A review of Rhys Hughes' Mirrors in the Deluge

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Rhys Hughes' Mirrors in the Deluge was published by Elsewhen Press as an e-book in March 2015. The printed edition will be published in June 2015.

Information about Rhys Hughes:

Rhys Hughes was born in 1966 and began writing from an early age. His first short story was published in 1991 and his first book, the now legendary Worming the Harpy, followed four years later. Since then he has published more than thirty books, his work has been translated into ten languages and he is currently one of the most prolific and successful authors in Wales. Mostly known for absurdist works, his range in fact encompasses styles as diverse as gothic, experimental, science fiction, magic realism, fantasy and realism. His main ambition is to complete a grand sequence of exactly one thousand linked short stories, a project he has been working on for more than two decades. Each story is a standalone piece as well as a cog in the grand machine. He is finally three-quarters of the way through this opus.

Click here to visit the author's official website.

Click here to visit the author's blog.

Information about Mirrors in the Deluge:

Mirrors in the Deluge is a collection of 32 unrelated stories that take elements from fantasy, science fiction, horror and other genres and give them a lateral shift.

Like much of Rhys' work these quirky tales between them encompass parody, pastiche and puns. The fun, as ever, starts with the title of each story – gently leading an unsuspecting reader into preconceived ideas and expectations; expectations that are soon spun around, turned on their head (or other extremities), and pushed in an unexpected direction.

Thus, even a saunter through the contents page is already a hugely entertaining experience and one more akin to savouring the hors d'oeuvres of a grand banquet than consulting a list of shortcuts into a literary tome. In fact, the gastronomic metaphor serves us well here; the courses on offer range from tantalising tuck to a foody's feast, but never mere vittles – perhaps the way to enjoy this book is to digest one story, three times a day (four if you're a halfling who needs second breakfast), rather than trying to gorge on all the available delights and delicacies at one sitting. To complete this gourmet's guide, a tempting sampling of the stories must include:

The Soft Landing, a unique story told from the perspective of a photon;
Travels with my Antinomy, how do you solve a paradox when you're part of it?;
Vanity of Vanities, the internet achieves consciousness and takes over, but with very different consequences from those you might imagine;
The Fairy and the Dinosaur, in which a fairy can't find what she wants for her picnic in the goblin market, is offered cloned prehistoric plums but turns to a time-travelling robot to go back to the age of the dinosaurs and eat an original plum.

Other titles to tempt you include The Prodigal Beard, A Dame Abroad, The Unkissed Artist Formerly Known as Frog, The Goat That Gloated, The Taste of Turtle Tears, The Bones of Jones, and The Haggis Eater.


Rhys Hughes is one of the most imaginative authors ever to grace the field of speculative fiction, because he writes all kinds of speculative fiction stories and manages to add parodical, quirky and twisted humour to his stories in an entertaining way. His stories have an enormous amount of originality, style and unpredictability that is lacking from many other similar kind of stories written by other authors.

I have to mention that I'm amazed at how diverse stories Rhys Hughes can write. Mirrors in the Deluge is clearly one of his best books, because all the stories in it are excellent. This collection showcases the author's full potential as an author, because all of the stories are imaginative and well written, and they contain elements of fantasy, science fiction and horror. There's a delightfully quirky and twisted edge to many of these stories that will charm readers. I'm sure that many readers will be pleasantly surprised by these stories.

It's easy for me to praise this collection, because it's a delightfully different kind of a short story collection. Because I've always liked novels and short story collections that differ from the norm and offer quality to readers, I was very impressed by this collection and its diverse contents.

Elsewhen Press has done a big favour for speculative fiction readers by publishing this marvellous short story collection, because it differs a lot from other short story collections. It's something different for fans of quality fiction. It'll be of special interest to readers who appreciate the slightly quirkier side of speculative fiction and enjoy reading stories from authors who have distinct voices of their own.

If you've never read any of Rhys Hughes' stories, it may take a while for you to get used to them, because they're not your normal kind of stories. Once you get used to them, I can guarantee that you'll love them. They're delicious treats for those who appreciate imaginative fiction.

