Urban Fantasist is curated by Charles Christian to bring you a mix of new, free-to-read, sci-fi and fantasy poetry and flash fiction in the Grievous Angel webzine + the Gonzo Newswire blog to inform and entertain you with news and comment on writing, folklore, pop culture, media, tech, geek stuff, and the just plain weird + our new Electric Haiga section + all Charles Christian's latest fiction and nonfiction books and reviews. For more visit our FAQs section or use the Search Boxes – and remember to sign up for our newsletter!
Grievous Angel Fiction, Poetry + Electric Haiga
Mars is only a reality TV show away... In our latest story Mars One, award-winning writer DJ Cockburn takes us on a journey into Deep Space that still might be coming to our TV screens. You can read it HERE
Our latest flash fiction Chronos combines Eternity with social media as Andrea Porter asks "What what if Time is so bored that it amuses itself photobombing other people's selfies?" You can read the story HERE totally free of charge.
Desolate House Haiga
Our latest feature on the Grievous Angel is a prose poem by the English writer I.Horsburgh. Called Everyone Got That? it offers a surreal spin on the announcements you hear while waiting for trains on railway platforms. You can read it HERE free.
New haiga by Christina Sng
We've a new story and two short poems for you now by regular Angel contributor Bruce Boston. The story tells the saga of Medusa's smarter sister – what, you didn't know there were three Gorgons who could turn you into stone? You can read Bruce's work HERE
We've three new pieces of micro fiction for you now, covering everything from antique mannequins, to squirrel girls, and even Prince Charming, by Tonya Liburd, Richard Manly Heiman and Alexandra Grunberg – you can read them all HERE
Mind Racing by Cathy Bryant
Our latest flash fiction – Your Order is Being Processed – is a scarily prescient tale by the well-known writer William Meikle. You can read the full story HERE
To the Lighthouse with Laika! Time for some poetry with new-to-the-Angel contributor New York-based irving and a return of regular Republic-of Ireland-based poet John W. Sexton. You can read both poems HERE totally free of charge.
Our new Electric Haiga section is now "live" with our first submission by Minnesota author, poet and journalist Mike McCormick. Click on the image to see a larger version of the haiga.
"We are stardust" runs the line from a 1960s song. And maybe some of us really are, as Maureen Bowden considers in our latest flash fiction story Gravel. You can read it HERE.
It's been a while but we're back with a great selection of 10 new scifaiku by Ash Krafton + Pat Tompkins + John Hawkhead + Francis W. Alexander + Christina Sng + Guy Belleranti. You can read them all HERE
SFL Flash Fiction Challenge
Gonzo Newswire blog: writing, folklore, geek & the just plain weird
It came from beneath the sea!
Take Care What You Wish For!
A cautionary tale from history (or at least folklore) on the importance of being careful what you wish for...
According to a contemporary pamphlet, in 1631 a certain Mr Pennington, a barrister of Gray's Inn (in London) – whose customary expletive was "the Devil take me" – was apparently visited by the Devil in the shape of a black dog "who left him dead, with his eyes clawed out."
A visit to the Wenhaston Doom
I recently visited the Wenhaston Doom, at St Peter's Church, Wenhaston, Suffolk, where there is a remarkable survival of a type of church painting that was once common in medieval England. Read the full story HERE
Where have all the console cowboys gone?
Love this cartoon comparing what, 30 years ago, we thought the cyberpunk era would be like, with today's reality of life in the Digital Age!
Something only fans of stationery will see the point of..
All My Yesterdays - 1968
Evocative picture from the 1960s showing Eric Burdon, John Mayall, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Winwood and the late Carl Wayne (with The Move in those days.) Saw them all live.
Pentacles in a Church ?
See the latest Gonzo blog HERE post for full story.
A suitably M.R. Jamesian tomb marker from St Margaret's Church, Cley-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk coast. While I was there, a small child asked what it meant – I told him it was a pirate's grave. (I know, I'm a bad man.)
You know you are getting old...
You know you are getting old when you mention to someone that you've just been to see a Blondie tribute band gig and they reply "Oh, Blondie... we did a project on them at school!"
