REVIEW of Solstice Shorts Anthology

Those nice people over at Sabotage have reviewed Solstice Shorts: Sixteen Stories about Time

read the review here

They have particularly pleasing things to say about Helen Morris, Robert Shearman, William Davidson, David Mathews, and David Turnbull.

SOLSHORTS HALF SUN TOP

If you enjoy the review and want to try the book for yourself you can buy it direct from our Shop, or if you are in the Bath area, come to our reading at Oldfield Park Bookshop, 43 Moorland Road, Bath, BA2 3PN on 22nd April, at 7.30 where you can listen to stories, buy the book and get it signed by at least three local authors, and have a glass of wine at the same time. more info 01225 427722

 

Coming up this weekend – Sabotage and Other Worlds

Saboteur Awards 2014

Voting has now closed in the Saboteur2014 awards, so it’s all out of your hands now. However, you can come along on Saturday 31st to the FREE book fair and readings 1:30-6, at the Jericho Tavern, Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AE, and for the modest fee of £5 to the award ceremony 6.30- 9.30(ish?) tickets here

Saboteur Awards 2014 flyer

Arachne Author Emily Cleaver is one of the performers  in the afternoon, reading from London Lies, and if we WIN we’ll be reading a snippet of something (she says, mentally reviewing the time scales for rehearsing that) from Award short-listed Weird Lies

You can also come and hear readings from Award short-listed Weird Lies (I get a warm happy feeling every time I type that) and Lovers’ Lies at our BrockleyMax event, Other Worlds the following day, Sunday 1st June 7pm at Misty Moon

Brockley Max logo

other worlds email version

 

Review of Weird Lies on Sabotage

we have a review for Weird Lies! Sabotage have managed to recover from the head spinning the book gave them to share their thoughts.

“The story I enjoyed the most in this collection was ‘Haiku Short, Parakeet Prawns, Konnichiwa Peter’ (Lee Reynolddson), it’s about the weirdest lie we all tell ourselves to get through the bad times: one day we’ll escape. There’s always some other place we exoticise, life will be better if we can only get there.

All in all Weird Lies does exactly what it says on the jacket, its weird, it’ll make your head spin if you read it in one sitting and what’s even weirder? You’ve told yourself all these lies that are contained in this collection.”

 

Read the whole review

Review of Mosaic of Air

An absolutely lovely review from Sabotage!

High points

‘Mosaic of Air’ is an interesting parable featuring a proto-post-feminist lead, a computer programmer whose programme becomes sentient which surprisingly encases an abortion debate.

If you read nothing else in this book you must read ‘Arachne’s Daughters’; this takes apart a myth about Arachne (a human) challenging Athene (the goddess): ‘”Now, can you believe anyone would be so stupid?” ‘.  It’s set as a speech given at a women-only meeting with a clever twist on why so many women shouldn’t fear spiders despite the extra legs and pincers ‘ “Forgot something though didn’t they?…[Men]… How many Cancers and Scorpios are in the audience?”.’

A Lovely Review of London Lies from Sabotage

We have another, excellent, review from Sabotage.

Hilights include:

As someone who was born and brought up in London, and has lived there for the best part of 26 years, it would have been easy to take it somewhat personally if this collection had in any way failed to deliver. Luckily, this is one of the most enjoyable story collections I’ve had the pleasure of reading in several years

In some ways, the consistently high quality of London Lies makes it difficult to review. Every time I have sat down to start writing, I’ve wanted to highlight different stories…

you can read the whole thing here

Incidentally, the reviewer quibbles gently about diversity, but she seems not to have read Cherry Potts’ Leaving which does redress the balance somewhat. Also, David Bausor’s story, O Happy Day! is confused with Katy Darby’s Keep Calm and Carry On; but we’re very happy that Sabotage liked our London stories so much.

Stations reviewed by Sabotage

Well this is exciting. After the brilliant review from Sabotage earlier this week for Lovers’ Lies, we have a review for Stations as well.