This short story collection contains the following 32 stories:

- The Prodigal Beard
- The Bungle Duke
- The Modesty Men
- The Soft Landing
- Gathering the Genial Genies
- Najort Esroh
- Travels with My Antinomy
- The Bubble Bursts
- A Dame Abroad
- A Real Nowhere Man
- Gold, Myrrh and Frankenstein
- The Mouth of Hell
- The Strings of Segovia
- Paired Down
- Arms Against a Sea
- The Martian Monocles
- Suddenly
- Stand and Deliver
- Trophy Wife
- The Unkissed Artist Formerly Known as Frog
- The Fairy and the Dinosaur
- The Goat That Gloated
- Vanity of Vanities
- Unicorn on the Cob
- Sunstorm
- The Anvil Cloud
- The Apple of My Sky
- The Taste of Turtle Tears
- The Musical Universe
- The Bones of Jones
- Train of Thought
- The Haggis Eater

Here's more information about these stories. Because many of these stories have quite a lot of unpredictability and surprises in them, I'll try to avoid spoilers in these short descriptions (it wouldn't be fair to reveal what happens in these stories, because the less you know about them, the more you'll enjoy them).

The Prodigal Beard:
- An excellent story about a man who has grown a beard. One day he decides to shave his beard, because it starts to itch.

The Bungle Duke:
- A wonderfully bizarre story about Bungle Duke and what happens to him after he meets a witch.

The Modesty Men:
- A humorous and slightly macabre story about two men who have donated different parts of their bodies to others.

The Soft Landing:
- A brilliant story about a proton that has been expelled from a star.

Gathering the Genial Genies:
- This fascinating story about a man who collects genies is one of the best stories I've read this year.

Najort Esroh:
- An intriguing and well written story about an automaton (an automated horse) with a fascinating glimpse into history.

Travels with My Antinomy:
- A fascinating story about a paradox and how to solve it.

The Bubble Bursts:
- An excellent story about a couple who decide to live and work in a giant bubble beneath the surface of the ocean.

A Dame Abroad:
- A fascinatingly weird story about an eye and a dame.

A Real Nowhere Man:
- A fantastic story about a man who goes hiking and meets another man who travels the world.

Gold, Myrrh and Frankenstein:
- An intriguing story about a different kind of a play.

The Mouth of Hell:
- A fluently written and entertaining story about an expedition to a mysterious portal.

The Strings of Segovia:
- A stunningly original story about a guitar player and his teacher.

Paired Down:
- A wrll written story about a person who visits a strange shop near his house.

Arms Against a Sea:
- In this interesting story a man finds an arm of a statue on the beach.

The Martian Monocles:
- An excellent and totally different kind of a story about Mars and Martians.

- An interesting and exceptionally good flash fiction story.

Stand and Deliver:
- A good and wonderfully written story about Grub the postman and his job.

Trophy Wife:
- This story is a fantastic and unique story about a trophy wife.

The Unkissed Artist Formerly Known as Frog:
- A wonderfully told story about an artist who's a frog.

The Fairy and the Dinosaur:
- A memorable and fantastic story about an elf who travels back in time to eat a plum. This story is quite difficult to forget once you've read it.

The Goat That Gloated:
- An excellent story about a satyr professor who creates different kind of hybrids.

Vanity of Vanities:
- In this fascinating story the internet achieves consciousness and surprises humans by its actions.

Unicorn on the Cob:
- An entertaining and fascinating story about a unicorn called Sergio who tells jokes.

- An inventive and entertaining story about Stone Age. This story is something a bit different.

The Anvil Cloud:
- A well written story about a person who has parachuted into an anvil cloud.

The Apple of My Sky:
- This is one of the most original - and also one of the few - stories about apple trees I've ever read.

The Taste of Turtle Tears:
- A wonderful fairy-tale-like story about butterflies who drink tears to get salt.
- I was already familiar with this story, but it was enjoyable to read it again, because it's a good story.

The Musical Universe:
- An original and well written story about musical instruments and universe.

The Bones of Jones:
- A fascinatingly weird story about the bones of Jones that lie under the sea and tell lies. They cause a hazard to shipping.

Train of Thought:
- An excellent story about thoughts and what happens to two men after a bicycle collision.

The Haggis Eater:
- A brilliant story about a man who is a professional haggis eater. He adores and worships haggis.

