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: As Simple As Hunger

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 again today, because I’m out of individual shorts.

AS SIMPLE AS HUNGER

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 people...

Non-occult engineer Hajar Al-Fihri is about to find herself dragged into a world of intrigue, mystery, exploding ornithopters, intelligent parasites, and some Very Large Arthropods. Right now her only problem is that her colleague and friend Benjon is, in all probability, about to swear on the wireless again, but that happy state of affairs cannot last. This is, quite simply, the fantasy fiction saxonpunk universe with giant bugs and zeppelin cities to end all fantasy fiction saxonpunk universes with giant bugs and zeppelin cities.

Somewhat undermining my insistence that I was definitely not ever going to write fantasy because (list of reasons including horses), this is solidly in that category. It’s got: oil rigs, universities, trains, zeppelins, and a radio system but it’s still fantasy. Or Saxonpunk. Or we’re not really sure what the logic is here but there’s a massive quantity of enormous bugs and some unresolved mysteries, some political wrangling, some bad mother/daughter relationships, some highly protective friends, some unconventional romance, and a lot of world-building.

There’s even horses.

I need everyone to know that I read a huge quantity of entries for the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle while doing preliminary research for this, and then just manfully flung all my research out of the window while bellowing “well what if helicopters”.

I think you can, if you squint, see elements in this novel which got further development in Heavy; I’m not going to tell you what they are, only that there’s a degree to which old fixations cycle through works in different forms even with the best of us.

I think this is the only story I’ve written that has a character who is unequivocally, incontestably A Hero, meaning someone who does what is right and what is brave and all the rest. That the character happens to perhaps not be the one anyone might expect is part of the fun.

FOCUS ON FICTION: The Circle

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.

THE CIRCLE

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…

This book has the unique distinction of being the only full-length novel I have ever written that was inspired, cultivated, and dedicated to one person in particular. Although other people have encouraged the development of this story and certainly helped to shape it, of all the books I’ve written it’s the one with the clearest single genesis: a typo.

Back in 2007 or 2008 I was in the habit of texting little stories to my friends on my ancient, cheap mobile phone as I tried desperately to alleviate the boredom of a very monotonous and emotionally taxing job. In one of them, for reasons unknown, the precursor to autocorrect took a relatively well-known name and turned it into a bizarre one without me noticing. My friend, on receiving the message, remarked that it sounded like a stage magic act.

Amused, I started to send her snippets of the presumed adventures of the magician and his deeply sarcastic assistant. A little later, I recalled a trailer I’d seen for a film that looked as if it was going to be about one thing, and turned out to be something rather different instead. Annoyed, I set out to write the story I thought I’d been going to get: a Faustian compact with a particular spin on it.

This is also a story about stories. It is a story about lies, deceptions, and illusions, because it is a story about stage magic, and you absolutely cannot talk about conjuring without talking about lying. It’s a criticism of the pre-war conditions of the British Empire; the biggest lie of all, but I wouldn’t call it “worthy”. It’s a love story about people who hate each other, both in the framing and in the narrative itself. It’s a story about toxic masculinity, toxic class issues, and about how, deep down, everyone is kind of a dick; it’s just a question of how much of a dick they are on the surface, too.

I have enormous affection for all of the characters in this novel – perhaps moreso than any other I’ve written, because in this I couldn’t come up with any clearcut villains, only different shades and flavours of people just doing their best – or worst – to make themselves happy. I think in that regard it’s the most realistic.

The moral of the story is that not everyone gets what they deserve; but I hope at least that the person who got a whole book written for her isn’t too desperately annoyed that it took me so long to do it.

Focus On Fiction: The Renaka Device

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.

I’m starting with a short story:

THE RENAKA DEVICE

My name is Potsve Revolution Renaka.

I was born a month after the fall of the old order. In celebration, my parents named me Potsve Revolution.

Set in a dystopian, unnamed country in which a revolution hasn’t quite successfully brought about the grand liberation that everyone had hoped for, The Renaka Device of the title is a piece of technology intended to streamline the process of composition through to printing. It both is, and isn’t, the point of the story.

This is a tale I’ve tried hard to write in multiple formats for a long time. Eventually I realised that the best thing to do was simply to strip it down to its essentials – streamline it the way the device was intended to streamline telling a story.

This is also where I got the bare-bones narrative voice of the genderless protagonist; the repeating refrain, on the other hand, is what you get when someone who learnt to write by writing poems turns their hand to any kind of prose shorter than a novella. At least some of the time!

The language is broadly, or at least partly, cod-Slavic, with no real underlying structure – something I’d like to change if I work on something longer set in this world, because I’m armed to the teeth with a full version of Vulgar and eager to use it.

The Renaka Device has a kind-of partner/sequel story, The Traitor, which also examines the use of stories and truth and the effects of power vacuums, and how difficult it can be to really change a society for the better. While so far I’ve only really managed to illuminate the world in which The Renaka Device and The Traitor take place with tiny glimmerings in sparse short fiction, I feel like by implication and inference there’s a large, and oppressive structure out there waiting to be explored in more stories.

