science fiction, horror
In the city of Sylvow, brother and sister Claudia and Leo Vestra made a childhood promise to each other: he would look after the plants and she would look after the animals.
Unlike most promises, both of these were kept – each in their own way. Claudia is now a vet – looking after pampered pets or putting down strays and leading a mundane life in the city. Leo, on the other hand, disenchanted with modern urban life, has abruptly abandoned his wife and disappeared into the surrounding forest, his only contact with the outside world being a sequence of dramatic and prophetic letters – increasingly convinced that a semi-sentient natural world is preparing to rebel against its human irritants.
Nature is a strange thing – although we have done an amazing job of cataloguing and observing it, we still know very little about it. Nature always surprises – and always changes, especially under an external influence such as humanity’s devastating effect on the environment. This book follows its cast of characters through a spectacular clash between everyday life and life on the evolutionary scale – as society dissolves and is stripped away under the onslaught of surreal environmental disaster. Douglas Thompson has dug deep into the inevitable guilt that we all feel, as a culture/species, for the disastrous state of civilization and its effect on both ourselves and the world around us – in the process touching on elements as diverse as literary surrealism, philosophical tract, horror, disaster novel and visionary science fiction.
With a foreword by Martin Bax and an afterword by David Rix.
Douglas Thompson’s short stories have appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies, most recently Albedo One, Ambit, Postscripts, and New Writing Scotland. He won the Grolsch/Herald Question of Style Award in 1989 and second prize in the Neil Gunn Writing Competition in 2007. His first book, Ultrameta, was published by Eibonvale Press in August 2009, nominated for the Edge Hill Prize, and shortlisted for the BFS Best Newcomer Award, and since then he has published four subsequent novels, Sylvow (Eibonvale, 2010), Apoidea (The Exaggerated Press, 2011), Mechagnosis (Dog Horn, 2012), Entanglement (Elsewhen Press, 2012) and has two forthcoming in 2014, The Brahan Seer and Volwys, from Acair Publishing and Dog Horn respectively. The Rhymer is his eighth novel.