Archive for the ‘News’ Category

A Few Updates

Posted: April 20, 2015 by eibonvale in News, Songs for the Lost, Zelenyj
Not final!

Not final!

Just time for some Eibonvale Press updates here.  I am currently working on a re-release of Experiments at 3 Billion A.M. by Alexander Zelenyj​ – one of the earliest Eibonvale Books.  I guess I have learned a lot since those days so here is a chance to put together a volume that is worthy to sit alongside Songs for the Lost, easily one of the best projects I have been involved in with the press and, if I may voice a personal opinion, one of the two most beautiful Eibonvale books!  The book will have a newly designed cover and a more streamlined design has reduced the pagecount considerably, leading to a comfortable price reduction.  In addition, the author has revisited the entire text, editing and changing it.  However, the one thing that will remain the same is the 40 artworks included in there … yes, even THAT weird artwork of Grandmother Mars!

In addition, look out soon for the new edition of Allen Ashley’s first novel The Planet Suite, complete with lots of extras and new materials.  That will be the second project to arrive.

One Week into the VAT Apocalypse

Posted: January 9, 2015 by eibonvale in Articles, News

In a previous post, I outlined the massive and crippling problems caused by the new EU VAT rules – so badly thought out that they threaten a vast amount of small enterprise, including this press.  Now, in January, the changes have rolled out for digital products, with all products following some time down the line if we don’t find a way to stop it.

Just over one week into the digital side of the VAT apocalypse, we are starting to get a picture of the damage it is doing and the results are pretty much exactly as predicted – the exact same miserable litany that the activists have been trying to get into the heads of the officials ever since this came to light: business closures, the EU excluded from sales all over the world, even quite major 3rd party platforms unable to comply, even some accountants washing their hands of small businesses because they simply can’t cope with the problems. A new article on the EUVATACTION website details some of what is happening – it’s gloomy reading but kind of vital.  However, please remember that this is just the small percentage of companies who have actually talked to EUVATAction, and that this still excludes vast numbers around the world who don’t even know about it. I have personally been in touch with several relevant providers of digital materials abroad (mostly ebooks) and not one had even heard of this yet.

How we got into this disastrous situation is still beyond me, but i will not start ranting about that again – you can read my frothings on my previous post if it gives you pleasure.  But it is absolutely vital to get the message out that wherever you are in the world, and whatever you are doing, this affects you – not just sellers and publishers.  As buyers in the EU, you are now cut off from material.  As writers anywhere in the world, your markets have been messed around and limited.  And of course the same thing applies to every other subject aside from the literary as well.  Unless you are really happy to do all your research and shopping on Amazon, this affects you or will do if they roll it out for all products as they plan.

The mobilization of activism and pressure against this centred round EUVATACTION and certain facebook groups has been one of the biggest and best organised i have ever seen – that is the one comfort in this bizarre business.

The VAT Apocalypse

Posted: December 13, 2014 by eibonvale in News
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People will hopefully be aware of the storm that has recently erupted concerning the new changes to VAT legislation in the EU – and if you are not aware of it then I suggest you make yourself aware of it ASAP since it will affect pretty much everyone and not in good ways.  Like many, indeed like most it seemed, I only found out about this when it all broke on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and since then the news has only got worse.  Bad enough to drive me to write an activist post here on the Eibonvale blog because this may well force the closure of Eibonvale Press and because the potential effect on other small publishers, writers and readers could be severe.  Yet I get the feeling many don’t even know about this yet.

In a nutshell, what has happened is that they have switched from charging VAT in the country of the seller to the country of the buyer – but most cripplingly of all, they have removed any VAT threshold.  They have done this ostensibly to prevent tax dodging by companies such as Amazon, but in the process have caused utter havoc.  This new system means that anybody who makes a direct sale to an EU country, even just one single sale, now has to register for vat in that country (or go through the UK’s VATMOSS system, which doesnt really negate any of the problems).  Initially (from 1st January) this just applies to digital products (ebooks for example) but it is clear they also plan to introduce this for ALL products at some unspecified but not too distant time in the future.  This would include paper books.  Not many countries are VAT-exempt for books, so any sale to a country that would charge vat on them will land you liable for a very very complex procedure indeed.  And this applies globally.  The number of ways this is impossible and ridiculous is quite large – and to expect a small enterprise that might consist of just one person making a tiny bit of money out of something they love to cope with all that is laughable.  But this is not a question of laziness or willpower – it is physically impossible for someone with a tiny shop powered by paypal or something to gather the required data (PayPal have actually stated that to supply sellers with the required data would be against the data protection act).  The only options for sellers then are to restrict EU sales to a major channel like Amazon and refuse to deal direct, or if that’s impossible, to quit entirely.  It is already being estimated that tens of thousands of microenterprises in the UK will do just that – while the number impacted easily reaches the hundreds of thousands, many of whom still seem unaware of the problem.  Tens of thousands of dreams snuffed out by one badly thought out bit of legislation . . .

