Volwys & Other StoriesDouglas Thompson
science fiction, short stories
Two Centuries from now mankind’s unchecked environmental pollution will have provoked a new ice age. Amid the ruins of the city of Volwys, a bio-dome is under construction to protect a privileged elite while the peasants outside live in mediaeval squalor, facing gradual extinction as the planet cools. Only one man alive remembers our world, having been kept alive by genetic manipulation by the mysterious Cherubs, frequent visitors at the court of his ruler: the Wolf King who is guarded by bird-headed soldiers. Rrio is plagued by nightmares and visions as he attempts to uphold his odious regime by interrogation and torture. As his consciousness disintegrates he comes to realise that the rebel leader each of his victims speak of holds a fascination that may unlock the enigma of his own soul.
This edition book also includes nine Science Fiction short stories published over the last ten years in magazines and anthologies:
Twenty Twenty: a down-and-out rises to unexpected prominence in an Edinburgh struck by power blackout.
Theonae: a female messiah mesmerises Britain in a near-future rocked by civil war.
Dogbot™: an iconic Jihadi terrorist is stalked by an American robotic dog in the foothills of Afghanistan.
Narcissi: a vain Parisian curio-dealer abuses a pet alien purchased in a golden cage from NASA, until the tables are turned on him.
Postcards From The Future: ten 1000-word messages are received at the world’s first time travelling facility.
Multiplicity: the crew of a spaceship encountering the edge of a black hole are duplicated and altered in ways that throw surprising light on the human condition.
Black Sun: a man is wracked by remorse for a lost lover on a planet literally falling apart under the gravitational influence of a black hole.
Quasar Rise: an epileptic woman confronts her own frailty on a planet passing into the disruptive influence of a quasar.
Gravity Wave: an experiment at CERN goes massively wrong, irrevocably altering Europe through a series of bizarre effects which reveal hidden aspects of human nature and give rise to a new evolutionary ascendancy.
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.