I am absolutely delighted to announce the publication of my new book! ORPHEUS ON THE UNDERGROUNDfrom Tartarus Press is a collection of weird phantasmagorical stories that has been wonderfully illustrated by the genius artist Chris Harrendence.
It exists right now and is available to be purchased from the publisher. And soon it will be available from other places... I am very pleased with this book. Tartarus Press have a superstition that authors shouldn't talk about their books until they are published, which is why I kept so quiet about this one.
It has been more than twelve years since I was last published by Tartarus Press. They always create a truly impressive product, books that are beautiful art objects, and it is a privilege as well as a pleasure to be published by such a fine publishing house.
Here is part of the blurb that Tartarus have created for this book:
"Orpheus on the Underground is the new Rhys Hughes collection from Tartarus Press, containing fifteen previously unpublished stories and ‘The Concise Picaresque Adventures of the Wanderlust Bridge’, which first appeared in Strange Tales II, 2008. Ranging from the ghostly, through horror to the entirely fantastic, Hughes’ marvellously inventive tales steer the reader through the bizarre labyrinths of his unique talent for the strange... In the twenty years since the publication of his first short story collection (Worming the Harpy, Tartarus Press, 1995) Rhys Hughes has become an éminence grise of the strange tale. He wears his reputation lightly, and it is the sheer fun and individuality of the stories in Orpheus on the Underground that make them so memorable."
******************************************************** I have just heard from Hippocampus Press in the USA that my new book of stories has gone to the printers. They were also good enough to show me the full cover of my collection. Here it is...
It amuses me that the title of this book Bone Idle in the Charnel House can be turned into the acronym BITCH. This was entirely unintentional.
I had to fill in a 'promotion form' for this book which included a brief summary of what it's about. I wrote, "A collection of weird stories that often develop in an unusual manner from an original premise. The stories are part of the grand tradition of the ‘weird story’ but they seek to be rather different from most stories of this type. My hope is that these stories simultaneously will be a part of the tradition of the weird story but also help to push the definition forward a little."
My latest book is the novel Captains Stupendous, which began life as a 'Corto Maltese' novella entitled 'The Coandă Effect', published by Ex Occidente in Romania a few years ago. I rewrote it so that the main character is now Scipio Faraway. Then I wrote two novellas as sequels featuring Scipio's brothers, Distanto in 'The Gargantuan Legion' and Neary in 'The Apedog Incident'. All three novellas together constitute the novel. Needless to say the plotting was quite tricky, but I think I managed to tie all the strands of all the plots together neatly at the end...
This photo shows me at the official book signing in the Forbidden Planet bookshop in London recently.
The Young Dictator is available from Amazon right now and will be available from many other places in the coming weeks... This novel is my most accessible book to date, so if you are new to my work and want to try something but don't know what to go for, I'll say try this one. It has been described as Roald Dahl meets Spike Milligan and Kurt Vonnegut and that's exactly the effect I was aiming for! Many years ago I tried to write a children's story but I never completed it. Then back in 2010 the editor Mike Ashley asked me to write a YA (young Adults) story for an anthology he was compiling. I dusted off the story I had started long before and finished it for him. As it happened, his anthology was cancelled so I decided to make my story the first chapter of a novel. The result was The Young Dictator. It's not really a YA novel, though I do think it can be easily read by anyone from the age of 12 onward. That first chapter was published as a stand-alone story in the Spring issue of the BFS (British Fantasy Society) journal last year and was received well by readers. I sent the finished novel to my agent but he didn't like it very much. He felt that the main character, Jenny, a young girl, was too vicious. But that's the point. The novel is a comedy about dictatorship and nice dictators aren't much fun in fiction, are they? My agent also didn't enjoy the fact that the novel often uses lateral logic rather than the logic of everyday events. Luckily there was a publisher out there who was willing to embrace absurdity and humorous darkness. Pillar International Publishing was founded in Ireland in the 1930s by Victor Lloyd and named after Nelson's Pillar, a structure that stood in the middle of O'Connell Street in Dublin until it was blown up by the IRA in 1966 (it had already survived an earlier attack in 1955 in which nine students had tried to melt it with flamethrowers). The original press issued many murder mysteries of the Death Carries a Coffin and She Died of Death type... Victor's grandson, Mark Lloyd, refounded the press last year and by happy chance I learned of its existence thanks to the writer Sara Crowe. I submitted the book and it was accepted, and now it is a physical object and an ebook. I am proud of all my books but this one has increased the width of my grin by an unprecedented magnitude. It can be purchased online from Amazon here. All hail The Young Dictator! All hail her Gran too!
My latest book is now available for general consumption. The Just Not So Stories features no less than 30 of my most absurdist-flavoured tales, including some of my personal favourites such as 'The Leveller of Neptune', 'How to Lose Friends and Alienate People', 'Message to Rosita', 'My Crow Nation', 'The Blue Jewel Fruit' and 'The Sun Trap'.
The Just Not So Stories is published by The Exaggerated Press (a relatively new British small-press) and can be purchased here for the sum of £7.99, making it one of my cheapest ever books!
Now released as a trade paperback is my novel The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange. The limited edition has sold out! So the ordinary paperback is finally available. In the meantime here's a review of the novel.
People sometimes ask me which book of mine is the most suitable for a reader new to my work. The answer is Tallest Stories, which was published at the beginning of 2013. This book is almost a microcosm of everything I have written and will ever write! It's a particular favourite of mine.
Maybe I shouldn't have favourites among my own children but... well I am especially proud of this book! It is readily available from Amazon and elsewhere but can be ordered directly from the publisher by visiting this webpage.