Saturday, September 04, 2021
Cthulhu Wants You!
Wednesday, September 01, 2021
Utopia in Trouble
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
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
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
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
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.
Friday, May 21, 2021
Big Book of Modern Fantasy
Saturday, April 17, 2021
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.
Monday, March 22, 2021
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".
Hope you enjoy!
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
The Long Chin of the Law
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.
Tuesday, February 09, 2021
Vampires with Fairy Wings
Monday, February 08, 2021
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
Friday, January 08, 2021
A Rhys Hughes Sampler
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
(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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Thursday, August 29, 2019
SLAP-ON-THE-WRIST STORIES is a selection of tales controlled by numbers.
For example, 'Postcards From the Hedge' is told in 50 postcards from 50 different animals and each postcard is exactly 50 words long... 'Trouble with Drabbles' is a story made up of 100 stories each 100 words long... 'Only Sixty-Nine Whims Away' consists of 69 chapters each 69 words long... 'Ten of Our Trombones are Missing' consists of 66 chapters each 66 words long.
This book is therefore an example of OuLiPo writing.
The title of the book was suggested to me by fantasy writer James Bennett after I had expressed my enthusiasm for Kawabata's Palm-of-the-Hand Stories, one of my favourite short story collections of all time.
My book is available on Amazon and elsewhere in both paperback and ebook editions.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
New Collection -- only ten copies left
Only ten copies left of the ultra-limited deluxe collector's edition of my next book ARMS AGAINST A SEA are left for pre-order. Seek out and contact Raphus Press if you are interested in securing one of these remaining ten. The same publisher did a wonderful job with my Mombasa Madrigal book.
This limited edition has distinctive production values. It is a perfect square in format (7.87 × 7.87 in.), 90 pages, with a exclusive, painfully handcrafted Japanese binding style. Only 25 will ever be printed. Fifteen have already been pre-ordered.
Friday, June 21, 2019
Best British Fantasy
Just received my complimentary copies of this anthology that contains one of my stories. I have been in "Best Ofs" before, but not very often because the main gatekeepers in the genre world have tended to be against me for various reasons.
But time passes, things change, the rusty old gatekeepers fall into disuse and new ones take their place. This is always the way. The writing business isn't like the famous Kafka parable. Gatekeepers do change. Take heart, mes amis!
Other news. Looks like I am able to announce my new ultra-limited collection, ARMS AGAINST A SEA (and Other Troubles), right now. The print run is only 25 copies in a handcrafted Japanese binding.
This book is going to be so scarce that it might as well be a rumour rather than a thing... Pre-orders are being taken and for further details and the chance to buy, please follow this link to the page that has just appeared on the website of the Brazilian publisher, Raphus Press.
Yet more news. My big book of tribute stories to authors I admire, THE SENILE PAGODAS, is in the final stages of preparation. With luck I will be able to announce further details very soon :-)
I thank you for listening!
Wednesday, April 03, 2019
Exploits of Engelbrecht -- for free!
Here's something you can't afford to miss. For the next five days the cult classic THE EXPLOITS OF ENGELBRECHT is free as a download for Kindle. I have made the ebook free for the maximum time allowed. Published in 1950 in a limited edition, this book features one of the great fantastika characters of all time, the dwarf surrealist boxer Engelbrecht, and charts his bizarre adventures as the champion athlete of the Surrealist Sportsman's Club.
Take advantage of this offer and spread the word, my friends! :-)
Monday, March 25, 2019
Mombasa in Paperback
There will never be an ebook version of this book. Some books, for some reason, don't seem appropriate for conversion into ebooks. There is only the ultra-limited edition that has sold out, and now this paperback edition that is available from Amazon and elsewhere.
I am especially fond of Mombasa Madrigal. I wrote most of it when I was in Africa last year. It is a collection of stories introduced by a novelette that is a fusion of memoir, travelogue and speculation. The fictions that follow complement and amplify the impact. Outrigger canoes with crab claw sails ride the currents of the Indian Ocean into oblivion, the mountains of Kenya loom high over grounded ships miles from the sea, pirates dream impossibilities and scheme them into reality along the Swahili Coast. And always Mombasa, the gateway to East Africa, pulsing endlessly in the heat of the night...
That's the promotional blurb! Hope you enjoy it if you buy it, and thanks for listening :-)
* Mombasa Madrigal (speculative non-fiction novella),
* In African Airspace (short tale written on an airplane while flying over Africa),
* Nothing Will Happen (the very last 'Captain Dangleglum' story),
* Noah the Second (bonus story not included in original edition),
* Sailing to Port Manitou (one of my personal favourites among my short stories).
Saturday, February 02, 2019
My new book is coming out very soon. In fact it is already here. I just haven't received a copy yet. This is because it has been published far away, in Brazil. It is also about a faraway place, a different faraway place, Mombasa on the Swahili Coast.