Highlights:

Carol[ine] Hardman’s ‘Bloody Marys and a bowl of Pho’ (Hoxton) is a modern-day, urban take on the vampire narratives so current at the moment. It is well-written and funny. ‘Platform Zero’ (Haggerston) by Michael Zimmer [Trimmer] also offers a quirky version of another, familiar theme – that of the parallel universe. ‘The Beetle’ by Ellie Stewart (Wapping) is also well-paced and moving in its portrayal of a broken relationship. Peter Morgan’s ‘Mr Forest Hill Station’ (Forest Hill) also stands out due to its tender depiction of the bond between strangers, meeting occasionally in the big city.

 

A common theme the stories share is the sense of locale; all stories give a real sense of London’s enclaves, those small areas threaded together by transport links. In some stories the topography is described in minute detail: ‘ ‘Left out of the station entrance,’ she had said, ‘not far until a sort-of-small-road-kind-of-more-like-an-alley which you need to go down all the way, then through the gap-between-the-shops to cross the big street, then to the right for a bit until you get to a shop with a kind-of-old-fashioned-green-sign and some little writing in the window […].’ (‘Three Things to Do in Surrey Quays’, Adrian Gantlope). It is enlightening to the non-London resident to think of London in such small terms, as described above.

Many stories also focus upon the fragility and fleetingness of relationships. For example, Rob Walton describes an odd kind of love affair in ‘Yellow Tulips’ (New Cross Gate), between the narrator, and John and Alex. The affair itself seems unsatisfactory and temporary, based on hurried meetings. Walton is effective at capturing the instability of the relationship: ‘It is possible to live in a city, a town, a village, an area of a city for a short time and make new friends, close friends, have altogether deeper relationships. Without the shared past or common references you can dive into the here and now, establish a new sort of relationship, one you haven’t tried before. Do all the things you didn’t do in the other places you lived. Then move on and become a new you, or be one of the other yous [sic] in another new place.’

Thank you Sabotage!

Review of Lovers’ Lies at Sabotage

We’ve had a lovely in-depth review from Sabotage of Lovers’ Lies. It’s so satisfying when a reviewer really gets what we are trying to do, both as writers and publishers.

highlight quotes:

… the anthology isn’t slavishly devoted to its theme; it has the freedom to take off on tangents and flights of fancy. Love is treated as a springboard rather than an anchor to hold the anthology in place.

‘Monsieur Fromage’ by Rosalind Stopps. As the title may imply, that last one features a man selling cheeses, but it still manages to be a touching story of a marriage inevitably collapsing inwards despite the desperate desire to stay together.

Lovers’ Lies, as a collection of love stories, doesn’t neglect the realm of high romance either. Co-editor Cherry Potts provides a story with overtones of Tennyson and epic loves played out across a lifetime in the surprisingly small and closed world of neighbouring farming estates. ‘Mirror’ takes place with the First World War in the distance, but able to act only as a sideshow to the real conflicts and dramas playing out in rural England and in the hearts of two men.

 

The final, redemptive twist of Jason Jackson’s ‘A Time and Place Unknown’, the last, sci-fi, entry in Lovers’ Lies, leaves the anthology with a final note of optimism. It ends by letting us believe that love is a force for good and that it can overcome time, space and perhaps even death itself.

Over the course of its 138 pages Lovers’ Lies shows both the darker side of love and the way it brings out the best in us. If that was the intention of the Arachne Press editors, then they’ve done a fine job.

Quite cheered up Monday morning, which was going pretty well already – breakfast in the garden, and an hour of ripping bindweed off the fence before settling to the computer.

Cherry Potts is reading tonight Monday 8th July 7.30 onwards at Brixton Book Jam, at The Hootananny in Effra Road. so if you don’t already have a copy of Lovers’ Lies, come along and pick one up there, you can get it signed!