Archive for July, 2011

Automatic for the people…

Posted: July 29, 2011 by douglasthompson in Reviews


Jet McDonald’s extraordinary debut novel “Automatic Safe Dog” has received two first class reviews in close succession, one from Charles Packer at the Review Graveyard website, and the other from Jessica Nelson at The Future Fire.

Giving Jet marks of 8/10, Charles writes:
“…There are certainly surreal elements reminiscent of Brazil, as well absurdist set of coincidences and events which are as good as Tom Sharpe’s. However, McDonald has been able to find his own writing voice and a very funny one it is… Overall, the book is a splendid read and the best scatological narrative that I read in a while…”

Jessica has a lot of praise too, but was deeply affected by the mistreatment of animals within the book, which we do believe is part of the author’s intent (it aint just funny, folks, it also has powerful things to say!). Jessica writes:
“In McDonald’s London, none of the people have any real sense of who they are or what their place in the company (and the world, since the company is their world) really is. All of them have inflated egos and low self-esteem, trying to prove to everyone else—but mostly to themselves—that they have some sort of worth, which is always being undermined; a cruel, vicious circle, yet they all keep going round and round it voluntarily, apparently blind to its existence. People are driven to move for the sake of movement; forward movement at all costs, never taking a moment for reflection or introspection. They don’t work for the love of their work, they work as a means to an end, like a horse chasing a carrot. Everyone wanting to ‘make it’ (whatever ‘it’ may be) and never taking any real joy from the lives they’re living, always looking and reaching forward for more, better, newer, trendier. In this sense, McDonald has created a wonderful treatise on progress as opposed to conscious living…”

As ever, our sincere thanks go to both these reviewers for their thoughts. Please visit their websites and check out what they say about other books and movies too.

Bloody War again!

Posted: July 29, 2011 by douglasthompson in Reviews

Charles Packer has reviewed Bloody War over at the SciFi Online website:
http://www.sci-fi-online.com/00_revs/r2011/book/11-04-16_bloodywar.html

Charles gives the book a highly respectable 7 out of 10 and says: “…Pete’s amnesia is very selective; he remembers his family and his job writing software but cannot remember a thing about the war. Although he initially questions his own sanity, it is the certainty of everyone around him that convinces him that he appears to have lost eighteen months of memory. In this way the author puts the audience right inside Pete’s predicament. Everything which is new to him is new to us as well. It’s a neat trick which works well.

Stylistically the book is written in a very conversational manner, which makes the narrative very accessible. Through the novel we follow Pete’s journey across his country and society ending in the discovery of the surprising truth. Along the way our everyman goes from timid voyeur on events to active participant as those around him die…”

I have now made the final acceptances for the book. They are as follows: ‘At The Rail’ by Andrew Coburn; ‘Wake With The Light’ by Jet McDonald; ‘Entanglement’ by Douglas Thompson; ‘Journey to the Engine of the Earth’ by Terry Grimwood; and ‘Future Prospects?’ by Geoff Stevens. Andrew Coburn is an American author with 13 novels to his name; Jet McDonald appeared in two of my earlier anthologies and is the author of the Eibonvale title ‘Automatic Safe Dog’; Douglas Thompson is a prolific Glasgow-based writer whose previous books include ‘Ultrameta’ and ‘Sylvow’ (both still available from Eibonvale); Terry Grimwood runs Exaggerated Press and will be familiar to Eibonvale devotees for his recent novel ‘Bloody War’, Geoff Stevens is a Midlands based poet and artist and is editor of ‘Purple Patch’ poetry magazine.

My thanks to all the authors who sent me stories for consideration. If you didn’t quite make the final selection, good luck placing your work elsewhere.

So what next? Well, the most pressing jobs are: to write a brief introduction, to choose a running order; and then get the complete manuscripts to Eibonvale. So, I won’t be idle and will be blogging again soon.

