The Mystery of Choice

A newsletter, on the experience of reading 70-odd 'randomly' selected digital mysteries:

Retailers are curators in a broader sense than simply selecting which products to carry. They choose how to present the content as well - price, display, context - the works. Amazon’s laissez faire approach is one extreme; perhaps something like an airport W.H. Smith would be the other, with every inch of shelf-space rigidly controlled.

A review up at of Wastelands: The New ApocalypseA fairly blunt headline, but, well, I stand by it.

Wastelands: The New Apocalypse provides a hefty buffet of the contemporary American apocalyptic story, each one—again, broadly—about people finding themselves at the end of the world. A heartless soldier finds his humanity. A thuggish goon finds his heart. A shy comedian finds her voice. A scared young woman finds the strength to stand up for herself. A conflicted playwright finds her buried talent. Stories of people that, in a time of adversity, tap into previously untapped stores of courage, cunning, and self-esteem. People who have lost everything, but finally found their purpose.

And another, of Claire North's absolutely brilliant The Gameshouse:

The Gameshouse hosts a ‘higher league’: a semi-mythic level of play, where the most talented, brilliant gamesters can wager the impossible - memories, ailments, even years of their life. Here, the games aren’t played on boards, but with people. Risk, Diplomacy, chess: played with real countries, real armies, and real lives. All for the sake of the game.

I'll be cavorting around Bradford over the next few weeks, at the excellent Bradford Literature Festival - my favourite event of the year. I'll be running a session on marketing at the Creative Sector Industry Day, and chairing panels on fatherhood and the night in literature. I'll also be hosting a panel on stereotypes in literature, as part of the 'takeover challenge' - programming designed by a local academy. I can't wait.

And, finally (and perhaps of the most interest), submissions are now open for The Best of British Fantasy 2019

Covers, Daggers, Launches

TBOBF2018Nice news all around. 

The cover for The Best of British Fantasy has been revealed - illustrated by the amazing Matty Long.

You can now pre-order the book (including the snazzy limited hardcover) directly from the publisher.

The book will be launched on June 1 at London's Star of King's pub, starting at 1pm. Join us - and a vast array of authors - for the occasion. 

A bit of Outcast Hours news as well. Lavie Tidhar's near-future noir, "Bag Man", is in the running for a CWA Dagger. A great honour. More about this strange, genre-hopping book here.


The Outcast Hours is Out

Slightly belated, but, hey! After a year of construction and months of fretting and weeks of self-promotion - The Outcast Hours is, indeed, out. 

The details of this scrumptious new anthology are here, including links to some of the particularly flattering reviews. Mahvesh and I kicked off the launch with three events - two in London, one 'virtual' on reddit - and are now in the awkward 'post-launch, just stare' stage. If you don't have a copy, it is never too late. If you do have a copy, well - thanks.

Incidentally, if you are a school/prison/library/community centre/other institution that would like a copy for your shelves, please let me know, and I will happily send you a copy for free. While they last.

Admin news: the newsletter has migrated over to substack, and contains deep and meaningful thoughts about good intentions and publishing with form.