“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.
"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 seven stories in this slim collection range from dark fantasy to sf to horror—sometimes all within one tale. There are enough spiders here to make an arachnophobe go into hysterics, but they are not the only ones spinning webs ... Allen weaves intriguing connections among his tales, applying dizzying, sensual images.”
— Library Journal
“The aptly named Spider Tapestries forms a stunning picture that is equal parts darkness and light . . . a whirlwind tour through worlds of decadent fantasy, noir-touched future-weird, and elegant horror. Mike Allen offers up intricate mythologies that feel real and lived in, rich-detailed stories for readers to immerse themselves in, and from which they will emerge changed. The stories feel epic in scope, from an assassin climbing through the clockwork gears of the world to rescue a goddess in a cage, to an AI moving through bodies and networks to gather up and reassemble the pieces of his lost love. Allen takes readers on a journey through years and worlds, all in the space of a few pages.”
—A.C. Wise, author of The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again
“There was a time before the marketplace sliced our wild fantastic literature into bite sized chunks, a time when visions could be astounding, amazing, and weird all at once, a time when Clark Ashton Smith could mainline a Thousand and One Nights into million-colored suns. Now comes Mike Allen, shredding raw that scar-woven shroud between then, now, and infinity, releasing hallucinatory torrents of jewel-encrusted erotic transhumanism with the intensity of a quasar and stripping bare the secret wheels and cogs of the universe beside those lovers who would destroy them.”
—Scott Nicolay, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Do You Like to Look at Monsters?
“Mike Allen, among the most dynamic of contemporary fantasists, habitually upends Lovecraftian tropes with his own brand of cosmic horror.”
—Laird Barron, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of X’s for Eyes
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.”
Featuring new fiction by Beth Cato, Stephen Graham Jones, JY Yang, Sarah Pinsker, and S. Qiouyi Lu, reprinted fiction by Kameron Hurley, essays by Sam J. Miller, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Shveta Thakrar, Dawn Xiana Moon, and Paul Booth, poetry by Cassandra Khaw, Brandon O’Brien, Bogi Takács, and Lisa M. Bradley, interviews with Stephen Graham Jones and Sarah Pinsker by Julia Rios, a cover by Julie Dillon, and an editorial by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas.