Evocations by James Brogden
Cover by Peter Coleborn
- New York has alligators in its sewers; Birmingham has man-eating Octopuses in its canals
- What sacrifices were offered in order to build the railway?
- Held captive in a tower-block; can she escape?
- What does his non-existent hand touch?
- Roadkill … or something worse?
- What is it like, waiting to become a ghost?
- Discover these chilling horrors and many more…
Evocations is available via Amazon and other good book dealers.
Collections of stories by a single author can be tricky, particularly if the stories encompass multiple genres, but this brilliant collection from Alchemy Press rises above any concerns. Brogden is a gifted storyteller and his stories are at their very best when they’re short. And funny. Junk Male tells us the dangers of identity theft, even in jest – who knows what monsters we might create? DIYary of the Dead takes a murderous DIY fanatic and then takes things to its logical and horrible conclusion. The Decorative Water Feature of Nameless Dread… speaks for itself. Oh, and finally – God’s honest truth, dear reader – The Phantom Limb is the scariest and best 700 words I’ve ever read. — Iain M Grant (co-author of Godsquad)
Evocations is really enjoyable collection of stories. I do like my horror and have since I was a kid. I love fiction that unsettles me. The stories in this collection managed to scare, unnerve and unsettle me without resorting to shock tactics like excess blood and gore. Every story was strong and there were none I didn’t enjoyed. I did have my favourites: The Last Dance Of Humphrey Bear, The Decorative Water Feature Of Nameless Dread, The Curzon Street Horror and Mob Rule. I highly recommend Evocations. — The Booklover’s Boudoir
Well written collection of stories which are hugely entertaining and a good insight into what a good writer James is. Humour and spookiness abound. — M King (on Amazon)
Evocations is the debut short story collection from horror writer James Brogden. The majority of stories in the compilation have been published in various anthologies, such as Den of Eek, Dark Horizons and The Big Issue, so this collection serves as Brogden’s greatest hits. And the stories really are great. I have previously compared Brogden to Stephen King and this has never been more evident. His stories share King’s trademark for taking a high-concept bonkers idea and grounding it in the everyday so it becomes utterly terrifying. Brogden treats us to malevolent paint blisters, the Christmas spirit incarnate and a toilet-dwelling octopus.
Brogden also shares a talent for delivering inspired pieces of flash fiction, which makes this collection ideal for commute-occupying digestion. The Gas Street Octopus and chilling opener The Phantom Limb are just a couple of short pages but will stay with you for years.
Brogden is surely one of the only published authors to be specialising in Birmingham urban fantasy. His grudging affection for his city is reminiscent of China Mieville’s relationship with London, albeit with a West Midlands spin. It makes for original, refreshing writing, which deserves to be championed by Birmingham avid readers. — Amazon review (reprinted with thanks)
What factors help us to decide to try a new author? Reviews and recommendations from friends help but I have also found that hearing someone speak and enjoying what they say can be a good (albeit not infallible) pointer to a writer worth investigating. James Brogden is a Midlands based writer who was a guest at the Birmingham SF Group in March 2013. Since that appearance he has published two further novels (TOURMALINE and THE REALT, both published by Snow Books) and this short story collection, EVOCATIONS (Alchemy Press). I must confess that I have not read his novels but have enjoyed some of his short stories in previous anthologies. EVOCATIONS is a collection of sixteen of James’ short stories, most previously published elsewhere with a couple of new additions. The stories all contain an element of the fantastical but are also rooted in the real (and mostly modern) world. Some of the stories also verge into horror.
Based on this collection, James Brogden has an impressive imagination. He is exceptional at taking small everyday elements and transforming them into the bizarre. I also like his use of Midlands locations and how he connects the mythological past with the more “rational” present. His stories also demonstrate a mischievous and satirical sense of humour (including some clever puns) and were one of the things I really relished in this collection. On a minor note, there are no SF stories but that is the only reservation I have about recommending this book to readers. — CDG on Amazon