A new collection from one of the most powerful voices in slipstream and horror writing is a significant event. This collection of twenty two stories was one of the last that Joel Lane put together before his death in 2013. Frequently taking the form of dark urban fantasy, with his home city of Birmingham as their nucleus, these are intense and often painful stories that linger in the mind for a long time.
These stories are populated by troubled people living troubled lives in troubled places. A pervasive melancholia overhangs the tales, and seeps its way into their fabric (in tandem with the copious amounts of alcohol imbibed by their complicated characters trying to make sense of and otherwise cope with their circumstances). These tales, then, wear their scars plainly, and it’s this fragile, fractured quality which imbues them with their beauty. They are difficult stories, but then they have to be, considering their subject matter.
As a reader and as a writer, I’ve always been drawn to the dichotomy of living in a world made of equal parts beauty and tragedy, and how this kind of living affects us. This effect is on display everywhere in these pages. It’s a bittersweet vision to be sure, and an important one that we should not look away from, not ever.
From the foreword by Alexander Zelenyj.
This book also contains a substantial essay by Nina Allan examining Joel Lane’s ‘Blue’ trilogy of novels.
Joel Lane was a British author, poet, critic and anthology editor from Birmingham, a place that can be felt in a substantial part of his writing. His work has been published in numerous collections and he has received several awards throughout his career, including the British Fantasy Award in 1994 and 2008, the Shirley Jackson Award in 2008 and the World Fantasy Award in 2013. He was also increasingly active in socialism and political activism, and his anthology projects included the anti-fascist Never Again in collaboration with Allyson Bird. Joel Lane died on 25th November 2013.