I also need to emphasize just how chaotic the release of information about this has been.  Tempted as I am to call HMRC almost criminal for their handling of this, I don’t suppose they really like struggling to cope with impossible demands from the powers that be any more than we do.  Indeed, it seems the big boys are in almost as much of a state as we little’uns.  News has just broken that Google will be basically halting the provision of certain commercial services into the EU – and if they can’t cope with this, how the heck are we supposed to?

To say I am angry right now is the underestimation of the year!

A number of things beggar belief here.  If you will permit me to stray into rant territory for a moment, I will list some of them:

  • It beggars belief that they care so little about small enterprises that they would basically crush them without a thought.
  • It beggars belief that people would knowingly introduce a system that impedes cross-border trade just when the world is globalising and when a global awareness is only getting more important.
  • It beggars belief that legislators would attempt to ‘punish’ big companies like amazon by basically handing them a monopoly on cross-border sales on a plate.
  • It beggars belief that they would introduce something that will drive many many people back to government support/welfare precisely at the time they are trying to reduce welfare bills in the cruelest ways possible.  And indeed when they have been trying to get people into these very enterprises so the government can massage their unemployment figures.
  • It beggars belief that the EU would introduce something like this at a time when many are already suspicious of it as a viable entity and are pushing for independence.  Indeed, the more I think about it, the more it seems that the EU might just be committing suicide here.

And this is where I come to the effect on Eibonvale Press.  In terms of ebooks, we are safe because the few we have released so far are handled through Amazon.  However, when/if this expands to include paper books, then things could be very different.  It is not possible for me to survive on sales through Amazon and ‘the system’ since I earn almost nothing after their cut.  I would have to jack the prices up massively.  And if I refuse to sell to EU countries and instead direct those buyers to Amazon then I would still be taking a quite major cut in income.  It may be that this would be the last straw that forces me to close the press down as simply no longer viable – at least to new releases.  I hope not – but right now the future is not at all clear.

What is clear though is that if you run a small press, you should be watching this very carefully and preparing to kick up as much of a stink as possible.  Likewise if you are a writer since the last thing we need is artificial restrictions on where or how books can be sold.  And likewise as a reader since these regulations will effectively erect a sales wall around the EU that is impenetrable (legally) by many small companies who are unable or unwilling to work through Amazon etc.  If you are in the EU and not sure how this applies to you, just ask yourself – are you really happy to live off an Amazon drip-feed exclusively and live in a world cut of from small enterprises?

For more information, and things that can be done to fight this, I would suggest you check out http://euvataction.org/.  I know that these days we are saturated with causes and horror stories and social injustice – you can’t read the news or glance at your Facebook feed without seeing something that makes you want to punch the wall – but I would suggest that this is one of the biggest and nastiest.  Indeed, I almost feel as though I am fighting for my life.  After all, what am I without Eibonvale Press and the other things that are important to me?  Am I just some little insect that the EU can just squash without even noticing?  No fucking way!

The fix for this, if it can’t be just dumped in the cesspool of shamed history, would actually be very simple.  Preserve the vat threshold.  That is vital for any small enterprise to function unimpeded.  Every way one examines this, the costs are going to be high – in terms of lost culture and potential, closed enterprises, increased benefit claimants, increased hardship, loss of diversity, loss of access to material etc. If we can at least force this seemingly obvious update to the system then we might still have a world in which small enterprises can flourish and in which people can still have access to material in a global sense – a world in which dreams can continue to exist and mean something.

Rustblind 5
Pauline Masurel has handed in a rave review of Eibonvale’s railway anthology ‘Rustblind and Silverbight’ over at The Short Review website. Pauline writes:

“There are twenty-four stories in this chunky book, which is billed as A Slipstream Anthology of Railway Stories. Many of the stories take liberties with reality, slipping effortlessly into fantastic worlds, but many of them are also quite strongly rooted in reality. This seems appropriate, given that railways are part of the edgelands, borderline places that divide landscapes. The book isn’t a cyberpunk, geek-fest of futuristic fiction but more of an insidious virus eating away at veracity. If ‘strangeness’ is the primary defining feature of slipstream literature then this collection has it by the carriage-load…

…This book may not be the ideal Christmas gift for a trainspotting old buffer (although it might be just the ticket if he or she has suitably open-minded, eclectic reading tastes). But I think it could induce at least a modest portion of train-appreciation in the most vehement rail-deniers. Reading this anthology I became convinced that every story should have a railway in it somewhere; it’s just that no one has realised this before. Try it out for yourself, but don’t forget to mind the gap…”

Our thanks to Pauline. Please do support her website by reading the review in full.

