Friday, May 15, 2009


Harpy and Twisty

(1) Harpy Unwormed...

My first book Worming the Harpy was published by Tartarus Press back in 1995 when I was 29 years old. The print run was very small and the book was edited in a way I wasn't entirely happy with. Ever since then, I have wanted a cheaper paperback version to be made available to a wider public, and in the shape of Prime Books I thought I had found a publisher willing to take the project on. Sean Wallace of Prime Books agreed to issue a cheap paperback Harpy in 2005 as a way of marking the 10 year anniversary of its original launch. John Clute wrote an Introduction for the second edition, and E.F. Bleiler wrote an Afterword. Luís Rodrigues was hired to design the cover and internal layout.

I was looking forward to the release of this second edition with especial delight because the text had been restored to its original shape, with deleted scenes reinserted and other errors corrected. However, as the years slowly passed I began to suspect that Prime Books had no real intention of publishing the book. My emails to Sean Wallace went unanswered. Four years after its scheduled relaunch failed to materialise, I have finally heard back from him with the news that he has pulled the plug on the second edition. So the rights have now fully reverted to me. I intend to seek another publisher for this project but I have no idea how long it will take before I find one. My apologies to any reader who was awaiting the book, and also to John Clute, Everett Bleiler and Luís Rodrigues for this setback.

(2) Horn Twisted...

However, bad news is often counterbalanced by good, and so I now take great delight in announcing the official launch today of the publishing company that intends to issue my novel Twisthorn Bellow in September. Atomic Fez was set up by the Canadian fellow Ian Alexander Martin, former sachem-and-sheik of Humdrumming Ltd, publishers of my Less Lonely Planet collection (aptly enough, Atomic Fez also plan to being out a second edition of that volume, an expanded version, sometime next year). I am particularly satisfied with how extreme my novel is in terms of multilayered absurdity and twisted logic. Is it the maddest thing I've ever written? Yes it is.

The cover of Twisthorn Bellow was rendered by Steve Upham, resident genius of Screaming Dreams, who published my Postmodern Mariner last summer. Steve is a superb graphic artist and his speed and efficiency are already becoming legendary. His vision of my golem character is superior to my own and conveys a sense of immense brooding power. The point of Twisthorn Bellow, as I'm sure I've said before, is that it's a spoof of the genre of the dubious superhero but also a serious contribution to it. Writing a Hellboy story last year provided the spark for the main concept. Cult pulp author Philip José Farmer was my other main inspiration. My joy at the way everything has turned out is quite improper and I intend to plug this mother like a sink. Strange how we plug sinks to start them filling, but plug books to stop them sinking...

Sorry to hear about the news regarding Worming the Harpy. I've been looking forward to its reissue ever since you announced it. I wish you all the best in finding a new publisher.
I had heard that another publisher was going to do it. What happened to that?
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