Category: Fiction

Not Unusual in Itself

Ryan didn’t believe it. That was not unusual in itself. There were a good many things Ryan didn’t believe in, such as astrology, healing crystals, ideologies, Gaia, religions, politics, ghosts, reality television, fate and several other things he was too busy not to believe in at the moment. However, he did believe in an external reality… until now. Ryan had always liked those stories; novels, films, TV programmes, that played around with reality, altering perceptions, questioning what is and what isn’t real. Are we all living inside some god’s dream, inside a computer programme? Is this a dream? Are we…

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The Mystery of the Disappearing Queen

‘You missed a good story in the inn last night.’ Helm shrugged. ‘I have little time for storytellers. They’re all liars.’ Tolg sat down beside the shepherd, both watching the sheep. ‘Oh, this storyteller is new. He hasn’t visited our village before.’ Helm muttered his thanks as Tolg passed him the wine bottle. Helm drank deep; watching sheep was a thirsty business. ‘Anyway,’ Tolg said. ‘This storyteller told us a new tale - about the Queen of Amboria.’ Helm stopped drinking. ‘Where?’ ‘Amboria.’ ‘Never heard of it.’ Helm swallowed, even though he was clutching the bottle in both hands where…

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Recommended Read: Beneath the Ink – Kath Middleton

Beneath the Ink - Kath Middleton Notes: This is a fascinating book. It starts simply enough with a couple both getting tattoos. But something goes wrong with the tattoos. From there develops a story that has elements of science fiction, horror, political thriller and other genres within it. Not being too enamoured with genre divisions, demarcations and expectations I do like it when a novel crosses genres, altering and blending them in interesting ways to make something greater than its parts, and this one does it very well indeed. In many ways, it reminded me of a John Wyndam novel…

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The Hauntings

‘Come back,’ she said. I turned. There was no-one there. There never is. The voice comes at odd times with no real pattern or purpose. Like the visions of her, the mirages, the sightings – whatever you want to call them. They happen in various places both inside the house and outside it. I have seen her - and heard her - at different times and places from the attic rooms down to the cellar, along the remnants of the smugglers’ tunnel, as well as along the cliff and down on the beach. She speaks as if she knows I…

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Recommended Read: The Boy on the Bridge (The Girl with All the Gifts #2) – M.R. Carey

The Boy on the Bridge (The Girl with All the Gifts #2) - M.R. Carey Notes: Although, this book is classed as the second book in the Girl with All the Gifts series, this story precedes The Girl with All the Gifts (TGWATG) by around 20 years. The great thing about the original TGWATG story was how it developed slowly, revealing its world bit by bit as the story progressed. When I read it, I had no idea what it was about. All I knew is that many people whose opinions I respected were highly recommending it. In fact, if…

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A Domestic Goddess

Obviously, it was not what was originally envisaged. But, as you probably know, very few of these things are, especially not if that original envisaging is mostly instigated through the medium of advertising. Once an old advertising slogan went along the lines of ‘it does what it says on the tin.’ Mostly though, things have a tendency not to, especially these days. After all, most of us know that advertising doesn’t work and we know that we – in particular – are too wise to fall for its blandishments. We have seen it all, by now, and seen through all…

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A Real World Out There?

This world is not the world I remember. It has been some years, how many I do not know. But it goes beyond that. Changes over the time I’ve been away I could expect and understand. But this – these changes – go beyond mere alterations made by the passage of time. Something fundamental is different from this world to the one I left behind. It should be a matter of subtracting the year I left this world from the current one to give me an idea of how much time I lost while I was… away. But the calendar…

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No More Stories

It used to be so easy. I would find the women. I would discover their closely-guarded secret. Then I would weave a story around that one thing they desired more than anything else. I would tell them the story I’d made for them. They would show their gratitude, happy someone had come along into their lives and shown them something beyond their small world. It was easy travelling from village to village, making up stories to tell to those who needed to hear them. Being a mere storyteller meant that the outlaws ignored me, at least until they needed someone…

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The Shadow Dancer

Sadjil was a Shadow Dancer. We met – if met is the right word – one night back in the Year of the Green Death. I was walking the streets unable to sleep. I’d lost my ability to dream after a bout of the sickness that bought the Green Death. Without my dreams to sell I had no money left to buy a place to sleep, and since the Green Death had taken my wife and children I had no wish to call any place home. I walked both the days and the nights in that part of the city…

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Recommended Read: The Siege of Trencher’s Farm – Gordon Williams

The Siege of Trencher's Farm - Gordon Williams Notes: The first time I read this – many years ago, probably in the late 1970s – I had no idea that this was the book that infamous film of my youth Straw Dogs was based on. I saw the film before I read the book, and as I read on I slowly came to see the connection. However, the book is much, much better than the film. A far more involved story of greater depth and subtlety than the film, which goes for action and visual effect than the more psychological…

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