The Host in the Attic

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The Host in the Attic by Rohan Quine is a hologram of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, digitised and reframed in cinematic style, set in London’s Docklands in a few years’ time.


Brilliant software engineer Rik and executive Jaymi work at digital agencies in London (surely unaware that their fates are destined to echo those of Basil and Dorian, respectively the painter and the subject of The Picture of Dorian Gray). Rik uses Jaymi’s appearance as the model or “skin” for a cutting-edge interactive hologram that navigates the Web in enhanced ways, tailored to every user. The dissolute bigwig “Champagne” Marc makes this into a business reality, and through his cynical eloquence electrifies Jaymi with the knowledge that Jaymi will hereby become the face of the Web. Throughout the film-shoot of Jaymi for the making of the skin, these honeyed words of Marc (like those of Wilde’s Lord Henry to Dorian during the portrait’s creation) light powerful fires of vanity and hubris behind Jaymi’s eyes.


As this holographic Web-guide’s hold over global information grows to a near monopoly, Jaymi is lionised, finding no door closed. But he yearns for still more: to see what the hologram itself can see online. So by trickery he succeeds in getting hold of a unique copy of the prototype hologram, with all regular filters removed.


In private files online he thereby discovers a not-yet-published novel that will come to be called The Imagination Thief, by Alaia Danielle, with whom he has an intense romance (echoing Wilde’s actress Sibyl Vane with Dorian). But when Jaymi brutally dumps her, triggering her suicide, he is shocked to observe, on the same evening, that the face on his private prototype hologram has become crueller. Fascinated, he realises its appearance is changing in accordance with his own behaviour – and he hides it in his attic.


For years he uses his unique online access for ever more megalomaniacal ends, ruining the lives of many whom he lures down into excess, addiction and suicide. While the hologram in the attic deteriorates into quite terrifying corruption, Jaymi’s appearance remains as sweet and youthful as the day he was filmed ... until the inevitable reckoning unfolds.



Keywords: literary fiction, magical realism, dark fantasy, horror, Dorian Gray, hologram, London, Docklands, attic, The Imagination Thief, corridor, Ontario Tower, imagination, contemporary

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The Imagination Thief by Rohan Quine is about a web of secrets, triggered by the stealing and copying of people’s imaginations and memories. It’s about the magic that can be conjured up by images of people, in imagination or on film; the split between beauty and happiness in the world; and the allure of various kinds of power. It celebrates some of the most extreme possibilities of human imagination, personality and language, exploring the darkest and brightest flavours of beauty living in our minds.


Alone in his skyscraper office one night, Jaymi undergoes a transformation that will change his life: he acquires the power to see into others’ minds, and then to control and project their thoughts.


Realising the potential of this gift, he hypnotises a media mogul into agreeing to broadcast an electrifying extravaganza of sound and vision emanating from Jaymi, the like of which has never been witnessed before, that will captivate millions. However, one of the mogul’s underlings has more subversive plans for milking Jaymi’s talent, involving the theft of others’ imaginations and intimate memories for commercial gain.


The broadcasting of his visions plunges Jaymi and his best friend Alaia on a journey into the underbelly of Asbury Park – a seaside town once full of life but now half-forgotten. The town’s entire oceanfront is now almost a ghost town: ruled by gangsters and drug dealers, headed by Lucan, it is populated by lost souls and the beautiful who have fallen on hard times. Blackmailed into thieving the most private and primal memories and experiences from these people’s imaginations, Jaymi discovers a web of secrets and provocations simmering beneath the surface of the town, about to explode.


When a waxwork of Lucan’s decapitated head is anonymously planted in his own bar, fear bubbles up, as everyone becomes a suspect in this unforgivable challenge to Lucan’s dominance. Then when another provocative waxwork appears – a naked full-body modelling of Lucan’s beautiful but tortured lover, Angel – Jaymi knows he must use his own gift to discover the perpetrator before Lucan does.