Rustblinder…

Posted: October 27, 2013 by douglasthompson in News, Reviews, Rustblind and Silverbright

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Nick Jackson (author of The Secret Life Of The Panda) has given Rustblind and Silverbright are rattling good thumbs-up, writing over at the reviews section of the most excellent Sein Und Werden magazine. Nick writes:

“Taking its title from a story by Wolfgang Borchert, this anthology is a shrine to the railway in all its manifestations and draws as much on the iconic status of these iron behemoths as on the collective psyche of railway buffs that worship them. There’s not a train spotter in sight and there are no pieces about the Orient Express, the Trans-Siberian railway or any of the world’s other great train lines but to my mind the anthology is all the better for it, looking beyond these clichéd images of railways at what makes them such lasting objects of fascination. Railways feature as subjects of obsession or in the form of a developing fanaticism into which the characters are slowly, sometimes unwillingly, drawn…

…I found this a hugely enjoyable collection and whatever their individual merits, there’s a synchronicity which makes the stories ping off each other in a very satisfying way. David Rix has brought together a bunch of stylistically disparate stories and, though I have my favourites, I think the weaker are improved by their placement in the anthology. The stylistic excesses of several gave an astringent edge to the deadpan delivery of others.”

Please do read the review in full, because Nick seems to have taken the time review almost every single story in a decent amount of detail, which is quite a feat. Cheers, dude.

Leaves on the line…

Posted: September 19, 2013 by douglasthompson in News, Reviews, Rustblind and Silverbright, Uncategorized

Rustblind 5-extractOops… looks like my brain has been so overworked and understaffed that it neglected to mention one of our recent reviews. Not to worry, I’ll make it up to you now with an endless string of apologies announced over a deafening tannoy system. The great Sami Airola of the Rising Shadow website has written glowingly of Rustblind and Silverbright, and in considerable depth, giving it 5-out-of-5 stars and describing it as one of the best anthologies of the year. Sami writes:

“…I liked all the stories in this anthology, so it’s difficult for me to choose my favourite stories, but if I had to pick a few stories, I’d probably pick these stories: Nina Allan’s Vivian Guppy and the Brighton Belle, Andrew Hook’s Tetsudo Fan, Rhys Hughes’ The Path of Garden Forks, Joel Lane’s The Last Train, Allen Ashley’s On the Level, Daniella Geary’s Death Trains of Durdensk, Jet McDonald’s The Engineered Soul, Steve Rasnic Tem’s Escape on a Train, Danny Rhodes’ The Cuts, Christopher Harman’s Sleepers, Steven Pirie’s Not All Trains Crash, Matt Joiner and Rosanne Rabinowitz’s The Turning Track, and Douglas Thompson’s Sunday Relatives. All of these stories (and also the ones that aren’t mentioned here) are worth reading and praising.

I dare say that Rustblind and Silverbright is the most versatile speculative fiction anthology of the year. Some of these stories are touching and beautiful while others are weird, shocking and disturbing, so there’s something for everybody in this anthology. This anthology will be of interest to both experienced readers and newcomers, because it contains diverse stories that have plenty of depth and atmosphere in them.

I give this unique and versatile anthology full five stars and I highly recommend it to all readers, because it contains original and fascinating speculative fiction stories about trains and railways. All the stories in Rustblind and Silverbright are fine examples of how versatile and well written speculative fiction stories can be and how much they offer to the readers in terms of depth, characterization and storytelling. If you’re thinking of reading only one anthology this year, please make sure that it is Rustblind and Silverbright, because you won’t regret reading it.”

Our thanks as ever go out to the tireless Sami Airola, Finland’s greatest export.

Arriving at Platform 3…

Posted: September 16, 2013 by douglasthompson in News, Reviews, Rustblind and Silverbright

Rustblind 5

Charles Packer over at the Sci Fi Online/Review Graveyard website, has reviewed our railway anthology ‘Rustblind and Silverbright’ in glowing terms, giving it a spectacular 9 out of 10.

Charles writes:

“Rustblind and Silverbright is a new collection of Slipstream stories edited by David Rix and published by that excellent purveyor of quality stories, Eibonvale Press, based around the themes of trains and their stations. If you have not read any Slipstream, it is a genre of writing which has shrugged off known genre chains, pulling influences from multiple literary influence to produce something which is both unique and deliciously unpredictable…

As you can imagine with so many writers telling tales set around a single theme, there are some similarities between some of the stories, a restriction born of only having two settings. And yet not a single author failed to turn in something worth reading…

…It’s difficult to pick a favourite amongst the collection, some are creepy, Death Trains of Durdensk is able to be touching and creepy concurrently with the idea of placing the dead on a train which just travels round the tracks, which is contrasted with outright romances or rites of passage.

The collection is strongly edited and an excellent way of discovering the authors at the cutting edge of slipstream literature.”
Our sincere thanks to Mr Packer, and do remember to read his review in full here.

Moonshine 03

Cover not final!

Making the selection of works for our anthology of railway stories Rustblind and Silverbright was a challenging process and many interesting stories fell by the wayside.  In the case of this spectacularly dark, lively and brash novella by Poppet, which was just too big for the anthology, we decided to bring it out as a separate book – Moonshine Express.  This will be available individually and alongside Rustblind and Silverbright, making a very good pairing.  This is Poppet’s first appearance in hardcover – or as she put it, “There’s so little ‘virgin’ left in my author world, and David is popping the hardcover cherry! A first! That totally rocks!”  A phrase I will just leave hanging in the air with no further comment.

Click the image to find out more.

Coincidentally, I am hoping that this book will launch a new line of Eibonvale novellas (about which more later). Look forward to pre-ordering the hardcover of BOTH titles starting from 22nd June at 6PM, including some nice special touches provided by Poppet – but I will be formally announcing that in the next post!

cover_defeateddogs_th

Attention world! The paperback version of Defeated Dogs by Quentin S Crisp has now gone to the printers and is available for order through the Eibonvale website for dispatch in a couple of weeks – later on through Amazon etc. as well. As usual, I hope you will go through the website if at all possible, that way I actually get paid a little! :-) And with launch events and major expeditions looming, I need it! As usual, Postage is free in the UK, USA and Australia. If you are from anywhere else, please email me. Thanks folks!

cover_talleststories_full
Talking of trains (and we have been talking of trains rather a lot here recently at the Eibonvale Terminus), or is it buses, what is it they say about three coming along at once?
First up, Charles Packer over at Sci Fi Online, has given Rhys Hughes’ 23rd published book (wow!) ‘Tallest Stories’ a rather respectable 8/10. Charles writes:

“…Normal literary conventional barriers are broken and both the author and the audience, at times, become active participants. With its stories within stories, it’s akin to a juxtaposition of Monty Python and Kafka where the stories can coexist as horribly absurd and absurdly horrible.

As you get into the book the stories become self-referential, slowly building up a complete picture of the tavern and its patrons. Hughes intends to complete a cycle of one thousand stories which are all interconnected and not just in a linear form, as such Tallest Stories acts as a taster for the eventual wider work. Each tale is headed with a drawing by David Rix, who also created the book’s cover…

…It’s a clever book written with wit and a good eye for a humorous turn of phrase. Read carefully, there is a lot of philosophical meat to the overall book, although if this is not your bag the stories can be read for the giggles alone.”

Next “Gav” at Mass Movement Magazine has reviewed ‘Tallest Stories’, saying among other things:

“…A little tavern in Cardiff docks where the currency is a good story and all of the patrons seem to have a brilliant tale to tell forms the basis for ‘Tallest Stories’ and all of the brilliant tales are present and correct in this collection penned by Rhys Hughes. Every separate tale is a great stand-alone piece, each one incedibly inventive and different from the last, but at the same time, each story seems to sit perfectly well alongside all the others in the collection. Hughes’ writing is easy to follow and enjoyable…”

Last but not least, the legendary D.F Lewis has done one of his mind-boggling real-time reviews of the book, which are always a challenge for chaps like me to paraphrase, but here goes:

“…the multifarious pieces of internal (and cover) art by David Rix are wonderful and give the whole book a definite character. Based on my nostalgic, old-fashioned experience of secondhand bookshops, I can imagine one where somebody much younger than me pounces on this hard copy book as the optimum book to be found in any secondhand bookshop ever – surely because of its durable soul as a book. I can give its overall production no greater praise…

…Rhys Hughes’ work often reawakens my own waking dreams when, as a child, being put to bed too early, I imagined all sorts of weird and wonderful reality-steeped fabrications. Hughes has uniquely taken this ability into an adulthood creativity – for the benefit of resummoning this nostalgic activity for fellowkind and, accepting that, we should all be grateful.

…I think I have already shown the prevailing factors that make this a seriously great book, possibly Rhys Hughes’ greatest book so far. And the production qualities, story-heading images, designs etc by Eibonvale Press and David Rix do it proud.”

Hearty thanks as ever to all these reviewers. Please check out their respective websites in full.