Monday, August 3, 2015

Page 69: Love Letters and Other Passages of Darkness

The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....






In this installment of Page 69, 
we put R. J. Erbacher's Love Letters and Other Passages of Darkness to the test. 





OK, Robert, set up page 69 for us.

Page 69 comes near the end of the story "The House of Flana."  Richie, while visiting his Aunt Helen, goes to the abandoned house of a former school friend who moved away quite abruptly leaving an empty house for many years.  In the basement he discovers 'something' that he can look at- and through at the same time.  He survives the brutal encounter with Flana and while recouping in a bar he debates if it has gone after his Aunt Helen and if he can go back to face it again.



What is Love Letters and Other Passages of Darkness about?

 "Love Letters and Other Passages of Darkness" is a collection of  stories that finds each character confronted with a dark passage, one they must physically traverse or mentally confront. The landscape is diversified; from a futuristic wasteland to a medieval castle, from an abandoned attic to a downtown shopping mall, from a magical forest to an old fashioned haunted house, with plenty of side trips along the way.  You could call it horror but I prefer dark drama; scary dark.



Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of what the collection is about? Does it align itself the collections’s  overall theme?  

I feel the excerpt is a microcosm of the story and the whole book.  You've got intrigue, a little bit of danger, some interesting character development and just a sampling of one of the dark passages that all the protagonists in the book must go through whether they want to or not.  I especially like the novelty of the first paragraph with Richie tossing his could/couldn't ideas back and forth.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PAGE 69
LOVE LETTERS AND OTHER PASSAGES OF DARKNESS


            I couldn’t go back.  I couldn’t face Flana again.  I almost didn’t survive the first meeting and in my current state of pain there was no way I wanted to tussle with it again.  I couldn’t.  I could call the police.  I couldn’t tell them why they needed to go there.  I could report it anonymously.  ‘There’s an old women who’s fallen and can’t get up.  You’d better go check on her.’

            I was confused and my psyche had been taxed to its limit already.  Perplexed, I gravitated to the bar instinctively.  Jimmy poured me a glass of Coors Light without me asking.  He must have seen the way I looked and thought I really needed one badly.

            “What the hell happened to you Richie?”

           I held up my palm and shook my head.  Jimmy was a great bartender.  He would sit and listen to your problems all night long, letting you vent all your frustrations and nod sympathetically, or he would toss out liquor-inspired pearls of wisdom to all sorts of dilemmas that would rival the advice of any $325 an hour psychologist.  He also knew when to shut up and leave you alone and let you drink.  Without a word he filled a bar towel with ice, slammed it on the counter a few times to break it up and placed it on my eye for me to hold and went to tend other customers.  Thank the god of small favors for Jimmy.


              Back to Aunt Helen.  What was I to do?  If I called the police, they would go there and find her contorted, lifeless body in a ransacked room and assume it was a robbery.  But when they investigated they would discover that I was the last person to see her and I would have no alibi and no feasible explanation for what had happened.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


R. J. Erbacher has been writing for over forty years, mostly for his own satisfaction.  He wrote, edited and published “Warrior Poets: The Magazine of Medieval Poetry” in the mid 90’s.  His first book “Coffee and Fate” was published in 2010 in limited release and was adorned with unanimous book blogger praise.  His new novel “Love Letters and other Passages of Darkness” is a collection of Dark Drama Short Stories.  He lives in Long Island, New York with his wife of 33 years and three daughters.  Someday he hopes to be a real writer.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Book Giveaway: A Shelter of Others

Since July 2010, TNBBC has been bringing authors and readers together every month to get behind the book! This unique experience wouldn't be possible without the generous donations of the authors and publishers involved.





It's the first of the month and you know what that means.
It's time to bring you September's Author / Reader Discussion book!


We will be reading and discussing A Shelter of Others
with Charles Dodd White



Charles's publisher, Fiddleblack, has generously made 10 print copies available,
(Limited to US only this time. Sorry international dudes!)



Here's what it's about: 

Following his release from prison, Mason Laws returns to the mountains of his youth where his estranged wife, Lavada, has been caring for his ailing father in his absence. As Mason and Lavada set forth to recover themselves, they remain entrenched in the rural and rugged landscape that bore them and their haunted histories. This moving story tells of the families we’re borne into, the families we make for ourselves, and how tightly woven are the ties that bind.



This giveaway will run through August 9th. 
Winners will be announced here and via email on August 10th.




Here's how to enter:

1 - Leave a comment here or in the giveaway thread over at TNBBC on goodreads.


2 - State that you agree to participate in the group read book discussion that will run from September 21st through September 27th . Charles has agreed to participate in the discussion and will be available to answer any questions you may have for him. 


 3 - Your comment must have a way to contact you (email is preferred), and you MUST be a resident of the US to win. 




ONLY COMMENT ONCE. MULTIPLE COMMENTS DO NOT GAIN YOU ADDITIONAL CHANCES TO WIN.

 *If you are chosen as a winner, by accepting the copy you are agreeing to read the book and join the group discussion at TNBBC on Goodreads (the thread for the discussion will be emailed to you before the discussion begins). 

GOOD LUCK!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Lindsey Reviews: Movement No. 1: Trains

Movement No. 1: Trains by Hope Wabuke
Pages: 22 poems
Publisher: dancing girl press
Released: 2015




Dog Eared Review by Lindsey Lewis Smithson 




Movement No. 1: Trains is a single prose poem broken up into a chapbook. Some poems function better when left in their long form (they gain momentum and power as one piece) but Hope Wabuke’s poem gains strength from the pauses in between.

The speaker spends the course of the book reflecting on moments in her life, and relationships, while riding the subway. The lines are clear and very sensual, without being overly sexual; “it is only when she thinks of him that her body becomes soft; she is so conscious them.” There are so many moments where it is clear the speaker realizes this blur between memory and present, between the sensual and the mundane. The level of alertness and self analysis was very engaging.

Along with the quiet sensuality there are so many fantastic, grounding, details. The sixth poem in the collection reflects the unusual way time passes in a subway, saying “knowing the movement of time by the flow and ebb of crowds.” This is really one of those great moments where, as a writer, you wish you had written that.  The poet could have written about time and love in some abstract way, but instead these ideas are conveyed with the grounded actions.

Another feature of these prose poems is the way that the speaker reveals herself. The relationship that is at the core of the poem is clearly a rocky one, but she doesn’t come straight out and say it. Again, the poet wisely chooses to focus on the reality at hand: “at the end, as the crowds surge forward, it is easy to concentrate on the one moment of getting out.”

Often times I find myself wanting something in a collection, or wishing for a small tweak, but this book is so nicely self-contained and based in a tangible world that I’m satisfied. This is a nice, complete, read that is totally worth your time.

Dog Eared Poem (since there aren’t page numbers or poem titles):


1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 17, 19, 22



Lindsey Lewis Smithson is the Editor of Straight Forward Poetry. Some of her poetry has appeared on The Nervous BreakdownThis Zine Will Change Your LifeThe Cossack Review, and Every Writer’s Resource: Everyday Poems.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Indie Ink Runs Deep: Kelly Fordon




Every now and then I manage to talk a small press author into showing us a little skin... tattooed skin, that is. I know there are websites and books out there that have been-there-done-that already, but I hadn't seen one with a specific focus on the authors and publishers of the small press community. Whether it's the influence for their book, influenced by their book, or completely unrelated to the book, we get to hear the story behind their indie ink....


Today's ink story comes from Kelly Fordon. Prior to writing fiction and poetry, Kelly Fordon worked at the NPR member station in Detroit and for National Geographic magazine. Her fiction, poetry and book reviews have appeared in The Boston Review, The Florida Review, Flashquake, The Kenyon Review (KRO), The Montreal Review, Rattle, Red Wheelbarrow, The Windsor Review and various other journals.  She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, On The Street Where We Live, which won the 2011 Standing Rock Chapbook Contest and Tell Me When it Starts to Hurt, which was published by Kattywompus Press in May 2013.  Her short story collection, Garden for the Blind, was published by Wayne State University Press in April 2015. She works for Inside Out Literary Arts in Detroit as a writer-in-residence.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



 I do not personally have a tattoo but a pivotal character in my novel-in-stories, Garden for the Blind, sports a tattoo of a blue butterfly on his upper arm. I imagine it looks something like this:



The book is about two privileged white kids from the Detroit suburbs who pin a drug deal on a black scholarship student and get him kicked out of their posh private high school. The stories follow the main characters’ trajectories (or lack thereof) for thirty years. In the penultimate story, an inner city kid named Jerome gets a butterfly tattoo on his upper arm in honor of his mother. Someone sees it (without giving too much away) and becomes convinced that Jerome has attacked him.  This is a book about how limited each person’s perspective can be. We see what we are capable of seeing given our own backgrounds, and because of that we miss a lot of vital information about other people.

Butterflies are a symbol of transformation and of soul. In the book, Spiritual Pilgrims: Carl Jung and Teresa of Avila by John Welch, the author said something that resonated with me and led me to include the butterfly tattoo in this story:

“The butterfly is an apt image for the delicate freeing up of a condition that had felt like entombment. It speaks of a speaks of a gradual lifting up of a heart that had been heavily weighed down.”

In my book, the schism between the city and the suburbs weighs everyone down. The butterfly is a symbol of hope and my hope as the author is that people who read this book will be able to sense some redemption at the end.

