I’m pleased to say that my story “The Pleasure Garden” will appear in Something Remains, a new anthology from Alchemy Press. It will be launched 24 September at Fantasycon by the Sea.
This unique and moving collaboration differs from any book I’ve contributed to in the past. When Joel Lane died in 2013 he left many handwritten fragments behind. Some were sketches, others closer to complete stories.
Peter Coleborn and Pauline E Dungate teamed up to edit an anthology based on these fragments. Various friends and associates of Joel’s selected pieces that sparked their imaginations. Out of this emerged a collection of stories, poems, and reflections on Joel’s poetry and critical work.
I chose a sparse and suggestive piece called “Antithesis” – here’s the original on the left. I’ll add that an important facet of Joel’s writing was its dark sense of place and its rootedness in Birmingham. However, contributors were free to place their stories in other locations if they weren’t familiar with Birmingham. For me, this translated to Kennington and Vauxhall in south London. The latter is home to a few well-known gay pubs; it is also the site of a massive surge of corporate construction projects marked by some scary crane-related activity. So out of this melange sprouted “The Pleasure Garden”.
As you’d expect, some fragments appealed to more than one contributor. I ended up sharing “Antithesis” with Alison Littlewood, an altogether fab writer and lovely individual. I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s made of the same source material.
This book will do Joel proud with its powerful line-up of authors. Sales will benefit Diabetes UK, since Joel suffered from type 2 diabetes.
“The Pleasure Garden” is technically my second collaboration. The first was with Mat Joiner – who also contributes to Something Remains – for our story in Eibonvale’s Rustblind and Silverbright anthology. Back in 2013 Joel gave us generous and incisive feedback on our tale. I only wish that I could have sent “The Pleasure Garden” to him as well.
On 24 June, the day after the EU referendum, several contributors noted the irony of the title in the wake of Brexit – and Joel sure loved his puns. A few of us wondered what Joel would have made about this turn of events. We can only speculate, but I’m sure he would have been appalled by the post-referendum explosion of bigotry and he would have put himself on the line to oppose it.
Anyway, here’s the table of contents for Something Remains. And remember, if you can’t make it to Fantasycon, Something Remains is now available for preorder here.
- Foreword by Peter Coleborn
- Introduction by Pauline E. Dungate
- Not Dispossessed: A Few Words on Joel Lane’s Early Published Works by David A. Sutton (Essay)
- Joel by Chris Morgan (Verse)
- Everybody Hates a Tourist by Tim Lebbon
- The Missing by John Llewellyn Probert
- Charmed Life by Simon Avery
- Antithesis by Alison Littlewood
- Dark Furnaces by Chris Morgan
- The Inner Ear by Marion Pitman (Verse)
- Broken Eye by Gary Mcmahon
- Stained Glass by John Grant
- Threadbare by Jan Edwards
- The Dark above the Fair by Terry Grimwood
- Grey Children by David A. Sutton
- The Twin by James Brogden
- Lost by Pauline Morgan (Verse)
- Through the Floor  by Gary Couzens
- Through the Floor  by Stephen Bacon
- Bad Faith by Thana Niveau
- Window Shopping by David Mathew
- Clan Festor by Liam Garriock
- Sweet Sixteen by Adam Millard
- Buried Stars by Simon Macculloch
- And Ashes in Her Hair by Simon Bestwick
- The Pleasure Garden by Rosanne Rabinowitz
- Joel Lane, Poet by Chris Morgan (Essay)
- The Reach of Children by Mike Chinn
- The Men Cast by Shadows by Mat Joiner
- The Winter Garden by Pauline E. Dungate
- Natural History by Allen Ashley
- The Second Death by Ian Hunter
- The Bright Exit by Sarah Doyle (Verse)
- Blanche by Andrew Hook
- The Body Static by Tom Johnstone
- You Give Me Fever by Paul Edwards
- The Other Side by Lynda E. Rucker
- Of Loss and of Life: Joel Lane’s Essays on the Fantastic by Mark Valentine (Essay)
- Shadows by JJoe X Young
- I Need Somewhere to Hide by Steven Savile
- Coming to Life by John Howard
- The Enemy Within by Steve Rasnic Tem
- Afterword: The Whole of Joel by Ramsey Campbell (Essay)