"Being a writer is cool because it's like always having homework and then you die" ...American writer Maria Sherman
New story published on cult Inwood Indiana zine
Online Chat Tonight!
I'm doing a webinar/online chat tonight (7:30EST) for Ancient Origins Premium on Werewolves, Warriors & where Folklore Tales come from. http://members.ancient-origins.net/webinars
“I like Grievous Angels and the universe you’ve created. I have recommended your magazine to a number of young writers in Colorado, in part because of the size limit. It’s a very good test of ability and discipline, in my opinion. Your Urban Fantasist website is fantastic, by the way. I found it an adventure.”
New Twitter Handle
No drama but just changed my Twitter handle from @ChristianUncut to @GonzoNewswire – the change better reflects the content I tweet, whereas when I started I was almost exclusively covering tech. And, it will stop confusing people who think Christian is my religion rather than my name!
Fossils of Mythical Creatures
My friend, the poet and sculptor Graham High, has some of his work being displayed at the Cley 16 Contemporary Art exhibition currently taking place in and around the North Norfolk coastal town of Cley-next-the-Sea. Reflecting his previous existence as a SFX animatronics and model maker for the movie industry, Graham's work includes some spookily realistic imaginings of what the fossilised remains of mythical creatures might look like. Full story HERE
Kett's Rebellion 1549
Full story HERE
Is Mrs Mothersole in there?
For all fans of the supernatural horror writer M.R. James: a tree I spotted recently, I know it's not an ash but made me think "Is Mrs Mothersole in there?"
Electric Haiga is Go!
On this day: June 25 - 1982
For people who think we've just moved into a dystopian future, the movie Blade Runner opened in the US on 25th June 1982 depicting what it imagined life would be like in the year 2019. Yay, just 3 years to go before we can see attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion and watch C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. Picture shows Margaret Hodge waking up Jeremy Corbyn to tell him it's time to go, as Tony Blair looks on worrying what the Chilcot Report will say.
Rhysling Winners Announced
On behalf of the Rhysling Anthology Editor & Rhysling Award Chair, Charles Christian (that's me) and the officers of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, we are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Rhysling Award. We had a bumper number of submissions, a record number of votes cast, and some very close results in all the categories. The results in full are HERE
For all Basil Brush fans
Oh no Basil, you've eaten Mister Derek!
Let's get the computer to write the script!
This is what happened when filmmaker Oscar Sharp asked his tech collaborator Ross Goodwin to build a machine, containing a neural network, that could write screenplays. They created Jetson and fueled it with hundreds of sci-fi TV and movie scripts. With a team including Thomas Middleditch, star of HBO's Silicon Valley, they gave themselves 48 hours to shoot and edit whatever Jetson decided to write.
Knock, Knock, Grammar Police calling...
...unless of course you actually do have dogs possessed by demons!
This spring I had the great pleasure of editing the 2016 Rhysling Award Anthology. Nominees for the Rhysling Awards are selected by the membership of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Each member is allowed to nominate one work in each of two categories: Best Long Poem and Best Short Poem. All nominated works must have been published during 2015.
The anthology allows SFPA members to easily review and consider all nominated works and serves as a showcase of the best science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry of 2015. The Rhysling Anthology is available in paperback on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
The Things Agents Say #97
Had interesting conversation with a literary agent recently. There's a summary of the key point HERE but I do wonder if some agents are "talking the talk" but not "walking the walk"!
Something for all Snoopy fans: on this day - 25 May 1803 - Edward Bulwer-Lytton was born. Best known today for his novel "The Last Days of Pompeii", his novel "Paul Clifford" begins with the immortal words "It was a dark and stormy night..."
What you choice of Font says about you!
Better update my LinkedIn profile!
So it's official (and it must be true as two national newspaper say so!) I'm now a member of a "crack team" of werewolf hunters and an "expert" in folklore & the paranormal. Better update my LinkedIn profile!
Latest report from Woo-Woo Central...
