality of the professor's world until he finally understands that the framing tale itself is framed by the stories within the frame. But paradoxes aren't the main point of this book.

The story is set in Africa, in an unnamed city that is an amalgamation of Cape Town, Maputo and Freetown, but there is a little of Rio de Janeiro in there too. There is a sense of hope, of a better future among the chaotic magic, provided the main protagonist can free himself from the limits that have been imposed upon him and which he has accepted.

The ebook will be published on June 11th and the paperback will follow two weeks later.

Friday, May 21, 2021

 

Big Book of Modern Fantasy


I am acutely aware that I don't update my blog very often. Social media has taken over the functions that my blog once provided. When I was more active with my blog, I would announce nearly all my writing news and also talk about what I had been up to in general. These days I only blog about my most important writing news and I say nothing about my non-writing activities. A lot has happened in the past few years and I have barely mentioned any of it here. Ah well!

That's the way things are. Priorities and protocols change. But I have been especially remiss in not blogging about one particular anthology in which my work appears, because it is perhaps the most important anthology I have ever been in. The Big Book of Modern Fantasy edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer was released last summer by Vintage and I received my author's copies in September. It is a vast book and a really remarkable one.

Vintage (one of my favourite publishers) were taken over by Penguin (also one of my favourite publishers) so one of my biggest writing ambitions has been realised, namely to be published by a large mainstream publisher whose books I have loved for years and years. More importantly for me, my story, which is a novelette, appears alongside many authors who I have worshipped during my long reading life: Nabokov, Borges, Calvino, Márquez, Ballard, Cortázar, Bulgakov, Delany, Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber, and many others, including Alasdair Gray and my favourite short story of all time (although it's more of a novella) 'Five Letters from an Eastern Empire'.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

 

Weirdly Out West


I am extremely delighted to announce the publication of my new book, Weirdly Out West.

It's a Western, yes, and furthermore it's a Weird Western, and I am very pleased with the way it has turned out. It's a collection of stories and poems and includes a play and an article too.

Published by Black Scat Books, the book description runs as follows:

"Rhys Hughes saddles up & blasts his way across the vast plains — kickin’ up trouble in this hog-wild collection of Western Weirdness. Using various forms (short stories, a play, lonesome poems — even a garsh-dang essay!), he roasts the genre & serves up some hearty, avant-garde grub — fresh as a dew-dappled Texas rose. Guns, puns, cowgirrrls & tumbleweed — what more could ya ask for?"

I am going to run a book promotion for this book as follows: if you purchase the book and take a photograph of yourself holding it, I will put your name into a hat and when there are 25 names in that hat I will dip in my hand and pull one out. The winning name will receive a free copy of my next book, My Rabbit's Shadow Looks Like a Hand, when it is published.

In fact I think I might do this with all my subsequent books... Anyway, this new book is now available on Amazon and elsewhere. I had enormous fun writing it and I hope you will have fun reading it.

Adios amigos!


Monday, March 22, 2021

 

Free Novella


My novella The Long Chin of the Law is free on every Amazon outlet for the next five days. Click on "Buy Now" (for free) rather than "Read for £0.00".

Here is the link to Amazon UK. Check out other Amazon sites for other countries:

Hope you enjoy! 


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 

The Long Chin of the Law


I am delighted to announce that this futuristic crime/farce novella is now available as an ebook. It features nine linked stories.

The first of the nine was the very first story that I was completely happy with, and I wrote it on December 27th 1991, which is more than twenty-seven years ago.

It was also the first story I wrote that seemed to demand a sequel, and so it began the long process of me tying every fiction I write into every other.

Titian Grundy is the Prefect of Police on the Isle of Chrome. He travels everywhere on a motorised unicycle and lives in a society where everything takes turns being illegal. Even the solving of crime becomes illegal at one point, but not solving it remains illegal too, which puts him in a tricky situation.

Originally published as the third part of my book Nowhere Near Milkwood, this novella is now finally presented as a complete work in its own right, which is the way I originally envisioned it.

Monday, February 22, 2021

 

Victoria was Real


The book I recently edited has just arrived in the mail for me. Some people have been wondering if 'Victoria Plumjob' is an invented character and whether Vampires with Fairy Wings is some kind of spoof. I suppose they think this because I have been known to do spoofs in the past. But I assure you that Victoria was real and that this slim volume contains the best of her surviving work. It wasn't easy putting it together! Her work is scattered in the most obscure locations. One rolled up poem was found plugging the neck of a bottle of Retsina in a forgotten Greek wine cellar. Another poem was rescued by an owl from a burning canoe. A third was intercepted floating over the ocean on currents of air because some origami expert had folded it into a miniature albatross.

The great literary critic Harold Bloom had this to say about Victoria: "I believe she was wholly the equal of her contemporaries, Ern Malley and Hernia Whittlebot." High praise indeed from such a luminary! Another great critic, Bernardo Puffin, has compared her favourably to Prissy Jimjams; while Jaggery Feeley has asserted that, "Her work puffs and pants like a Puffin without pants." If Victoria never existed, such remarkable academic figures would never say such good things about her! It is true that she has always been very obscure and this is partly due to the fact that she often employed eccentric layouts for her poems which publishers found difficult to replicate. As a result they tended not to bother.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

 

Vampires with Fairy Wings


Last year I was asked to edit a selection of the surviving verse and prose poems of unjustly forgotten 1930s writer Victoria Plumjob. She was friends with André Breton, Salvador Dali, Chump Rumple, Edith Shriek and Roger Dammit Upstairs, and she was one of the leading lights of the Furious Ducks, an obscure avant-garde collective. Most of her work was lost in a series of bizarre accidents but enough remains to fill a slim volume (one of her poems was rescued by an owl from a burning canoe).

Preparing the scattered manuscripts of Victoria Plumjob (1917-1960) for republication after so many decades has been an insightful experience. She was a precocious child and began writing stories when she was very young. Her earliest publications were in ephemeral student magazines, few of which have successfully endured the ravages of time. The only collection of her work published in her lifetime was issued in a limited edition by Catwheel Press and is now extremely rare.

Vampires with Fairy Wings is thus the first volume to feature her work for more than eighty years. It includes an excellent afterword by noted grammatical scholar Jaggery Feeley, and thanks to the efforts of historical researcher Nina Vangerow it also features photographs of Victoria published here for the very first time.

"This book strikes a valedictory note that is neither sharp nor flat but deserves to be struck anyway." -- Bernardo Puffin.

Available from Amazon in both paperback and ebook editions.

Monday, February 08, 2021

 

Don Cosquillas



The novel I wrote when I lived in Spain twelve years ago is now both a paperback and an ebook. The Pilgrim's Regress was mostly written in Madrid but also on a farm in the mountains near Segovia.

I have talked elsewhere about how it began as a single short story that spawned a few sequels. It was only after I had written five linked stories that I realised I was actually writing a novel and that the stories were chapters in a longer work.

The Pilgrim's Regress is a sort of 'Don Quixotic' picaresque adventure, although it's not strictly speaking a set of unrelated episodes as there is an overall arc. The novel is one of my favourites among all my books but I know it is far too metafictional to be commercially successful. No matter! I had huge enjoyment writing it.

There is something about the Spanish landscape that lends itself very well to picaresque wanderings; but in fact the hero of this novel travels to Africa and India as well as across Persia.

The book is available on all Amazon outlets including Amazon UK.


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

 

The Pilgrim's Regress


When I lived in Spain in 2007 I started writing stories about a character called Arturo Risas, the self-styled Duque de Costillas y Cosquillas. I was working on a farm in the Sierra de Guadarrama at the time and winter was drawing on. It was bitterly cold in the wooden cabin where I lived; and I huddled over a tiny heater while penning the tales, taking frequent breaks to do a typical comedy shiver: hugging my own arms and rubbing them with a vocal, "Brrrrr!!!"