The launch event of Automatic Safe Dog, the deranged and vivid novel of furniture made of dogs, weird romance and general corporate grotesquery by Jet McDonald, was a small and personal event held at rather short notice, but in spite of that it was extremely successful.  I ran down there on the train for a day-trip and I am glad I did.  The venue was the Bloom and Curll, an amazing and picturesque little bookshop in Bristol, and Jet treated us to some short readings, as well as plenty of socialising over rosé wine and chatter about the joys and significance of indie-press work.  Jet is an exceptional reader – his history as a performer sees to that, and he easily does justice to his crazy story.  I am hoping to organise a reading for him at FantasyCon 2011.  Not sure yet if that will happen, but if it does, I can promise that it will be a fun event.

The book is filling up and I have three more acceptances to confirm. They are; “The Discord of Being” by Alison J. Littlewood; “The chain” by Frank Roger and “Overnight Bus” by Marion Pitman.

Alison Littlewood is a British writer and has been published in places such as “Dark Horizons”, “Black Static” and the BFS shortlisted anthology “Never Again”.

Frank Roger is a Belgian writer with a few hundred short story credits in 35 different languages. Wow! (“The Chain” is in English, in case you were wondering!)

Marion Pitman is a poet and short story author, born in London but now living in Reading. She featured in my anthology “Subtle Edens” (Elastic Press) with a story called “Saxophony”.

I expect to make a few more acceptances very soon.

 

Bloody War… run for cover!

Posted: July 16, 2011 by douglasthompson in Reviews

Simon Appleby has reviewed Terry Grimwood’s “Bloody War” over at the “Bookgeeks” website. He writes:

“…Pete is a fine hero; an everyman driven by righteous anger and the compassion to protect not just himself or his family, but anyone he can. His understanding that he is risking his own safety trying to do what is right and just – and suffering accordingly – resonates with the reader. He is far from perfect and when his courage is tested it sometimes wavers, the reader is silently asked whether they would do the same, making this reviewer really care for his fate. The plot strides with perfectly judged pace, the tension and horror escalating from scene to scene… “

Meanwhile, over at Theaker’s Quarterly, John Greenwood (who has been gaining something of a reputation recently as a no-punches-pulled reviewer!) has given Bloody War the once-over and we feel we have survived with dignity, although perhaps in need of medical attention. John writes:

“What the author is good at is painting his protagonist into ever tighter corners. He’s at his best imagining the details of, say, how his exhausted man might cope with rowing a tiny boat across a strong current, or how one might go about dressing a flesh-wound in the heat of battle given no practical experience of first-aid, or evade the secret police in WHSmith. These moments of desperate concentration are precisely imagined, and one has the impression that the author is keen to get the details right…

The plot is tightly wound, and rolls out neatly from its original premise with considerable momentum. The protagonist single-mindedly pursues his goal, and everything is tied up carefully at the end. There are no dangling tangents or flabby chunks of dialogue left lying around. It kept me interested enough to find out what on earth was going on…”

As ever, we at Eibonvale extend our thanks to these and all other reviewers for having taken the time to analyse the books in such depth, and recommend everyone to follow the links above to their individual websites to read the full extent of their views in context. Let’s respect and enjoy this free speech and democracy thing while we still can!

Eibonvale Press interviewed by Pete Tennant

Posted: July 3, 2011 by eibonvale in News

Eibonvale recently gave an interview for Pete Tennant and the text has been published on the Black Static Casenotes blog.  Read it here:  http://ttapress.com/1101/eibonvale-press-in-focus/

It was an interesting interview to write, with questions about gender in writing and the usual debate about POD and self-publishing, as well as the press basics.  Coincidentally, the gender question comes with quite good timing in view of the small storms of opinion on the subject that have been simmering in various places in the book world at the moment. Eg here: http://stevelockley.blogspot.com/2011/06/open-house-day-29-ian-whates.html   Not that i knew anything about that when i was writing my own answers.

Thanks to Pete Tennant for giving me the chance to waffle!