Here are some other sources:



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Book Review: The Dark Will End the Dark

Read 7/2/15 - 7/5/15
4 Stars - Highly Recommended, some creepy stuff in these here pages
Pages: 167
Publisher; Tortoise Books
Released March 2015


I get lots of friend requests on Goodreads. Lots. Mostly from weirdo friend-collectors with whom I have nothing in common, self published authors who are just looking to spam their newest releases in TNBBC, foreign dudes with creepy profiles, and underage users who attempt to bully me around by commenting on my status updates when I don't respond. So I'm not bragging when I say that. 


But every once in a while, I'll get a request from an author who is genuinely reaching out to say hey in appreciation for what TNBBC stands for. While I'd like to say that I'm so tuned in to the small press community that I know about every cool new title that's releasing every second of every day of every week, well, I mean, c'mon. So it's really cool when an author stands up and introduces themselves to me like Darrin did. 


Because I'm a curious person, I took a look at his books and was instantly drawn towards The Dark Will End the Dark. It promotes itself as 14 stunning and visceral stories, deftly mixing realism and fabulism, bleakness and hope, sparkling dialogue and unforgettable characters that will remain in the reader’s mind long after the last page is turned. And bleak and stunning and lingering they were. 


This collection of thematically-linked but stylistically unique stories is incredibly sad and tragic and strange. Darrin's obsession with body parts and gender fluidity adds an additional layer of connectivity throughout. 


In the body stories, which are sprinkled all throughout the book - with titles like "Head", "Hand", "Face", "Neck", and "Sores" - Darrin plagues his characters with horrific, though seemingly painless, physical conditions. A man's head dies but his body remains functional; A young child's hand becomes infected and ultimately gives birth to a ghost; after staring at himself countless times in the bathroom mirror, a man's face rearranges itself one day....


These stories are particularly grotesque and unsettling because, while they are incredibly unlikely to happen to someone outside of Darrin's imaginary control, their nightmarish imagery haunts you long after. 


You should know that the collection kicks off with "Tugboat to Traverse City" , by far my favorite of the bunch. It's a tale in which a captainless tugboat, engulfed in fog, slowly begins to lose its passengers as they jump overboard... all except for one strangely apathetic group of friends who are content to just sit and wait and do nothing.  


There's also "The Hiccup King", a cutesy look at a man who's caught a case of the chronic hiccups, and what happens when he comes face to face with the Hiccup King. And "Barney Hester" was pretty cool. In this one, two BFF's go ga-ga over the girl next door until she unhinges her jaw and swallows one of them whole.  


Darrin's mind is a dark and dangerous one. His characters never see what's coming and they never seem to catch a break. And as a reader, I'm totally ok with that.  If you're a newbie to his work, you'll want to rectify that soon. 


Dude can tell a story. And he knows how to author right.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Page 69: On the Edges of Vision

The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....





In this installment of Page 69, 
we put Helen McClory's On the Edges of Vision to the test. 





OK, Helen, set up page 69 for us.

It's the first page of a short prose poem called 'Shadows', a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche (or Beauty and the Beast) myth story, but run through with ideas of multiverses and both macro and microscopic landscapes. Basically a love poem to science and trying to connect and exist.





What is On the Edges of Vision about?

 On the Edges of Vision is a collection of flash fictions, short stories and prose poems like 'Shadows' which deal with the loneliness of literary monsters - and gods and demons and people who just think of themselves as monstrous. Like it says on the back of the book, the monster is human, and only wants to reach out and take you by the hand.





Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of what On the Edges of Vision is about? Does it align itself the collections’s overall theme?

While it doesn't represent the general style of writing in the book - more traditionally short-storyish pieces predominate, and many with a pitch black sense of humour - I think it certainly aligns with the idea of connection, of finding or failing to find a self within the presence of others. 



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PAGE 69 
ON THE EDGES OF VISION


Shadows





C
an we be Cupid and Psyche? It’s so terribly dark here, in here, closed in by the nothing, beloved, I sink and switch. But here comes the odour of herbs growing on a stony hillside. There are galaxies that are nothing but hanging gardens of scent. I think, and there are your fingernails, digging in the dirt and ripping leaves. The mass of it all. If I can try to describe them. Shuddering past. If I zoom in on the almond nails and the delicate green needles.

Down further is the bridge of plant veins, the cellular heartland. Down further, the palace in the mountains. The doors part and the palace is gilded but just as dark, so what is the point of goldwork and marble escaliers you cannot see? I ask, awaiting a serious answer. By the light of a candle, that’s all you get. A candle held up against multiverses of sovereign black.

