Tag Archives: dark fantasy

Extract: Hell’s Ditch by Simon Bestwick

Hell's Ditch by Simon BestwickThe dream never changes: a moonless, starless night without end. The road she walks is black, bordered with round, white pebbles or nubs of polished bone; she can’t tell which but they’re the only white in the darkness, marking her way through the night.

In dreams and nightmares, Helen walks the Black Road. It leads her back from the grave, back from madness, back towards the man who caused the deaths of her family: Tereus Winterborn, Regional Commander for the Reapers, who rule the ruins of a devastated Britain.

On her journey, she gathers her allies: her old mentor Darrow, the cocky young fighter Danny, emotionally-scarred intelligence officer Alannah and Gevaudan Shoal, last of the genetically-engineered Grendelwolves.

Winterborn will stop at nothing to become the Reapers’ Supreme Commander; more than anything he seeks the advantage that will help him achieve that goal. And in the experiments of the obsessed scientist Dr Mordake, he thinks he has found it.

To Winterborn, Project Tindalos is a means to ultimate power; to Mordake, it’s a means to roll back the devastation of the War and restore his beloved wife to the living. But neither Winterborn nor Mordake understand the true nature of the forces they are about to unleash. Forces that threaten to destroy everything that survived the War, unless Helen and her allies can find and stop Project Tindalos in time.

*

Extract: Hell’s Ditch by Simon Bestwick

No sound. Somehow that’s the worst part of it: the silence.

She can’t even hear her footsteps click on the Black Road’s cobbles. Normally, when she finds herself walking of nights, when she sleeps, that sound’s the one bit of company she has. Now even that’s gone.

Colour begins bleeding into the night. Or at least grey does. It fills up the space on either side of the road, then covers the road itself. She feels it, soft and cushioning, underfoot.

The sky lightens. The sky, too, is ash. Somewhere beyond it there might be a sun, but it’s no more than a rumour of light. In the distance, the City, or what’s left of it. It’s only recognisable because it breaks the horizon in the right spot.

She stops and looks about. All is ashes. Here and there, the crumbling remains of a tree, a body, a gun stick clear of the dead grey carpet. Then she sees motion. Things crawling. They’re people, she realises. Or they were. It’s hard to be sure what they are now. The ash coats them – their clothes, their skin. And many of them are incomplete, missing fingers, hands or entire limbs, sections of faces stripped away. She can’t tell where their flesh ends and the dust begins, especially as they crawl in it, flounder in it, sink into it, some vanishing from sight to never rise again. Their faces – their faces are wads of ash and dust, with black gaping holes for mouths and eyes.

And the worst thing, the worst, worst thing, is the absence of sound. When those faces lift and gape wider to howl their prayers and agony to the uncaring, dying sky, she sees chests and shoulders heave as they try to scream. But there’s nothing. One figure kneels and screams and screams as its hands dissolve into streams of ash, waving the diminishing stumps of its arms about as if to extinguish the invisible fires devouring it.  But there’s no sound. It tries to rise, trips and falls into the ash. A grey cloud billows up. When it settles, the figure has broken apart like a toppled statue, its fragments either crumbling into or being swallowed up by the soft blanket that is the end of everything. A couple of the pieces are still moving.

Darkness falling, over her and them; an end to this at last? But no, in the distance the sky is still grimily pale. And this darkness has its edge, its contours. A shape. It’s the shadow of something vast and alive.

Slowly she turns and stares upwards. She doesn’t want to, but, as is common in dreams, she can’t stop herself.  She looks up and sees something vast and hunched and black blotting out the sky, sees its huge head turn and tilt downwards, feels whatever serves it for eyes come to bear on her.

She wants to wake up. She wants to wake up. But she’s still there, staring up at it from the plain of ash as the black shape leans down towards her, a scream building in her throat she knows will go unheard.

And then there’s one sound. Just one. The hiss of a wind through stone; the great shape’s whisper of its name:

Tindalos.

*

Simon Bestwick is the author of Tide Of Souls, The Faceless and Black Mountain. His short fiction has appeared in Black Static and Best Horror Of The Year, and been collected in A Hazy Shade Of Winter, Pictures Of The Dark, Let’s Drink To The Dead and The Condemned.

Website: www.simonbestwick.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Simon-Bestwick/373730462654091
Twitter: @GevaudanShoal


December round-up

Just out from infinity plus:

Nocturnes and other Nocturnes by Claude Lalumière (“Claude Lalumière’s extravagant imagination is matched by only two other qualities: his compassion for his characters, and his sparkling facility with language” Paul Di Filippo), plus new editions of Stephen Palmer’s first three novels (“Palmer is a find” Time Out) and an omnibus edition of Keith Brooke’s Expatria series (“This is a marvellous book that, despite the sequel … is a complete novel in itself. Treat yourself: buy both, and read them over and over.” Nexus). And in early 2014: the extraordinary Hairy London by Stephen Palmer, plus more from our best-selling author, Eric Brown.

Details of all infinity plus books can be found at http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/

Nocturnes and other Nocturnes by Claude Lalumière

Available in paperback and ebook formats from late December
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/book.php?book=clnoct

Twenty-five dark stories that span a daring breadth of genres. In these noir tales that unfold at the edge of realism, mythic nocturnes from impossible pasts, and disquietingly intimate stories of speculative fiction, Claude Lalumière explores our collective and intertwined obsessions with sex and death.

“In Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes Claude Lalumière plumbs the deep trenches of yearning, fear and the agonies of unfulfilled needs.” – from the introduction by Garry Kilworth

“Claude Lalumière’s stories are dark, mordant, precisely formed.” Lucius Shepard

   

Memory Seed, Glass and Flowercrash by Stephen Palmer

Available in ebook formats from early December

Memory Seed
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/book.php?book=spmemsd

There is one city left, and soon that will be gone, for the streets of Kray are crumbling beneath a wave of exotic and lethal vegetation threatening to wipe out the last traces of humanity. In the desperate struggle for survival most Krayans live from day to day, awaiting salvation from their goddesses or the government. A compelling first novel set on a world both deadly and fascinating.

“Palmer’s imagination is fecund, and his city, inhabited by clashing tribes of women (men are confined to breeding houses), with exotic biotechnologies which enable computers and other machines to be grown from genetically engineered seeds, is vividly drawn… a hectic but ultimately convincing debut.” Interzone

Glass
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/book.php?book=spglass

A plague is spreading through the city of Cray. Nobody knows its origin and nobody has discovered a cure. Cray is dying. Of glass. As the city’s ruling council resorts to increasingly desperate measures to maintain order, two people’s lives are about to change…

“This is a brilliant second novel and makes, like its predecessor, a welcome change in a genre clogged with tat.” SFX, Guy Haley’s choice as Best Original SF novel of the year

Flowercrash

http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/book.php?book=spflwr
Zaïdmouth’s five communities are intertwined by artificial flower networks so complex they combine to create the virtual realities through which Zaïdmouth is run. Yet into this vivid world a bad seed is about to be sewn.

“I would urge science fiction fans to read the novel… It’s an exciting and thought provoking story that is well worth seeking out.” Aural Innovations

Expatria: the boxed set by Keith Brooke

Available in ebook formats from early December
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/book.php?book=kbexpbox

A lost colony, rediscovered by descendants of its original investors… When the expedition from the Holy Corporation of GenGen arrives on Expatria, for some it looks like salvation from a backward-looking, superstition-ridden society, but for others, it looks suspiciously like an invasion.

“In the recognized front ranks of SF writers.” Locus

Coming in early 2014

Hairy London mark 5Hairy London by Stephen Palmer

Available in paperback and ebook formats in early 2014

What is love?

One evening at the Suicide Club three gentlemen discuss this age old problem – and thus a wager is made. Dissolute fop Sheremy Pantomile, veteran philosopher Kornukope Wetherbee and down-on-his-luck Velvene Orchardtide all bet their fortunes on finding the answer amidst the dark alleys of a phantasmagorical Edwardian London.

But then, overnight, London Town is covered in hair. How the trio of adventurers cope with this unusual plague, and what conclusions they come to regarding love is the subject of this surreal, surprising and fast-paced novel.

And the East End threatens revolution…

Also coming in early 2014, books by Eric Brown, Jack Deighton and more.

Also of note

Published in December 2013:

   

Piggies, Flesh and Blood, Like Father and Erased by Nick Gifford

Gifford’s first four young adult novels are now available in paperback and ebook formats from our infinite press imprint.

Piggies
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/book.php?book=ngpig&imprint=ipress

Transported to a world inhabited by vampires, Ben befriends a girl called Rachel. She takes him to her farm to prove she’s not like the other vampires, but that’s when he discovers a terrible secret. And why is the book called Piggies? That’s the worst horror of all. Optioned for film by Andy Serkis.

“Ingenious… this chilling story reads with all the power and demented logic of a thoroughly bad dream.” The Independent

Flesh and Blood
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/book.php?book=ngfandb&imprint=ipress

Matt’s home life is falling to pieces as his mother seeks refuge from divorce by returning to the seaside town where she grew up. Separated from his friends, bored and discontented, Matt gradually becomes aware that his mother’s family are the keepers of a terrifying secret.

“Another great teen thriller.” Spot On

Like Father
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/book.php?book=nglikef&imprint=ipress

Danny is terrified of being like his father, who ended up in prison after a night of savage violence. But then he finds his father’s diary and uncovers his dark thoughts – and even darker secrets. Who was whispering to his father, goading him, leading him on? And what if they are coming back for Danny?

“The king of children’s horror…” Sunday Express 

Erased
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/book.php?book=ngerased&imprint=ipress

You’re not paranoid if they really are after you. Someone is messing with Liam’s world. All the rules have changed and his life has unravelled completely. What he does know is that someone is watching him. There are no bystanders in this terrifying game.

“An exciting, fast paced book that will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page.” Word Up

And due in early 2014, Gifford’s new YA thriller, Tomorrow:

tomorrow_cover

When fifteen-year-old Luke’s father dies, his eccentric family threatens to descend into chaos. Luke distracts himself by helping to sort through his father’s belongings, a painful process which takes on an entirely new dimension when he discovers that his father had somehow had knowledge of events in his own future. This prescience is connected in some way to a recent spate of terrorist attacks, which would explain why security forces – and others – start to take an interest in Luke’s discovery. Just what had his father known, and why are Luke and his friends suddenly at the centre of it all?

Tomorrow: an emotion- and time-tangled thriller set in the War Against Chronological Terror.

Tomorrow: when three teenagers may have the power to save or destroy a world that is yet to be.

infinity plus in print

An increasing number of our titles are also published in paperback and all of these are available to booksellers. If you’re a bookseller and would like to stock any of our books, have a look at our titles in print for details. All print titles are available via Ingrams, but if you’d prefer to deal directly with us just get in touch and we’ll work it out.

infinity plus print titles: http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/format.php?format=p

infinite press print titles: http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/infinitepress.php

Details of all infinity plus books can be found at http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/


New: four young adult novels from Nick Gifford

“The king of children’s horror…” Sunday Express

A set of handsome new paperbacks, plus the first ever ebook editions of Nick Gifford’s first four novels: young adult fiction with a dark, paranoid edge, first published in the UK by Penguin.

Piggies by Nick GiffordFlesh and Blood by Nick GiffordLike Father by Nick GiffordErased by Nick Gifford

Piggies
Transported to a world inhabited by vampires, Ben befriends a girl called Rachel. She takes him to her farm to prove she’s not like the other vampires, but that’s when he discovers a terrible secret. And why is the book called Piggies? That’s the worst horror of all. Optioned for film by Jonathan Cavendish and Andy Serkis.

“Ingenious… this chilling story reads with all the power and demented logic of a thoroughly bad dream.” The Independent

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK
Buy this book in print: Amazon US – Amazon UK – CreateSpace

Flesh and Blood
Matt’s home life is falling to pieces as his mother seeks refuge from divorce by returning to the seaside town where she grew up. Separated from his friends, bored and discontented, Matt gradually becomes aware that his mother’s family are the keepers of a terrifying secret.

“Another great teen thriller.” Spot On

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK
Buy this book in print: Amazon US – Amazon UK – CreateSpace

Like Father
Danny is terrified of being like his father, who ended up in prison after a night of savage violence. But then he finds his father’s diary and uncovers his dark thoughts – and even darker secrets. Who was whispering to his father, goading him, leading him on? And what if they are coming back for Danny?
*Originally published by Penguin as Incubus, this edition reverts to the author’s preferred title.

“Incubus is a chilling psychological drama, a supernatural horror story and, somewhere on the edge, is a political thriller: the episodes in East Germany are as tense and unusual as the rest … a dark story that will chill the reader … Teenage readers should find this gripping: a cut above the usual horror tale.” School Librarian

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK
Buy this book in print: Amazon US – Amazon UK – CreateSpace

Erased
You’re not paranoid if they really are after you. Someone is messing with Liam’s world. All the rules have changed and his life has unravelled completely. What he does know is that someone is watching him. There are no bystanders in this terrifying game.

“An exciting, fast paced book that will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page.” Word Up

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK
Buy this book in print: Amazon US – Amazon UK – CreateSpace


New: The Fabulous Beast by Garry Kilworth

The Fabulous Beast by Garry KilworthA set of beautifully crafted tales of the imagination by a writer who was smitten by the magic of the speculative short story at the age of twelve and has remained under its spell ever since.