I wasn't planning to do much with these little tales. They were just a divertissement to pass the dull evenings. But somehow they became the opening chapters of a novel called The Pilgrim's Regress. I added more chapters: the thing became intricate and extremely metafictional. I knew I had a monster of unsaleable humour on my hands. But then, midway through 2008, I ran out of steam and abandoned the project. That's not an uncommon habit with me.

But I always console myself with the knowledge that I'm able to return to any half-finished work at any time and take up again exactly where I left off. I always planned to return to The Pilgrim's Regress after only a brief pause, but as that "brief pause" grew longer and longer, I began to fear that all the little complexities of the numerous subplots, the intricacies of the connections between events, ideas and conceits would be lost to my memory. I knew I had piles of notes in boxes, but my notes are often just mnemonics that quickly become baffling if not acted on rapidly.

So it was with some trepidation that I launched myself back into the novel in the summer of 2011. And to my relief, it all came back; or rather, much of it came back, and what didn't was easily replaced with new (and perhaps better) things. It was good that I never abandoned poor Don Cosquillas permanently. And yet it has taken a further ten years for this novel to finally be published.

And here it is at last... The adventures of a knight as he roams with his trusty sidekick Sancho Panda over Spain and across Africa and all the way to India and the back of beyond on a bicycle. Cover art by the magnificent Selwyn Rodda.

Available on Amazon as a paperback or ebook.

Friday, January 08, 2021

 

A Rhys Hughes Sampler

A paperback 'sampler' of my work entitled SAMPLER because potential readers often wonder what is the best entry point to my large corpus of fiction.

It features 48 stories, at least one a year from 1993 to 2020. All but two of these stories  ('The Chimera at Home' and 'Dogears') have been published before in other books. I regard this volume, however, as a very good cross section of my writing career to date. Details about the contents can be found on my Aardvark Caesar blog.

Paperback and ebook editions also available and priced low.

This book was published at the end of 2020 and samples 27 years of my writing career, but my writing career is 29 or 31 or 40 years old depending on how it is calculated. I began writing short stories when I was fourteen years old; made my first submission to an editor when I was seventeen (it was rejected); but had no fiction published until I was twenty-five.

I am currently reading The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, a wonderful novel written when the author was 24. Dickens was already an accomplished novelist before I had even managed to sell one very short and very minor piece of fiction. Not that this fact is relevant in any way to anything. It just happens to be something I have recently been contemplating.


Monday, January 04, 2021

 

My First Omnibus Volume

The first omnibus volume of several of my OOP (out of print) books is now available, with cover art by the always excellent Selwyn Rodda. The books contained in this omnibus are:

(1) Eyelidiad

(2) The Postmodern Mariner

(3) The Sticky Situations of Zwicky Fingers

(4) The Just Not So Stories

(5) The Crystal Cosmos

This is hopefully the first of four omnibus volumes. Each will have a particular flavour. The flavour of this first omnibus can be said to be 'ironic adventure fiction'.

Some blurbs about my work....

"Rhys Hughes seems almost the sum of our planet's literature... As well as being drunk on language and wild imagery, he is also sober on the essentials of thought. He has something of Mervyn Peake's glorious invention, something of John Cowper Powys's contemplative, almost disdainful existentialism, a sensuality, a relish, an addiction to the delicious." — Michael Moorcock

“It’s a crime that Rhys Hughes is not as widely known as Italo Calvino and other writers of that stature. Brilliantly written and conceived, Hughes’ fiction has few parallels anywhere in the world. In some alternate universe with a better sense of justice, his work triumphantly parades across all bestseller lists.” — Jeff VanderMeer

“If I said he was a Welsh writer who writes as though he has gone to school with the best writing from all over the world, I wonder if my compliment would just sound provincial. Hughes’ style, with all that means, is among the most beautiful I’ve encountered in several years.” — Samuel R Delany


 

Corybantic Fulgours

"Who are the Corybantic Fulgours? They are monsters. They live in a room, a room as large as the inside of the Moon, and in this room there are all sorts of ways and means, odds and ends, curves and bends, and no one but no one can ever say what the right way from here to there is. Most monsters don't care about things like that, and the Corybantic Fulgours are made from curdled light, so they care even less. Let's open the door to that room and step inside..."

I have been doodling monsters most of my life. It only occurred to me recently that I could write poems for such drawings, poems that wrap around the outlines of those monsters. I was influenced by the illustrations and verses of Mervyn Peake's 'Moccus Poems' from 1929, though it goes without saying that Peake was a vastly better illustrator and poet than I am.

At first I had no firm ideas about how the project ought to progress. I simply doodled monsters and wrote poems for them at an accelerating rate and I kept going until I ran out of blank pages in the notepad I was using for the drawings.

The result is this little book of light ekphrastic verse. It turned out even better than I had hoped. To read some extracts please follow this link to a feature on my book that appeared in the October 2020 edition of Borderless Journal.

Corybantic Fulgours is available from Amazon and other online bookshops at the lowest price I was allowed to set for it.


Monday, July 27, 2020

 

Two New Poetry Books


I am delighted to announce two new poetry books:

(1) CARRYING WOMEN ACROSS RIVERS

Quirky poetry in the light-hearted tradition of Richard Brautigan, Don Marquis, Hilaire Belloc, Blaise Cendrars and Edward Lear. 133 verses and prose poems ranging in length from one-sentence quips to absurdist ballads. Space, time, love, journeys, fruit, the thoughts and feelings of inanimate objects and monsters are among the themes covered. Available from Amazon here.


(2) THE MEANDERING KNIGHT

An adventure story in verse form. Bertie Random is an ordinary man and an unlucky traveller. While fleeing monsters on foot, he is accosted by an octopus on roller skates who gives him eight letters. These letters tell the tales of strange incidents across time and space. If Bertie learns the appropriate lessons from reading them, he will be knighted by Fate herself and his bad luck will turn into opportunity. Arise, Sir Random? Available from Amazon here.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

 

The Dangerous Strangeness


My first book of short plays has been published and is now available. I am more excited about this volume than I am about most of my short-story collections!

Cover artwork by Selwyn Rodda. Fifteen one-act plays in the absurdist tradition including one longish monologue. Also songs and dances! One of the plays was written in collaboration with the Mauritian author Vatsala Radhakeesoon.

None of my plays has ever been performed and only one ('Yesferatu') has even been published before (in Brazil), so maybe writing plays at my age is the super folly/crisis of a middle-aged man :-) But by heck, I enjoyed the process of writing them!

They were written for the page as well as the stage, but I do hope that one day some of them will be acted (with puppets or people) or turned into animated films.

When the first is performed I will consider myself a playwright but not before then. Nonetheless, I am delighted with this volume and the way it has turned out. I only began writing plays in the year 2018. Wish I had started sooner!

The book is available from Amazon and elsewhere :-)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

 

My Very Last Horror Book


I am delighted to announce the publication of my new book, Crepuscularks and Phantomimes. The book was originally published in an ultra-limited edition in Brazil by Raphus Press. That edition has sold out now (unless there is a special reserve copy in the possession of the publisher; email him to inquire) but the paperback and ebook editions have just become available. The limited edition is a collector’s item. The paperback is a mass market book.

The cover of the paperback was created by the excellent artist Selwyn Rodda. The book includes thirteen tales (the limited has eleven; I always add a bonus or two for paperback editions) of a strongly gothic, ghostly and lovecraftian slant. This will certainly be my very last book of horror stories. My short story writing career is drawing to a close. I planned a long time ago to write 1000 stories and no more. I am finally nearing that limit, a destination I never imagined I would arrive at.

Unlike so many of my story collections, which use horror ideas and tropes for non-horror or even anti-horror purposes, the comedy and whimsy and invention in Crepuscularks and Phantomimes is wholly with the horror authors who inspired the tales in the book. These stories are tributes to Lovecraft, Machen, Dunsany, et al. Already the book has had great reviews, for example this one, and spectacular blurbs, as follows: 

“Wryly dark and creepily funny, the stories in Crepuscularks and Phantomimes simultaneously scratch the horror itch and strike your funny bone, What might happen if Firbank’s head was grafted onto Lovecraft’s body and then released into the wild.” – Brian Evenson.

Crepuscularks and Phantomimes, Gothic, Ghostly and Lovecraftian tales in the ironic mode is a perfect showcase for the author’s adroit wordplay, for an imagination as whimsical as it is grotesque. His voice is refreshingly original, darkly witty, dazzling and delightful. My highest recommendation.” – Jeffrey Thomas

“These tales defy anticipation, schoolbook rules, humdrum parsing, genre conventions. They stutter, they sing, they ingest and indigest. They gimp and they gag, they traject orthogonally, they do the seven year itch. They show us butts inside butts, ruts atop ruts, and guts within guts. They kick and they frack. They love craft, they craft love. They rapture and enrapture, if sometimes only fractionally. They case shadows and shadow casts. They separate and conjoin, and when they stop dancing, the jig still isn’t up. Enter this collection at your peril and try not to fret if you emerge as someone you don’t yet recognise. All will be well, and if it isn’t, oh well, you’ve had a hell of a slide.” – Michael Bishop.

One of the stories in the book has been translated into Russian and has just gone up on the website of the premier Russian horror fiction journal, Darker Magazine. This is only the second time I have been translated into Russian.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

 

Crepuscularks and Phantomimes -- Pre orders!




My next book release from Raphus Press in Brazil is taking pre-orders from today!

CREPUSCULARKS AND PHANTOMIMES is an ultra-limited collection of weird stories inspired by Poe, Dunsany, Ligotti, Lovecraft, Machen, and other luminaries in the ghostly and gothic traditions.

It is one of my few collections in which darkness flourishes without hindrance...

Pre-orders available from RAPHUS PRESS


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

 

Postmodern Mariner Returns!


My long out-of-print book, The Postmodern Mariner, has come back in a second edition. I arranged this primarily so that I had a hard copy to send to my publishers in Serbia (there is going to be a Serbian translation soon).

It was originally published in 2008 by Screaming Dreams Press. It is described as "A short book of implausible adventures featuring absurdities, anachronisms, exaggerations, outrageous puns, pirates, mythological beings, giant cups of tea and the occasional metafictional trick..."

The contents are as follows:

(1) The Münchhausen of Porthcawl
Castor on Troubled Waters * Canis Raver * The Plucked Plant * When Wales Played Asgård * Interstellar Domestic * The Cream-Jest of Unset Custard * The Day the Town of Porthcawl was Accidentally Twinned with the Capital of the Cheese and Biscuits Empire

(2) Piper at the Fates of Ooze 
The Lip Service

(3) The Postmodern Mariner in Person
Rommel Cobra's Swimming Carnival * Eight Blathering Buccaneers

I have included a bonus story in this second edition. 'Eight Blathering Buccaneers' is a set of interviews with the pirates in the novella 'Rommel Cobra's Swimming Carnival' (a story I am especially fond of).

Copies are available from Amazon and other online bookstores...


Thursday, January 16, 2020

 

Facets of Faraway



I have turned another one of my ebook-only collections into a real book. I don't intend to make a habit of doing this. It's the second and last time I will.

But I have doubled the length of FACETS OF FARAWAY by including lots of new work. I am very fond of these stories.

I have also deleted the old ebook and replaced it with a new ebook that includes all the extra stories.

The book is available from Amazon and other online bookstores, and details of the contents can be found as usual on my Aardvark Caesar site.