Here's a few extra words and my thoughts about certain stories:

"The Prodigal Beard" is an excellent story about David who finds himself living two lives. When David shaves his beard off, he notices that his friends treat him differently and don't invite him on trips etc, so he has to find something else to do. He begins to live a bearded life and an unbearded life.

"The Soft Landing" is one of the most intriguing and brilliant science fiction stories I've ever read, because it tells of a proton protagonist. Rhys Hughes is one of the few authors who have the ability to make this kind of a story work well and be of interest to readers.

"The Mouth of Hell" is a fantastic story about university explorers who explore a mysterious portal and one of them waits outside the portal. It showcases the authors talents of creating a gripping story that has a perfect ending.

"Paired Down" is a story about a person who visits a different kind of a shop where the rules of buying differ from normal shops. I enjoyed reading this quirky tale, because it was a brilliantly told story.

"The Fairy and the Dinosaur" is a story that is impossible to forget once you've read it. In my opinion, this fascinating story about a fairy who travels back in time to eat a plum is one of the best and most entertaining stories the author has ever written.

"The Goat That Gloated" demonstrates the author's ability to surprise his readers by a good ending. This imaginative story about a satyr professor who creates hybrids is simply excellent.

"Vanity of Vanities" is one of the most memorable stories in this collection, because it's a story about the internet and what it does when it achieves consciousness and takes over the world. What the internet does will be quite a surprise for readers, because its actions are not what one might expect them to be.

"The Taste of Turtle Tears" is an excellent story about butterflies who drink tears to get salt. This is an excellent short story that will please readers who love beautifully written stories. This story is so enchanting that it's almost like a fairy tale.

"The Haggis Eater" is a brilliant story about a man who adores haggis. It was enjoyable to read about what happened when the man tried to make his girlfriend eat haggis. I won't reveal what happens at the end, but I can mention that the ending is perfect and satisfying.

Rhys Hughes is an excellent author of short stories. He has an ability to create beautiful and mind-boggling stories that stimulate the reader's imagination. Although many of his stories are short (some of them are almost flash fiction), there's a wealth of depth in them.

If you're aware of what's around you and understand what makes us do the things we do, you'll love this short story collection, because you'll find out that Rhys Hughes can write about anything. There are no limits to his imagination and he's able to write about life and universe in a different way.

One of the best things about Rhys Hughes is that he doesn't shy away from difficult and weird material. Nothing is too weird for Rhys Hughes, because he boldly embraces the odd and produces intriguing speculative fiction that fascinates and thrills his readers (this collection has plenty of charming weirdness in it).

Rhys Hughes' humour is delightfully clever, quirky and at times fastastically parodical. I was positively surprised when I noticed that these stories have many humorous elements in them, because I've come to like the author's humour very much. In my opinion, Rhys Hughes is an excellent author of stories that are dappled with humour.

When you begin to read these stories, be prepared to be amazed, charmed, stunned and also shocked by what you're about to read. You won't find anything normal in these stories or if you do, you'll find out that the author can easily twist the story into a totally new and exciting direction.

It's great that Rhys Hughes has a way with words. He's able to play with words in a genuinely funny way. For example, the titles of these stories are wonderfully creative. The contents of the stories also offer plenty of entertainment to readers, because the author has added humour and clever surprises to his stories.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about these stories is that you honestly don't know what to expect from them. When you begin to read them, you'll notice that they can quickly take a surprise turn into another direction and become something totally different. This is great, because it makes the stories interesting.

The prose in these stories is beautiful and excellent. This kind of beautifully written prose will thrill many readers and will make them want to read more of the author's stories. Many of these stories have been written so beautifully that at times you'll feel almost like you're reading weird fairy tales for adults.

I can mention that along with Brendan Connell, Rhys Hughes is one of the few authors who are capable of spicing their stories with fascinatingly absurd and brilliantly humorous elements, and what's truly amazing is that they manage to make it look fashionable and original.

If you're a newcomer to Rhys Hughes' stories or if you're already a devoted fan of his stories, you should read Mirrors in the Deluge as soon as possible. It offers good entertainment, thought-provoking moments, plenty of surprises and beautiful prose in one package.

If you want to read and experience something weird and fascinating, I urge you to read this collection immediately, because finding similar kind of short story collections is difficult. This short story collection offers 200 pages of pure pleasure and literary excellence for quality oriented readers.

Highly recommended!