heads into strange territory, guided by the Books site’s editor-for-a-day, Neil Gaiman.
First, we follow Damien Walter on the trail of Weird London, a parallel city that has been built on the banks of another Thames by writers of fantasy fiction. He explores why the capital has made such fertile ground for writers who look beyond the real, along with Tom Pollock, M John Harrison and the owner of the Atlantis Bookshop, Geraldine Beskin.
You can listen to the podcast here. Damian Walter interviews Tom at 2:43 minutes in.
I’ve started dipping my toe into audio narration with some of these and enjoying it very much. Hope to try a few more ambitious things in the near future.
If you’re enjoying David’s style, you’ll be happy to hear his first collection of short stories, Open Water will be published by TheEXAGGERATEDpress later this year. The launch is currently scheduled for World Fantasy at Brighton (31st October – 3rd November).
I’m really pleased about this. Short stories get published in a magazine and then tend to diappear. It will be great to have some back in print – and some new ones too.
Some readers might have met Helen in Arthur Machen’s classic novella The Great God Pan. Now she gets to tell her side of the story.
Contrary to rumours of her death, Helen Vaughan is alive and well and living in Shoreditch. Having learned a few things about painting from an ex-boyfriend, she’s stirring up the art world with a series of erotically-charged landscapes depicting the strange events of her youth.
Brought up by a man who regarded her as loathsome, shuffled between boarding schools and foster homes, young Helen only found pleasure in visits from a secret companion. She made one other close friend, a girl called Rachel who disappeared in full daylight. After that, Helen was left with her companion.
He stayed with her on travels from rural Wales to the select salons and danker corners of London, to expatriate life in Buenos Aires and beyond. But he’s kept away for several years.
As she remembers her friend, Helen lays on each stroke of paint as if it can bring Rachel back or take her to where Rachel went. She paints to summon her companion once again, and show everyone what really lurks beyond the vanishing point.
Fox McGeever’s story, The Inheritance Room won first prize in the Spinetinglers March short story competition. This is the third story Fox has sold that is connected to his serial fantasy fiction Parawerthan blog. You can read the winning story here.
And in the very same month, Deborah Walker won third prize with The Love Of Money, written under her horror pseudonym Kelda Crich, available to read here.
Hidden under the surface of everyday London is a city of monsters and miracles, where wild train spirits stampede over the tracks and glass-skinned dancers with glowing veins light the streets.
When a devastating betrayal drives her from her home, graffiti artist Beth Bradley stumbles into the secret city, where she finds Filius Viae, London’s ragged crown prince, just when he needs someone most. An ancient enemy has returned to the darkness under St Paul’s Cathedral, bent on reigniting a centuries-old war, and Beth and Fil find themselves in a desperate race through a bizarre urban wonderland, searching for a way to save the city they both love.
The City’s Son is the first book of The Skyscraper Throne: a story about family,friends and monsters, and how you can’t always tell which is which.
From the depths of a valley rises the city of Mahala. It’s a city built upwards not across–where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings, A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under.
Rojan Dizon doesn’t mind staying in the shadows, because he’s got things to hide. Things like being a pain-mage, with the forbidden power to draw magic from pain. But he can’t hide for ever.
Because when Rojan stumbles upon the secrets lurking in the depths of the Pit, the fate of Mahala will depend on him using his magic. And unlucky for Rojan – this is going to hurt.
Fade to Black is available in paperback and ebook format from all the usual places, and the sequel, Before the Fall, out this June, can be pre-ordered.
Babylon Steel, brothel owner and swordswoman, returns early in 2013 in the second book in Gaie Sebold’s series, Dangerous Gifts. Here’s a look at the gorgeous cover by Jake Murray. Ms. Sebold talks about it and shares her thoughts on the importance of covers in general here.
The publisher, Solaris, says:
Babylon Steel runs the best brothel in Scalentine, city of portals. She’s escaped her past and it’s all going pretty well. Apart, that is, from the racial conflict and economic misery boiling up in Scalentine.
Her lover, Chief Bitternut of the City Militia, is trying to keep the lid on, while hunting a killer whose real target is a lot closer than he knows. Just as things are getting really tense, Babylon is forced to take another job. Bodyguard to Enthemmerlee Entaire: symbol of hope or object of disgust for most of her country’s population, and a prime target for assassination, along with anyone who happens to be in the way. Such as her bodyguard.
Unintentionally dragging a very annoyed government employee along in her wake, Babylon struggles to turn Enthemmerlee’s squabbling household guard from liability into security, dodge the rigid Moral Statutes of Incandress, and keep both herself and her client alive. She soon realises that the situation is far worse than she thought, her past hasn’t quite let go of her yet, and she will be driven to a choice that will have far-reaching consequences…
Check out the atmospheric cover for Francis Knight‘s debut novel, Fade to Black, to be published by Orbit in February 2013.
“We jumped at the chance to publish Fade to Black – because the world that Francis has created just blew us away. It’s both awe-inspiring and vertigo-inducing, and Rojan’s tale makes the story just un-damn-put-downable. Think of the murky atmosphere of Sin City, filled with the action and pace of Brent Weeks or Scott Lynch.”
You can read more about the book and its noirish world of Mahala here. And if you like what you see, it’s available for pre-order on amazon now.
Tom Pollock‘s debut novel, The City’s Son launches this week. It is the first book of The Skyscraper Throne: a story about family, friends and monsters, and how you can’t always tell which is which. The novel is published by Jo Fletcher Books.
“Expelled from school, betrayed by her best friend and virtually ignored by her dad, who’s never recovered from the death of her mum, Beth Bradley retreats to the sanctuary of the streets, looking for a new home. What she finds is Filius Viae, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London, who opens her eyes to the place she’s never truly seen.
But the hidden London is on the brink of destruction. Reach, the King of the Cranes, is a malign god of demolition, and he wants Filius dead. In the absence of the Lady of the Streets, Filius’ goddess mother, Beth rouses Filius to raise an alleyway army, to reclaim London’s skyscraper throne for the mother he’s never known. Beth has almost forgotten her old life – until her best friend and her father come searching for her, and she must choose between the streets and the life she left behind.”
Here’s Tom talking about his ideas behind the book:
You can read the first extract from the book here. Further extracts will follow. Left wanting more? The City’s Son is available to order now.
The T Party’s Rosanne Rabinowitz and local dark fantasy writer Julie Travis will appear at the Penzance Literary Festival on 25 July, 12.30pm. They’ll be reading from their work and talking about women, weird fiction and slipstream. Everyone welcome! For more information on the festival visit the fesitval website.