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 Blog to inform and entertain you with news and comment on writing, folklore, pop culture, media, 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: Flash Fiction, Poetry & Haiga
We've a bumper-bundle (a reference only people who listened to Two-Way Family Favourites on BBC Radio in the UK in the 1950s will get) of scifaiku for you now. Nothing but haiku, except for the tanka that is. Our contributors are Kendall Evans, Susan Burch, Samantha Renda, Pat Tompkins, Christina Sng and Francis Alexander. You can read them HERE
What if the Age of Social Media and Texting has a permanent effect on humanity, asks Luke McKinney in our latest story Apostropocalypse? You can read the story HERE
What's not to love about this story: a cold, winter's night in Greenwich Village, sitting in a coffee shop when in walks the ghost of one of the heroes of Punk Rock? The author is Matt Handle and some of his work, including his debut novel Storm Orphans, is available on Amazon. You can read his story Me and the Ghost of Joey Ramone HERE
The Owl - an intriguing haiga-haibun by Deborah L. Davitt
If you go out into the garden late at night, just watch out for the gnomes warns Daniel Lamb in our latest flash fiction story. You can read Gnomes HERE
Unopened email - new haiga by Pris Campbell
We've two new flash fiction stories for you now, from Margaret Killjoy with A Reasonable Place if You're Careful – an alarming excursion into urban, well at least rural, fantasy, and Heartache by Sarah Goldman taking us into the realms of magical realism. You can read it HERE free of charge.
Tightrope: a new haiga by David J. Kelly
We've a fascinating mix of poetry for you now – from John Grey, Jenny Blackford, and Deborah L. Davitt – covering everything from vampires and gnomes to new shades of paint we'd all like to see. Yes, we'll paint the bathroom ceiling in Squashed Lizard mart emulsion... Read them HERE now.
Dying Light - a new haiga by John Reinhart
Something old, something new. We've four poets for you today – two (Herb Kauderer & Ken Poyner) are regular Grievous Angel contributors, while the other two (Lauren McBride & Mary Soon Lee) make their Angel debut. Read the poetry HERE
New Haiga - Iced Plum Wine
Gonzo Blog: writing, folklore, media, geek & the just plain weird
Whoop! in 17 syllables
As latest issue of Scifaikuest publishes one of my haiku. Cover illustration by Sandy DeLuca.
What scientists say versus what we think they mean!
Sign of the Times
The Great Grievous Angel Submission Backlog Beaten!
So long Leonard Cohen
In July this year, when Leonard Cohen heard that Marianne Ihlen (his 1960s muse immortalised in the song So Long Marianne - pictured with Cohen) was near to death, he wrote to her "Well Marianne, it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon." We just didn't know how soon. Carpe Diem.
Mad Max Fury Road: the cost-slashing Accountant's Cut
It's Halloween & this is my favourite Trick or Treat cartoon
The latest issue of the BSFA (British Science Fiction Association) magazine Focus (issue #66 - Summer/Autumn 2016) contains the regular Poetry From The Stars slot, featuring poems and scifaiku by a number of regular Grievous Angel contributors, plus a feature article by me on why writing poetry is an essential art for science fiction writers. You can read both stories by following this LINK
A stained-glass Dalek! The full story behind its creation is HERE
A Perfect Mug for Proofreaders
Thank you, Thank you!
A big thank you to the cast and audience at the Maddermarket Theatre (Norwich) last night for running my short play The Hot Chick as part of the RedDuck Producktions Scratch Shot event! Dahlings you were all wonderful!
Like something out of "The Gernsback Continuum"
It's 1946 and a New York real-estate has a plan to build a new airport in the centre of Manhattan. Read the full story HERE.
If you are in Norwich (England) next week, on Thursday 13th October, call by the Maddermarket Theatre at 7:30pm where my new playlet (it’s about 20 minutes long) is receiving its first public performance as part of REDduck Producktion's monthly Scratch Shot event. Called The Hot Chick, the play is set in the world of science fiction cosplay and fantasy conventions. It’s theatre Jim, but not as we know it! (Tickets £5.00)
Hey! I'm a Judge
Positively chuffed to report that I'm now a judge – for the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Science Fiction Literature Award https://www.clarkeaward.com/award-winners/the-award-juries/
A foxhound shows his contempt for a priest...
A little bit of ecclesiastical graffiti from the porch of St George's church, South Elmham St Cross in Suffolk. This is part of the notorious "Saints" area where even the locals get lost travelling from one village to another.
Newspaper comic strips #101
Click on image to enlarge
Am Writing - Am Drinking!
From the BBC in 1963
"Sorry mate, you missed the last bus home to Skaro, this one exterminates at Hayes End."
For all Harry Potter fans... a Sorting Hat cake
I like the fact there is also a tray of cupcakes available, just in case they run out of cake.
New feature now on Ancient Origins Members site
The UK holiday weekend in random pictures...
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
“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
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!
Oh no Basil, you've eaten Mister Derek!
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
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!
Dedicated to everyone who has had to endure this at event & convention Q&As!
Books, Reviews Links & Twitter
New 5 Star Review
"Best writing guide I've read" – latest Amazon 5 star review, September 2016
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 International Best Seller Writing Guide - 121 weeks in the Amazon 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
121 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!