My interview last week with a journo about "Old Stinker" the "werewolf" sighted in Hull (UK) seems to be going viral with the story now appearing online in the Daily Express, The Times, Sun, Mail Online (that's me in the corner next to a story about the Kardashians) Metro, Daily Mirror and Daily Star plus follow-up interviews with the Huffington Post (where I got a higher position on the page than a story about a soap opera actress being fired after a fortnight) and even the Russian news agency Sputnik.
The story also currently occupies about 6 pages of results on Google when you search for Hull + Werewolf + Old Stinker. And they all plugged my book Wolds Weird - which hit No.1 on the Amazon Kindle Folklore bestsellers list. File under Things You Never In Your Wildest Dreams Imagined Would Happen When You Woke Up On Monday Morning! Love the graphic Sputnik used!
Also not into networking?
On this Day: 8th May 1895 - the US writer & critic Edmund Wilson was born. To The Finland Station is one of is best remembered books today. He also said "There is nothing more demoralizing than a small but adequate income." Not a fan of the "exposure economy" in later life he would send out a pre-printed rejection card to anyone asking him to do a job for free. On this particular card he also writes that he doesn't do readings unless offered a large fee. We can assume Wilson also wasn't into networking, super-pleasing and marketing!
Irony-free zone at Huff Post
Next time some event promoter or magazine editor says "We really love your work however we can't afford to pay you but think of all the exposure you'll get!" – just remember this!
It's a crazy idea but it just might work!
The Ascent of Man: from Monkey to Zombie!
Tech: What could ever possibly go wrong?
Why does this cartoon remind me of some startup companies investing in potentially dangerous tech, such as AI, that they don't really understand...
Dedicated to everyone who has had to endure this at event & convention Q&As!
In Wigan we sit in a late night cafe...
Thought for the Day
Books, Reviews Links & Twitter
Folklore guide now with Werewolf update
A folklore and travel guide to a hidden corner of England 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/$1.49 now. - UPDATED JULY 2016
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 Parkin-eating dragon, sea serpents, shape shifters, enchanted wells, giant monoliths and a grid of ley lines, as well as some Quite Interesting Facts. There is even Lawrence of Arabia 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 greatest 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.
"Fascinating. Highlights and explains things you could pass every day and never see." ...Amazon 5 Star review 13th January 2016.
Buy The Best Seller Writing Guide - 106 weeks in Top 20
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 Latest Reviews say...
"I was blown away by this book! I loved the no frills approach and the ability of the author to speak directly to each potential pitfall and stumbling block of the craft. It was a quick read chocked full of valid reasons why people need to study before assuming just because a person reads, doesn't mean they can write.." ...April 2016
"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
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00MELTC84
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MELTC84
106 consecutive weeks in Amazon Kindle Top #20 Education/Reference and Writing Skills Bestseller Lists
Quickest Way Down now Amazon ebook
This is the Quickest Way Down is a bumper collection of 13 sci-fi, urban and dark fantasy short stories set in the present day or very near future that give everyday existence a nudge into the realms of the fantastic, the weird, the supernatural, the horrific and the surreal.
In a review, best-selling horror author Wayne Simmons said... "The devil is in the detail, they also say, and this is true of Christian's writing. He's a man who likes to theme, certain little quirks and tropes presenting themselves time after time. There's a lot of Mocha in this book, for one thing. There's a lot of sex, too: alien sex, demon sex, and, least believable of all, sex with sci-fi fans. But what I found most was heart.
"You'll smile as you read these stories, not least the first and last entries, a two-parter end of the world tale which sets the tone perfectly for what's to come, as well as what's been, leaving the reader surprisingly uplifted at the book's conclusion."
Some of these stories were previously published in print only by Salt Publishing in 2011. This new collection has been completely re-edited and also includes two new stories.
Available in Kindle ebook format for £0.99/$1.99
Book with nonfiction, short stories & poetry by Charles Christian
Other Press & Media
Searching for Old Stinker: Medieval Legends meet 21st Century Werewolf Hunters (that's me!) – read my latest story on the Ancient Origins Premium Site.
Eadric Streona - one of the worst Britons ever? Read my full story on Ancient Origins Members Only site now!