Or more simply, I want to revisit this world, and write more about it.

[PUBLISHING] A Fool For You by Less Than Three Press

I know it seems like all I do at the moment is promotion but at least I’m posting at all, right?

And I come bearing more good news in the form of an anthology!

A Fool For You is an LGBTQ romance anthology built around the theme of tricksters and deception (but with guaranteed happy endings), edited by Samantha M. Derr and published by Less Than Three Press. I’m fortunate enough to share space with some fascinating-sounding stories, under my romance-and-erotica pseud Melissa Snowdon (because really, who is going to trust a man to write romance). 
Fool for You by [Derr, Samantha, Kelly, Ava, Maeve, Helena, Idonea, Asta, Hamlin, LJ, Kelly, Laurin, Defore, Daria, Snowdon, Melissa, Majumdar, Kashmira ] 
I’ll let the blurb speak for itself:

Wagered & Won by Helena Maeve—Nearly caught picking pockets at a casino in Silvergarde, Kathra owes her closest getaway yet to the mysterious Cecily, a bewitching gambler with a lethal secret. Over the course of a single night and a high-stakes card game, Kathra is drawn into a web from which she may not wish to escape.

Toils & Tricks by Asta Idonea—Centuries ago, the gods grew tired of being forever on call, and so they hired counterparts to be their representatives. When Sverrir, Loki’s representative, is called on to foil a blackmail scheme, he think it will be a simple task…

Whiskey & Pixie Dust by L.J. Hamlin—Shane loves and hates his best friend, a mischief demon, in equal measure. But when the demon takes it upon himself to play matchmaker, Shane thinks the hate might just win out.

Sussicran: A Love Story by Melissa Snowdon—Eager to escape an otherworldly bet, mirror demon Llednew determines to steal the life of a lonely young man. But executing his brilliant idea proves to be more difficult than anticpated.

A Spell for Luck by Daria Defore—When he’s forced to spend the summer studying magic at his aunt’s house, a bored Tom promptly starts looking for any way to escape. He probably shouldn’t resort to making a deal with an extremely friendly demon, but he’s too curious to say no…

Kneadful Things by Laurin Kelly—When Adam answers an ad for work at a local bakery, he has no idea what he’s in for. Despite the storefront’s dilapidated condition and isolated location, a steady stream of customers come through hoping to find what they’re looking for from Jin, the mysterious owner.

How to Trick a Trickster by Ava Kelly—Eric is a trickster working for the Corps of Undercover Passion Instigators and Distributors. His latest assignment takes him to a bookstore where he has to bring together Ivo Newton and Tom Euler. What he’s not supposed to do is fall in love with both his targets.

The Great Coke Robbery by Kashmira Majumdar—Charlie and Jack used to be the best in the business in the heist business. And then Charlie fell in love and settled down. Ten years later, Jack is debt-ridden and down on his luck, and in walks Charlie, proposing to pull off the most outrageous job of their lives.

As I’m drowning in research reading and outline editing at the moment I haven’t had the chance to read the works of my co-contributors but I’m pretty sure from these blurbs that they’re an absolute treat.

The book’s available on Kindle, and I believe there are plans for it to come out as a paperback as well.


The author has been enjoying the sudden sunshine in London and hopes you have too. 

[Publishing] Pick Your Poison by Owl Hollow Press

Alright yes I promise I shall, at some point, make blog posts when I’m not saying “I wrote something, buy it,” but I’ve been (altogether now) busy. Busy trying to fit work, frantic book research, belly dancing classes (no, really), bodybuilding (again, yes, really), beginners’ Turkish lessons (why), and occasional social life (ukulele singalong down a shaft in Rotherhithe, attempts to gain personal low-earth orbit via a swing at the Tate Modern, etc) around each other.

Fortunately then this particular book was handled by professionals as opposed to solely by me.

Poisons come in all shapes and sizes, often resting in that murky, gray area between too much and too little, between right and wrong. Some poisons help; some poisons hurt. Some do both in the proper doses. But one thing is certain—whether good or evil, figurative or literal, fact or fiction—we can’t escape its potent charm. Throughout this anthology, poison takes many forms, both literal and metaphorical, in a wide variety of genres and styles. And they’re all yours to enjoy. So go ahead. Pick your poison.

Featuring: George BrewingtonJason RubisLawrence SalaniDiane ArrelleKatie ShermanLeigh StathamNichole CelauroMichael Harris CohenDerek Des Anges (Meeeeee), Leslie EntsmingerChristine EskilsonTom HowardCara FoxSharon Frame GayCharlie HughesAaron Max JensenKevin LankesFrank OretoCary G OsborneColleen Quinn, and Angela Raper.

Pick Your Poison is published by Owl Hollow Press and available in paperback and as a Kindle eBook.

Continue reading “[Publishing] Pick Your Poison by Owl Hollow Press”

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?