Welcome to Urban Fantasist, home of the Grievous Angel scifi & fantasy, poetry & flash fiction webzine, as well as all Charles Christian's fiction & nonfiction, and The Blog for regular news, pix, video and comment on writing, media, tech, geek stuff, the just plain weird, and anything else that intrigues us. For further details visit our FAQs section or use the Search Box at the top of the page.
The Grievous Angel
Four new pieces of micro fiction for you today from four separate writers – Lara Alonso Corona, Andrew Kozma, Shannon Connor Winward, and Ed Cooke – we start short, then get shorter and shorter and shorter... As ever, you can read them all HERE for free.
And we're back, starting the new year with 12 new scifaiku and zappai from John Hawkhead, Christina Sng, Guy Belleranti, Debora P Kolodji, John Reinhart, Susan Burch and Anna Sykora. You can read them HERE
We last encountered today's contributor Samson Stormcrow Hayes in June, when we published one of his poems. Today he is back with a new flash fiction story – Take Two – which has a suitably horrific theme that makes it perfect for Christmas – well at least perfect if you were brought up with the Yuletide tradition of telling scary stories late at night in front of a flickering open fire. You can read the story HERE
It is our great pleasure to welcome back one of our regular contributors: Marge Simon. Marge is a writer/poet/illustrator whose work has appeared in venues such as Strange Horizons and Dreams & Nightmares, and she has won several Stokers for poetry collections. Today she returns with two pieces of microfiction although the first one – which offers a slightly NSFW spin on the classic Beauty & the Beast tale – bridges the border between fiction and prose poetry. You can read them both HERE
We've two pieces of microfiction for you now – both sharing the theme of artistic creativity – by E.E. King, a performer, writer, biologist and painter who was described by Ray Bradbury as "Marvelously inventive, wildly funny and deeply thought provoking. I cannot recommend (her stories) highly enough." That's a view we share and you can read her stories HERE
We're back! Remember when you were kid and walking to school and your best friend warned that you should never walk on the cracks in the pavement? Suzanne Conboy-Hill, who we last saw in June, is back with a cautionary tale - The Spooking of Einstein - about just what has/had/could happen if you do! You can read it free HERE
Three new poems this week: all sad and touching in their own way. We start with dark fantasy - Sometimes Like Blood by Evelyn Deshane, before moving on to science fiction - Crossing and Memorial by Jeffrey Park. You can read them all HERE
This week we welcome back Beth Cato, a regular Grievous Angel contributor and the author of The Clockwork Dagger steampunk fantasy series from Harper Voyager. Beth's poems take a fresh urban fantastic look at two women from the world of myths and legends: Death (yes, she is a woman) and the goddess Hera. You can read them both HERE
It is back to school and then off to bed with two new poems for you this week. The first – 3D Biology for Beginners – is by Mary Gilonne, a translator living in France, while the second –Bedtime Stories – is by Connecticut-based writer Edward Ahern. You can read them both HERE free of charge. Oh, and best not peer under your bed tonight!
Back to poetry this week with contributions by Daniel Ausema and Simon Williams. We've also included a few words about ghazals, for those of you who are a little rusty on obscurer poetic forms (in fact it is the first one we've ever published on the Grievous Angel). You can read both poems HERE free of charge.
Yes, we are a day early (have to be on the road and out of communications reach for the next couple of days) which kind of ironic because today's story – Nostalgia by Mark Mills – has a time travel element. You can read the story HERE
Two new urban fantasy micro-fiction tales today – Dances Moves by S. Kay and A Surprise Friend by Nicola Wells – read them both HERE
Two short pieces of fiction for you this week – featuring tales of giant rats and devious demons – bringing you urban fantasy at its best. Written by Andrew Kozma and Nicholas C. Allen, both stories – The Rats and The Demon Behind the Subway on F Street – contain elements of the surreal and Americana, as well as sin and freshly baked bread. You can read them both FREE of charge HERE
It's our great pleasure to welcome back another regular Grievous Angel contributor – Arizona-based Gary Every – with Moon Worms, a short poignant tale looking back at the demise of manned space-flights to the Moon... and of the demise of the astronauts who flew those trips. You can read the story HERE.
We've work from four poets today – some you will have seen on this zine before, others who are new to the Grievous Angel. The four are: Pat Tompkins, Herb Kauderer, Heidi Padain, and Ken Poyner. Enjoy them HERE
Time for a fresh selection of SciFaiku (or Zappai as I recently discovered was another name for random 'Ku of a non-traditional nature!) from Grievous Angel regular haikuists Christina Sng, Guy Bellaranti and John Reinhart. You can read them HERE
It is poetry all the way this week with new poems from four writers – Annie Neugebauer + John Reinhart + James Dorr + Miki Dare – writing about topics ranging from King Kong to unicorns. You can read them all HERE
Just one story for you this week. A little longer than our usual fare, One Year After by Wendy Nikel deals with the problem of the "ex" who you thought was out of your life forever. (And the Jett character is spot on – we all know people like that!) Wendy's work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, as well as other ezines and print anthologies. She is a member of the SFWA and you can read her story HERE
Writing, Tech, Geek, the Just Plain Weird: News, Pix, Comment
Now that's an idea!
Commenting on our recent selection of scifaiku, the American poet (and regular contributor) John Reinhart said "This is a great collection. I'd pay money for a scifaiku desk calendar – 365 sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and weird haikus to keep you warm every day of the year." We just might do that!
