Alles, was fest ist

All That is Solid is getting a third print outing – in German as Alles, was fest ist. This will also be my first ever publication in translation, which is very exciting. The story first appeared in 2017 in the Swan River Press anthology The Scarlet Soul: Stories for Dorian Gray, a limited edition that sold out quickly and it re-emerged as a chapbook from Eibonvale Press in 2019

And this time around, German imprint White Train is publishing it in a special issue of Weird alongside stories by Joel Lane, Louis Marvick and Mark Valentine. In addition, Weird contains an update of a tribute to Joel Lane that I wrote for this blog in 2014. Weird is available at this link and you can also visit the websites for White Train and its sister publication Night Train to find out more.

Meanwhile the Eibonvale Press chapbook of All That is Solid has recently been reviewed by Stephen Theaker for the British Fantasy Society: “This is a compassionate and sensitive portrayal of what it has been like for our friends from the continent in recent years.”

The BFS also ran a review of Resonance & Revolt back in June. Pauline Morgan offers a perceptive account of some of the stories and themes that unite them across time and location.

“In the majority of stories, whenever and wherever they are set, characters are either engaged in revolution or have actively participated in protest in their past. It is perhaps significant than often they are older and have moved on from an idealistic youth. At the same time, many of the stories have a resonance, not just with the past of the participants but with other pasts and other stories… Most readers will find something among them that they will enjoy but don’t expect them to be conventional.”

Given that it’s been a year or two since publication, I appreciate the way the BFS highlights books that its reviewers find interesting regardless of publication date. I often read books several years after publication so why review them only when they’re hot off the presses?

In other news, a fine review of Lucifer and the Child came out on the Pretty Sinister blog.

“Ethel Mannin explores ethics, morality, faith, love, the inherent magic of the natural world and the ultimate mystery of devotion — both earthly and spiritual — and does so with stark frankness, uncensored sexuality and near mockery of convention… Lucifer and the Child uses a supernatural motif that makes one recognize that magic is ever present in the world. That the wonders of the natural world are as hypnotic as any spell or incantation chanted in a candlelit kitchen. And yet there is danger in that attractiveness and seduction of the unknown.”

The reviewer also has some kind words for the intro from yours truly: “The book includes a well researched foreword by scholar Rosanne Rabinowitz which sheds light on the novel’s re-discovery and Ethel Mannin’s fascinating life as an iconoclast and counterculture figure.”

Lucifer and the Child is also discussed in this episode of the Censored Podcast, a series that looks at books that have been banned in Ireland at one time or another.

In terms of new work, my story The Poison Girls will appear in what will undoubtedly be another beautiful Egaeus Press anthology, Bitter Distillations. Watch this space for more news! Egaeus hints at what’s to come:

“The book will comprise of eighteen sinister and intoxicating pieces courtesy of Ron Weighell, Timothy J Jarvis, Damian Murphy, Kathleen Jennings, Lisa L Hannett, George Berguño, Yarrow Paisley, Stephen J Clark, Joseph Dawson, Carina Bissett, Alison Littlewood, Rose Biggin, Jonathan Wood, Nina Antonia, Rosanne Rabinowitz, Louis Marvick, Sheryl Humphey and Jason E. Rolfe.”

And now, let’s move from poisons to pathogens… With another lockdown in force I’ve added a few more tunes to my playlist on Spotify. Recent additions include Skating Polly’s “Morning Dew” (much better than the Grateful Dead version) and Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”, inspired by this excellent article in the Guardian about the class content of Sabbath’s songs.

You can find the playlist here and you can also read my blog post I Wanna Dance Like We Used To on the background to some of the songs I chose. Enjoy!

Personally, this lockdown differs from the first in several respects. “Support bubbles” mean I can continue to see my partner. And just as crucial (let’s face it), I now have a cat! Her name is Arya Up – named in homage to the stabby Game of Thrones character and the late Slits singer Ari Up. You’ve seen her snuggling with my author’s copy of Weird at the top of the page. Ari has also shown a great affinity to Zadie Smith, shown by her constant cuddling with a library copy of Grand Union. I first thought it had something to do with the ribbon bookmark with a tassly bit at the end (visible on the lower left of the photo) but maybe it is about the content after all. I hope to devote a post to Ari and the part that cats have played in my life in the not-too-distant future.

As I’m posting this, it looks likely that Trump will lose the US election. It will be such a joy to see the orange squit ejected.

Yes, the struggle will still continue on altered terrain. And we also have a lot of Downfall parodies ahead of us. Here’s one to start…

Too large for your letterbox

20180924_184634It’s one of those frustrating non-events of the writerly life when you come home from work on a Thursday evening and find a card from the postie informing you that a package was ‘too large for your letterbox’ and you just know it’s your contributor copies for a long-anticipated anthology. Then the form on the Royal Mail website won’t let you book a redelivery until Monday

Finally, Monday arrives… And the package in question does indeed contain my contributor copies for Uncertainties Volume III. Edited by Lynda E Rucker, the anthology presents fiction by Matthew M Bartlett, SP Miskowski, Adam LG Nevill, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Shearman, RS Knightley, Lisa Tuttle, Ralph Robert Moore, Tracy Fahey, Julia Rust & David Surface and Scott West. In addition to stories by these very fine writers, it also includes my tale “The Golden Hour”. You can order Uncertainties from Swan River Press.

20180924_183804The title of my story refers to the hour before sunset or after sunrise when light is indeed golden and transforms appearances – and perhaps much more. It seems to capture and hold moments, infuse them with layers of meaning that are otherwise lost. It’s the sense of timelessness during the golden hour that inspired my story.

The story also reflects my move to an upper floor in my block and the new perspective it gave me. I became much more aware of the movements of sun and moon, changes in the quality of light and its effect on the cityscape. As for the cityscape itself… I found it glorious, while I was also aware that certain half-built structures reflecting the sunset so beautifully will become empty shells for investment by international cartels. These are sprouting alongside buildings that have been homes for many years. Much of this is social housing, fought for and now contested, touched by the same light. I started to speculate on ways the transfiguring light could affect the people living within those buildings.

When my copies arrived I was inspired to take photos of the books during the actual ‘golden hour’ on a clear autumn day, getting full-on arty-farty with photos of the book as the afternoon shifted into various stages of golden-ness. On that first day I admit that I spent more time photographing the book  (often along with my thumb) than reading it.

However, I’ve now read about half of the book and I’ve been mesmerised and entertained; I’ve also found that this is the kind of anthology I read continuously from cover to cover, when I often dip in and out of them. I’ll add that dipability is a good thing too and dipping in and out of anthologies has been a major pleasure of my reading life. I enjoy both of these qualities. I’m not sure what makes one anthology a ‘dipper’ and another anthology one that is devoured. Could it be the way the stories flow into each other, even when it’s not a themed anthology? Something to ponder. In any case, editing is always a factor in how an anthology works and Lynda E Rucker did sterling job with this one.

I recommend an interview on the Swan River Press website with Lynda where she talks about the experience of editing this book. I’ll end with this cogent observation from Lynda on how the field of horror and weird fiction is perceived:

“My view of horror is that it is a very broad church. It encompasses everything from the subtlest and most enigmatic of tales to the full-on Grand Guignol… I think arguments about labelling literature are incredibly tedious, but it does bother me when people try to insist that something isn’t horror basically on the grounds that it is well-written or well-made, that it has depth and resonance and fine prose or is character-driven or has a political consciousness or whatever.”
Uncertainties Volume III spread

 

Dorian’s doing well!

grande_scarlet1Here’s a very nice review of The Scarlet Soul in Lovecraft Ezine, which praises the quality of all ten stories and the physical production of the book. Acep Hale also describes my contribution to this anthology:

“Rosanne Rabinowitz’s “All That Is Solid” is another story from The Scarlet Soul that has stuck with me. It is the story of two friends, Gosia and Ilona, living in London after the passage of Brexit. As both of them have Polish backgrounds uncertainties start to creep into Gosia’s psyche as more and more overt examples of British nationalism start happening around her. Ilona passes on the number of a counselor who suggests that since Gosia is a freelance designer art therapy may help? I feel that Rabinowitz displays an acute sensibility with “All That Is Solid” that is as respectful as it is chilling.”

Last thing I heard, Dublin-based Swan River Press said that they were down to their last five copies of The Scarlet Soul. So to quote Janis Joplin, get it while you can!

Swan River does put out some very fine books, concentrating on strange and supernatural fiction with an Irish connection. I look forward to meeting editor Brian J Showers and others in person this summer at the Dublin Ghost Story Festival. And if any readers of this blog happen to be attending, I look forward to meeting you.

Meanwhile, I’ve set up a new page for R&R. It includes a table of contents that links most of the stories with a related post or review giving background or thoughts about the story. I’ve also linked to the blogs of Lynda E. Rucker and Mat Joiner, friends and fellow writers who’ve contributed to this book.

The paperback edition of Resonance & Revolt will be released on the very appropriate date of 1 May. You can pre-order it from Eibonvale or from Amazon. Keep an eye out for news about a launch event and an ebook edition.

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