Delving into and celebrating the most beautiful and extreme possibilities of human imagination, personality and love, The Imagination Thief is literary fiction, with a touch of magical realism and a dusting of horror. It explores the universal human predicaments of power, beauty, happiness, hopelessness, good and evil.



Keywords: literary fiction, magical realism, dark fantasy, horror, gay, Asbury Park, psychic, New York, broadcast, imagination, transgender, contemporary, enhanced ebook

In Apricot Eyes by Rohan Quine, a cat-and-mouse pursuit through the New York City night involves a preacher, a psychic and a dominatrix, broadcast live on air – until a horror is unearthed, bringing two of them together and the third to a sticky end.


Having partially regained a power of second sight that he’d once possessed but lost, Jaymi Peek uses this ability in a live weekly television show online, where he channels onto the screen those unexpected places, hidden colours and hatching plans that he can perceive throughout New York City. He applies this sight to the task of relocating his old friend Scorpio, who has gone missing, but succeeds in catching only a glimpse of him in some unidentified corner of the city’s underbelly.


Across a subway station, Jaymi notices an unwelcome visitor from his and Scorpio’s past – Kev Banton, who has now become a prominent evangelical preacher intent upon a moral cleansing of the population. Jaymi tails Kev discreetly through the subway, and is surprised when Kev’s journey ends at a waterfront waste ground in an industrial corner of the Bronx, where Kev slips out of sight amid an odd hum of underground engines...


The monstrous population beneath this waste ground, and the malign purposes for which the preacher and his wife have been feeding it, are revealed in the course of a triangular cat-and-mouse pursuit involving Jaymi, Scorpio and the preacher. This unfolds in Scorpio’s physical pursuit of Kev through the crackle and night-pulse of the streets, from Times Square to the marginalised fringes of the city; in Jaymi’s psychic pursuit of Scorpio, whether streaking up high through the skyscrapers’ shine or secreted on a tanker as it rattles through the Bronx; and on screen, in the colourised shimmer of what Jaymi broadcasts live.


In its rollicking journey through these hidden planes of New York, to the simplicity and sensuality of its ending, Apricot Eyes is a blast of fun that trumpets boldness, tolerance and voltage, celebrating the mystery and dangers furled just behind the surface of the everyday.



Rohan Quine, Apricot Eyes, literary fiction, magical realism, dark fantasy, horror, gay, New York, worms, Bronx, subway, Hunts Point, imagination, transgender, contemporary

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Additional Information

Publisher
EC1 Digital via PublishDrive
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Published on
Jan 1, 2014
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Pages
100
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ISBN
9780957441941
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Magical Realism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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The Platinum Raven by Rohan Quine is a triple convulsion whereby our heroine Raven escalates herself into the Chocolate Raven and then the Platinum Raven, from London to Dubai to the tower in the hills in the desert – then back down again, forever changed.


In her cubicle high in the Shard in London, a sweet-natured, raven-haired receptionist named Raven is even more rudely mistreated than usual for a Monday morning. Recovering from this, her daydreams propel her into the fantasy life of a richer and more glamorous version of herself, who lives higher up in the world’s tallest skyscraper – the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai. Raven thinks of this woman as the Chocolate Raven, owing to her chocolate-coloured hair, which frames a face that’s just like her own; and straightaway, Raven cannot get enough of watching this glamorous creature.


The Chocolate Raven is a party girl whose lifestyle has a certain flash, albeit a certain flatness too. Standing on the vertiginous 152nd-Level terrace of the Burj Khalifa, she gazes across the desert at dusk, to the rock-slopes of the Hajar Mountains – and a mad-faced nightclub tower of shadow sprouts up, there on those slopes, from her gaze. This tower is run by a woman with a face just like the Chocolate Raven’s, but with platinum-blonde instead of chocolate-coloured hair, who lives a yet more empowered and intensely-coloured life: for she is the Platinum Raven, no less. And tonight she will preside over the launch of a revolutionary new club drug called mirror mist.


Between this uber-glamorous Platinum Raven and her companions Scorpio and Amber, there unfolds a sequence of events whose fusion of extraordinary beauty and violence and sensuality so bewitches the watching Chocolate Raven, that she is miserably desolate as soon as these events finish at dawn when the rising desert sun destroys that nocturnal tower on the rock-slopes. She therefore sets out on a mission to regain the voltage of the vanished building and the allure of its exotic denizens ... whereupon a stark piece of evidence of the Platinum Raven’s realm is channelled through the Chocolate Raven and is pulled right back down to earth in the original daydreamer Raven herself.



Rohan Quine, The Platinum Raven, literary fiction, magical realism, dark fantasy, horror, gay, Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Shard, towers, imagination, transgender, contemporary, fairy tale

In Apricot Eyes by Rohan Quine, a cat-and-mouse pursuit through the New York City night involves a preacher, a psychic and a dominatrix, broadcast live on air – until a horror is unearthed, bringing two of them together and the third to a sticky end.


Having partially regained a power of second sight that he’d once possessed but lost, Jaymi Peek uses this ability in a live weekly television show online, where he channels onto the screen those unexpected places, hidden colours and hatching plans that he can perceive throughout New York City. He applies this sight to the task of relocating his old friend Scorpio, who has gone missing, but succeeds in catching only a glimpse of him in some unidentified corner of the city’s underbelly.


Across a subway station, Jaymi notices an unwelcome visitor from his and Scorpio’s past – Kev Banton, who has now become a prominent evangelical preacher intent upon a moral cleansing of the population. Jaymi tails Kev discreetly through the subway, and is surprised when Kev’s journey ends at a waterfront waste ground in an industrial corner of the Bronx, where Kev slips out of sight amid an odd hum of underground engines...


The monstrous population beneath this waste ground, and the malign purposes for which the preacher and his wife have been feeding it, are revealed in the course of a triangular cat-and-mouse pursuit involving Jaymi, Scorpio and the preacher. This unfolds in Scorpio’s physical pursuit of Kev through the crackle and night-pulse of the streets, from Times Square to the marginalised fringes of the city; in Jaymi’s psychic pursuit of Scorpio, whether streaking up high through the skyscrapers’ shine or secreted on a tanker as it rattles through the Bronx; and on screen, in the colourised shimmer of what Jaymi broadcasts live.


In its rollicking journey through these hidden planes of New York, to the simplicity and sensuality of its ending, Apricot Eyes is a blast of fun that trumpets boldness, tolerance and voltage, celebrating the mystery and dangers furled just behind the surface of the everyday.



Rohan Quine, Apricot Eyes, literary fiction, magical realism, dark fantasy, horror, gay, New York, worms, Bronx, subway, Hunts Point, imagination, transgender, contemporary

In Hallucination in Hong Kong by Rohan Quine, sliding from joy to nightmare and back, a plane-flight frames a journey into Jaymi’s and Angel’s polarised identities and perceptions, where past and present merge in an obsessive fantasy of love, death, horror and apocalyptic beauty.


As their plane takes off, Jaymi is warmed by the presence of his beloved friend Angel beside him. They are bound for Hong Kong, to perform a grand concert of unearthly music from a stage set high on the Peak. Jaymi starts to doze ... and enters a fog of horror in seeming to remember that this concert lies in their distant past, not their imminent future: it happened nine years ago, and straight after that triumphant occasion there occurred unexpected disaster and the permanent catatonia of Angel. Those terrible events were rendered all the more poignant by the idyllic chapter they had experienced upon first meeting and falling in love, which he now recalls in great detail.


