Tag Archives: literary fantasy

The first reviews for Anna Tambour’s Smoke Paper Mirrors – and they’re smokin’!

The first reviews for Anna Tambour’s Smoke Paper Mirrors are in!

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‘At turns laugh-out loud funny and heartbreaking, always wise and full of unexpected joys, this is a book you’ll reread, and recommend to friends, for years to come.’ Greg Bossert, Amazon

‘…absolutely wonderful … The whole thing has a lightness and then such shadows which leave a not quite graspable, but profound tracery. It’s just great and should somehow be a best-seller.’ Douglas Penick, Goodreads

‘…joins the ranks of those novels I have loved that is diminished by any form of review… I keep thinking about this book. Not an uncommon phenomenon with Tambour’s stuff. Will it make you feel good? Possibly, if you find Dostoyevsky a cheerful romp. Will it make you feel? Definitely. An important work from a important writer.’ David Kowalski, Goodreads


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Publication day for Tony Ballantyne and Eric Brown’s Microcosms

Published today in print and ebook formats:

Microcosms: Forty-Two stories by Tony Ballantyne and Eric Brown

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Microcosms

Forty-Two stories by Tony Ballantyne and Eric Brown

microcosmsPhilip K. Dick Award nominated writers Tony Ballantyne and Eric Brown bring together forty-two fantastical short-short stories, featuring new takes on every SF trope from alien invasion, robots, and time-travel, to stellar exploration, the future of computing, and the nature of the human soul.

Tony Ballantyne is the author of the acclaimed Penrose hard SF novels, Twisted Metal and Blood and Iron, as well as the groundbreaking and surreal fantasy novels Dream London and Dream Paris.

Eric Brown has written many SF and crime novels including The Kings of Eternity, Kethani, and The Serene Invasion.

Together they are a hundred years old.

“Eric Brown spins a terrific yarn” – SFX

“This is as strange and unclassifiable a novel as it’s possible to imagine, and a marvellous achievement.” – Financial Times on Tony Ballantyne’s Dream London

“British writing with a deft, understated touch: wonderful” – New Scientist on Eric Brown

“A new British star has arrived to join the likes of Hamilton, Reynolds and Banks.” – Vector on Tony Ballantyne


Introduction to Micro…

This volume came about one summer a few years ago when Tony came up to Scotland with his family. We were wandering around the pretty seaside town of North Berwick and talking about recent short stories we’d written. Tony happened to mention that he was working on some short-shorts, which he hoped to place with Nature, and I mentioned a short-short market that I’d recently sold to, Daily SF. I then suggested that, when we had enough tales to form a volume, we should gather them all together and attempt to find a publisher.

Years passed; we wrote short-shorts between bigger projects, and Keith Brooke who runs Infinity Plus Books expressed an interest in publishing Microcosms.

Tony Ballantyne is not only a fine novelist – as equally gifted in the Hard SF sub-genre as in Fantasy – but he’s a skilled short-story writer, with several of his stories gracing the pages of Analog and other top markets, and appearing in Best of the Year anthologies. He also excels at the short-short story, where originality and incisive vision are requisite. In his intelligence, playful wit and economy of language, the writer he most reminds me of is the late, great Robert Sheckley. This volume contains such gems as “Dear Burglar”, “The Cleverest Man in the World”, and “The Scooped Out Man” – the latter an alien invasion tale to end them all. But my favourite is the irreverent, witty, self-referential story about a writer, Another (almost) True Story”, a tale which I would have given my right arm to have written.

And now, for fear of this introduction becoming longer than some of the short-shorts herein, I’ll sign off.

Eric Brown
Cockburnspath


Introduction to …Cosms

Eric and I met at the 2Kon SF convention in Glasgow in the year 2000. We both had a short story up for the BSFA award. Eric won, I lost, but by way of consolation I made a great friend.

Friendship aside, I remain a massive fan of Eric’s. He has written an impressive number of novels and short stories; his output includes what is possibly my favourite short story collection ever: Kethani (Solaris 2008). As well as being a prolific writer he is an eminent critic with a deep knowledge of the genre. He is a keen champion of the new, the forgotten and the underrated, and is a valuable source of advice to writers no matter where they are in their career (he taught me the trick of just listening to the subconscious, of getting things down as quickly as possible on the page).

In this collection you’ll find scintillating flashes of his talent. His writing is by turns witty, melancholic, horrifying and deceptively gentle, but always imbued with his trademark sense of humanity. Take a look at “In the Recovery Room”, “Meeting Myself on Planet Earth”, “Memorial” and “The History of Earth” to see what I mean.

