Welcome to the Urban Fantasist website, home to Charles Christian's fiction and nonfiction, the Grievous Angel scifi and fantasy, poetry and flash fiction zine, as well as regular news, pictures and blog posts on writing, geek stuff, the just plain weird and anything else we think you'll enjoy. For further details check out our FAQs section or use the Search Box at the top of the page.
New SF&F Poetry & Flash Fiction
Latest Flash Fiction HERE
For our latest flash fiction – Death's Witness – we have a story that is a much darker than our normal fare and has echoes of the tragedy unfolding in parts of the Middle East. Our author is Day Al-Mohamed and her first book, released from Dark Quest in September 2014, is a young adult novel Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn. In addition to speculative fiction, she also writes comics and film scripts. You can read the story HERE
Bigfoot and a tattoo you never want to see feature in our latest stories, which both involve men searching for something elusive – and in the process missing something more important. The first story – The Bigfoot Hunter – is by Christopher DeWan, then we have The Collector by English writer Suzanne Conboy-Hill. You can read them both HERE
We're staying with poetry and for our latest Grievous Angel we have three writers – Bethany Powell + Rhonda Parrish + Samson Stormcrow Hayes – each using a different poetry form, namely haibun, scifaiku and rhyming verse. You can read them all HERE
Today we are featuring three works (two short poems and a longer prose-poem) by one of the stalwarts of the speculative fiction and poetry scene – Bruce Boston. Read them HERE
Two glorious pieces of urban fantasy now. The first story by Jessica Kormos – The Silence of the Yams – has a wonderful pun for a title and goes to ask whether vegetarians are really all that innocent? Our second story – The Prize by Dean Turnbloom – is a dark tale about a small town mystery and how one nine-year-old deals with it. As it happens, in that pragmatic way nine-year-olds always do. You can read them both HERE
We've not one but five new prose poems for you now, from not one but five writers new to Grievous Angel – so say hello to Rachael Clyne, Zella Christensen, F. J. Bergmann, N. M. Farr and Bethany Powell – and a series of tales covering everything from homesick witches and people-hungry homes, to bus stop gothic and a pocket full of fingers that once belonged to Jesus. You can read them all HERE.
We've three new flash fiction stories for you – from three new contributors – all women as it happens. So follow this LINK to meet Patty Templeton, Betty McIntyre and Jessica Patient and their tales of haunted juke joints, sea monsters, and dystopian ice cream vans. We've also got some of Betty McIntyre's pen and ink art, including one we've used for our latest "Grievous Angel". Enjoy.
Sorry we are a day late (delayed by, hopefully, the last of the Horsemen of the Technologypocalypse) but we have a selection of poetry from five writers today, bringing you blood, gore, horror and a little more blood. You can read them all HERE totally free of charge.
The last time we encountered Gary Every was in September last year with his tale of seaplanes and Mussolini's Catfish. Now he is back with a science fiction short story Mars Curiosity (CLICK HERE) which reminds us that Mars is the only known planet inhabited solely by robots!
We've two stories here from Kalamazoo-based William Aksel. The first was as an assignment when he attended the six week Odyssey speculative writing workshop. The objective was to show boredom without using the word 'bored'. The second story confirms the theory that dogs are smarter than their owners!
Top Stories, Pix & Movie Clips
The Weird Wolds meet Ancient Origins
Straight out of M. R. James
On my travels the other day, I drove past Glemham Hall in Suffolk. I must have passed it before but the light was shining in such a way that it caught my eye and reminded me of the opening lines of the M.R. James supernatural ghost/horror story The Ash Tree… "Everyone who has travelled over Eastern England knows the smaller country-houses with which it is studded..."
Glemham Hall is an Elizabethan stately home, set in around 300 acres of park land on the outskirts of the village of Little Glemham. It was built around 1560 and refashioned in the early 18th century, including a new facade, to give it its current Georgian appearance. It is not open to the public but it is a venue for conferences, concerts, weddings and, shortly, the Folk East music festival. Glemhamhall.co.uk
First World Problems part #9
The wonders of broadband in rural Norfolk as today's download speeds vary between 11Mb - hooray, we've got the fastest internet in the village - and 266kbps. I used to have one of those whistling modems made of bakelite that was faster. Though I recall service engineers were bearded blokes in brown overalls, not "swinging chicks" in hot pants and Nancy Sinatra kinky-boots.
Interesting SciFi TV Factoid
Apparently 65% of viewers of the new BBC CBeebies reboot of The Clangers series are adults. Watching TV like it is 1969 again!
AI ? What could go wrong!
Over on the day-job I've been interviewing people and writing about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Whatever could possibly go wrong!
