It seems like only yesterday that I announced The Fiction Desk’s move into publishing. In the three months since then (and for quite a long time before then), we’ve been busy putting together our first book. With the proofs being corrected, I think it’s time to reveal all.
Our first publication, Various Authors: The Fiction Desk volume one, contains a dozen brand new stories.
I’ve tried to select a broad range of stories. While it wouldn’t make any sense to publish household names, we’ve been fortunate to get some very talented established writers on board. Regular readers of the blog will be familiar with Charles Lambert, for example. We were also fortunate enough to get a story from Danny Rhodes, the author of Asboville and Soldier Boy. Like Charles, Matthew Licht has published a short story collection with Salt; his contribution here suggests that there’s plenty more where that came from.
We’re based in the UK, and I think that there’s a greater need over here than there is in the US, where there are already a large number of literary journals. However, I’ve tried to include several stories from America, partly to provide context to the British selection, but mostly because they’re really good. As well as Matthew Licht, musician Jason Atkinson makes his fiction debut here. We’ve got a great story from Adrian Stumpp over in Utah, too. Alex Cameron is based in the UK now, but was born and brought up in Australia; I hope we’ll be able to get more stories from that part of the world in future volumes.
With the likes of the Postscripts anthology from PS Publishing and the Nightjar Press chapbooks, speculative fiction is already far better catered for than I could manage, but we’ve got our hands on a few interesting pieces that step outside the boundaries of the normal world. One of these is a new story from Patrick Whittaker, who won the 2009 British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition. I won’t flag the others up here, though: part of the fun is not knowing when things are going to go a little wonky.
I mentioned earlier that we won’t be publishing many household names, and a big reason for that is the importance of providing space for new writers to get their first publication, or to build on earlier successes. We’ve had a submissions page set up from the start, and there’s been a great response: more than five hundred submissions came in for the first volume alone. About five of the stories in this collection were requested—begged—from authors; all the rest came in as unsolicited submissions. (Please keep those submissions coming in!) Among the authors making their fiction debuts here are Jason Atkinson, Ben Lyle, and Harvey Marcus. Harvey’s story is also one of several that made me laugh out loud (LOL!) when I read it; another was Jon Wallace‘s contribution. When you read a lot, it’s easy to become jaded, to just process the words rather than really feeling them. The humour in some of these stories just cut right through that.
Here’s the full list, although the order isn’t yet finalised:
- Charles Lambert – All I want
- Lynsey May – Two Buses Away
- Matthew Licht – Dave Tough’s Luck
- Danny Rhodes – A Covering of Leaves
- Ben Lyle – Crannock House
- Ben Cheetham – Sometimes the Only Way Out is In
- Harvey Marcus – How to Fall in Love With an Air Hostess
- Jason Atkinson – Assassination Scene
- Patrick Whittaker – Celia and Harold
- Adrian Stumpp – Nativity
- Jon Wallace – Rex
- Alex Cameron – The Puzzle
So there we go. A dozen great stories from a dozen talented authors, in a bookshop near you from April 18th. For more information, see our pre-order page. You can also take out a four-volume subscription for £26.99 (a single, worldwide price).