In reality (it would seem), Jaymi is on this flight alone, on a mission to put a compassionate end to Angel’s life, in view of his continued catatonia. And in an atmosphere of escalating nightmare and disjunction, incongruously set against the beauty of night-time Hong Kong as seen from the Peak and the Midlevels, this grim mission of euthanasia is accomplished – perhaps. That nightmare atmosphere is magnified by the obsessive flicker of Jaymi’s mind through complex permutations of his own possible guilt at betraying Angel, and the latter’s possible knowledge of this guilt ... because hadn’t there actually been a mirror on the ceiling above the bench where Angel lay supine years ago, unnoticed by Jaymi at the time but in fact revealing to Angel certain things about Jaymi’s movements that he hadn’t known Angel could see?


Sliding from joy to nightmare, then back to a joy stained by the flavour of vanishing nightmare, Hallucination in Hong Kong explores those hellish possible events lying beneath the surface of our present and future, always ready to break through into reality if they become so inclined. In this journey, it conjures up from Jaymi’s and Angel’s polarised identities and perceptions an obsessive fantasy of dark androgyny, ironic horror and apocalyptic beauty.



Rohan Quine, Hallucination in Hong Kong, literary fiction, magical realism, dark fantasy, horror, gay, Hong Kong, catatonia, plane flight, The Peak, concert, imagination, transgender, contemporary

The Imagination Thief by Rohan Quine is about a web of secrets, triggered by the stealing and copying of people’s imaginations and memories. It’s about the magic that can be conjured up by images of people, in imagination or on film; the split between beauty and happiness in the world; and the allure of various kinds of power. It celebrates some of the most extreme possibilities of human imagination, personality and language, exploring the darkest and brightest flavours of beauty living in our minds.


Alone in his skyscraper office one night, Jaymi undergoes a transformation that will change his life: he acquires the power to see into others’ minds, and then to control and project their thoughts.


Realising the potential of this gift, he hypnotises a media mogul into agreeing to broadcast an electrifying extravaganza of sound and vision emanating from Jaymi, the like of which has never been witnessed before, that will captivate millions. However, one of the mogul’s underlings has more subversive plans for milking Jaymi’s talent, involving the theft of others’ imaginations and intimate memories for commercial gain.


The broadcasting of his visions plunges Jaymi and his best friend Alaia on a journey into the underbelly of Asbury Park – a seaside town once full of life but now half-forgotten. The town’s entire oceanfront is now almost a ghost town: ruled by gangsters and drug dealers, headed by Lucan, it is populated by lost souls and the beautiful who have fallen on hard times. Blackmailed into thieving the most private and primal memories and experiences from these people’s imaginations, Jaymi discovers a web of secrets and provocations simmering beneath the surface of the town, about to explode.


When a waxwork of Lucan’s decapitated head is anonymously planted in his own bar, fear bubbles up, as everyone becomes a suspect in this unforgivable challenge to Lucan’s dominance. Then when another provocative waxwork appears – a naked full-body modelling of Lucan’s beautiful but tortured lover, Angel – Jaymi knows he must use his own gift to discover the perpetrator before Lucan does.


Delving into and celebrating the most beautiful and extreme possibilities of human imagination, personality and love, The Imagination Thief is literary fiction, with a touch of magical realism and a dusting of horror. It explores the universal human predicaments of power, beauty, happiness, hopelessness, good and evil.



Keywords: literary fiction, magical realism, dark fantasy, horror, gay, Asbury Park, psychic, New York, broadcast, imagination, transgender, contemporary, enhanced ebook

Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.
 
“A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”—Naomi Novik, bestselling author of Uprooted

Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Praise for The Bear and the Nightingale

“Arden’s debut novel has the cadence of a beautiful fairy tale but is darker and more lyrical.”—The Washington Post

“Vasya [is] a clever, stalwart girl determined to forge her own path in a time when women had few choices.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“Stunning . . . will enchant readers from the first page. . . . with an irresistible heroine who wants only to be free of the bonds placed on her gender and claim her own fate.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Utterly bewitching . . . a lush narrative . . . an immersive, earthy story of folk magic, faith, and hubris, peopled with vivid, dynamic characters, particularly clever, brave Vasya, who outsmarts men and demons alike to save her family.”—Booklist (starred review)

“An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.”—Robin Hobb
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