Two Alchemy Press anthologies to be launched at FantasyCon(1)
The Alchemy Press will launch their two latest anthologies at FantasyCon on Saturday 29 September 2012 at 10.00am. The convention, a highpoint in the fantasy and horror fan’s calendar, once more returns to the south coast city of Brighton.
The editors, and some of the contributors, will be on hand to sign the two new anthologies: The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders and The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes.
About The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders, edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber:
“Discover standing stones, burial mounds, ruined castles or sunken cities: the ancient sites that litter our landscapes; the ancient wonders that possess a mysterious appeal that cannot be denied.”
With stories by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Aliette de Bodard, Peter Crowther, Anne Nicholls, Adrian Cole, Pauline E. Dungate, Bryn Fortey, William Meikle, John Howard, James Brogden, Shannon Connor Winward, Misha Herwin, Lynn M Cochrane and Selina Lock.
About The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes, edited by Mike Chinn:
“Hard-boiled detectives, sinister vigilantes, bizarre villains – the staple of the Pulp tradition; two-fisted heroes – and heroines – fighting for right and justice in the midnight city, foetid jungles or exotic, far-flung lands; and deranged villains for whom the world is never enough.
Here, seventeen writers dive headlong into the world of the pulp fiction, to tell us tall tales of daring do, of heroes, heroines and their villains.”
With stories by Mike Resnick, Peter Atkins, Peter Crowther, Adrian Cole, William Meikle, Joel Lane, Amber L. Husbands, Milo James Fowler, Anne Nicholls, Robert William Iveniuk, Bracken N. MacLeod, Chris Iovenko, Joshua Wolf, James Hartley, Ian Gregory, Michael Haynes and Allen Ashley.
Special FantasyCon price: £8.00 each (cover price £10.00 each) or buy both for £15.00.
Submissions sought for Alchemy Press Book of Ancient WondersComments Off
Further to its announcement that it is seeking submissions for The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes edited by Mike Chinn, Alchemy is also seeking submissions for The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber.
“Standing stones, burial mounds, ruined castles or sunken settlements, the ancient sites that litter our landscapes have a mysterious appeal which cannot be denied. Think myth come to life; old folktales updated; the consequences of tomb raiding; hidden guardians and secret civilisations; from archaeology to tourism; mysticism and myth; folklore to the fantastical. Take us on a journey around the esoteric and enigmatic places that cannot fail to fire the imagination. Intrigue us, thrill us, make us wonder about the where, the what and the who.
We are interested in fantasy, SF, weird and horror tales of all kinds (no erotica, romance or poetry).”
The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders will be published in paperback in September 2012, to be followed by an ebook edition later. Contributions must be in the range of 2,000 – 6,000 words. The submission period runs from 1 April 2012 to 30 June 2012.
Full submission details HERE
Alchemy Press seeks submissions for Pulp Heroes anthologyComments Off
The Alchemy Press is seeking submissions for The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes, edited by Mike Chinn.
“The Shadow, The Bat, Doc Savage, The Spider; Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Detective Agency; Dusty Ayers & His Battle Birds; Sheena and Ka-Zar. Hard-boiled detectives, sinister vigilantes, bizarre villains – the staple of the Pulp tradition. We want fiction that celebrates (or subverts) that tradition – as well as taking a wild new look at it. Fiction set in the 1930s and 40s, the far future or mythical past, or the present day. Two-fisted heroes – and heroines – fighting for right and justice in the midnight city, foetid jungles or exotic, far-flung lands. Deranged villains for whom the world is never enough.
Sports stories, spy stories, aircraft and zeppelin stories, sea and pirate stories, Westerns, medieval romance, horror, science fiction and fantasy, movies and car racing – there’s no limit.
THRILL US, SCARE US – MAKE US CARE.”
The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes will be published in paperback in September 2012, to be followed by an ebook edition. The submission period runs from 1 April to 30 May 2012, and this is a paying market. For full submission guidelines see the website HERE
Alchemy releases Mike Chinn’s The Paladin Mandates as ebookComments Off
The Paladin Mandates by Mike Chinn (published by The Alchemy Press) is now available for the Kindle. This revised edition features seven Paladin stories including a brand new tale, “There’ll be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight”.
