IT’S HERE! Architects of the Flesh is available for sale!

Do you like your socialism angry, your body horror Lamarckian, your alternate histories brutal and convoluted and your protagonists greyer than a London sky?

You’d better, because that’s what’s on offer, just in time for Christmas if you hurry!

(Unless you’re buying an ebook version, which case you can pretty much just buy it on Christmas day and hide in a corner devouring the misery, vengeance, and weirdness without listening to your family!)

If you don’t do Christmas, this book also serves brilliant as a Generic Winter Experience.

There is basically no reason not to buy, on Kindle (all regions, link goes to UK), iBooks, Nook, Barnes & Noble online, or in print and ebook at Lulu.com. You can also request it at many major bookshops!

the book cover for Architect of the Flesh shows the title, author attribution, and an image of a sketched medusa head on one piece of paper being menaced by a diagram of a surgeon's knife on another piece of paper: the background is Charles Booth's London Poverty Map

COMING SOON: ARCHITECTS OF THE FLESH

Coming soon from House of D Publications! A chunky and compelling novel full of strife, fantastical features, surgery, and really horrible phone calls! The birth and probably death of the genre Lamarckian Horror, by the author who brought you Saxonpunk.

the book cover for Architect of the Flesh shows the title, author attribution, and an image of a sketched medusa head on one piece of paper being menaced by a diagram of a surgeon's knife on another piece of paper: the background is Charles Booth's London Poverty Map

What?

That’s right! Before the close of the year, available in print and approximately a million (small exaggeration) e-reader formats including Kindle .mobi, .epub, .pdf etc, and available on iBooks, Kobi, Amazon, etc: ARCHITECTS OF THE FLESH is London as you’ve never seen it and hopefully will never see it, in a world where Lamarckian inheritance works, and just about every other science lags behind xenotransplant surgery.

Wait, back up. Lamarckian?

You may remember Darwin. At least, I hope you do. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection turned out to be right: the idea that organisms develop physical (and indeed behavioural) traits over time as those individuals who display them fare better in whichever environment they’re in than those who don’t, and so have more babies.

Well, in the heady days of the 19th century, when everyone was still trying to figure out what the absolute hell was going on with a world they’d previously assumed was static and unchanging after the Oh Shit discovery of fossils, he was far from the only thinker trying to work out how we’d got from dinosaurs to chickens and whether those things had happened at the same time.

Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de Lamarck (or just Lamarck)’s idea of how environment enacted biological change was that changes to individual organisms during the course of their lifetime were then demonstrated in their offspring: so if you cut the tail off a mouse, it would have tail-less offspring. If a giraffe stretched and stretched for leaves, it would have offspring with younger necks.

Now… that does seem pretty easy to test via empirical if somewhat cruel methods. Mice are not hard to get hold of and were pretty abundant in the 19th century too. And it certainly hasn’t withstood such a simple test as obviously your surgically mutilated mouse does not beget mice without tails (mice with human ears and mice with green fur are the result of genetic tampering, and are outside the scope of this novel).

Yes but: “xenotransplant”?

In the 1790s, eminent surgeon and co-author of Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus, William Hunter grafted human teeth onto a rooster’s head and said rooster grew a coxcomb of tooth enamel. You can see the results at the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London (or you can in 2021, when the museum re-opens).

See that? More of that.

So much more of that. Animal husbandry meets 18th century attitudes where theology of predestination props up chattel slavery. Human rights? Never heard of her. Animal rights? Don’t make me laugh. Technology without overriding morality? Wealth without conscience? People with fashion transplants? You got it.

Grab yourself a copy and see how bad things can get–but also just how hard it is to prevent people from trying to make things better.

FOCUS ON FICTION: Pass The Parcel

I’m going to be doing one of these a day (hopefully) to give people a bit more background & insight about the stories I’ve got out/available, to help anyone make a decision about what they want to read next, or just to give background if you’re already familiar with the story.

A novel – my longest novel – today.

PASS THE PARCEL

Pass The Parcel

The world is populated by everything from humans to Artificial Humans, but speciesism runs rampant. Everything that can go terribly wrong does; and while it always comes back to Brazil, it all seems to be going down in London, which is a seething pot of conflicts and crossed wires, as new lies are told and old ones resurface; as old murders are recalled and new ones committed; as history is rewritten; and as a very ugly but potentially extremely powerful statue is passed from wrong hand to wrong hand.

My first full-length work that I published, my longest work that I’ve ever published, the longest thing that I’ve ever written and in terms of cast size and continuity almost certainly the most complicated.

This took me a long time to actually write out – the genesis was in 2002, when I went to a literary festival at my university while drunk and had a small epiphany regarding how, to most characters, the main through-line of action in a story’s plot is actually a very minor part of their lives, and that we only see a snapshot of their existence around this. I wanted to write more of the flesh around the pit, as it were, and had a few characters beginning to talk who seemed like they could make it happen. I got about 35,000 words in and collapsed on myself because I had NO IDEA WHERE IT WAS GOING.

