I began writing Students of Myself back in 2017 and finished in early 2020. I wanted to create a complex story that had to be told from many different and often contradictory perspectives for it to be fully fleshed out. I think of this story as being like a circle with the truth as the centre point. This circle is divided into eighteen segments, each of which represent one 'view' of the truth. These views are only partly true but they do always contain some truth. Near the end of the novella the framing device becomes part of the story and is itself framed.
Enought of that! If you are interested, the novella is there to be read... and if you aren't interested there's not much point in trying to persuade you otherwise :-)
It's a Western, yes, and furthermore it's a Weird Western, and I am very pleased with the way it has turned out. It's a collection of stories and poems and includes a play and an article too.
Published by Black Scat Books, the book description runs as follows:
"Rhys Hughes saddles up & blasts his way across the vast plains — kickin’ up trouble in this hog-wild collection of Western Weirdness. Using various forms (short stories, a play, lonesome poems — even a garsh-dang essay!), he roasts the genre & serves up some hearty, avant-garde grub — fresh as a dew-dappled Texas rose. Guns, puns, cowgirrrls & tumbleweed — what more could ya ask for?"
I am going to run a book promotion for this book as follows: if you purchase the book and take a photograph of yourself holding it, I will put your name into a hat and when there are 25 names in that hat I will dip in my hand and pull one out. The winning name will receive a free copy of my next book, My Rabbit's Shadow Looks Like a Hand, when it is published.
In fact I think I might do this with all my subsequent books... Anyway, this new book is now available on Amazon and elsewhere. I had enormous fun writing it and I hope you will have fun reading it.
"Who are the Corybantic Fulgours? They are monsters. They live in a room, a room as large as the inside of the Moon, and in this room there are all sorts of ways and means, odds and ends, curves and bends, and no one but no one can ever say what the right way from here to there is. Most monsters don't care about things like that, and the Corybantic Fulgours are made from curdled light, so they care even less. Let's open the door to that room and step inside..."
CARRYING WOMEN ACROSS RIVERS
Quirky poetry in the light-hearted tradition of Richard Brautigan, Don Marquis, Hilaire Belloc, Blaise Cendrars and Edward Lear. 133 verses and prose poems ranging in length from one-sentence quips to absurdist ballads. Space, time, love, journeys, fruit, the thoughts and feelings of inanimate objects and monsters are among the themes covered. Available from Amazon here.
THE MEANDERING KNIGHT
An adventure story in verse form. Bertie Random is an ordinary man and an unlucky traveller. While fleeing monsters on foot, he is accosted by an octopus on roller skates who gives him eight letters. These letters tell the tales of strange incidents across time and space. If Bertie learns the appropriate lessons from reading them, he will be knighted by Fate herself and his bad luck will turn into opportunity. Arise, Sir Random? Available from Amazon here.
Cover art by the excellent Selwyn Rodda.
Cover artwork by Selwyn Rodda. Fifteen one-act plays in the absurdist tradition including one longish monologue. Also songs and dances! One of the plays was written in collaboration with the Mauritian author Vatsala Radhakeesoon. None of my plays has ever been performed and only one ('Yesferatu') has even been published before (in Brazil), so maybe writing plays at my age is the super folly/crisis of a middle-aged man :-) But by heck, I enjoyed the process of writing them!
They were written for the page as well as the stage, but I do hope that one day some of them will be acted (with puppets or people) or turned into animated films. When the first is performed I will consider myself a playwright but not before then. Nonetheless, I am delighted with this volume and the way it has turned out. I only began writing plays in the year 2018. Wish I had started sooner!
The book is available from Amazon and elsewhere :-)
I am delighted to announce the publication of my new book, Crepuscularks and Phantomimes. The book was originally published in an ultra-limited edition in Brazil by Raphus Press. That edition has sold out now (unless there is a special reserve copy in the possession of the publisher; email him to inquire) but the paperback and ebook editions have just become available. The limited edition is a collector’s item. The paperback is a mass market book.
Selwyn Rodda. The book includes thirteen tales (the limited has eleven; I always add a bonus or two for paperback editions) of a strongly gothic, ghostly and lovecraftian slant. This will certainly be my very last book of horror stories. My short story writing career is drawing to a close. I planned a long time ago to write 1000 stories and no more. I am finally nearing that limit, a destination I never imagined I would arrive at.
Unlike so many of my story collections, which use horror ideas and tropes for non-horror or even anti-horror purposes, the comedy and whimsy and invention in Crepuscularks and Phantomimes is wholly with the horror authors who inspired the tales in the book. These stories are tributes to Lovecraft, Machen, Dunsany, et al. Already the book has had great reviews, for example this one, and spectacular blurbs, as follows:
“Wryly dark and creepily funny, the stories in Crepuscularks and Phantomimes simultaneously scratch the horror itch and strike your funny bone, What might happen if Firbank’s head was grafted onto Lovecraft’s body and then released into the wild.” – Brian Evenson.
