Posts Tagged ‘Rhys Hughes’

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Our latest title is now available to order in Hardcover – an expanded edition of one of Rhys Hughes’ greatest collections, Sangria in the Sangraal, containing two new stories.

http://www.eibonvalepress.co.uk/books/books_sangria.htm

This book is an entire story-cycle in miniature. One thousand years of the remarkable magical history of a secret region of Spain where few people venture even now. Albarracín is a rose-red town tucked away in the mountains of Lower Aragon. Once the seat of an independent taifa during the dominance of the Caliphate of Cordoba, it remained saturated with ancient mystery long after the separated kingdoms of the peninsular were forged through conquest into the single nation we know today. In Albarracín still lurk the djinn of the wondrous past in their dusty bottles and the ghosts of heroes and villains locked in the crucibles of a rogue alchemist.

As Alarcon once wrote, “A happy time it was when our land still remained in peaceful possession of all the spider’s webs, dust, woodworm, respect, faith, traditions, uses and abuses sanctified by the centuries!”

Above the roofs of the crumbling town serenely float the clouds; but these are not mindless puffs of vapour. On the contrary, they control the destinies of those who dwell below. In a modern world where the East is trying too hard to become the West, only Albarracín has successfully reversed the trend; for in this place the West always was the East; and the true flavour of Oriental magic remains bright on the tips of the swords, in the pulse of the hearts and on the rims of the cups of the men and gods who enter therein.

This new edition contains two stories not included in the original – Señor Chimera’s Hysterical History and The Bone Throwers.

Click here to order a copy: http://www.eibonvalepress.co.uk/books/books_sangria.htm

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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.

First review of Tallest Stories

Posted: April 29, 2013 by douglasthompson in News, Reviews, Tallest Stories
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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 www.risingshadow.net.

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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.

Tallest Stories Promotions

The first 26 copies of Rhys Hughes’ Tallest Stories will be ‘lettered’, signed and personalised by Rhys Hughes himself and they will each come with a very special extra, 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

Prices for the lettered copies will be the same as a standard hardcover.  In addition, I plan to put together a couple of discount bundles where you can get certain other books at a special cheap price if bought alongside Tallest Stories.  The Smell of Telescopes, our other title by Rhys Hughes, will be the main one – with some 40% off the list price.  I will also offer a bundle with our other forthcoming title, An Emporium of Automata by D P Watt, which is also illustrated and in terms of design, forms a kind of pair with Tallest Stories.  You will have to wait until you see the ordering page for full details of all these offers though.

In order to take advantage of all these offers, a short pre-order period will open on Saturday the 5th January at 6 o clock PM GMT (London) time, and it will be first come first served, with the letters being allocated in the order the orders are received.  So the first person of all to place an order will be the lucky winner of the coveted ‘A’ copy.

Needless to say, this special promotion will only be available through the Eibonvale website and it will last for as long as there are lettered copies available, whereupon ordering will revert to the standard system. So – if you have any interest at all in getting the coveted A copy, I strongly advise you to be ready!  I know there are already people hanging on ready to jump on these since there have been rumours and mentions flitting around facebook.  At six o clock, I will be publishing an order page for the book and an announcement here on the Eibonvale Blog – so be ready to move quickly!

Sorry – but there is no chance of reserving a specific letter.  And no orders will be taken by email before the official opening on the Eibonvale website.

And finally, need I remind you that even aside from these promotions, this is a very special book.  18 years in the making, over a year in the design phase alone and with 60 stories accompanied by 60 illustrations. Regarded by Rhys Hughes as possibly his most important book to date, and regarded by me (who slogged through those 60 illustrations) in a similar way, this is without doubt the most important book Eibonvale has released to date and one you really don’t want to miss.

If you have been wondering why things have been a little quiet here at Eibonvale recently, here’s one reason:

Rhys Hughes’ collection Tallest Stories has been hanging around unfinished for far too long as I slog through the 60, count ‘em, SIXTY interior illustrations I was crazy enough to dedicate myself to producing.  I have allowed other books to jump the queue for obvious reasons (the press would have stopped completely and authors would have given me sulky looks!) but now getting this finished is my number one priority!  Then I can relax again and hopefully things here at Eibonvale Towers will start to look a bit less like a particular kind of asylum.

I have a regular repeating whinge here about interior art.  Every time I take this on, it seems to get more ambitious.  The Smell of Telescopes had 26 illustrations, Experiments at 3 Billion AM 40 illustrations – and now I have blown even that out of the water by setting myself the task of providing an illustrated title page for every one of the 60 stories and miniatures included in this remarkable book.  Every time I do this, I swear to myself never again – it takes just so much time and brain space.  But then soon enough another one comes along and the temptation catches me again.  But in spite of my grumbling, I believe that books always look better for having a bit extra attention lavished upon them, so I hope (with desperate manic laughter) that the wait will be worth it!

Stylistically, illustrating Rhys Hughes is always a challenge as well.  It would be too obvious to respond to his gloriously loopy stories with a kind of silly sketchy cartoon style, and for precisely that reason, I went with something else entirely.   (Well ok, coupled with the fact that I can’t DO a silly sketchy cartoon style (in spite of that one illustration in Experiments at 3 Billion AM that haunts me to this day!))  I wanted to focus more on the macabre foundations and the sometimes extreme surreal oddness of the writing.  Quirky is the word – and a touch of classic decadent styles meets modern digital and conceptual.  Maybe!

Anyway – here is a first glimpse of some of the artwork for this book (along with a few little teasers from the first pages!).  Please note by the way that these are still prototypes and may change before the final book is ready.  I shall be editing and agonising over them for a while yet!

The printing technology available at my printers has progressed a bit since we did our first book by Rhys Hughes – The Smell of Telescopes (was it really six years ago?).  Most notably, matte covers are now available, adding a really nice touch of luxury to the books, as demonstrated by Feather and Where Are We Going?  I shall almost certainly be making use of this matte dust jacket for Tallest Stories, as well as cream paper rather than the white stock used before back in my green early days.  It is possible to re-jig The Smell of Telescopes as well to take advantage of the new possibilities.  It is a little expensive, but it might be worth doing it to coincide with the launch of Tallest Stories.  Any thoughts/opinions on that issue would be very welcome!


In spite of my focus on Tallest Stories, there have been other developments here recently.  I will soon be announcing some new titles that I couldn’t pass up in spite of my engagement with this project – some from familiar Eibonvale names but also some new names for the press.  Watch out for news of that in a few days.

“Every generation throws up a few genuine Masters of the Weird. There simply is no hyperbole in the statement that Brendan Connell is a member of this elite group right now, perhaps the most accomplished of them all. His work is very strange but always proceeds with rigorous logic and his use of language is original, concise and often startling, employing the alchemy of a ferocious intelligence to create dreamscapes that have the solidity and cruelty of stone and iron. The blend of profound melancholy, decadent atmosphere and abstruse erudition work beautifully and the magic of his prose gets under the skin of your soul and remains there forever.”

—Rhys Hughes, author of A New Universal History of Infamy