“Allen’s strange and lovely fifth genre-melding fantasy anthology selects 20 new short stories of unusual variety, texture, compassion, and perception. . . . All the stories afford thought-provoking glimpses into alternative realities that linger, sparking unconventional thoughts, long after they are first encountered.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The arrangement is superb. This anthology of 20 stories can resemble a symphony of themes and variations in a wide range of keys, or a tapestry whose elements form patterns of imagery and meaning that shift and offer new insights throughout the book.”
The Clockwork Phoenix anthologies offer homes to “well-written stories occupying multiple subgenres, usually in the same story, often ambiguously,” as Locus Magazine once put it.
The ground-breaking, boundary-pushing, award-nominated series has returned for a fifth incarnation, triumphantly risen from the ashes after another successful Kickstarter campaign. This is the largest installment yet, holding twenty new tales of beauty and strangeness.
With original fiction from Jason Kimble, Rachael K. Jones, Patricia Russo, Marie Brennan, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Rob Cameron, A. C. Wise, Gray Rinehart, Sam Fleming, Sunil Patel, C. S. E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez, Holly Heisey, Barbara Krasnoff, Sonya Taaffe, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Shveta Thakrar, Cassandra Khaw, Keffy R. M. Kehrli, Rich Larson, and Beth Cato. Cover art by Paula Arwen Owen.
“And then there is that secret restaurant . . . It is perfection on a plate! And you feel better about yourself and your life and the world every time you go there. Clockwork Phoenix is the name of this restaurant, and Mike Allen is the restaurateur. One sublime dish after another, and yet I still have my favorites that I keep coming back to.”
—Little Red Reviewer
Table of contents:
Mike Allen edits the critically-acclaimed anthology series Clockwork Phoenix and the long-running magazine Mythic Delirium. His books include post-apocalyptic dark fantasy novel The Black Fire Concerto and career-spanning poetry collection Hungry Constellations. To learn about upcoming book releases and projects, sign up for his newsletter at http://tinyurl.com/abattoir-memos.
Publishers Weekly and Library Journal gave starred reviews to his first collection of short fiction, Unseaming. Laird Barron wrote in the book's introduction that the stories in Unseaming "rival anything committed to paper by the likes of contemporary masters such as Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, or Caitlín Kiernan." Helen Marshall called Mike's second collection, The Spider Tapestries, "a must-read for fans of weird fiction and dark fantasy."
More of Mike's stories have popped up in places like Weird Tales, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the anthologies Cthulhu's Reign, Solaris Rising 2, A Darke Phantastique and Tomorrow's Cthulhu. His poetry has won the Rhysling Award three times, and his fiction has been nominated for the Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award.
By day he works as the arts and culture columnist for the daily newspaper in Roanoke, Va., where he lives with his wife Anita, a goofy dog, and two cats with varying degrees of psychosis. You can follow Mike's exploits as a writer at descentintolight.com, as an editor at mythicdelirium.com, and all at once on Twitter at @mythicdelirium.
The first volume in the ground-breaking, genre-bending, boundary-pushing Clockwork Phoenix anthology series, newly available in digital format.
Includes critically-acclaimed and award-nominated stories by Catherynne M. Valente, David Sandner, John Grant, Cat Rambo, Leah Bobet, Michael J. DeLuca, Laird Barron, Ekaterina Sedia, Cat Sparks, Tanith Lee, Marie Brennan, Jennifer Crow, Vandana Singh, John C. Wright, C.S. MacCath, Joanna Galbraith, Deborah Biancotti and Erin Hoffman.
With a whimsical introduction and new afterword by Nebula Award-nominated editor Mike Allen.
The City of Blind Delight • Catherynne M. Valente
Old Foss Is the Name of His Cat • David Sandner
All the Little Gods We Are • John Grant
The Dew Drop Coffee Lounge • Cat Rambo
Bell, Book and Candle • Leah Bobet
The Tarrying Messenger • Michael J. DeLuca
The Occultation • Laird Barron
There Is a Monster Under Helen's Bed • Ekaterina Sedia
Palisade • Cat Sparks
The Woman • Tanith Lee
A Mask of Flesh • Marie Brennan
Seven Scenes from Harrai's 'Sacred Mountain' • Jennifer Crow
Oblivion: A Journey • Vandana Singh
Choosers of the Slain • John C. Wright
Akhila, Divided • C. S. MacCath
The Moon-Keeper's Friend • Joanna Galbraith
The Tailor of Time • Deborah Biancotti
Root and Vein • Erin Hoffman
Selected for the Locus Magazine 2008 Recommended Reading List
Author and editor Allen (Mythic) has compiled a neatly packaged set of short stories that flow cleverly and seamlessly from one inspiration to another. In “The City of Blind Delight” by Catherynne M. Valente, a man inadvertently ends up on a train that takes him to an inescapable city of extraordinary wonders. In “All the Little Gods We Are,” Hugo winner John Grant takes a mind trip to possible parallel universes. Modern topics make an appearance among the whimsy and strangeness: Ekaterina Sedia delves into the misunderstandings that occur between cultures and languages in “There Is a Monster Under Helen’s Bed,” while Tanith Lee gleefully skewers gender politics with “The Woman,” giving the reader a glimpse of what might happen if there was only one fertile woman left in a world of men. Lush descriptions and exotic imagery startle, engross, chill and electrify the reader, and all 19 stories have a strong and delicious taste of weird.
