Strange Matters: Collected Tales of Fantasy, Myth and Magic

Bret Allen
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Strange Matters is a collection of tales of fantasy, myth and magic.

Some are funny, some are dark, some are both. Some are set in our world, with the skin peeled back to reveal the magical mechanisms beneath. Some are set in fantasy worlds, where instead it’s the reflections of reality which are hidden.

All contain matters best described as ‘strange’, because to me, strange matters.

This book includes twenty pieces of poetry and fiction (some with mature themes), including: 


Kate’s night is interrupted by meeting a mute, half-naked Ethiopian boy, which would be fine if he wasn’t being hunted through the streets of London by hyenas.


When a group of bikers get lost in a forest, they find that they are not alone.

The Firebird

Ekaterina wants to be taken seriously by the men of her village, so she sets out to hunt the greatest prey of all… the legendary Firebird. 


A nameless criminal explores his capacity for magic- and empathy- when he’s forced to make unusual acquaintances to escape justice. 

It Wants To Eat Me 

The diary entries of a teenage girl who finds an unusual and unwelcome intruder in her dreams. 

British Gods

Two strange figures watch the violence of the London riots unfold and do what they can to help, as only forgotten gods can. 


Having just died, Andy’s not pleased to find himself in the ancient Egyptian afterlife, where the goddess Bastet wants a word with him.

Strange Matters is a journey through many facets of fantasy, all united by a fresh, modern eye for incisive storytelling and magical realism.

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About the author

What is there to say? I'm Bret Allen and I'm a writer!

I have a blog site and studied Journalism. I prefer to write with humour, or at least a wry eye, when writing articles.

In fiction, my favourite genres are fantasy, scifi and supernatural. There's something fascinating about the comparisons drawn between real life and the fantastic; in a contrary fashion, they can be more profound than those drawn by real-life stories.

Most of all, I try to put a new spin on those genres, which in many cases have become stiff, old shambling corpses. Stitch on a smart new head, put a little truth in the heart, run a 500 megawatt current of strangeness through them and suddenly... they live again!

As for me, I've lived most of my life in Shropshire and Staffordshire. I have a few great friends, a myriad of mates, a large and wonderful family, a fur baby and a long suffering partner.

I draw most of my inspiration from Neil Gaiman, Tolkien, Tad Williams, Kim Newman, Terry Pratchett, daydreams, nightmares and the magic of the everyday.

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1 total

Additional Information

Bret Allen
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Published on
May 23, 2015
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Fiction / Fantasy / General
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Get ready for the ultimate Jack Reacher experience: a thrilling new novella and eleven previously published stories, together for the first time in one pulse-pounding collection from Lee Child.

No Middle Name begins with “Too Much Time,” a brand-new work of short fiction that finds Reacher in a hollowed-out town in Maine, where he witnesses a random bag-snatching but sees much more than a simple crime. “Small Wars” takes readers back to 1989, when Reacher is an MP assigned to solve the brutal murder of a young officer found along an isolated forest road in Georgia—and whose killer may be hiding in plain sight. In “Not a Drill,” Reacher tries to take some downtime, but a pleasant hike in Maine turns into a walk on the wild side—and perhaps something far more sinister. “High Heat” time-hops to 1977, when Reacher is a teenager in sweltering New York City during a sudden blackout that awakens the dark side of the city that never sleeps. Okinawa is the setting of “Second Son,” which reveals the pivotal moment when young Reacher’s sharp “lizard brain” becomes just as important as his muscle. In “Deep Down,” Reacher tracks down a spy by matching wits with four formidable females—three of whom are clean, but the fourth may prove fatal. Rounding out the collection are “Guy Walks into a Bar,” “James Penney’s New Identity,” “Everyone Talks,” “The Picture of the Lonely Diner,” “Maybe They Have a Tradition,” and “No Room at the Motel.”

No suitcase. No destination. No middle name. No matter how far Reacher travels off the beaten path, trouble always finds him. Feel bad for trouble.

Praise for No Middle Name
“Captivating . . . classic [Lee] Child . . . This volume demonstrates what his fans already know: he’s a born storyteller and an astute observer.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Lee Child, like his creation, always knows exactly what he’s doing—and he does it well. Time in his company is never wasted.”—Evening Standard
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