“Crepuscularks and Phantomimes, Gothic, Ghostly and Lovecraftian tales in the ironic mode is a perfect showcase for the author’s adroit wordplay, for an imagination as whimsical as it is grotesque. His voice is refreshingly original, darkly witty, dazzling and delightful. My highest recommendation.” – Jeffrey Thomas.
“These tales defy anticipation, schoolbook rules, humdrum parsing, genre conventions. They stutter, they sing, they ingest and indigest. They gimp and they gag, they traject orthogonally, they do the seven year itch. They show us butts inside butts, ruts atop ruts, and guts within guts. They kick and they frack. They love craft, they craft love. They rapture and enrapture, if sometimes only fractionally. They case shadows and shadow casts. They separate and conjoin, and when they stop dancing, the jig still isn’t up. Enter this collection at your peril and try not to fret if you emerge as someone you don’t yet recognise. All will be well, and if it isn’t, oh well, you’ve had a hell of a slide.” – Michael Bishop.
One of the stories in the book has been translated into Russian and has just gone up on the website of the premier Russian horror fiction journal, Darker Magazine. This is only the second time I have been translated into Russian.
My new book has just been published. Copies arrived for me today.
SLAP-ON-THE-WRIST STORIES is a selection of tales controlled by numbers. For example, 'Postcards From the Hedge' is told in 50 postcards from 50 different animals and each postcard is exactly 50 words long... 'Trouble with Drabbles' is a story made up of 100 stories each 100 words long... 'Only Sixty-Nine Whims Away' consists of 69 chapters each 69 words long... 'Ten of Our Trombones are Missing' consists of 66 chapters each 66 words long.
This book is therefore an example of OuLiPo writing. The title of the book was suggested to me by fantasy writer James Bennett after I had expressed my enthusiasm for Kawabata's Palm-of-the-Hand Stories, one of my favourite short story collections of all time. My book is available on Amazon and elsewhere in both paperback and ebook editions.
I had wanted to write a weird Western for a long time. This urge was considerably amplified by the weird Westerns of two great writers that I enjoyed immensely, The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan and The Place of Dead Roads by William Burroughs, both of which I read a couple of years ago and which were an inspiration on my own novel.
My novel has been published by Bizarro Pulp Press and is available directly from them, or from Amazon and other online bookstores (and also from some bricks-and-mortar bookstores). The book consists of two sections that are separated in time and yet the West remains a persistent force in both, unchanging in certain ways, an eternal backdrop to the rugged minds and battered bodies that pass through it.
I always have fun writing fiction but I can say that I've never had quite so much fun writing anything as I had during the creation of The Honeymoon Gorillas. It was a romp and a rumbustious delight. I hope you get the same enjoyment from reading it !
The longest single author short-story collection in publishing history is now available as an ebook!
In fact it is available as two ebooks, because it comes in two different editions, male and female, that differ in 10% of their contents. This is a trick that I picked up from Milorad Pavić, whose Dictionary of the Khazars also comes in male and female editions.
People keep asking me how I selected the variant stories for the two editions. The fact of the matter is that there is no rhyme or reason to the selection. I am not trying to make a point about differing male and female tastes in fiction. Quite the contrary! The differences are surely there but also insignificant.
As incredible as it sounds, there may actually be a print version next year. A publisher who has already issued a couple of my books is interested in bringing out a strictly limited multi-volume edition. It remains to be seen how practical this venture will turn out to be...
In the meantime here is the collection for the Kindle. THE MILLION WORD STORYBOOK features exactly 365 stories, one every day for an entire year. If you follow the link and click on 'Look Inside' you can read a sample for free. The book is so long that the sample, which is a certain percentage of the digital book, already contains 54 stories.
Links to purchase this ebook can be found below...
Amazon US -- Female Edition
Amazon US -- Male Edition
Amazon UK -- Female Edition
Amazon UK -- Male Edition
This collection contains approximately one third of my total fiction output over the past 25 years. The stories are presented in chronological order of their composition. The earliest dates from 1990 and the latest dates from this year 2015 and in fact is one of my most recently completed tales. As I plan to write 1000 stories in my working life, this collection will contain one quarter of my entire output ever!
I believe that this is a major literary event. Well, at the very least, it is a major personal event for myself and for the writer that I am and have been all my life...
32 quirky tales of unusual fantasy, philosophical satire, ironic adventure and logical daftness... The official launch date is actually next month but my author's copies are already in my hands. I am working on preparing an official launch event soon. It will be a party of some kind.
Review copies have been sent out and have reached most of the reviewers. I have high hopes for this collection, but of course what I like isn't always what the reading public like. In fact it is frequently at odds.
No matter. I write the kinds of books I most enjoy reading and ultimately that's all that really matters.
This photo shows me at the official book signing in the Forbidden Planet bookshop in London recently.