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:


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.


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.

Thursday, August 29, 2019


Slap-on-the-Wrist Stories

My new book has just been published. Copies arrived for me today.

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

The ultra-limited deluxe handcrafted edition of Mombasa Madrigal published in Brazil by Raphus Press (see blog post below) sold out very quickly. It seems likely to become a rare collector's item in the future. I have now sized the opportunity of having the book turned into a paperback at a very low price. This paperback in fact includes an extra story that isn't in the deluxe edition.

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


Mombasa Madrigal

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

My first book of 2019 is also the very last project I completed last year. I started writing it without any idea that it was going to become a book. A short piece of flash fiction seemed to demand another along similar lines, and so on, until eventually there were so many that I had to give them cohesion and a frame. This is exactly the same way that my book World Muses was created. The frame is partly inspired by the one Italo Calvino invented for his Invisible Cities.

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

It's the end of the year again and because I have given up doing 'end of the year reviews' (supposedly) I'll keep this very brief. I'm sure other people, including yourself, have better things to do at this time than read end-of-the-year reviews.

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:

EYELIDIAD for free

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

My new book has just become available. It's a story collection divided into two equal parts. The first half features a selection of my early stories; the second half contains samples of my more recent work.

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


Free Cats

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


Free Ebook

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 in the Pantheon for FREE

Click on the link above to download it from Amazon UK. For Amazon outlets in other countries, simply search for the book on your Amazon. Hope you enjoy!

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

Two years ago I began writing a story that turned out to be the first chapter of a novel, a weird Western that became very weird indeed. I had the title The Honeymoon Gorillas in my head for years before finding a use for it. Gorillas play only an indirect part in the book but it is an important one nonetheless. They are always-present but never seen.

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 new book has just been published and this one is a little different from all the others, even though all the others are already rather different from each other. It is different because it's a collection of experimental OuLiPo fictions. I have talked about OuLiPo many times over the past thirty years. It is a type of writing that is still relatively unknown in the English writing world.

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

I have just returned from Africa, where I plan to move permanently within two years, but that's something that deserves a blog post all to itself.

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.

Thursday, December 07, 2017


Literary Review 2017

My literary review of the year is generally only concerned with my personal favourites of all the books I have read this year and doesn't have anything to do with my own writing. This is the way it should be. I can announce, however, that 2017 has turned out to be my most productive fiction writing year ever. Every year for the past two decades I have attempted to write a minimum of 100,000 words of fiction annually. Some years I have failed to do this, but generally I have met my target and exceeded it by a certain wordage. The first time I broke the 200,000 word mark, I was astonished. The following year I produced 240,000 words and that was a record I never expected to beat. That was in 2010.

Ironically, I decided to make last year the final year in which I worried about meeting my self-imposed target of one hundred thousand words. I just planned to write instead without counting and let the final total take care of itself. But for some reason, this year has been especially fruitful, maybe because I took the pressure off myself, I don't know. I have just reached a total wordage of 241,000 words of fiction, and this doesn't take into account that 2017 was the year I also decided to launch myself into writing non-fiction seriously. However, I certainly don't intend to keep up this pace next year. There is no need. I am only 120 stories short of finishing my grand cycle of 1000 stories, and slowing the pace seems the right thing to do at this stage.

I am also thinking about detaching my novels from the cycle and having them as a separate set of works, and concentrating more on them in the future. I have several novels that are in various stages of completion, plus I have ideas for others, and I don't want the arbitrary task of writing short stories to obstruct their realization. None of this is going to be of much interest to most of you out there, but keeping the numbers in mind helps me to determine where I am and how far there is left to go. And although I am prolific in comparison with many writers, I am not at all prolific compared with others. It's all relative! I ought to make a list of projects I intend to work on in the near future and then post the list on my blog. I will probably try to do this quite soon.

Now then! The best books I read in 2017 were as follows:

On Leave - Daniel Anselme
A truly remarkable novel about three soldiers on leave in Paris in the middle of the Algerian War. Written in 1957 it describes a sequence of disillusioned but intense experiences in a prose that is simultaneously hallucinatory and crisp. This is almost a perfect novel and one that will surely linger long in my memory. Each episode and every scene is absolutely correct in its place. Anselme's writing style is like a cross between the styles of Camus and Simenon, and the result isn't a mess, as a blending of two such incompatibles ought to be, but a melodic, philosophical and yet streetwise concoction that flows along at a heady pace. Too contained to be described as a picaresque, the novel nonetheless progresses from one rejected 'lesson' to another, as the three soldiers fail to readjust to the life they once knew. This is an angry, sensitive, enthralling, disturbing, political fantasia that never ceases to be brutally and beautifully real.