The stories in this collection are the kind of whimsical fantasies that I most enjoy writing. Unfortunately 'whimsy' isn't highly regarded in the contemporary fantasy world. Why this should be is a mystery, as some of the greatest fantasies ever written are whimsical in the extreme (the novels of James Branch Cabell for example), and in fact the entire genre in its modern form has whimsy at the core of its origin (The Shaving of Shagpat by George Meredith and Phantastes by George MacDonald among many others).

Whimsy is generally a tool rather than an end in itself, and I believe this is true of the stories in FACETS OF FARAWAY. It allows the imagination to branch off in more unusual directions than a more sober and sombre approach does. Also it doesn't mean that poignancy and profundity are excluded. A story can be deeply meaningful and lightly absurdist at the same time.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

 

Review of 2019


2019 is over and we are now starting a new decade.

I read 82 books last year, the highest number of books I have read in any year of my life. I didn't plan to do this, it just happened. True, some of the books were short, i.e. single plays or slim poetry collections; but others were long novels and big omnibus editions. I doubt that I will ever read so many books in one year again, but who can say for sure? Anyone who cares to see what those 82 books were can check out my Goodreads page...

Reading highlights for me in the year 2019 were the 'Occupation Trilogy' novels of Patrick Modiano; Cities of the Red Night by William Burroughs (his best novel?); W.G. Sebald's Vertigo; the plays of Büchner, Ionesco, Lorca, Beckett, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Brecht, Rostand, and J.B. Priestley; the poems of A.E. Housman; William Goldman's The Princess Bride (surely one of the most charming fantasy adventure novels I've encountered); The Lost Steps by Alejo Carpentier; The Tenants of Moonbloom by Edward Lewis Wallant; Silk by Alessandro Baricco; Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell (one of the best non-fiction books about war I have ever read).

I also finished reading my reading of Richard Brautigan's prose works: there are none left for me to read. And I read a novel that has been sitting on my shelves for decades, in fact for 35 years, Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, and I was astonished at how good it was, one of his best, perhaps his very best (and I am a huge Bradbury fan).I read Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, a writer I have a special fondness for (because he introduced me to 'modern' literature when I was young), and I found it to be excellent; I also read the sequel Sweet Thursday, which isn't quite as good. I discovered John Williams, finally read the wonderful Stoner and the not so great Nothing but the Night, and went out and bought Butcher's Crossing as my last book purchase of the year. But my most significant discovery of 2019 was the work of Ingeborg Bachmann. I intend to seek out as much of her work as I can get my hands on.

And yet my 'book of the year' is this one. The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem. I picked it up without any great expectations. And let's be clear: not every piece in this volume is excellent or even good. Far from it! There is a lot of pretentious nonsense here, word salad gibberish, and some of the best-known writers represented in the pages are responsible for some of the worst contributions. But there is enough brilliance to elevate the entire collection, and in fact I have even come to the conclusion that the gems are set off to better effect because of the presence of these duds. One of the things about this volume that works surprisingly well is that all the prose poems are presented in reverse chronological order, from our contemporary age right back to the 1840s when the prose poem first became a viable mode of artistic expression. I found this reverse order very affecting, I am not sure why.

As for my own writing.... 2019 was another busy year.

Books Published = 5
* The Nostalgia that Never Was
* Mombasa Madrigal
* Slap-on-the-Wrist Stories
* Arms Against a Sea
* Better the Devil

Books Accepted = 2
* The Wistful Wanderings of Perceval Pitthelm
* My Rabbit's Shadow Looks Like a Hand (my favourite of all the novellas I have written)

Stories Written = 36
Articles Written = 5 (I skimped on article writing in 2019)
Plays Written = 10 (one in collaboration with Vatsala Radhakeesoon)

This brings my total of books published up to 52 since the year 1995. A reader could read one of my published books every week for an entire year, if they wished to do that...
945 stories in total since the year 1989.
27 articles in total since the year 2017 (when I started again from the beginning).
15 plays in total since the year 2018.