But in fact Mombasa will not be so far from me in a couple of days, as I am going back to Africa. I can't wait! My new book is called Mombasa Madrigal and Other African Escapades. It is published by Raphus Press and this is the ultra-limited handcrafted edition. There will be very few copies ever in existence, no more than thirty-eight. Yes! a limited edition of only 38 copies.
Pre-orders are being taken right now. There will be a paperback edition in the future, I am sure, but not before this ultra-limited edition has sold out. I doubt very much there will ever be an ebook edition, as the book contains photographs, diagrams and tables, and those are too difficult to format for ebooks.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
The Nostalgia That Never Was
Whereas World Muses was like Invisible Cities but with women instead of cities, The Nostalgia That Never Was concerns ghosts instead of women. It is clear to me that there will probably be a third book to complete what will then be a triptych, and this third book will surely be about machines rather than ghosts. But there's no rush. Maybe that will be a project for next year.
In the meantime, The Nostalgia That Never Was is ready and is available on Amazon as a paperback and also as an ebook. I am very pleased with the way it has turned out. Sometimes a book turns out not only better than one had expected, but even better than one had hoped. This is such a book. When I wrote it I had no conception of how it might flow as an integral whole. But I think it has worked out very well indeed.
A brief summary:
"Marco Polo is travelling again in the service of Kublai Khan but this time he wanders off the path and ends up in an unknown part of the world. In his solitude he becomes an emperor of dreams. The ghosts of prehistory visit him, and the phantoms of later ages and the future too. He even finds himself in the unexpected position of haunting himself. Only his very last spectral guest can know everything that is essential, and that last guest may well be you, the reader."
Thanks for listening!
Sunday, December 30, 2018
Review of 2018
I began the year in Africa in idyllic surroundings (in the uplands of Kirinyaga in Kenya) and with luck I will be spending more and more time there in the future and in other parts of that continent (Mombasa is one of my favourite places in the world). But my travels aren't really relevant to a blog concerned with literary matters.
So what did I achieve in 2018 regarding my writing efforts?
Books Published = 3
* How Many Times?
* The Honeymoon Gorillas
* The Early Bird Catches the Worm but the Wise Worm Stays in Bed
Books Accepted = 2
* Mombasa Madrigal
* The Court of Very Serious but Fictional Crimes
(With another few books currently in negotiation including Arms Against a Sea, Comfy Rascals and The Wistful Wanderings of Perceval Pitthelm).
Stories Accepted = ?
I don't keep count of these but it's about 30
Stories Written = 28
Articles Written = 11
Plays Written = 5 (only started writing plays in the last month of the year, so I am very pleased with this total).
This brings my total of books published up to 47 since the year 1995.
909 stories in total since the year 1989.
22 articles in total since last year (when I started again from the beginning).
Next year I am hoping to have more books published (of course) including my first non-fiction book (Bullshit with Footnotes), but I am also hoping to have at least one of my plays performed on stage, radio or even as a film. We shall see :-)
As for reading... I read an incredible amount of superb fiction and non-fiction including Malgudi Days by R.K. Narayan, one of my favourite ever short story collections, and No Picnic on Mount Kenya by Felice Benuzzi, one of my favourite true stories of adventure.
But two books among the dozens and dozens stood out. The Short Plays of Harold Pinter, which inspired me to begin writing plays again (I had wanted to write plays when I was much younger), and Palm-of-the-Hand Stories by Yasunari Kawabata, certainly a supreme achievement in the art of the very short story.
That's all. Onward to the year 2019 !!!!! :-)
Saturday, December 08, 2018
Better the Devil for Free
To celebrate the coming of Christmas, my ebook of 100 ghostly, monstrous and supernatural stories BETTER THE DEVIL is free until tomorrow.
This ebook consists of many of my previous chapbooks collected together, including my very first chapbook Romance with Capsicum. It includes flash fiction as well as longer tales.
It can be obtained from Amazon by clicking on this link:
Hope you enjoy :-)
Friday, November 16, 2018
Eyelidiad for Free
My early fantasy novella EYELIDIAD is available to be downloaded to kindle for free over the next three days. Click on the following link to obtain it:
The novella was written in one month back in 1995 and published by Tanjen Ltd the following year. It actually forms one third of my planned novel The Clown of the New Eternities, but whether that novel will ever be finished or not, I can't say.
The first two parts are done but I have been dragging my feet over the third part for twenty years!
Anyway, here is Eyelidiad. Hope you enjoy! :-) :-)
Saturday, October 20, 2018
The Early Bird Catches the Worm but the Wise Worm Stays in Bed
There are 46 stories in total in the paperback edition (the ebook version omits the last story) and the early stories tend to be fairly straightforward while the later ones tend to be more experimental.
It's no secret that I am working on a sequence of exactly 1000 stories in a grand story cycle. Each story works as a standalone tale but is also thematically, systematically and metafictionally linked to all the others.
I have now written 905 of these stories and it has taken twenty-nine years to do so. The idea is that one day the 1000 tale sequence will be completed and every one of the stories will be available in one of my books.
