Marked to Die – A Tribute Anthology to Mark Samuels

 

DSCN8992.JPG

I am delighted to be a contributor to this new anthology just released from Snuggly Books. Among many great writers’ names is nestled my novella Slag Glass Lachrimæ.  This is a big piece about lots of things – living in London, suicide, grief, lapidary work, books etc. – all with a subtle supernatural overtone. It’s also the story where I came up with the concept of crying rooms – hidden places around the city of London where one can go to express the grief of living in this world – museums filled with trinkets and oddments and stories. Slag Glass Lachrimæ is a bleak piece but also one where I feel I managed to express a small part of something I really wanted to express. Some small echo of my own desolation, yet shaped on the page (which is after all much larger than the creating brain itself) into something that can cut quite hard. I have no idea whether it will affect anyone else – but it turned into one of the stories I feel most emotional about in my very small writing career.

Technically, it was a strange project to work on.  There was no word limit on the contributions for this volume, hence they got a full-sized novella out of me, a major project that took me over for quite a while.  It was also a very steep learning cliff since I knew very little about Mark Samuels at the time the invitation came in. I still don’t really, in all honesty!  This story reacts off my reading of him as a presence in the Wierd Tale scene, without my knowing anything about the man himself – probably my preferred way of reacting to any fellow writer, really!

DSCN9013.JPG

And what is slag glass?  It’s a glassy or obsidian-like byproduct of metal processing.  It is hugely variable, sometimes coming in startling colours and patterns.  This story is true on many levels – not least that the glass itself is very very real.   It really is weathering out of the Thames bank, as in the story. Above is an example of the black version that made its way into the story. My own polyhedral of the black tears!  However, in reality it is not restricted to black:

DSCN2771

This remains one of my stranger finds since visiting London.  And it gives me a nice feeling to have immortalized it!

Order the book here – and make it quick because the hardcover is limited to 75 copies and is selling out fast!

http://www.snugglybooks.co.uk/marked-to-die/

Advertisements
Published in: on June 22, 2016 at 8:52 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,

Feather is now available as an ebook – free samples

My collection Feather is now available as an ebook on Amazon and Smashwords, priced at a mere $5.  That’s a good price for 10 years of work, right?  :-)  More importantly, both sites are offering free samples, which can be downloaded to your reader or your computer.  Free samples is something I should probably have done ages ago, but hey – better late than never.  Smashwords is offering as much as 20%, which I hope will cover the entire first story, Yellow Eyes.

Anyway – I invite you to pop over to either of them and have a look.  Download it and have a read!

Here’s a few review comments (hey – I have to engage in promotion, you know!)

… David Rix’s writing style reminds me a bit of Clive Barker. He has the same kind of a sense of style and depth as Barker, and he’s capable of shocking his readers with psychologically and violently horrifying scenes, which reveal the almost animalistic behaviour of human beings (he isn’t as explicit as Barker, but he can shock his readers when he wants to and he does it skilfully). The dreamlike and a bit weird atmosphere also reminds me a bit of Clive Barker. There’s also a touch of Laird Barron’s sense of style in his stories…

…David Rix also has an uncanny sense of grotesqueness, which manifests itself in fascinating and unexpected ways. I have always loved grotesque and unsettling stories, so I was thrilled when I noticed that the author seems to be able to create an unsettling atmosphere with just a few paragraphs and carefully chosen words. This is one of the reasons why it’s possible that some readers may compare him to old masters like Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood and M. R. James…

– Sami Airola at Rising Shadow

…It’s the final stories, however, that are the crowning jewels and where David’s talent as a writer is on full display. Displaying a less cerebral style but still showcasing a sharp sting, this is dark and urban gothic at it best as we follow Tallis through the streets of LjubLjana. A tale of bleak and functional spaces – and one that might remind a reader of Gary McMahon or even the early stylizing of Clive Barker traversing the streets of Liverpool.

Overall, this is like one of the more magical books one might read in high-school, but bristling at the intersection of Horror and Slipstream. A strange metaphor for the authors character itself – and at turns mythic and seductive.”

– Matthew Tait,  Hellnotes

…The author has a very visual and engaging prose style that drew me right in. A lot of the settings are quite bleak: isolated beaches, concrete jungle cityscapes, the loneliness of Dartmoor, or half-empty halls of residence occupied by dirty, impoverished art students, for instance. There’s a touch of melancholy about these places, yet the descriptions of them are vivid and realistic so there isn’t an off-putting atmosphere of gloom. Instead there’s always the feeling that something interesting is about to happen on the next page…

…But these stories portray the world as largely unknowable. Meaning seems elusive and perhaps even impossible to find, and it’s certainly futile to search for it. It’s almost like reading anti-stories. I found this interesting and frustrating in equal measure. Because what is fiction for if not to help us make sense of an irreducibly complex world? Of course we know that life can’t be broken down to a few simple themes and moral lessons, but doing exactly that is part of the charm of stories…

…Feather is a mind-boggle. I can’t decide whether David Rix is being really smart or just annoying when he plays with the concept of the search for understanding. However it’s an entertaining kind of boggling, and I warmed to the character of Feather with her scarred innocence and cheerful practicality, whilst the stories themselves are colourful, strange and surprising.”

– Ros Jackson at Warpcore SF

Published in: on August 15, 2012 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

‘Feather’ is Published

Well, let’s see.  I can’t remember how long ago it was that I first told the world that this book of linked stories existed – several years at least.  But even before that, it has been sitting there at the back of my brain for almost as long as I can remember.  At least 10 years.  And now, just today the proof copy of the book finally landed in my hands.  I will leave my reaction to that moment to your imagination.

It is scheduled for launch at FantasyCon 2011 alongside Nina Allan’s book The Silver Wind – also a linked collection.  The two titles make a great pair I think – both located in the quiet and haunting suburbs of slipstream.

Feather is a follow-on from my earlier book What the Giants were Saying, also from Eibonvale Press, though I am stunned just how much water we have all passed since those days (*ahem*).  Feather is a very different book in just about every way.  Where Giants was a lively and showy fable, these stories are much more emotionally-centred – which to me is more successful since that is what the act of writing should be about.  These are stories that have been with me through a lot of living – slowly developing over the years, not to make some cerebral point but to explore the bittersweet blend of pain and magic that is living life – encountering people, interacting with people, visiting new places, loneliness, love . . .  In Giants, Feather was a didact, wanting to show the world something that the world seems to have forgotten – but in Feather she is much more human and fragile.  Much more real.  During the course of writing this book, Feather the person developed from being a puppet I could use to enact a role to an expression of true human innocence, at least to me – someone who could stand for the essence of humanity, which I could then collide with the real world, hopefully revealing things about both.  So while Giants was an almost fun romp, Feather is an emotional journey – a deeply personal exploration that still hurts me, in spite of the levels of writers imagination that separates me from the stories.

It was with some appropriateness that Pete Tennant got in touch recently with an Interview for me and Eibonvale Press (read it here), among other things including the almost inevitable question on self-publishing.  That is not the first time I have discussed that matter, but this gave me a welcome chance to make my views known in the run up to releasing Feather and why I chose to let my own press handle the book.  Essentially the problem people have with self-publishing is the lack of a verification process, but I don’t believe for a second that that renders the act inevitably negative.  It all depends on the writer’s attitude, I think.  In the case of Feather, it was read, picked over, criticised and edited by three people involved with the press and several others as well – all of whom played a very valuable role in preparing the book for release and encouraging me to get my arse in gear and actually do this.  In essence, this means that Feather was ‘accepted’ three times – which probably makes it a more verified book than many published in the normal way.

With the book actually in my hands, I feel quite stunned.  Almost ready to cry for some reason.  I think that until this moment, you never quite believe that this thing is real – that you are creating a book as opposed to some weird thing inside your head.  And that’s another marvellous thing about being directly involved with the printing – the fact that you can see your creation all the way through to a physical object that you can hold.  Like a sculptor maybe.

But anyway – here it is at last.  Feather.  My own piece of bleeding heart nicely framed and nailed up on the wall for you all . . .

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm  Comments (1)