Alchemy Press contributor James Brogden’s new novel Hekla’s Children has hit the bookshelves. It is a truly remarkable novel — you can read my review of it on the Piper at the Gates of Fantasy blog.
To celebrate the publication of the novel we are offering twelve copies of James’ short story collection Evocations (published by The Alchemy Press) free to the first six people who email by midnight today (Friday) and to another six who email us by midnight tomorrow (Saturday) — UK time — and please use this contact form with the subject EVOCATIONS. Remember to specify if you want MOBI or EPUB format.
Here is a round up of Alchemy Press collections. As you can tell from the range of anthologies and collections we’ve published, we are a great fan of short fiction. Click on the image for further information on each title.
The Midas Scorpion was an assassin’s tool of the Elder World, from a time long before there were distinctions between magic and machine, or life and art, or death and love. It was made of gold, finely articulated, with a single bead of poison still on the tip of its sting and its ruby eyes still glittering with mindless evil, even though it lay dead and flayed open on John Whelan’s work desk. The haphazard scattering of its eviscerated remains testified to his last moments of panic as he’d unsuccessfully looked for the secret of curing its poison, but Whelan was no longer in his workshop. He was upstairs in the little bedroom above the little shop which he and his wife Mary owned in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter; watching her die.
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. As some of you may remember, James Brogden is a local writer who was a guest at the BSFG 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. 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.
Simon Fairbanks has posted a review of James Brogden’sEvocations:
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 … Also, like King, he instils a pitch-black sense of humour into his stories. Brogden’s humour is a unique combination of British cynicism and Australian irreverence, whilst retaining the self-mockery of both nations. His stories will make you smile… when you aren’t quivering with fear. — Simon Fairbanks
Evocations is available in print and eBook format from Amazon and other online 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
Evocations is available from Amazon and other good online booksellers. Also available as a DRM-free Kindle book.