The Early Bird Catches the Worm but the Wise Worm Stays in Bed was initially put together in order to gather up some of my uncollected early stories.
While doing this, it occurred to me that it might be worthwhile to juxtapose them with samples of stories I have written in the past few years.
More details about the contents of the collection can be found on the relevant page of my Aardvark Caesar blog, which is actually a complete catalogue of all my books.
This new collection can be ordered from Amazon here and also from other online bookstores.
The ebook edition can be found here.
Monday, September 24, 2018
To celebrate my birthday I am making the ebook of my book of cat stories and poems free for the next five days. Just go to Amazon and download it for free!
Cats, cats and more cats! One can never have too many of them.
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
For the next five days only my collection FLASH IN THE PANTHEON is available for free on Kindle. This book was originally published back in 2014. It features 123 stories, the longest of which is 999 words and the shortest only 6 words long.
Flash fiction is a style of literature I especially enjoy. For example, Yasunari Kawabata's Palm-of-the-Hand Stories, a volume of flash fictions he wrote over a sixty year period, is one of my favourite short story collections. I regard it as inspiring. I enjoy reading flash fiction and I enjoy writing it.
Thursday, July 19, 2018
The Honeymoon Gorillas
I have wanted to write a weird Western for a long time. This urge was considerably amplified by the weird Westerns of two great writers that I enjoyed immensely, The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan and The Place of Dead Roads by William Burroughs. Both have been an inspiration on my own novel to some extent.
The Honeymoon Gorillas has now been published by Bizarro Pulp Press. It's available from Amazon and other online bookstores. A brief resume of the novel follows:
"Spud Gunn is the son of Hopalong Beech and Una Gunn. When his parents split up he begins his travels through the West, a place of myths, tall stories and strangeness. On his journey he has many peculiar encounters with the characters who inhabit the West and he begins to suspect that something is not quite right about the world he is living in. Could it be that this West is just a simulation? If so, for what purpose was it created? Before he finds the answer to this and other questions, he will have to evade the unusual attentions of a troupe of lethal roving actors, the schemes of fake orientals, the catastrophic effects of asteroid strikes and the fury of a giant who is one of the original gods of the West and who has been assembled from his scattered parts in order to break down the walls of existence and reveal the truths beyond.... But what does this have to do with gorillas? Rather more than it may seem to the casual eye!"
This novel was one of the most fun projects I have ever worked on. In fact I will go further and say that it was the most fun I've had working on a book.
This very morning I received my author's copies, so I decided to take some thematically appropriate photos that might help to promote the novel. This is one of them.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
How Many Times?
My book contains a selection of OuLiPo works that are divided into categories. In the first section, there are stories in which I applied simple arithmetical rules to the creation of the texts. These are stories that consist of x sections, each section with x paragraphs, each paragraph having x sentences, each sentence made up of x words. The value of 'x' increases from one to seven, therefore the lengths of the texts rapidly increases too. The texts are individual pieces, yet they also work together to create a sum greater than the parts.
The second section features stories with a much more complex structure. OuLiPo is about the application of logical constraints that must be adhered to strictly in order to stimulate the imagination and push the creative impulse in unexpected directions. There are many official logical constraints and in the past I have applied several of these to various tales. But I also wanted to invent my own constraint and thus I devised one that I call "greater or equal to 2n plus one" because it consists of story grids that can be read coherently across each row, down every column and along the main diagonals, but it is also possible that other unplanned stories exist on other diagonals or in meandering courses through the grids. Some of the more advanced grids are asymmetrical and present even greater opportunities for readings paths.
The third section is a logico-erotic story in which the workings of progressively more intricate logic gates control the action of the sexual partners who are the objects of the study. I wanted to combine two seemingly irreconcilable functions, namely sensuality and logic. The boolean algebra that determines the outcome of each encounter therefore acquires a physicality that is surely quite new and unexpected.
My book can be ordered directly from the publisher here or from Amazon and other online bookshops.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Black Infinity Magazine
In the meantime, I will report that my novelette 'Swallowing the Amazon' has just appeared in the second issue of a new magazine devoted to weird fiction that is inspired by the pulp writers of the 1920s, 30s and 40s.
Black Infinity is a quality production from a publisher who has produced some extremely nice volumes in the past (including a deluxe edition of my novel Engelbrecht Again).
My novelette is an adventure set in a jungle that features explorers and dinosaurs, but I tried hard to make it different from the usual run of 'Lost World' style stories.
My hope is that Black Infinity will sell well and will thrive. That's a difficult thing to do in today's market where so many magazines and journals that publish fiction tend to go out of business after only a few issues. In other words, if you enjoy pulp weird fiction, please consider buying BI#2 (or the first issue for that matter).
It is available from Amazon here. Each issue will be themed and the subject of #2 is 'Blobs, Globs, Slime and Spores'. The magazine also contains some classic reprints by tremendous authors from the past.
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]