From Unsung Stories and Together for Mental Wellbeing
An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fantasy
If you didn’t notice the news earlier this month, Unsung Stories is publishing Out of the Darkness, an anthology of dark fantasy and horror fiction raising awareness of mental health issues with Together for Mental Wellbeing. From their release:
“[They] have Kickstarter exclusives on offer, including the chance to have your name in the book as part of the amazing community that supports indie publishing, and an exclusive, numbered hardback edition that is strictly limited to 100 copies worldwide. There are also opportunities to have your work critiqued by the award-winning Unsung Stories team, and bundles of books by featured Unsung authors.
Out of the Darkness challenges some of the most exciting voices in horror and dark fantasy to bring their worst fears out into the light. From the black dog of depression to acute anxiety and schizophrenia, these stories prove what fans of horror fiction have long known – that we must understand our demons to overcome them.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, what began as a mental health crisis has rapidly become an unprecedented tsunami. The Centre for Mental Health has estimated that 10 million people will need mental health support in the UK as a direct consequence of Covid-19, with a staggering 1.5 million of those being under eighteen.
Edited by Dan Coxon (This Dreaming Isle) and featuring exclusive stories by Alison Moore, Jenn Ashworth, Tim Major and Aliya Whiteley, this collection harnesses the power of fiction to explore and explain the darkest moments in our lives.
Horror isn’t just about the chills – it’s also about the healing that comes after.”
Table of Contents
- Nocturia – Nicholas Royle
- The Note – Jenn Ashworth
- Lonely Souls in Quiet Houses – Laura Mauro
- Seabound – Alison Moore
- Goodbye, Jonathan Tumbledown – Tim Major
- The Chorus – Aliya Whiteley
- The Forlorn Hope – Verity Holloway
- Oblio – Richard V. Hirst
- Still She Visits – Eugen Bacon
- Bloodybones Jones – Sam Thompson
- The Lightness of their Hearts – Georgina Bruce
- The Residential – Gary Budden
- Replacement Bus Service – Ashley Stokes
- Temple – Anna Vaught
- The Hungry Dark – Simon Bestwick
Additional stories by Malcolm Devlin and Gareth E. Rees are slated for stretch goals.
I’ve already backed this and I’d encourage others to do the same. Support the Kickstarter here!
I’m pleased to help announce the start of a Kickstarter campaign for a new SF anthology inspired by Orwell from Unsung Stories titled 2084: An Anthology of Eleven Science Fiction Stories (Print ISBN: 978-1-907389-50-4; Ebook ISBN: 978-1-907389-53-5)
To my recollection I previously reviewed two of their publications, The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley (which I really loved) and Déjà Vu by Ian Hocking (which I didn’t enjoy as much, though others did). I have a new novella by them on deck to review, and I’m really looking forward to this collection, which will feature a new story by Whiteley, as well as stories from many other notable SF authors.
From the publisher’s press release:
“Unsung Stories have gathered eleven leading science fiction writers who have looked ahead to 2084, as Orwell did in 1948, for a new anthology – writers such as David Hutchinson, Christopher Priest, Lavie Tidhar, James Smythe, Jeff Noon and Anne Charnock, who are already famous for their visions of the near future.
As the events of 2017 reveal an ever more complex relationship between people and their governments, classic dystopian literature is proving its relevance once again. But as readers turn to classics, like Nineteen Eighty-Four, writers are also looking to our future, and what may lie there.
Speaking about the anthology, George Sandison, Managing Editor at Unsung Stories, said, “We knew when we first started work on the anthology that the idea was timely, but the start of 2017 has really hammered home how important writing like this is.
“Dystopian fiction gives us a space in which to explore today’s fears, and the nightmares of society. For many people the events of the last eighteen months have brought those dark futures much closer, so it’s inevitable that we turn to literature to help us understand why.
“The ideas at work in 2084 range from the familiar to the fantastic, but all are bound by a current and relevant sense of what we could lose, what’s at stake. As with Orwell’s work, decades from now, we will be looking back to our stories, to better understand today.”