Fast-forward to 2007: I diagrammed. I drew maps. I wrote about 150k in one month; worked on one chapter for a year; wrote another huge chunk and finished the first draft. Somewhere in this time, a whole other version of what was at the time the near-future – and is now the increasingly distant past – came into shape.

This has been the book which received the most enthusiastic response from readers as it was written, the most intense fannishness, and I can understand in some regards why that is: it’s fleshy, organic, something which lives and breathes as its own world, with mechanisms that function and characters whose lives – as I’d dreamed – didn’t revolve around making them accessories to the plot, but rather continued with their own preoccupations and problems while the plot – the “parcel” – passed between them, in some cases almost unnoticed, in others a little more catastrophically.

I threw ideas into a pot and distilled them into an alterna-London, drawing on personal experience (intimate relationships with certain sections of the unhygienic club scene and the particular joy of living right at the poverty line in a large city) and wild imagination (having a job that pays a rent, robotic lobsters, Android rights, wayfinding technology that actually works), and the logical human responses to living in a world where they’re not the only intelligent species, or even form of sentience. I wanted something big, bright, and dirty – real, down to the tiles on the kitchen floor and the thumping hangovers, but hallucinogenically Other at the same time.

More than anything, Pass the Parcel was about the physical and emotional feeling of being in place; the way that events boil up out of seeming nowhere, but also how the world you live in reacts with your body and mind. I think it remains one of the most solidly-grounded of the books I’ve written.

It is also, in a very real way, about bathos.

Focus On Fiction: The Other Daughter

FOCUS ON FICTION:
I’m going to be doing one of these a day (hopefully) to give people a bit more background & insight about the stories I’ve got out/available. If anyone’s read any of them and wants to add their impressions or things they think...

I’m going to be doing one of these a day (hopefully) to give people a bit more background & insight about the stories I’ve got out/available, to help anyone make a decision about what they want to read next, or just to give background if you’re already familiar with the story.

A novel today:

THE OTHER DAUGHTER

Polly Mazlowczy has returned from a fictitious conflict in North Korea a changed woman. Just how changed, her strange and insular family and the people of an isolated Midwestern town are about to discover. The Other Daughter is a revenge tragedy of the old school given a modern twist.

With this book I’ve definitely been a victim of my inability to stick to one genre; it is technically a revenge fantasy, yes – based on a play which certainly falls into that category – but it’s also a fantasy novel, and a family saga.

I began with the house. Polly, the protagonist, came into shape in relationship to that stifling, oppressive, semi-haunted building and its horrible secrets. Her supernatural entourage (and her brilliant, rude, amoral girlfriend) came soon after. As the first of my published works to actually see completion – although it wasn’t the first published – I think The Other Daughter represents an interesting snapshot of an earlier stage in the development of my personal style and approach to writing.

It’s dense, and visceral, thick with minute descriptions which I think add to the oppressive atmosphere the whole narrative carries with it, and the sense of an impending storm. I think, too, a lot of my literary influences are closer to the surface than they are in other work, meaning it’s an interesting read in terms of analysis as well as enjoyment – and surprisingly also probably some of the freshest, most interesting characterisation I’ve done. I could stand to revisit this for my own development!

The Other Daughter, a story about secrets, lies, and coming back to the place that made you in order to see that process through no matter the cost, carried with it some very clear mental images, and a while back I commissioned B. L. Becotte to draw one of them:

image

Originally I described this as:

“It features ass-kicking lesbians, creepy ghost monsters, horrific mutilation, and a plot stolen from inspired by Shakespeare. Clearly the stuff of powerful cinematic legend or, more accurately, just me having a good time with writing something rather than making an enormous fuss about the moral and social implications of the text.”

While that’s true to a degree, there’s definitely some examination of the monstrous feminine and the damage women can do to each other in here that I just took for granted when I was writing it.

[PUBLISHING]

If you enjoyed yesterday’s short story (which is nothing like this one but is also written by me), or have perhaps bought Owl Hollow Press’s Pick Your Poison anthology and enjoyed my contribution to it (also on the theme of oceanic health!), you might be interested to know that you can now buy environmental horror story In The Trenches on Amazon Kindle sites globally.

Deep sea exploration engineer Euan navigates the various tensions aboard a vessel which houses both those interested in the future of the oceans’ wildlife and those only interested in profiting from it, and on dipping below the waves discovers that they’re not the only ones with an interest in the contents of the abyss.

Kindle (UK) | Kindle (US)

EDIT: This story is now also available on Lulu.com, and via iBooks, Kobo, and Nook.


The author has recently been recovering from surgery and has been unable to keep up with his usual level of work, so pity money is very much appreciated:

TIP JAR

Heavy

It’s here, it’s here. There’s fewer pigs in it that the cover leads you to believe.