What the heck. Read them all, they’re all good. He deserved that award. And the other ones…

Tony Ballantyne
Oldham


Publication day for Anna Tambour’s Smoke Paper Mirrors: a short saga for our times

Published today in print and ebook formats:

Smoke Paper Mirrors: a short saga for our times by Anna Tambour

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Smoke Paper Mirrors

a short saga for our times

atspmFrom the totally not bestselling author of Crandolin (shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award), an extraordinary and moving novel that confronts and defies boundaries.

“Thank you,” said Arthur. “There’s always hope.” He’d always hated that facile truism, but said it because he’d thought it was expected. From the Croatian’s startled expression, he knew how gruesomely wrong he was.

That night Mrs Ma’s butterfly brooch came to him in a dream – flying in, pinless, through the open window. It landed on his open palm and closed its wings in repose. Such a comforting sign, Melmet would say. But she read Turkish coffee mud.

“a very curious writer” – Ian O’Reilly, British Fantasy Society review of The Finest Ass in the Universe

“Anna Tambour is an example of one.” – Ben Peek, The Super Obscure, Nobody’s-Ever-Read, You-Must-Read, Pimp-All-The-Books thread

 


New: The Quarantined City by James Everington

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The Quarantined City by James EveringtonThe Quarantined City: sealed off from the outside world, with only the sight of the ocean to remind its inhabitants of life beyond. No one knows why the city has been quarantined and conspiracy theories abound.

But for Fellows life continues largely as before. He walks the streets, hunts out rare books; the sun continues to shine and the gulls circle above.

There’s the small matter of the ghost haunting his house, but Fellows doesn’t let himself think of that.

But when he tracks down a story by the reclusive writer known as Boursier, his old certainties fade as he becomes aware that the secrets of the city, the ghostly child, and the quarantine itself, might be more connected than he thinks…

“There is an edge of Murakami here, we are in a world just slightly skewed from our own but all the more foreign for that. Everington has a crystal clear prose style, reminiscent of JG Ballard but, like China Miéville, twisted toward the gothic…” Damien G Walter

“Good writing gives off fumes, the sort that induce dark visions, and Everington’s elegant, sophisticated prose is a potent brew. Imbibe at your own risk.” Robert Dunbar, author of The Pines and Martyrs & Monsters

“Everington is excellent at evoking a mounting sense of unease, turning to dread, that close, oppressive feeling when everything is still and ordinary, but the whole world is filled with the sense that something huge and terrible is just about to happen.” Iain Rowan, author of One Of Us and Nowhere To Go

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The Quarantined City by James Everington


Publication day for Robert Holdstock and Garry Kilworth’s The Ragthorn, winner of the World Fantasy Award

Published today in book form for the first time:
The Ragthorn by Robert Holdstock and Garry Kilworth

The Ragthorn by Robert Holdstock and Garry Kilworth

“I am placing this entry at the beginning of my edited journal for reasons that will become apparent. Time is very short for me now, the final part of the ritual draws near… I cannot pretend that I am not frightened.”

There were these two British writers, one lived in the country, the other in the city. The country writer loved to visit the city and partake of brandy and Greek kebabs in the local hostelry. The city writer liked to visit the country and guzzle ale and barbecued steak under the apple trees. The two writers needed an excuse for these indulgences, and so they invented one, and this excuse was called “collaborating on a story” … It soon emerged that the story was to be about a legendary tree, which they both vaguely recalled from the tales their grandfathers used to tell them of mystery and myth. Soon they were delving with suppressed excitement into old documents at the British Museum and began to come up with some frightening discoveries.

The first of these finds was in studying the original text, in Anglo-Saxon, of the Old English poem “The Dream of the Rood”. The marrying of the “tree” (crucifixion cross) and the “thorn” (a runic character) was too elaborately regular to be an accident of metre or alliterative language. Other discoveries followed, and the story gradually surfaced, like a dark secret from its burial mound.

The Ragthorn: a dark and unsettling World Fantasy Award-winning novella by Robert Holdstock and Garry Kilworth.

Also included in this volume, two bonus stories: “The Fabulous Beast” by Garry Kilworth, and “The Charisma Trees” by Robert Holdstock.

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Robert Holdstock:
‘Britain’s best fantasist … these are the visions of a real artist.’ – The Times
‘Our finest living mythmaker. His narratives – intense, exuberant, earthy, passionate, dense with metaphor – are new trails through the ancient forest of our imaginations. An essential writer.’ – Stephen Baxter
‘No other author has so successfully captured the magic of the wildwood.’ – Michael Moorcock
‘A new expression of the British genius for true fantasy.’ – Alan Garner, on Mythago Wood

Garry Kilworth:
‘Garry Kilworth is arguably the finest writer of short fiction today, in any genre.’ – New Scientist
‘Kilworth is one of the most significant writers in the English language.’ – Fear Magazine
‘Probably one of the finest writers of short stories Britain has ever produced.’ – Bookstove Online
‘Kilworth is a master of his trade.’ – Punch Magazine


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