Welcome to the Urban Fantasist website, home to the Grievous Angel scifi and fantasy, poetry and flash fiction webzine, as well as Charles Christian's fiction, nonfiction, Urban Fantasist Publishing, and The Blog, our regular news, pictures, video clips and blog postings on writing, tech, geek stuff, the Swinging Sixties, the just plain weird, and anything else we think you'll enjoy. For further details visit our FAQs section or use the Search Box at the top of the page. You can also find a link to our Twitter feed.
The Grievous Angel
We publish new Poetry & Flash Fiction every week
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
This week we have three microfiction stories for you and their diverse subject matter features Jack Hillman on the need for Parental Control, even if your are God – then it's over to Edd Vick with Christmas Gift and the horror that would follow if your wish "it could be Christmas everyday" really did come true (thank you Roy Wood and your 1973 hit song with Wizzard). And, finally, we have Holly Schofield with Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (another title with a pop music reference – originally by Neil Sedaka in 1962) on to the limitations of even the most sophisticated 3D printers. You can read them all HERE for free.
Two short pieces of flash/micro-fiction for you this week. Both feature protagonists who are on quests although of entirely different kinds, and both contain a strong urban/dark fantasy element. Our first story Eyes of Fire is by California-based writer Preston Dennett whose credits include sales to Andromeda Spaceways, Perihelion and the Future Embodied Anthology. Next, we have Seeking Ore by Seattle-based writer Alina Rios, who spent the first part of her life in St. Petersburg, Russia. "And like all early experiences," she adds, "it's deep in my bones." You can read the stories HERE
Two longer poems for you now, both on the theme of unrequited love and loss - but all with an element of Grievous Angel dark fantasy and sci-fi unease OK, love and loss with androids and freaks! We start with Freak Seeker by Joe Nazare and follow on with Loss by Ken Poyner - you can read them both HERE
The Blog + News
Two New Poetry Books
Thought for the Day
When Too Much Tech Turns into Dystopia
I don't usually inflict the day-job on readers of the Urban Fantasist but here's a link to an interesting TechCrunch article on how too much exposure to tech in our lives can soon cross the line from being amazing to being dystopian...
Happy Halloween 2015!
There again some of us wouldn't be seen dead wandering around the Montjuic Cemetery in Barcelona after dark!
40 years ago: Bismillah!
Is this the real life? It was 40 years ago today on 31st October, 1975 that Queen first released Bohemian Rhapsody and coincidentally kick started the music video industry.
Hot Rod Porn
Amazingly UK street-legal hot rod spotted in local supermarket car park on Saturday. It's a customised version of a 1972 VW Beetle. More pix on The Blog.
Just in time for Halloween!
Yes, some guy in California just combined a Halloween spook with a drone - that should cause a few heart attacks when people see a screaming skull in a shroud flying out of the sky towards them at dusk!
Yours sincerely plugging one of my books at a recent writing event: the future's so bright I should have worn shades!
New Flash Fiction Competition - I'm the Judge
Here are details of a new competition for fans of genre flash fiction... It is for the annual Cooper Prize awarded by the Norwich Writers Circle (that's Norwich, UK) and this year's theme (which focuses on the fact male characters are frequently shallowly written in genre faction) is Man or Mannikin?
Your mission, should you wish to accept it, is to create a short/flash fiction story (between 500 and 2000 words) set in any genre fiction category (Historical, Crime, Western, Sci-Fi, Fantasy etc) featuring a strong male character (he can be a hero or a villain) who has a hidden and surprising side to his personality.
This competition is open to both NWC members AND non-members (there is a £3 entry fee for non-members) – entries by hard-copy only – full details on the web here http://norwichwriters.wordpress.com – The deadline for receiving entries is 3rd November.
Thank you Natalie Portman – that's it, I'm officially cool – Queen Amidala says so!
It was 58 years ago today...
It is 58 years exactly - since 4th October 1957 - that Russia launched Sputnik 1 and started the Space Race. Admittedly it just went around in orbit for 3 weeks going "beep beep" but...
Picture du Jour
Autumn colours, near Gaudy Hall, South Norfolk
This is fabulous and yes I am guilty of Esplanading & Negligent (in fact left to my own devices I'd probably live in my dressing gown)...
The Top Five Steampunk movies of all time - well at least so far...
With the much anticipated new Guillermo del Toro movie Crimson Peak – described as Gothic Romance, Supernatural Horror, Steampunk – scheduled for release in just under a month on 18th October, I've been conducting research into the most popular Steampunk movies to have been released to-date. You can find out which the Top Five are HERE.
Autumn Writing Courses
Picture du Jour
Here you go: racial, sexual and religious discrimination explained in one simple image. Shame about the pirates tho!
Oh, the irony!
Now here's ironic... I've been writing about tech for 35 years and best ever response from readers has been for a joke story on Twitter about a My Little Pony meets Hellraiser Pinhead mashup. Even the man himself Clive Barker favourited the story. Still, lessons have been learned – "No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering" – I shall remodel myself – just like Bert from Sesame Street.
Books + Media
New Travel Guide now in the Kindle Folklore & Mythology bestsellers list
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.
"This guide has opened more than a few doors and revealed plenty of interesting facts, if myths and legends can be called that. Read this book in one day and most of the following night. Humorous and economical writing as well as being very informative." ...Amazon 5 Star review 28th September 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."
"If you write fantasy (I do) a very useful quick-read anchor and check-list from someone who knows what he's talking about."
Latest Review: "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
68 consecutive weeks in the Amazon.com Kindle Top #20 Education/Reference and Writing Skills Bestseller Lists
Collections featuring short stories, poetry & nonfiction by Charles Christian
In other Press & Media