Weird London meets the Digital Age
I was in the Borough Market/Southwark area of London the other week and took this picture of the gates to the Crossbones burial ground, with the Shard in the background. Not so much Ancient and Modern as Weird London meets the Digital Age. You can find out more about the history of the Crossbones site and its current regeneration at www.crossbones.org.uk
Looks like there is a lot more to cryptozoology in North America than just Bigfoot!
The 48 Hour Flash Fiction Challenge: We have a Winner!
A big thank you to my fellow jury members Zoe Margolis and Robert Grant and I'm pleased to announce we have our winners for the SCI-FI-LONDON + Urban Fantasist 48 Hour Flash Fiction Challenge 2015.
The 1st Place Winner is: Baxter & Baxter by Neil Murton (London) – when Steampunk meets time travel in a hard-boiled detective setting
2nd Place Runner-up: Grab Hold by Daniel Noall (London) – a tale of hacking and scavenging in a post-apocalyptic world
3rd Place Runner-up: The Transit by Andrea Tran (London) - in the Mexico of the future, a taxi driver learns of a mathematical paradox
You can read all three winning entries HERE
Citizen Godzilla I presume?
3/06/15 Meanwhile in Japan, a bunch of municipal officials - who clearly have their priorities right - have just granted Godzilla honorary citizenship. Funny, I always thought he'd be bigger.
These boots were made for talking !
Time for a little shoe-porn here courtesy of London artists Fantich & Young. The soles of these shoes are constructed from a mixture of synthetic and real human teeth. Talk about putting your foot in your mouth – and presumably you also need both shoe polish and toothpaste to clean them.
Wyndham finally gains his recognition!
Earlier today, the British sci-fi novelist John Wyndham finally gained some long overdue recognition when a passageway in North-West London has officially named Triffid Alley. See full story HERE.
Charles Christian's Latest Books
New Book Out Now !
Just in time for the holiday season here's my new – and unusual – travel guide to that part of East Yorkshire known as the Yorkshire Wolds, a guide that pulls together the secrets of the Wold Newton Triangle – where fact is even weirder than fiction.
A travel guide to Yorkshire’s Weird Wolds: The Mysterious Wold Newton Triangle by Charles Christian is available on Amazon Kindle as an ebook for £0.99p now.
Meet, amongst other oddities, werewolves, zombies, vampires, green skinned fairy folk, headless ghosts, screaming skulls, ancient warlords, miracle-working priests, very eccentric gentry, England’s oldest buildings, disappearing rivers, a good Queen and an avaricious Queen, a black skeleton, a Parkin-eating dragon, sea serpents, shape shifters, enchanted wells, giant monoliths and a grid of ley lines, as well as a surprising amounts of Quite Interesting Facts. There is even Lawrence of Arabia in there and, for enthusiasts of American naval history, Captain John Paul Jones. And for sci-fi & fantasy fans, you'll also find the inspiration for some of Philip José Farmer's books.
What the reviews say:
"Outstanding writer who perfectly captures the hidden worlds and forgotten corners of Britain" ...Amazon 5 Star review 1st June 2015.
"Great work bringing local folklore to life" ...Amazon 5 Star review 16th June 2015.
Buy & Read The Best Seller Writing Guide
Only available on Amazon Kindle as an ebook from £0.99p / $1.50
Do you write genre fiction? Or love reading it? This book reveals the 12 rules that writers of science fiction, fantasy, crime and horror must never break when building believable imaginary worlds for their readers.
What the reviews say...
"What a brilliant book! Rule 13: Read this book. It can only help you write better genre stories. What's to lose?" ...Vanessa Gebbie, award-wining author and editor of Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story
"It's the ideal go-to source for the basic rules and principles of genre fiction writing... it's a thoroughly enjoyable read and easy to dip into in the future for recaps... best of all, it's solid, practical advice."
"In my collection, this is one of the Best writing references I have. Insightful, Detailed, Concise, and helpful writing tips. Highly recommended to all writers!"
"A quick and witty read (some great examples are given), this book is well worth returning to at greater length to savour the author's knowledge and analysis of a wide range of fiction and the spin-off films. A short book that packs a punch!"
"This great little book gives aspiring writers a dozen common sense rules for crafting fiction.. it's also well worth the attention of more experienced writers."
"If I had read this book first, maybe I would not be on my fifth rewrite!"
"It's the sort of book I wish I'd had ten years ago, when I started working on my first novel. The price is great and the advice is sound."
Latest Reviews: "If you want to be a writer, seriously consider getting this book."
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00MELTC84
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MELTC84
48 weeks in the Amazon Kindle Top #20 Education/Reference and Writing Skills Bestseller Lists