Mixing generous dollops of The Scorpion, The Shadow and Dominic Fortune, with a fascination for old airplanes, and a taste for ’30s detective fiction … enter Damian Paladin, ghost hunter, supernatural sleuth.
The original Paladin Mandates was published in 1998, featuring a cover and internal illustrations by Bob Covington. We are pleased to report that the cover artwork graces the new edition.
Captain Nemo by Kevin Anderson — reviewComments Off
Reviewed by Mike Chinn
Imagine that the infamous Captain Nemo was not only real – but a childhood friend of Jules Verne. Imagine also that the scientific romances that made the adult Verne a household name were actually the true adventures of Nemo as he grew from an idealistic youth to an embittered adult – waging his war against war. That’s the basis of Anderson’s old-fashioned adventure novel – and a pretty good one it is, too.
André Nemo is the son of a shipwright; Verne’s father’s a dull, unimaginative lawyer. Against the odds both boys are close friends, growing up together in the costal town of Île Feydeau. Nemo is the adventurer, the doer; Verne always fighting shy at the last moment: even then living vicariously through his friend. Their adventures are often shared by the beautiful Caroline Aronnax; both boys love her – but Verne is never able to articulate his feelings.
When André’s father is killed in a tragic accident, Caroline’s father arranges for him to join a British scientific voyage (since there’s no future for him in Île Feydeau as a penniless orphan) – and the adventure begins. Kept back from joining his friend, all the younger Verne can look forward to is a future as a lawyer with his father – though he dreams of adventure and becoming a famous author and playwright. Caroline dreams of André.
Nemo’s ship is attacked by pirates and he alone survives, making his way to a mysterious island where he becomes a real Robinson Crusoe, utilising his innate engineering genius to make life palatable.
You can see where it’s all heading – but that’s half the fun. Names that Verne will later use in his work are scattered throughout the book: Aronnax, Captain Grant, Ned Land, Arne Saknussemm, Phileas Fogg, Conseil, Cyrus Harding, to name just a few. And the various sections are given familiar titles: 20,000 Leagues, A Journey to the Centre, Robur the Conqueror, Master of the World, The Mysterious Island, etc. Nemo encounters dinosaurs, vast guns designed to send men to the moon, balloons of revolutionary design, and underwater boats; whilst throughout his journeys, he always gets word back to Verne who will one day, encouraged by Alexandre Dumas and a new publisher, turn the reports into his Extraordinary Voyages.
Interestingly, although the book is inspired by literary works, it’s pretty clear Anderson’s own influences are the movies. From his description it’s obvious that his Ned Land is Kirk Douglas from Disney’s 1954 adaptaion of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Conseil is Peter Lorre from the same film, as is the spiky, steam-punk Nautilus. By the time Nemo is in his forties, he’s turned into James Mason (complete with decorative white quiff). And Phileas Fogg is David Niven at his most stiff-upper lipped. I’m sure there are many I’ve missed.
On the negative side, I spotted several basic typos – and two real howlers. The noble Mohican from Fennimore Cooper’s novels is Chingachgook, not Chinganook; whilst the French for gentlemen is ‘messieurs’, not ‘monsieurs’ – basic schoolboy French. These really should have been picked up during editing.
Overall though a great read: a deliberate ripping yarn. Even if Jules Verne comes across as a big of a prig: jealous, insecure – often quite shallow – the real hero is undoubtedly Nemo: dark, driven, unstoppable. As Verne often wonders throughout the book: What is it about the man?
Alt-Dead — book review(1)
Reviewed by Mike Chinn
Death, bereavement, what happens after we die … these are all things that occupy a significant proportion of human thought. Of all the animals, we seem the ones most obsessed with life, death and the afterlife – creating planet-wide religions that revolve around little else. And Horror is, of all literary genres, most concerned with death; and living death; and un-death…
This anthology – Hersham Horror’s first step into publishing – is unashamedly about the one little thing most certain in life (apart from taxes). Sixteen tales, each with its own take on the big sleep: how it can be outwitted, how it affects the living, how it affects the departed. And a satisfying collection it is too, on the whole.
Stephen Bacon, Steven Savile & Steve Lockley, Adrian Chamberlin, Gary McMahon and Stuart Young all contribute wildly different tales which have at their core a common theme: the death of children. Dave Jeffrey’s tale is a gorily amusing zombie short – owing much to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Mark West supplies a camping trip that all goes horribly wrong. Zach Black’s drug and alcohol wasted protagonist finds a way to belong at last. RJ Gaulding gives us a hard-drinking, noirish private investigator in a story that throws a fresh surprise every couple of pages. Jan Edwards revisits that old favourite: a deal with death. Katherine Tomlinson goes for zombies of a cruise liner. Ian Woodhead looks at how the haves and have-nots fare during a zombie plague. Stuart Hughes has the long-dead haunting the dreams of the living. Stuart Neild’s two computer nerds dig up more than they can handle in true EC Comics style. Richard Farren Barber delivers an ambiguous tale of a DJ barricaded against another zombie plague … maybe. And Johnny Mains gives us a typically Pan Book of Horror style account of revenge and possession.
Not a bad one amongst them – though I found Bacon’s, McMahon’s and Young’s the most affecting. Pity they were all at the start of the book and not spaced out more evenly. Mine is a proof copy, so I imagine the occasional typo and dodgy bit of layout was fixed before launch. And I’m also hoping the strange practise of having the bylines in huge block type that dwarves the tiny, italicised story title is also fixed. It’s so wrong. Small niggles aside, this is a satisfying book from a new small publisher. I look forward to their next title, Alt-Zombie.
Darkness Falling — book reviewComments Off
Reviewed by Mike Chinn
Here’s an interesting slant on the zombie genre: instead of the usual unknown disease animating the dead, there’s a blinding light and everybody on the planet disappears – to reappear some days later … changed. I say everybody, but obviously there have to be some survivors – if that’s the word – the plucky few who slowly gravitate together and find themselves up against the returning population.
The returned neatly defy many of the zombie clichés: initially slow and lumbering, they become more co-ordinated and deadly; all are wearing dark glasses and gloves, even though they tend to come out when it’s dark; and weirdest of all, they exhibit an amazing ability to turn bog-standard cars and buses into flying vehicles straight out of Bladerunner. So where – obviously not on Earth – have they been?
My biggest problem with this introductory volume is the massive hiatus at the beginning. Crowther wastes no time setting up the mass disappearance – but we have to wait some 200 pages before they start to come back again. 200 pages wherein those left behind – for whatever reason – stumble around not doing an awful lot. And if the walking dead avoid stereotype, I’m afraid the same can’t be said for the human cast.
Young girl with psychic abilities: check; murderous psychopath and probable paedophile: check; loving, long-married couple whose close relationship is begging for trouble: check; slightly crazy lady with multiple personalities: check… Though there’s a woman DJ who just has to have been inspired by Adrienne Barbeau from Carpenter’s The Fog.
I was also irritated by the author’s habit of throwing in paragraphs of minor characters’ back-story whenever we first meet them. In one scene a returned deputy sheriff gets a whole page of folksy anecdotes right after he looms menacingly out of the night. It kills all the tension stone dead.
That said, once the action gets going, Crowther doesn’t let up. Chapters barrel past; blood and guts spray in all directions in a suitably OTT manner. A fun take on a familiar sub-genre – just a shame it takes so long to get properly going.
Alchemy Press publishes first eBookComments Off
The Alchemy Press has published its first eBook in Kindle format: Sailors of the Skies by BFS member Mike Chinn (originally published in Dark Horizonsin 2009). “Mix generous dollops of The Scorpion, The Shadow and Dominic Fortune, a taste for 1930s detective fiction, and the simple desire to tell a creepy tale…” Available via Amazon