Archive for January, 2013

Screenprint Coady

Book of the Month is back, and this month, we’re featuring the excellent The Antagonist by Lynn Coady. I’ve reviewed the title for the New York Journal of Books, and of course, you can read the full write-up here. But for a brief snippet of the review, get your peepers around this:

“. . . what Lynn Coady shows is a different kind of truth, an artistic truth . . .”

The Antagonist is a novel about the power of stories, whether stories we tell ourselves in order to explain the apparently inexplicable or stories we tell others in order to explain ourselves, the world, and our role within it.

It is a beautifully constructed, precisely written, and engaging piece situated in the space where the two circles in the Venn diagram of narrative and truth intersect—and occasionally blur. And though truth and narrative do blur, one can see why Lynn Coady’s book was a finalist for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize in Canada.

Ms. Coady, the author of Strange Heaven. Play the Monster Blind, Saints of Big Harbour, and Mean Boy, is a plainly a master at work. The control of the narrative and the characters she displays here is nearly godike in its precision—fitting, considering that one of her major themes is the authorial god complex.

HDUK ScreenprintThis year, Home Defence UK celebrates its tenth anniversary. It’s been a decade of ups and downs, Jeff, but at the end of the day, it’s always been about eleven men versus eleven men, and whichever team scores the most goals wins out. It’s also been an eventful decade for our intrepid football reporter, and AJ Kirby alterego, Grant Mortar, and here, in the manner of one of those nostalgia programmes which, quite literally, litters the airwaves, this article takes a look back at the five key events – or ‘trends’ for those Twitterari amongst you – for both football and Grant which, in a few years time, will have us rolling around like celebrity pigs in the nostalgia shit-pie.

You can read the full GRANT MORTAR UPDATE here.

And here’s the rest of your HDUK update:

“To see five guys with beards was a frightening experience for many people.” –        John Sheahan, fiddle player for The Dubliners

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to the first update of 2013 for Home Defence – the Interweb’s much-loved Paranoia and Lifestyle thing!

This time our lead story explores how falling unemployment figures can prove a headache for some:

Grant Mortar gets our ten-year celebrations off to a fine start with a look back at the last decade in Football:

The New Year Round Up features the PM’s latest marriage endorsements, unreliable tabloid sources, the Liberal Democrat collection plate and much more:

New recruit Quentin Workshy-Fopp, renowned MP and HDUK’s Westminster correspondent, shares his diary:

Our Special Report proves the beleaguered British police are finally ready to fight back:

While our classic album is the debut twee-pop cavalcade from Papas Fritas:

And finally, the Reverend Harry Figgis looks at the growing threat of civil unrest in ‘How I Spend My Days’:

The Short Review Newsletter

Posted: January 17, 2013 in Writing Talk
secondshortreview2Hello short story lovers!
Happy New year to you all, I hope it’s treating you well and is already filled with great stories. What have we been up to? Well, the new format for the Short Review seems to be successful  – do let us know what you think, we appreciate all feedback.
Since we were last in touch, we’ve reviewed
the_mammoth_book_of_body_horror-PAUL_KANE-MARIE_OREGAN1Tiff Holland’s collection, Betty Superman (Our reviewer said: A set of fierce little stories fronted by a mother-daughter duo of bizarre appeal – a chapbook which boils the big emotions down to brassieres and road kill, chocolate bars and petrol pumps.) and interviewed Tiff; our review of the Mammoth Book of Body Horror (by AJ Kirby) (Warning: this collection could be seriously bad for your health. If a reader attempts to consume in one sitting, all hell could be unleashed. You hungry?, said our reviewer) was itself so mammoth it had to be split into two (Part 1 and Part 2 here); we reviewed Cataclysm Baby by Matt Bell (Like the strange children contained therein, this book is a marvel, a species unto itself, said our reviewer) and Intrusions by Robert Aickman (A marvelous collection of dark strange stories by a great master of the genre), and most recently Best British Short Stories 2012 edited by Nicholas Royle (The dark world of Royle’s selection often takes the reader beyond daily routine into the unexpected, beyond love and beyond life itself, said our reviewer.)
Because we believe short story collections live outside of the constraints of the now, we also dug into our review archives – something we will be doing regularly – to remind you of some excellent collections: Heavier Than Air by Nona Caspers and Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories, edited by John Klima.
And on the blog, we updated our list of deadlines for short story collection contests, had a bit of a rant about the moaning about short story collections not selling, and we celebrated UK National Short Story Day,
Also, I put out a call for new editors and columnists to join the team here at Short Review Towers, and was overwhelmed and deeply gratified by the response, despite the fact that these positions are paid in nothing more than appreciation (and the odd free book). I really see it as a vote of confidence in what we are doing here. Thank you to all those of you who responded, selections are currently being made and we will be in touch shortly.
As always, happy reading!
Tania x

My new speculative fiction yarn, ‘The Side Effect of Yeah-Yeah Pills’ is now available to read online, exclusively and free, on the Perihelion Science Fiction website.

You can read the story in full here.

Screenprint Side Effect

And here’s an extract:

“I SQUIRMED IN MY seat. Tried to ride out the wave of cramps in my stomach. They’d said the side effects of the pills would last a few weeks, that was all, but I was still feeling them months into my stay. Far as I could tell, none of the others felt like this and sometimes, in the longest and darkest nights, I wondered whether they’d spiked me with a different batch. Certainly they seemed to have issued me with more of the pills than anyone else. I rattled when I walked now, and sometimes, when I ran my tongue over my molars, I could still taste the acrid powderiness of my daily dosage.

A loud growl emanated from my stomach. It was followed by a series of bubbling, plopping noises which brought to mind a stone being skipped over a lake. There aren’t any lakes up here, but that’s what the sound was like all the same. This is a tic I have. All of my metaphors and my similies remain Earth-based.”

To read more AJ Kirby Science Fiction, why not try my novel, Perfect World?

Happy new year to all my readers, friends and family. May we this year beat back Triskaidekaphobia and strive to make something new every day. Or something.

To start new year with a bang, Grimmfest, Manchester’s home of cult and horror films, are running a Paint this town Red based competition, and there are 5 copies of the book to be won! All for answering one simple question!

Grimmfest Screenprint

Here’s the T’s and C’s, and here’s the link for the question and further details on the book

You’ll need to be signed up to our newsletter to be in with a chance of winning. All competition winners are announced on our regular newsletter (Sign up box on the right of this page, Scroll down).

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of PAINT THIS TOWN RED, all you have to do is email us at: with the answer to this question by midday Friday 11th Jan 2013.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.