2084 will be published by Unsung Stories in July 2017.”
The full contributor list is:
- Desirina Boskovich
- Anne Charnock (author of Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind and A Calculated Life)
- Ian Hocking (author of Deja Vu)
- Dave Hutchinson (author of The Fractured Europe Sequence)
- Cassandra Khaw (author of Hammers on Bone and Rupert Wong: Cannibal Chef)
- Oliver Langmead (author of Dark Star and Metronome)
- Jeff Noon (author of Vurt, Automated Alice, Pollen, and more)
- Christopher Priest (author of The Prestige, The Dream Archipelago, The Gradual, and many more)
- James Smythe (author of The Australia Trilogy, The Echo, The Explorer, and more)
- Lavie Tidhar (author of A Man Lies Dreaming, Osama and Central Station)
- Aliya Whiteley (author of The Beauty and The Arrival Of Missives)
Head over to the Kickstarter page now to help support this anthology and take advantage of backer rewards! Also be sure to share the news with your social networks.
The Arrival of Missives
By Aliya Whiteley
Unsung Stories – May 2016
ISBN 9781907389375 – 120 Pages – Paperback
Source: Direct from Publisher
The weight and devastation of the Great War (World War I) has ended. Young Shirley Fearn looks toward her future with hopeful dreams that echo English society’s wish to transition from the bleak, meaningless tragedy of war to a freedom of bright, purposeful possibility. The only child of a village farmer, Shirley has grown up under the expectation that she would settle as a housewife, marrying an eligible young man who could take over the farm. Finishing her schooling and entering into maturity, however, Shirley feels driven towards other goals: leaving a domestic life to train as a schoolteacher at a nearby college.
A strong respect and romantic infatuation with her schoolteacher, an injured veteran named Mr. Tiller, helps fuel those goals even more. But her illusions of who Mr. Tiller is and her place in his life become shattered when he comes to her with a wild story of visions of a future disaster, and demands for actions Shirley must take to prevent its fulfillment. With the approaching village celebration of May Day, the crowning of a new May Queen, and the dawn of a new Spring, Shirley is pulled between the expectations of her family, the demands of a mentor, her developing sexuality, and the independent drives of her spirit and intellect.
When Unsung Stories
contacted me about providing a copy of this for review I really hesitated. Starting in a full time faculty position has gotten me really ‘behind’ in reviews that I’m just now getting back in the groove of putting up/submitting. Did I really want to take on something more? As a novella it is a short length commitment, but the novella form is not something I gravitate toward. And the last (and unfortunately only) book I’ve read from the press previously disappointed. But something made me say ‘okay I’ll give it a look’. I am so glad that I did because The Arrival of Missives
is a beautifully written story, a joy to read that actually shows me how effective an appropriately constructed novella can be.
I hadn’t immediately recognized Aliya Whiteley’s name (as accomplished as she is
), though I later realized I had previously read one of her stories in Strange Horizons
. In a way this is fortunate as it really did make this new novella a complete surprise. And who doesn’t love becoming enraptured with the writing of someone unexpectedly? However, whether you are familiar with Whiteley or not, this bit of literature with a touch of genre science fiction and romance is worth considering for an afternoon’s pleasure.
At its core the novella is a simple coming of age story, but Whiteley expertly constructs it to address the themes on multiple levels, visiting the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ on multiple levels from personal, societal, historical, and science fictional (time travel). Shirley is a richly drawn character who struggles with issues of identity and independence, but in a way that avoids simple answers or cliché. The other characters are less developed, and the motivations and psyche of Mr. Tiller feel uncertain beyond the need to fulfill the plot. But as a novella the focus on Shirley and her point of view – which itself is confused about Mr. Tiller’s intentions and moral authority – make this necessary.
The language of The Arrival of Missives fits its setting, characters, and themes perfectly, and is filled with a range of emotion and descriptive color that simply make the novella a pleasant and engaging read. I recommend giving it a read.
Disclaimer: I received a free electronic advanced reading copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.