This year I am hoping to have at least one of my plays performed on stage, radio or even as a film. We shall see :-) I began the year of 2019 in Kenya, and also went to Marseille, but spent too much time in the UK for my liking. Next year I am hoping to do a big trip in Africa, as well as a teaching post in Tanzania, before returning to the farm in Kirinyaga. :-)

Monday, December 16, 2019

 

Better the Devil


Better the Devil has been just an ebook for the past six years. Now it is a paperback book as well.

More than 100,000 words of fiction and featuring eighty-six stories, it is a volume of my collected chapbooks that have previously been available only in limited editions or as ebooks, namely Romance with Capsicum, The Skeleton of Contention, Madonna Park, Plutonian Parodies, Young Tales of the Old Cosmos, To Err is Divine, The Devil You Don't, and The Dangerous Strangeness. Some of these chapbooks have been extremely rare. The earliest story here is my earliest surviving story, and the volume samples my career from 1989 to 2012.

The author A. A. Attanasio wrote the following about this big collection, "...dazzling disintegrations of the reality principle. These are rites of passage to the greater world beyond common sense. Their levity raises the bar on profundity and sets a comic standard for the tragic limits of our human experience. Like parables, these antic tales reveal by hiding. And like the Uncertainty Principle, they guard the secret of being from intellectual bondage. They're fun! Like Beckett on nitrous oxide. Like Kafka with a brighter sense of humor."

The contents of the paperback edition are slightly different from those of the ebook edition. Full contents can be found on my Aardvark Caesar site. For example, the Fanny Fable tales have been replaced with the Young Tales of the Old Cosmos stories.

Available from Amazon and other online bookstores.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

 

Worming the Harpy returns, again!


My first book, Worming the Harpy, has just gone into its third edition. Three editions in 24 years might not seem so great to you, but I am delighted that the book is available again. It can be obtained from Amazon and other online bookstores, and some real bookstores in the real world too, as well as directly from the publisher here.

The book came out in 1995 and the stories were written in the early years of that decade. But some of the ideas for some of the stories go back a lot longer than that.

For instance, I wrote versions of 'The Falling Star' and 'Velocity Oranges' when I was in my early teens. The originals were lost and the actual prose of them might not have been very good, but their ideas were sound, and I believe that my later rewriting of those pieces has improved them.

Certainly I no longer write the kinds of stories that are to be found in Worming the Harpy in quite the same way, although I still utilize weird and gothic themes, of course. And some of the story-cycles I have been adding to slowly over the decades find their starting point here. This book includes my first three 'Chaud-Melle' tales and also the first 'Darktree' story, among others.

I still had a Poe / Hoffmann / Lautreamont thing going on at the time these tales were written, though refracted somewhat through an ironic-whimsy lens. Anyway, I am rambling to no good purpose. The book is a paperback again, and all errors in the first (hardback) edition have been corrected. This edition includes a story that was left out of the hardback, and a chapter missing from the original printing of the title story has now been returned.

Friday, November 01, 2019

 

Arms Against a Sea (and Other Troubles)


My new book, Arms Against a Sea (and Other Troubles), has just been published.

The limited deluxe edition, published in Brazil courtesy of Raphus Press, has already sold out.

As with Mombasa Madrigal and Other African Escapades, I have followed the procedure of waiting for the limited edition to go out of print before launching the paperback and ebook editions. Those are available now.

The paperback edition of Mombasa Madrigal contained a story ('Sailing to Port Manitou', one of my absolute favourites) that wasn't in the limited edition. For the paperback and ebook editions of Arms Against a Sea I have taken the liberty of including no less than four bonus stories.

This contents of this new collection (and of all my books) can be found on my Aardvark Caesar site.

As I have said, the Raphus Press edition has sold out. The paperback and ebook versions can be obtained from Amazon by clicking on this link. The majority of the stories in this new book appear in print for the first time.

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