— Publishers Weekly, May 12, 2008
A very strong first volume … Established writers and new names all are in good form here … A series of great promise. Prospects on the anthology front look ever better.
— Locus, July 2008
I would have bought this book for its mysteriously gorgeous cover art alone, but the stellar lineup of contributing writers sold me completely … CLOCKWORK PHOENIX editor Mike Allen describes the anthology as “a home for stories that sidestep expectations in beautiful and unsettling ways, that surprise with their settings and startle with the ways they cross genre boundaries, that aren’t afraid to experiment with storytelling techniques.” His choices here don’t disappoint.
Even if you’re not into the genre, this is a welcome read that’ll hopefully strike an emotional chord in you.
— Bibliophile Stalker
Another “new weird” collection, perhaps? A slipstream opus? Whatever — set somewhere between fantasy, SF, and something else, the stories selected by editor Mike Allen have an unique property: they are never tedious … I highly recommend the book to anyone looking for top-notch fiction irrespective of genre labels.
— The Harrow
"Cooney's brilliantly executed collection of five stories is a delicious stew of science fiction, horror, and fantasy, marked by unforgettable characters who plumb the depths of pathos and triumph. ... All of these stories could easily serve as the foundation for novels while also working beautifully at their current length. These well-crafted narratives defiantly refuse to fade from memory long after the last word has been read." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"In five beautifully crafted stories, Cooney builds imaginary worlds full of flying carpets, fairy-tale characters, and children confronted with a postapocalyptic Earth ... Each tale packs in enough plot for a novel, with adventurous characters who brim with wit." —Library Journal, starred review
"Writing without ostentation and featuring characters who may be flippant, terse, or even tongue-tied, Cooney produces memorable prose propelled by extraordinary ideas ... Faced with such twisted genius, I'll say no more!" —Locus
"A fascinating mashup between the tropes and resonances of the mythic tale with the sensibilities of contemporary action-oriented fantasy: simultaneously lighthearted and serious, full of consequences but also ubiquitous happy endings." —Tor.com
The third volume in the ground-breaking, genre-bending, boundary-pushing CLOCKWORK PHOENIX anthology series, now available in digital format.
Includes critically-acclaimed and award-nominated stories by Marie Brennan, Tori Truslow, Georgina Bruce, Michael M. Jones, Gemma Files, C.S.E. Cooney, Cat Rambo, Gregory Frost, Shweta Narayan, S.J. Hirons, John Grant, Kenneth Schneyer, John C. Wright, Nicole Kornher-Stace and Tanith Lee.
With a whimsical introduction and new afterword by Nebula Award-nominated editor Mike Allen.
The Gospel of Nachash • Marie Brennan
Tomorrow Is Saint Valentine's Day • Tori Truslow
Crow Voodoo • Georgina Bruce
Your Name Is Eve • Michael M. Jones
Hell Friend • Gemma Files
Braiding the Ghosts • C.S.E. Cooney
Surrogates • Cat Rambo
Lucyna's Gaze • Gregory Frost
Eyes of Carven Emerald • Shweta Narayan
Dragons of America • S.J. Hirons
Where Shadows Go at Low Midnight • John Grant
Lineage • Kenneth Schneyer
Murder in Metachronopolis • John C. Wright
To Seek Her Fortune • Nicole Kornher-Stace
Fold • Tanith Lee
Allen’s third volume of extraordinary short stories reaches new heights of rarity and wonder. Marie Brennan sets the bar high with “The Gospel of Nachash,” a fine reinterpretation of the Adam and Eve legend from a fresh perspective. Tori Truslow’s scholarly “Tomorrow Is Saint Valentine’s Day” tells the story of the Great Ice Train and its encounter with the merfolk on the Moon. Gemma Files’s “Hell Friend” and C.S.E. Cooney’s “Braiding the Ghosts” are sinister, spine-tingling ghost stories. Cat Rambo deals with realism and escapism in her futuristic “Surrogates,” where appearances and reality are mutable. Shweta Narayan’s “Eyes of Carven Emerald” eloquently rewrites the history of Alexander the Great to include mechanical entities. Without a wrong note, all the stories in this anthology admirably fulfill Allen’s promise of “beauty and strangeness.”
— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
With a balance of new names and established authors, the third Clockwork Phoenix installment collects some magnificent interpretations of fantastic ideas. “The Gospel of Nachash” opens, Marie Brennan’s haunting tale of the beginning of time, and a very interesting reinterpretation of a gospel it is, too. Tanith Lee’s “Fold” is a story of a man who wrote love letters to the people he saw passing beneath his window, and only left his apartment once. Gemma Files’ “Hell Friend” is really a heart-warming ghost story; Georgina Bruce’s “Crow Voodoo” is an unnerving take on something common to fairy tales; and Gregory Frost’s “Lucyna’s Gaze” starts off sweet, and grows more awful with every revealed detail. Clockwork Phoenix delivers on its promise of both beauty and strangeness, and adds in some fright and a few new ways of looking at old tropes. All in all, it’s a very successful collection of thematically similar, but wildly varied in subject, works.
CLOCKWORK PHOENIX is a series of anthologies from Norilana Books, edited by Mike Allen, that bears the subtitle “New Tales of Beauty and Strangeness”. This seems a quite appropriate subtitle — the stories really do seem attempts at evoking both beauty and the strange. This makes them consistently interesting . . . There is a mixture of wild science fiction (as with John C. Wright’s “Murder in Metachronopolis”, a convoluted time travel mystery) with what seems best called slipstream (say, Tanith Lee’s curious “Fold”, about a man who sends people paper airplane love letters) with out and out fantasy. One of the latter is my favorite here: C. S. E. Cooney’s “Braiding the Ghosts”, in which a girl goes to her grandmother after her mother’s death, and learns from the older woman the secret of “braiding” ghosts — which is to say enslaving them. So ghosts are the servants of the older woman. But the girl is not so happy with this . . . especially when she falls for the ghost she is forced to braid. And the ghosts — are they happy? Read the story and find out . . . lovely stuff.
For the past three years editor Mike Allen has been publishing his unique CLOCKWORK PHOENIX anthologies, inviting authors like Tanith Lee and Catherynne M. Valente to give us their take on the concepts of, as the title has it, “beauty and strangeness.” The result has been a critical and artistic success and, if volume three is any indication, the spell won’t be lifting any time soon. Allen continues to assemble some of the most adventurous, beauteous, and just plain weird stuff our current crop of speculative authors are capable of producing. Adventurous minds are invited to attend.
— Strange Horizons
The mutants of Wonderland threaten to smash through the looking glass as the river of Time overflows its banks. The King of Cats and the Queen of Wolves dance a duet across eons, alternately foes and lovers. Monstrous constellations come to life in the sky, hungry for people-filled worlds.
Hungry Constellations, the newest poetry collection from Nebula Award finalist and three-time Rhysling Award winner Mike Allen, surveys two decades of mind-bending verse. Editor Dominik Parisien starts with poems drawn from Allen’s previous book-length collections, Strange Wisdoms of the Dead (2006) and The Journey to Kailash (2008), then concludes the triptych with a selection of new and previously uncollected pieces, which author, poet and editor Amal El-Mohtar calls Allen’s most ambitious work to date in her introduction. Cover artist Paula Arwen Friedlander (arwendesigns.net) adroitly illustrates the collection’s Rhysling Award-nominated title poem.
Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, Hungry Constellations is Allen’s first poetry collection available in digital format.
From the introduction by Amal El-Mohtar:
“Let me tell you about Mike Allen’s poetry. This is a man who delights in breaking bodies: butchering, splitting, flaying, dismembering, then seeding landscapes with viscera until they too become bodies—bodies invaded, bodies stuffed, bodies contaminated. This is a man who carves words into and out of bodies, be they skin or sapphire, corpses or constellations. But somehow Allen skirts gore and clinical detachment both: there is a precision and an economy to his horror that’s reminiscent of clockwork, architecture, astronomy. Imagine a clock with bone-gears, a skin-tree growing liver-fruit, a ship knifing a face into the moon, and you’ll have something of a sense of what lies before you … Subterranean in conception and galactic in execution, this is a book of monsters.”
Praise for Mike Allen's poetry:
“Allen’s is poetry for goths of all ages … There is a long tradition of poetry dealing with the uncanny—think Keats’ ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ or Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’—and it’s nice to see someone putting it to such use again. Allen’s poems … do a fine job of making the human scary and the scary human.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Mike Allen pours everything he’s got onto his poem-canvases. Mythologies, science-fiction scenarios, private memories and desires, and untestable ideas crowd and overlay one another upon the pages as if flung from an overloaded brush. Here is a vividly vertiginous collection of poems, all fun and mind-games.”
“Mike Allen is a poetic Shiva, whirling his thousand limbs to snatch gold from thin air and create these epics-in-miniature, each with its own metallic sheen.”
—Catherynne M. Valente
“In the great tradition of Clark Ashton Smith, Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. Le Guin, Mike Allen shows us how science fiction poetry can do what all first-rate poetry does—rouse the imagination to venture into darkness and the unknown, there to discover old truths and new delights.”