“Sometimes the ash catches a spark and sometimes the flame splutters back to life.”
Lacking a better target, fate’s hammer falls on a heart already smashed to shards. That heart belongs to Anna, a young, apathetic student weighed down by the drudgery of her daily routine. Seeking an escape, she comes across a stranger called Teej who promises to open her up to a whole new world. A world of Aesthetes: writers, musicians and artists who are so preeminent in their respective fields that their abilities allow them to alter the very fabric of reality. The magical worlds they create are known as “Hazes” – possibility spaces where the world becomes dream, and the dreamer is God.
Seeking to escape tragedies in her past, Anna forsakes her old life to enter the dangerous world Teej has shown her. As a Metik, his job is to police the dream. To protect people from the Aesthete’s, and even challenge them within their own domain when they threaten the lives of the innocent. And to do that he needs a bodyguard. An Undreamer. Someone who can demolish Haze’s. A fighter and a warrior who can tear down the dream world. Teej believes he has found his new protector and guardian. His new Undreamer is Anna.
“In a world of dying light, you’re a bonfire in the night.”
As Anna travels through Haze’s – from endless deserts of purple sand to run-down bars on the moon – she learns that there’s as much beauty in the world as there is horror. With a complex conspiracy at work within the community of Aesthete’s that threatens to undermine reality itself, Anna will have to look deep within herself – and eventually will have to face the horrors of her own past – to save her old world as well as her new one.
Brendan Connell's Pleasant Tales was published by Eibonvale Press in November 2017.
Information about Brendan Connell:
Brendan Connell was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1970. He has had fiction published in numerous places, including McSweeney's, Adbusters, and the World Fantasy Award winning anthologies Leviathan 3 (The Ministry of Whimsy 2002), and Strange Tales (Tartarus Press 2003). His published books are: The Translation of Father Torturo (Prime Books, 2005), Dr. Black and the Guerrillia (Grafitisk Press, 2005), Metrophilias (Better Non Sequitur, 2010), Unpleasant Tales (Eibonvale Press, 2010), The Life of Polycrates and Other Stories for Antiquated Children (Chômu Press, 2011), The Architect (PS Publishing, 2012), Lives of Notorious Cooks (Chômu Press, 2012), Miss Homicide Plays the Flute (Eibonvale Press, 2013), The Cutest Girl in Class (co-written with Quentin S. Crisp and Justin Isis, Snuggly Books, 2013), The Galaxy Club (Chômu Press, 2014), The Metanatural Adventures of Dr. Black (PS Publishing, 2014), Cannibals of West Papua (Zagava, 2015), Jottings from a Far Away Place (Snuggly Books, 2015), Clark (Snuggly Books, 2016) and Pleasant Tales (Eibonvale Press, 2017).
Information about Pleasant Tales:
According to inductive process, the more weed someone smokes, the more likely they are to eat a green apple. Billy Glandzk has been smoking too much pot and hates apples, so it’s time for him to change his lifestyle. Justin Isis lives in a single tiny room in Ikebukuro but, through amore and refined fashion-sense, hopes to rise to higher spheres. Ricky Fishback is a bicycle cop who has spent too much time in the saddle, and his restless sex life is taking a turn for the worse. Can he get his mojo back? Carla Jo Arduini works at the Family Dollar Store, but her aspirations go higher - much higher. Will her faith guide her to success?
In Pleasant Tales, a contrasting follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2010 collection Unpleasant Tales, Brendan Connell has written ten unusual and colorful stories of contemporary life. The brittle and deranged mundanity that surrounds us is viewed through a lens that is both extremely perceptive and ever so slightly flawed, resulting in both an inverted projection of the familiar and a dose of the alien. These are modernist, sparse and slightly subversive expositions on the normal that perform a disjointed dance with the world you thought you knew.
A REVIEW OF BRENDAN CONNELL'S PLEASANT TALES
Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Lars-Henrik Olsen.
About the author:
Lars-Henrik Olsen is a Danish author. His oeuvre spans both children's and youth and adult books. He has written books about animals and nature, Nordic mythology and several historical novels. Among his more notable books are the Erik series. His books have been translated into a total of 13 different languages. In 1976 he published several nature books including Life in the sea: a food chain and Life in the forest: a circuit. His debut fiction novel was Wolves and then followed a series of books with animals and nature as a theme. In 1986 he was awarded The Danish Bookstores Auxiliary Society of Children's Book Prize for Erik Menneskeson. In 1988 this was followed by The dwarf from Normandy which won Denmark's school librarian Society of Children's Book Prize. Since then he has written a wealth of children’s and youth books, many of which are inspired by the Vikings, Norse mythology and medieval times.
A film is now being made of the Erik and the Gods in Denmark.
About Erik and the Gods: Journey to Valhalla:
The Gods have been fighting an endless war with the Giants and they’re slowly losing their powers.
During a terrible storm, Thor appears to Erik, an ordinary 13-year-old boy.
He sends Erik and his daughter on a mission to the Land of the Giants where they must find a Goddess with magic apples.
BUT TIME IS RUNNING OUT.
Can Erik rescue the Goddess from the Giants and prevent the End of the World?
GUEST POST BY LARS-HENRIK OLSEN
Camille Mauclair's The Frail Soul and Other Stories was published by Snuggly Books in December 2017.
Information about Camille Mauclair and The Frail Soul and Other Stories:
"There are, Monsieur, the man with the singular eyes said to me, ill-intentioned people who look at me with an impertinent pity and claim that I am mad. They will tell you that, but do not believe them; I have pronounced that word in order to destroy in you immediately the striking impression that it produces. Those people are wicked; they were my friends once, but now they spy on me and say perfidious things about me, because they are jealous. And I shall tell you with what reason: they are jealous of not having understood their soul as well as me. There are people who cannot see and who wish ill on others because of that; but not everyone can sense things in the same way, can they, Monsieur? One must be reasonable."
Camille Mauclair's Les Clefs d'or, originally published in 1897, is one of the most significant Symbolist prose collections of the fin de siècle. The present volume, The Frail Soul and Other Stories, contains eleven pieces from this masterwork, brilliantly translated into English for the first time by Brian Stableford.
"Camille Mauclair" was the pseudonym of Séverin Faust (1872-1945), whose roman à clef Le Soleil es morts (1898) is an affectionate memoir of Mallarmé’s mardis, featuring many of the writers still in attendance in the 1890s. He was more prolific as an art critic and music critic than a poet or writer of fiction, and eventually became a specialist in non-fiction, but Les Clefs d’or (Ollendorf 1897), from which the contents of the present volume have been taken, is one of the most significant Symbolist prose collections of the fin de siècle. The material from Les Clefs d’or not in the present volume were published under the title The Virgin Orient and Other Stories (Black Coat Press 2016).
A REVIEW OF CAMILLE MAUCLAIR'S THE FRAIL SOUL AND OTHER STORIES
Rhys Hughes' Cloud Farming in Wales was published by Snuggly Books in July 2017.
Information about Rhys Hughes:
Rhys Hughes was born in Wales but has lived in many different countries. He graduated as an engineer and currently works as a tutor of mathematics. He began writing fiction at an early age and his first book, Worming the Harpy, was published in 1995. Since that time he has published more than thirty other books. His short stories have been translated into ten languages. He is nearing the end of an ambitious project to complete a cycle of exactly 1000 linked tales. His most recent book is the collection The Seashell Contract and he is hard at work on an experimental novel called Comfy Rascals. Fantasy, humour, satire, science fiction, adventure, irony, paradoxes and philosophy are combined in his work to create a distinctive style.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about Cloud Farming in Wales:
In Wales it never stops raining. Or almost never. When it does stop raining from the sky, it rains from hearts instead. Indoors as well as outdoors, the people huddle in the endless drenchings, and over time they have evolved into aquatic creatures who only look and behave like men and women but aren’t really. There is a clue in the name of the country. Wales is a nation with no spot of dry land within its borders. Wales is an Atlantis that never stayed under but is just as wet. Crammed with mythical beings and happenings, Cloud Farming in Wales palpitates, germinates and extrapolates, but never evaporates, and the sodden heroes that wade and slosh through the mighty puddles of its pages are generally in search of a canoe.
A REVIEW OF RHYS HUGHES' CLOUD FARMING IN WALES
Risingshadow has the honour of hosting an exclusive excerpt from Embers of Wars by Gareth L. Powell.
This blog post is part of The Embers of Wars Blog Tour.
Embers of Wars was published by Titan Books in February 2018.
About the author:
Gareth is the author of five science-fiction novels and two short story collections. His third novel, Ack-Ack Macaque, book one in the Macaque Trilogy, was the winner of the 2013 BSFA novel award. He lives in Bristol, UK.
Find him on Twitter @garethlpowell.
Click here to visit his official website.
About Embers of Wars:
The sentient warship Trouble Dog was built for violence, yet following a brutal war, she is disgusted by her role in a genocide. Stripped of her weaponry and seeking to atone, she joins the House of Reclamation, an organisation dedicated to rescuing ships in distress. When a civilian ship goes missing in a disputed system, Trouble Dog and her new crew of loners, captained by Sal Konstanz, are sent on a rescue mission.
Meanwhile, light years away, intelligence officer Ashton Childe is tasked with locating the poet, Ona Sudak, who was aboard the missing spaceship. What Childe doesn’t know is that Sudak is not the person she appears to be. A straightforward rescue turns into something far more dangerous, as Trouble Dog, Konstanz and Childe find themselves at the centre of a conflict that could engulf the entire galaxy. If she is to save her crew, Trouble Dog is going to have to remember how to fight...
Exclusive excerpt from Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell