Archive for the ‘Tallest Stories’ Category

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.

Tallest Review…

Posted: May 8, 2013 by douglasthompson in New Titles, News, Reviews, Tallest Stories


Kate Onyett has reviewed Rhys Hughes’ masterpiece Tallest Stories over at Sein Und Werden Magazine. Kate has written in great depth about the book, indeed to a length probably longer than some of the lightning chapters themselves! This is all good, and we thank her wholeheartedly. The tricky art of paraphrasing starts here, Kate writes:

“This collection isn’t about speculative fiction as platform for socio-political debate. This is taking speculative fiction in its purest form, and stretching it until it squeaks: this is fiction about fiction and the form of it, while bouncing up and down on its tensile limits.

This highly humorous reading experience is Hughes’s biggest work: sixteen years in the making. He explains, in a suitably dry (as he admits) post-script, his point. He wished to create a grand story-cycle that had connections and references between all stories at every point in it with stories from any other point. Thus cometh this book: a testing snippet of a bigger cycle he wishes to work his entire oeuvre into. Reading the sixty-two short pieces: stories, asides, extended puns and shaggy dog stories, one comes across moments that feel almost like extra-textual shout-outs and in-jokes, causing a smirk of appreciation. But on reading again, one realises that the reference is an in-joke to the rest of the volume…

Hughes here is at his most sprightly; a scamp, a will o’ the wisp, a charlatan and trickster, playing with the essence of narrative itself. Claiming by the end that it is possible to stretch the fabric of narrative reality, and by extension what that reality means to us, as reading, thinking, self-describing beings, by the stretching of tales. He elongates them into the tallest balustrades of nonsense possible to prop up an ambitious idea…

According to Hughes’s logic, if a pub is where tall tales are told, a pub that encapsulates the entire universe must thereby contain all tall tales. Therefore all tales in that universe will be tall: ergo emotional, fantastical, wish-fulfilment, metaphorical and parable; describing for the tellers what they wish to be, or what they think people would be better off being. And if the book is meta-fictional, it is suggestive that there is connective truth here; that this universe of tales is our universe, because we have been caught by the characters reading their book; we are complicit with them…

Oh, it’s a clever book; it is bouncy, cheerful, with some really good groaner jokes and puns, and some genuinely moving stories. Of the latter, The Urban Freckle and its tale of literal urban decay, Corneropolis and its lonely seeker and The Smutty Tamarinds and a man’s desperate search to be accepted stand out as particular examples.

It is perfectly possible to ignore and refuse to engage in Hughes’s mind-games and simply enjoy the book entire as a work of exploded, flexibly weird surrealistic fiction. This is, after all, meant to be a book of nonsensical wisdom. It contains exactly what it says on the cover: tall stories; not to be taken entirely seriously. Yet by their very nature, these make for a sparkling collection of vivid snippets, proving that tall writing is valuable for its very kaleidoscopic variety and beauty. This book is full of enough ideas for a handful or more of writers. By keeping the stories short and the subsequent pace brisk, as well as not engaging fully with moribund depths of ‘meaning’, leaving any such to be found by interested readers, Hughes has created a book of deceptive shallowness. Beware a Hughesian puddle- for it inevitably will leave you soaked to the neck!”

Please do read the review in its entirety at Sein Und Werden.

First review of Tallest Stories

Posted: April 29, 2013 by douglasthompson in News, Reviews, Tallest Stories
Tags: ,

Always first off the mark, from his sylvan hideaway in Southern Finland, Sami Airola of the Rising Shadow website has been suitably blown away by Rhys Hughes’ remarkable collection of (no less than!) 60 very short stories all based around one mythical pub near the Cardiff waterfront. Sami writes:

“Tallest Stories turned out to be a splendid and well written short story collection about a bit different kind of a pub and its visitors…

…I think it’s interesting that Rhys Hughes has decided to write this kind of a collection, because it works brilliantly from start to finish. He has created a well written and fascinating story cycle in which all the stories are connected to each other in small, but significant ways. I have to admit that it’s amazing how well the author manages to bring all the elements together in an entertaining way.

Rhys Hughes’ story cycle is both loose and tight, and the author never lets the reader loose interest in the stories. The stories in this collection are short, but they’re intriguing stories in which almost anything can – and will – happen…

The author has created a nice atmosphere in this book…

… The author has infused the stories with absurdism and clever humour, but he’s also able to write a bit darker humour. What makes his humour interesting is that he explores philosophical things with it in a surprisingly fluent way (Rhys Hughes is one of the few authors who can write comical phisosophical stories, which can almost be called fables).

…I sincerely hope that Rhys Hughes keeps on writing more stories in a similar fashion, because these stories are wonderful entertainment. I intend to read more stories from this author in the near future, because I enjoyed these stories.”

Our heartfelt thanks as ever to Sami. Do read his review in full and patronise his web-establishment at


Just a reminder that both our latest titles are now available to order in the normal way on the Eibonvale website.  With the promotion period closed, I have now launched standard order buttons for both these titles.  Click either picture here to be taken to the book’s page.

DSCN0407You can look forward to our next promotion for our next new title (Quentin S Crisp’s Defeated Dogs) being announced in a week or so, with some very special extras!



Just got home from a short break to find the proof copy of Rhys Hughes’ Tallest Stories waiting for me – arrived this morning. I have to say, it looks good. I am really pleased with it so far. Sometimes, the real article seems SLIGHTLY less good than the computer screen. In this case, it might even be better! I will have a proper browse through it tonight, then the book will be ready to go. I’ll be in touch with everyone about their orders for the lettered Edition promotion in a day or so.

And don’t forget, you can pre-order (well – ‘order’ now I suppose.  I’ll change the wording on the site soon.) the book through the Eibonvale Website.

Rhys Hughes’ Tallest Stories is now at the printers! People who missed the special promotion can now order normal unsigned copies of the book through the Eibonvale website

And don’t forget, there are still a handful of An Emporium of Automata available specially personalised by the author.  Click here to order.

Right – I am going to pass out now . . .


Well – how about that!  I am not used to such wild goings on here at Eibonvale.  But our Special promotional pre-orders of Rhys Hughes’ Tallest Stories have now totally sold out in just one day and I have withdrawn the order buttons.  The book will become available in its usual unsigned form soon.

However, there are still a few copies of D P Watt’s stunning collection An Emporium of Automata available.  A marvellous book originally published by Ex Occidente and out of print. The same deal applies here.  You can pick up a lettered copy specially personalised by the author with a nice laid in bookplate, and you can also combine it with other Eibonvale Titles for a special price.  Click here to place your order!


After a very crowded hour or so, there are just 6 copies left of our special personalised ‘lettered’ edition of Tallest Stories with extra free gifts!  Looks like we might have a total sell-out of this promotion.

If it comes to that, Z is a pretty coveted letter as well, with a nice bundle of goodies accompanying it!


It’s 6 o clock – that means that as this blog post is published, I will be opening the ordering page for the very special promotional pre-orders for Rhys Hughes’s Tallest Stories and D P Watts An Emporium of Automata.

Click here to read more and go to the order page:


Just to recap, the first 26 copies of each title will be specially lettered and personalised.  In addition, Rhys Hughes has provided some amazing material to give away, so each copy of Tallest Stories will also come with a bundle of original hand-written manuscripts and/or drawings by the author in his uniquely strange, quirky style. There’s also a few rare chapbooks thrown in for good measure. The biggest prize is letter A, which will come with a complete notebook filled with Rhys’s jottings and stories.  That is 26 handwritten stories, including a few not yet published anywhere at all.

Tallest Stories Promotions

These books will be available on a first come first served basis and as soon as the 26 copies are shifted, I will be reverting the ordering to the usual unsigned copies.  So don’t delay.  And if you move really fast, you might be in with a chance to bag the coveted ‘A’ copy!



good luck with it!



They are not completely finalised, but given the current excitement about both books and the rather spectacular promotion that will be launching on the 5th, I decided to push on and share the covers of our next two books.  These books will be coming out pretty much together in late January / early February.


Full info about the promotion has now been launched on the Eibonvale Press Website – including an ordering page, though this is not yet functional.  It will come alive at 18:00 hours on the 5th January, but for the moment you can have a look round and see what will be available – and be ready to move fast if you are at all interested in the wonderful extras Rhys Hughes has put together.  Click here to read all about it: