Saturday, September 19, 2009


Gums in Rude Health

My new novel has been published at last. I began writing it three years ago and finished it last year. Now it's available to be read. It's very rude; in fact it's the most obscene thing I've written, even naughtier than The Percolated Stars. I also happen to believe it's my funniest book to date. I now look forward to shocked reviews. But then again, we live in a jaded world, so people probably won't even bat an eyelid. Ah well! It seems that a 10,000 word extract from Mister Gum has already been selected to appear in a 'Year's Best' anthology; and this is something that provides me with a certain grim satisfaction -- I'm always overlooked for the Datlow and Jones anthologies (mayhap for political reasons?)

Back to the promotion of my new novel... Gums generally hold teeth; but this gum is held by a hand. The design for the cover was made on this beach, and here's a photo of it superimposed on the same beach. Blessed recursion or what? A great deal of Mister Gum was written last year in a public library when I was in dire straits financially. I had no computer of my own. I even had to rely on tins of food donated by friends and sleep on a golf course. But at least I kept my aristocratic dignity and never stooped to taking a paid job. That's the way I prefer to see it, anyway.

Other news: I'm still working on my 500th story; and still working on my Gustav Meyrink tribute story; and I'm also putting together a possible collection for a Romanian publisher. Plus there's a chance I might have found a publisher for my Tallest Stories book. An electronic version of Twisthorn Bellow should be available later this year. If all goes to plan, that is...

Hello Rhysaurus! I am a big fan of science fiction, but my tastes have been pretty pedestrian up to now (except for the odd bit of Philip K Dick!). A friend has advised me to check out your work, so having Googled you I found your blog. Could you please tell me if it is possible to buy any of your books in Swansea? Also, if you were someone who was new to your work, which book of yours would you advise someone to read first? Thanks a lot...
Philip K. Dick? Ah, he's one of my favourite SF writers... But anyway, if you like SF you probably won't be too delighted with my books. I have written lots of SF but most of it has never been published (or published only in magazines, not in books)...

I would recommend *The Crystal Cosmos*, but it's expensive for what it is -- in other words it's too short and full of typographical errors. I hope one day it'll be reprinted with corrections, maybe in a book with my other SF...

Anyway again, if I had to recommend something of mine for you I'd choose either *Twisthorn Bellow* -- but that won't be published until next March -- because it has a fairly strong SF element, and I think it's very inventive, and I'm basically very pleased with it... Or I'd go for *The Postmodern Mariner*, which isn't SF but is light, funny, clever and cheap (in my opinion, of course!)

Ordering for both books here:

Alternatively, don't buy any of my books and try to get hold of some John Sladek, Brian Aldiss or Thomas Disch instead!

Hello again Rhysaurus! Thanks a lot for the info, I'm in the process of ordering 'The Postmodern Mariner', and will look forward to 'Twisthorn Bellow'. I am really getting in to Celtic writers (not being a Celt myself!), and I wonder what it is that distinguishes, say, Welsh writers to English writers; is it culture, scenery, language? Anyhow, I am loving Welsh writers at the moment (ones that write in English, that is!). I'm reading a fascinating book at the moment By a Cardiff writer called Clive Evans about all-things Welsh and supernatural; he notes that many Welsh children grow up with Imps. When I was a child, I had three Imps; 'Pye-Wacket', 'Pig-In-The-Poke', and Ruffles', and I'm interested to read that many other children in the UK grow up with imps too! Anyhow thanks again for the info you supplied; looking forward to checking out your work. Regards...
Hi Andrew! Well I hope you enjoy The Postmodern Mariner... It's one of my favourites of all my books...

I never grew up with an imp; at least I don't remember doing so. The woodland opposite my house was haunted, though!
For what it's worth, as for science fiction fans not enjoying Rhys--I can't exactly put my finger on why, perhaps it was the inventiveness or the playfulness, or the convoluted logic of some of the stories, but Rhys' short story collection The Less Lonley Planet reminded me of Stanislaw Lem's The Cyberiad. Which is odd because it is really nothing like The Cyberiad. Maybe it was in part the sensation of reading the stories and thinking, not, "Why didn't I think of that," but instead, "How is it possible that any normal, sane, brain thought of that?" I enjoyed the hell out of both books.
What can I say to that other than a big THANKS for the compliment! Stanislaw Lem is absolutely one of my favourite writers of all time and The Cyberiad is an astounding masterpiece!

I've written a short story about Lem and I think it's one of my best but it's only available in a very large (and expensive) anthology here:

Maybe I'll get it republished in a future collection of stories...
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