The Fugitive - Pramoedya Ananta Toer
A remarkable novel by a writer I only discovered a couple of months ago. This is the first Indonesian work of literature that I have read. I found it to be fascinating and compelling. The novel was Toer's first and is set at the end of the Japanese occupation of Indonesia. There are four long chapters that resemble acts in a play. The action proceeds fluidly despite the very formal structural arrangement of the work. There is a small cast of characters who interact, who ponder and present dilemmas of conscience and determination. The story is about loyalty, betrayal, redemption, liberation and tragedy. I am definitely planning to read more of Toer's work. In style and tone it is quite unlike the work of any other writer  I have encountered.

The Collected Short Stories - Jean Rhys
One of the best short story collections I have ever read. This was also my introduction to the work of Jean Rhys and I will now certainly seek out her other books. There is a lot of variety here and the stories span a wide range of time, but they can be placed into four broad categories. (1) Stories set in the bohemian Paris of the interwar age, (2) Stories set in London before and during the Blitz, (3) Stories set in the West Indies, (4) Stories set in the countryside (of England or other European countries). The stories set in Paris and London tend to be equally about impoverished narrators trying to survive in their environments, but those in Paris are far less bleak than those in London. The London stories really demonstrate the appallingly claustrophobic social prejudices prevalent at the time and they do this as devastatingly as the stories of Somerset Maugham. In the Parisian stories, on the other hand, there is always something uplifting happening even when there is little hope in general... The West Indies stories are my favorites and the tropics are so deeply ingrained in the heart of this writer that they seem to be in the background even in the stories that aren't set there. There is always a yearning, a craving, for the light and brightness and intensity of the Caribbean, despite the fact that paradise isn't always paradise under the surface and Jean Rhys makes the reader acutely aware of this fact. As for the stories set in the countryside, these include a remarkable story which is a semi-autobiographical account of a stay in a remote cottage with three other guests, including the composer Peter Warlock; and a magnificent story of escape to Prague in a motor car just after WWI in the company of a husband who is a crook. Jean Rhys tends to be better at longer lengths. These two pieces are picaresque, somewhat rambling in structure, rendered in a prose style that is unusual, highly rhythmic and simultaneously melancholic and invigorating, not at all like the standard writers in English of her time.

Fever - J.M.G. Le Clézio
One of those occasional books that changes what you believe is possible in fiction and thus one of the best short story collections I have ever read. Le Clézio's incandescent style is the first notable aspect of his work. It is immensely affecting, melodically and rhythmically, and has a powerful momentum. It is not dissimilar to that of J.G. Ballard in the sense that it seems geometric in itself even when not engaged in some literal or metaphorical geometric analysis of the material under consideration at any time, but it is more philosophical and looser too; ultimately there is a tight control on digressions and tangents but they are held at the end of a long leash. Or perhaps we can say that the stories are one large remarkable digression and tangent. They are often picaresque or pseudo-picaresque accounts. The characters appear to ramble aimlessly from one situation to another, from one coordinate of spacetime to another, and only their confusion and curiosity remain unchanged along the way. There are four masterpieces among this collection of nines stories. None of them feature a conventional protagonist or anything in the way of orthodox characterization, plot or dialogue. None of them follow the standard patterns of story pacing or development. They are less like other fictions and more like chronicles of subjective experiences. The title story 'Fever' is a novelette or novella in which the distorted perspectives of a delirium sufferer are shown to be keys to unlocking the distorted nature of reality itself. 'The Day Beaumont Became Acquainted with his Pain' is about the telescoping of awareness due to a terrible toothache. 'The Walking Man' is the story of a journey that is spatially insignificant but metaphysically tremendous. 'A Day of Old Age' is about death, life, individuality, the merging of the substances that give us temporary form back into the environment. The last of these contains a nice metafictional touch in which Le Clézio urges the reader to take a break from reading and breathe deeply while appreciating the fact we are still alive, a gesture that shows more consideration for the existence of the reader than most fictive texts. Of the other five stories I would like to point out that 'The World is Alive' contains no human or animal characters at all. It is the story of a river from its source in the mountains all the way down to the sea. It is more like an essay than a story, an example of nature writing, and yet it is still a story, because this river is the character, a character as valid as any imaginary human being would be, and its journey is the most perfect of narratives because we already know and don't know at the same time what the progression and outcome will be. It is exactly the sort of story that confounds all the advice given by creative writing teachers on creative writing courses, the sort of story that shows there are no rules, there is only ingenuity.

A General Theory of Oblivion - José Eduardo Agualusa
One of the best novels I have encountered for ages. Magnificent in every way and exactly the kind of book that reminds me of how magical literature can be. So much of my favourite contemporary writing seems to be coming out of Africa. This is definitely in the top 10 of novels I have read in the past ten years. It is probably even in the top three... The tangled life-streams of the various characters interact beautifully and surprisingly with each other; the backdrop to the story is colourful, menacing and absolutely charged with history. José Eduardo Agualusa is clearly an extremely accomplished author indeed. I am awestruck and I certainly intend seeking out more of this writer's work.