When I was researching and writing The Next Big One the world “helpfully” cooperated by giving me the chance to observe responses to a terrifying epidemic of a deadly virus in real time, as Ebola resurfaced in West Africa and one of my friends went out with Save The Children to test blood samples in the field, work for which she was rightfully awarded a medal. Let us hope then that the events of this book remain firmly fiction, dealing as they do with an alternate past, the long aftermath of partial nuclear destruction, and the opportunism bred by lengthy global conflict; the kind of things that become normal, and the horrors that float to the surface…

What if not only everything you knew about yourself was wrong, but everything everyone else knew about you was wrong too?

Pig is in hell.

He’s been in hell for the twenty years since half a continent was atomised; since his own ignominious and contentious escape from a fate that never came; when a face from his past comes offering alleviation, he inadvertently drags behind him a young revolutionary, an extracted spy, and an admin assistant way out of her depth on an unexplained mission that will take them across the world, and which may well solve nothing at all…

“I’m always pleased to see Derek Des Anges writing, with his acute understanding of the horror we do to each other and the tactics we take to survive it.” – Kieron Gillen (Wicked + Divine, Darth Vader)

Heavy is available in print and as an eBook from Lulu.com, from all international Amazon sites in print and on Kindle (US | UK and other regional Kindle sites too), and will shortly be available in eBook format from iBooks, Nook, and Kobo also.

If you’ve read and enjoyed my (or anyone else’s) work, here’s an article on why it’s important for you to say so in public: beware of monsters: why you should review books you love.

Love the cover? Buy art products with it on here.

Want to see the book physically? No problem:

Heavier times are coming

Hey remember my gnomic post?

Here’s another one:

Soon I’ll be making a post which contains links where you can buy this book. Soon there will be better information on what this book contains. Until then, brace yourself, and consider the question:

What if not only was everything you knew about yourself wrong, but everything everyone else knew about you was wrong too?

It’s Here! It’s Queer! It’s all smoke and mirrors, I fear!

Step right this way, step inside, and see the greatest show ever to amaze your senses and baffle your mind. Watch! As a budding friendship is slowly but completely transformed before your very eyes! Marvel! At how stupid four very intelligent young people can actually be when confronted with life’s mysteries! Gasp! With indignation at the skullduggery and bad manners brought in the pursuits of love, fame, wealth, and let’s be honest, a lot more wealth. Blush! At some of the language! Laugh! Primarily at some of those waistcoats! Tremble! At the revelation of worlds beyond worlds and compacts most rare and Faustian!

Buy! This! Book!

Buy it:

On Amazon Kindle (US | UK), on Lulu (print | eBook), on iBooks, on Nook, on Kobo…

What’s it about? What’s it about? You’ve heard all this and you still need to know more? Allow me:

The year is 1900. An Earl, an engineer, a suburban philosopher, and an enigma meet at University and make a pact to learn the art of conjuring.

But nothing among the friends is quite as it seems, and soon the happy four are plunged into worlds of political activism, crime, despair, sordid trysts, and a Faustian compact which seems set to threaten their very lives, one by one…

Circling closer

The time has come for another book to be released into the wild, to flourish where it can, like a weed, and hopefully sow fertile seeds in the imagination. Or at least take up some prime real estate on someone’s bookshelf, which is of course identical to becoming an important part of their inner life.

The year is 1900. An Earl, an 
engineer, a suburban philosopher, 
and an enigma meet at University
and make a pact to learn the art
of conjuring…

Consider yourself warned: the rabbit is out of the hat and the cat is out of the bag.

It’s Here. It’s too late to run. The Next Big One is upon us.

It’s here.

By which I mean you can buy the book.

You can buy it as a paperback from Lulu.com.

You can buy it straight to your Kindle from Amazon US | UK.

You can buy it in a number of ebook formats from a number of epublishing sites, by searching “The Next Big One Derek Des Anges”.

And you should buy it, because god knows where you’re going to find another epidemic thriller with an anxious bisexual hero and the world’s least flappable trans woman scientist in a major starring role. You’re certainly not going to see much in the way of critique of media reporting of disease, and you won’t get much debate. This book is not The Hot Zone. I promise you that much.

With the number of UK cases hitting a hundred, it’s clear that KBV is a problem which isn’t going away. Downing Street have released the following statement: “The total number of KBV cases in the UK is still comparatively small, and we are confident that the disease can be contained. NHS leaflets advising on lifestyle and behaviour changes which can help protect against infection will be available soon. We ask the public to remain calm and to continue to behave responsibly about their health in all areas.

Vocational journalism student Ben Martin is the last person who ought to be investigating a major viral outbreak. He doesn’t know a single damn thing about biology; he pays his rent by DJing for hipsters. He’s nervous, easily-discouraged, and not over his ex.

But it’s him who ends up with the assignment, and it’s him who ends up facing down the truth: there is more to this than meets the eye.