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 and much more, the Urban Fantasist Publishing company, and Words & Vision, our regular news, pictures, video clips and blog postings on writing, tech, geek stuff, 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.
The Grievous Angel
New Poetry & Flash Fiction
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
We're back in North America today with two tales of urban gothic/horror that reflect the surreal and darker side of Americana. By accident or coincidence, both our authors are from the State of Texas. Up first is Andrew Kozma from Houston The Revolt of the Arms. And, he is followed by Dallas-based Robert Stahl with Mumbo Jumbo. You can read them both HERE for free.
We get a lot of hellhound and black demon dog stories sent into the Grievous Angel however this one – The Cur of County Road Six by Washington DC writer Anna Zumbro – takes the trope in a direction we hadn’t seen before. You can read it HERE totally free of charge.
Back to flash fiction now with Special – an intriguing apocalyptical tale from DeAnna Knippling. Zombies my be knocking at the door but there is still always time for another piece of cherry pie. You can read the story HERE
Time for another selection of the ever popular (and amusing – check out Susan Burch's canine pun in our final 'ku) scifaiku. If you haven't encountered them before, scifaiku are what you get when you add a sci-fi theme to haiku – it's not often that Dyson Spheres are name-checked in poetry! We've ten in total and you can read the 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.
Words & Vision
It was 40 years ago today - in July 1975 - that I was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in London and became a barrister.
Hooray, finally got started on writing my next book. It's another non-fiction title in The 12 Rules series. #amwriting
New Tip for Writers
Mad Max meets Star Wars - now that's a mashup!
Cynical but true?
Alcohol may have been involved
Myself and the ever-lovely Jane Christian out on the razzle at the weekend. In my case alcohol may have been involved!
An Offer You Can't Refuse
So, hearing that I'd recently been described as "the Godfather of legal tech" (the day-job, dear readers) the head of marketing at a US software company crafted this little picture. (Well, he had to, I'd made him an offer he couldn't refuse.)
Sign of the Times
A birthday present to me from Jane Christian. The words are by the late Douglas Adams, of Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy fame, and are the story of my life.
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
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
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
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.
"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 Review: "If you write fantasy (I do) a very useful quick-read anchor and check-list from someone who knows what he's talking about."
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00MELTC84
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MELTC84
51 weeks in the Amazon Kindle Top #20 Education/Reference and Writing Skills Bestseller Lists