The Journal of a Disappointed Man - W.N.P. Barbellion
One of the best books I have read this year and in fact one of the best books I have ever read. I believe that all readers who are interested in the human condition should read it. From the point of view of what it means to be a living person, it contains the spectrum of everything. Really amazing and I think it could be more than amazing: it could be an epiphany. It's one of the most quotable books I have ever read (as quotable as Cocteau; high praise indeed!) and also one of the most poignant. And it is totally relevant to everything that the philosophically-minded reader has probably been turning over in their own minds for years and years, our cosmic insignificance, the fact that life is terrible but worth living anyway, the nature of truth and falsity, etc, and because Barbellion goes through almost the whole range of possible feelings and views on every subject he raises, it feels like he has uploaded his soul onto the page and then we find that our own souls overlap with his at many points. It was a privilege to read this book, which I plucked at random from a library shelf, started reading with no special motivation but then with immense enthusiasm as I became completely captivated by the work.

Friday, November 24, 2017


Yule Do Nicely

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat. Yes, but we first require more information about the goose, the penny and the hat. We can’t be too careful these days. How fat is the goose getting and what connection does it have with the old man? Is the goose getting so fat that it is likely to explode with disastrous results for the nation? How will paying the old man a penny prevent this outcome? The situation is unclear.

We are on more certain ground when it is explained that the following fictions have been assembled in their present form in order to celebrate the festive season. They include work from the span of the past quarter century. The first twenty-four tales form a weird advent calendar from December 1st to 24th. Then it is Christmas Day and time for the stocking and the twenty-eight little strange tales inside it. Merry Xmas!

This book is available as paperback and as an ebook from Amazon and elsewhere. It is priced very low. £2.99 for the print edition and 99p for the ebook. This is as it should be at this time of year...

I have added the title to the blog where I keep track of all my published books to date, where there is also information about the contents of each volume. This blog is called Aardvark Caesar and goes right back to my first published book, Worming the Harpy, more than twenty years ago.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


World Muses

I am delighted to announce publication of my latest book, World Muses, a collection of linked fictions that are about inspirational women from eighty different countries and cultures. Although it might be described as a story collection, in fact I regard it as more akin to an unorthodox novel. Indeed I personally see it as similar to Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, but with women instead of cities. And yet let's not misunderstand the purpose of my book. It is a celebration of diversity and difference rather than an array of libidinous exploits: each chapter (or story) generally features the woman as the victor, the active force, as well as the catalyst.

This book began, in fact, without any thought of writing the full-length work it has become. I merely wanted to write a few very short fictions ('palm of the hand stories' as Kawabata termed them) and so I wrote a short text inspired by a friend of mine who lives in Indonesia. This was followed by other short texts for other female friends. Soon I was ranging the world in my imagination and before long I was inventing characters as well as basing them on real people. I am delighted with the finished project, which the mighty Des Lewis is already subjecting to one of his real-time reviews. World Muses pleases me very much.

The book was accepted by Ex Occidente Press in Romania and they have produced a deluxe limited edition hardback that is one of the most beautifully produced volumes I have ever seen. There are only just over 100 copies available. Among the fictions there are some experimental texts that utilize unusual typographical layouts. These have been rendered perfectly in the hardback and for this I am very grateful to the publisher. It is surprising how often publishers seem incapable of handling experimental layouts properly. Ex Occidente are careful and considerate, among the finest publishers of luxury books currently working.

To make it available to a larger audience I have arranged for the production of a paperback version that is priced at very low cost. The ebook version is also extremely cheap. This is the way it should be. No paperback or ebook edition of a work can ever compare with a carefully designed and exquisitely manufactured hardback, of course, but not all of us have the funds to collect such tomes.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Salty Kiss Island

My new book has just been published, courtesy of Storm Constantine of Immanion Press. I am absolutely delighted with it, so delighted indeed that I have written this article to explain why I believe it's my best collection so far.

It is a collection of my fantastical love stories, 22 tales in total that were written over a period of 15 years. Two of the stories are novellas and one is a novelette, so the total wordage of the collection is just over 100,000 words.

The style of these stories is mostly what one might term 'magic realist' and I am happy with this definition, despite the vagueness of the term and the fact that not all the stories in the book are quite that way. They were inspired by real feelings and people, moods, circumstances, dreams and daydreams, music from tropical lands, writers such as Amado, Couto, Vian and Calvino (always Calvino) and a curious yearning for a different kind of life, and generally speaking they highlight my urge to break free from the narrative restrictions of the conventionally told anglophone story, whether it be mainstream or genre.

I feel that with this book I have reached a milestone on the admittedly lonely path of my writing career. I am not especially successful financially. It has been a struggle. But this book exists. I feel that something important has been validated...

The book is available at amazon and other online stores, and the magnificent Des Lewis has already begun one of his real time reviews of the stories within.

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