Latest BSFA Focus - new poetry out now!
The Winter 2015/16 issue of the BSFA Focus magazine has just been published – once again it contains the Poems from the Stars science fiction poetry and scifaiku section edited by Charles Christian. You'll find plenty of Grievous Angel regulars among the three page section.
The latest Focus also contains a brief Ten Rules for Writing Flash Fiction by Charles Christian.
Vote! Vote! Vote!
Voting is now open for the Society of Authors Poetry & Spoken Word Group committee elections – and "yes" I've put myself forward for the election. You have three weeks to cast your vote - the poll will close at midnight on Wednesday 17 February.
The elections will be conducted online, and Members will be sent a unique registration email from the online voting system BallotBin. Please contact email@example.com if you don't receive this. The candidates' statements can be found on the SoA's website at www.societyofauthors.org/poetry-and-spoken-word-group/committee-statements
From brain food to plant food
The fate of unread and unloved books - pic by @ChristianUncut at The Bicycle Shop cafe in Norwich
Crow - spotted in London - on its way to a murder?
Think about it.
Don't let libraries die
Good to see the Society of Authors and Neil Gaiman are pushing the cause of keeping public libraries open in the UK. You can find out more on the CILIP Institute of Library & Information Professional website HERE and by following the #MyLibraryByRight campaign on social media. National Libraries Day is 6th February.
On this day
On this day (18 January) in 1882, the author & poet A.A.Milne (of Winnie-the-Pooh fame) was born. He would later say "Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being."
Time running out for exploitive event organisers?
Here's a long rant by me in support of Philip Pullman, the president of the Society of Authors, who just quit as a patron of the Oxford Literary Festival because they do not pay authors who come to talk at their event. It may be just a gesture at this stage but it is a start, one of those beginning of the end gestures. Read the full post HERE
Let's Do the Time Warp Again...
And tonight I am taking the cast of my local village panto/revue through a rehearsal of Let's Do the Time Warp Again from The Rocky Horror Show.
News for Writers & Poets
Here's a couple of announcements for horror writers, and for sci-fi & fantasy poets...
First off, the Horror Writer's Association now has an official UK chapter – the official website is here www.hwauk.org – you can also follow them on Twitter at @HWA_UK and there is a members-only Facebook group.
Secondly, nominations have now opened for this year's Rhysling Awards for horror, science fiction and fantasy poetry. This annual and prestigious award is run by the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) and your's sincerely Charles Christian will be editing the awards anthology. This link tells you all you need to know about the awards and the nomination process BUT please note the closing date for nominations is 15 February 2016 http://sfpoetry.com/rhysling.html
David Bowie 1947-2016
And let's not forget his role as Jareth, the Goblin King, in the movie Labyrinth
Very funny - and very creepy - practical joke - wish I'd thought of it first!
For all Blade Runner movie fans - it's Roy Batty's birthday today - we're off to watch C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate - and then have cake. Let's hope there are no tears or rain.
Of course if he were around today, Roy's final words might be "I've made social media posts you people wouldn't believe. All those posts will be deleted from drives, like tears...in...rain."
Photo by Joel Goodman. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde "We are all in the gutter but some of us are reaching for a bottle of beer."
Thought for the Day
Art Deco and a Foggy Night in Scarborough
Here's a photo I took last week (on an iPhone 6) of a foggy evening in Scarborough, showing the town's Art Deco "pylon" and Stephen Joseph Theatre (previously the Odeon Cinema). One reader described it as "having an Edward Hopper-esqe feel" to it. Thank you kind lady!
How I mis-spent my youth
Throw Back Thursday: or how I mis-spent my youth – at The Cat's Whiskers "Expresso Bar" (as it was spelled back then) in Scarborough – home to dreamers, beatniks, folk singers and spotty 6th formers trying to look cool in their duffle-coats after school. Now just another tea shop catering for greying folk wearing beige. (And how come when you asked for an "expresso" in 1965, you were served "frothy coffee" – or a cappuccino as it's called today?)
Two New Poetry Books
Thought for the Day
Books, Apps, Twitter & other Publications
Buy The Best Seller Writing Guide - 79 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...
"Twelve jewels of advice. The book is full of great advice to help not only genre fiction writers but also mainstream writers of all kinds. It is written in easy to understand terminology and I came away with good ideas to use in the book I am writing now. Thanks very much for great information." ...January 2016
"I've read, re-read and refer to this book quite often. Mr Christian's book is here to stay in my reference collection. I recently had the opportunity to buy it in electronic format and am delighted this concise and insightful reference is now with me wherever I travel. I recommend it to all levels of writers." ...January 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
"His style is crisp and humorous, he is knowledgeable and sensible, and this little monograph is well worth purchasing."
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00MELTC84
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MELTC84
79 consecutive weeks in the Amazon.com Kindle Top #20 Education/Reference and Writing Skills Bestseller Lists
Travel Guide now in Kindle Folklore bestsellers list
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 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 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.
Check out the new app!
Fed up with the traditional sugary festivities and the tweeness of Advent calendars and The 12 Days of Christmas? Well now there is a darkly humorous and quirky alternative – and it is available as a FREE Apple iOS app for iPhones and iPads. Initial responses include "this is the coolest thing,” “looks amazing”and “awesome.” Full details HERE
Collections featuring short stories, poetry & nonfiction by Charles Christian
In other Press & Media