These few stories cover three closely related sub-genres: science fiction, fantasy and horror. In the White Garden murders are taking place nightly, but who is leaving the deep foot-prints in the flower beds? Twelve men are locked in the jury room, but thirteen emerge after their deliberations are over. In a call centre serving several worlds, the staff are less than helpful when things go wrong with a body-change holiday.

Three of the stories form a set piece under the sub-sub-genre title of ‘Anglo-Saxon Tales’. This trilogy takes the reader back to a time when strange gods ruled the lives of men and elves were invisible creatures who caused mayhem among mortals.

Garry Kilworth has created a set of stories that lift readers out of their ordinary lives and place them in situations of nightmare and wonder, or out among far distant suns. Come inside and meet vampires, dragons, ghosts, aliens, weremen, people who walk on water, clones, ghouls and marvellous wolves with the secret of life written beneath their eyelids.

‘Kilworth’s stories are delightfully nuanced and carefully wrought.’ Publishers Weekly

‘A bony-handed clutch of short stories, addictive and hallucinatory.’ The Times

‘Here is a writer determined and well equipped to contribute to the shudder-count.’ The Guardian

Buy the ebook edition now:
amazon.com
amazon.co.uk
kobo
barnes and noble
Buy the print edition:
amazon.com
amazon.co.uk
createspace.com


New: In Springdale Town by Robert Freeman Wexler

In Springdale Town by Robert Freeman WexlerReconciliation, longing, and ambiguity combine in one astounding locale: Springdale. Is it a mundane New England town on a picturesque river, or the nexus of the paradoxical?

Springdale appears to be a quiet village, unblemished by shopping mall or mega-store. The town sits in a fertile valley, surrounded by countryside rich in natural wonder. Summers, tourists attend the area’s many arts and music festivals, and hikers crowd the trails. In the fall, reds and yellows of turning leaves decorate the landscape, and in winter, mountain resorts fill with avid skiers.

But some say Springdale exists only on the contoured highways of our collective imagination. Others point to references dating back to Colonial Boston, to multiple versions of a ballad telling a story of remorse and disgrace.

Here are three facts:
1. Maps cannot be trusted;
2. All History is awash with fraud and hoax;
3. Springdale is an absence of identity.

For two people, a lawyer named Patrick Travis and a television actor named Richard Shelling, Springdale is home and anti-home, a place of comfort and a distortion of everyday life. They are strangers to each other, yet connected. Their lives will intersect with a force that shatters both.

This edition includes a specially written afterword by the author.

In Springdale Town by Robert Freeman Wexler is available in ebook format from:

Springdale is told in a deceptively muted style and cunningly crafted so that the story appears to assemble itself around the reader like a trap he or she has sprung, yet remains innocent-looking until the end, when a spring-loaded hammer smashes down.” —Lucius Shepard, from the introduction to the original print edition

“For some writers, prose is a means with which to construct an analogue of reality. For Robert Freeman Wexler, fiction is a means with which to de-construct reality. Yet his stories have such a strong sense of linguistic integrity, it’s hard to believe that he isn’t reporting his experiences from a parallel universe.” —Rick Kleffel, from an interview at fantasticmetropolis.com.

“…In a list comprising some of the biggest names in contemporary genre fiction the appearance of a novella by a virtually unknown author causes a certain interest. In Springdale Town represents its author’s first book publication (after only a handful of short stories) and yet it fits into the PS Publishing list with such subtle skill that its presence on the shelf feels as if an invisible gap in the collection has been suddenly filled.”—Lavie Tidhar, Dusksite

“…no need for Lovecraftian monsters or rampaging serial killers to transform Springdale into a seriously creepy place. An old ballad suggests that one death haunts this village, but Wexler deviously, almost casually, creates a sense of wrongness that goes well beyond some past saga of jealousy and murder. Don’t read this one right before bedtime–or your next road trip.”—Faren Miller, Locus Magazine, October 2003

“The basic idea is familiar, almost banal, but Wexler’s treatment is witty, his writing is excellent, his characters are really well captured—I was very impressed with the story.”—Rich Horton, Locus Magazine, November 2003

“…Other writers, wiry and wry, as lithe as dragonflies, may seem more vulnerable, but their grace, their maneuverability, becomes its own kind of tensile strength. They can travel farther, faster, and in disguise.”—Jeff VanderMeer, Locus Online

“…lovely Americana set-piece turned on its ear.”—Jay Lake, Tangent Online

“…An emotionally scathing yet tender insight into the frailty, ignorance, and misplaced motivations of that most ridiculous of animals, the human being.”—William P. Simmons, Infinity Plus

“…Robert Freeman Wexler dives into the heart of Americana in his chilling and tender novella.”—Rick Kleffel Agony Column


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