Can you drip wax red onto my bare wrist and that way, that way block me out? Patter. To be in love you must



 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Helen McClory is a writer from Scotland. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of New South Wales. There is a moor and a cold sea in her heart. On the Edges of Vision can be found here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Celebrating Sci- Fi Month


It's Sci-Fi Month and we're crawling out of our skins to share our all time favorite Science Fiction Literature with you! From the futuristic Star Wars to old school science methods, from post apocalyptic to traveling through time... we've got it all covered.





Melanie's Favorites:


Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. 

This work takes places just before an apocalypse purposefully orchestrated with science. While life is improved by science (including crossing species to make new ones), it is also controlled by big corporations. One person feels that starting over with a better version of human and total destruction of compounds and corporations is humanity's best bet.



Octavia Butler

I don't have a particular book to recommend, but Butler is one of the most important science fiction writers that the U.S. has seen because she dared to imagine the genre differently: as a black woman. Science fiction hasn't always been friendly to people of color, and has only acknowledged those who aren't white by ignoring them or obviously attributing them as "aliens." However, Butler wanted to see black people at the forefront of a genre she so dearly loved and wrote many books of science fiction, including the Xenogenesis trilogy.


VAS: An Opera in Flatland by Steve Tomasula. 

In this work you won't find ray guns or any super science the likes of which we often find in comic books. Instead, Tomasula uses science to tell a story. A family of three (husband, wife, daughter) are content, but should they permanently decide three is enough? The book uses old science that is now outdated, eugenics, charts, data, and more combined with the story of this family and whether or not the husband should get a vasectomy. As you're reading more about the science (tied in with gender and politics), you realize that you're being told an entire story about the significance of permanent methods of birth control, which have been used for various means to an end throughout history. 




Lindsey's Favorites:



I’m not so much a Sci Fi fan as I am a huge Star Wars fan; I’ve read nearly 70 Star Wars books and counting. The Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command) by Timothy Zahn is truly a defining piece in the Star Wars Extended Universe (that Lucas Arts is now calling the Legends series). This series introduces not only a new key character to Han, Luke and Leia, but also a hauntingly unique villain. Every reader/Star Wars fan needs to get their hands on this series, whether in print our audio.



Or, The Martian Chronicles. Or basically everything by Ray Bradbury. I know he’s mainstream, not a hidden gem, but his science fiction is so well written, so clear, so inventive without being crazy. I particularly like Now and Forever, which is a set of two very different novellas. The second of the set, Leviathan ’99  is a retelling of Moby Dick, but in space. Enough said, right?




Kate's Favorites:


Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

Connie is a Latina woman who has been institutionalised because she’s apparently insane, but Connie believes she has the ability to communicate with an alternative future.

The book was published in 1976 and says much about the preoccupations of the time. Some of it has dated but much has not. It bursts with ideas about science, the environment, gender and race. The questions it raises about mental health, about the medicalisation of distress, the line between treatment and control and who gets to decide what is “normal” seem more relevant than ever.


Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

I’ve only recently discovered Vonnegut, in fact, spurred on by the recent TNBBC feature on audiobooks, I decided to make this my first attempt to listen to a novel. I was feeling unwell at the time and, being a fast reader, decided to listen at 1.5x normal speed. This made for a breathless delivery which, along with Vonnegut’s hallucinogenic writing perfectly complemented my half-waking state.

What’s it about? A crazed satire on consumerism? A failed science-fiction writer about to tip a man into madness? Vonnegut’s attempt to “clear my head of all the junk in there”? All of that and more. I found it stunning.


The Bees by Laline Paull

I’m a keen gardener so I spend a lot of time watching and wondering about bees. This book is a dystopian novel about a young worker bee, Flora, who fails to conform to the “hive mind”. Paull has done a lot of research and people who know about these things have praised her accurate depiction of life in the hive.

It’s a great story, which asks many clever questions about the nature of society, about the benefits and the costs of belonging, about what makes an individual. It’s also about as close as you’ll get to knowing what it’s like to be a bee.



Drew's Favorites:

For as much as I really loved sci-fi as a kid (heavily into Stars both Wars and Trek - we can coexist, people, I swear it), I realize that I've let my sci-fi reading slip away in favor of excellent sci-fi films like Ex Machina or Primer or shows like Battlestar Galactica. That doesn't mean I don't read it anymore, but my standards are way more demanding, maybe actually more demanding than they are in any other genre. Here are a couple that I've read in the last few years that were up to snuff. 

Embassytown by China MiĆ©ville.

I'm absolutely over the moon for MiƩville's stuff and Embassytown, his last full-length for adults, is one of my favorites. The idea is that on a planet way out on the edge of the universe, humanity coexists with the Ariekei, whose unique physiognomy means that they have two heads that speak simultaneously to form words. They only understand humans who are paired together and trained to speak the same way. It's an intense concept but he really delivers, both on the high-minded stuff and on the broad action/adventure of the setting, too.


Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples. A currently-running comic about a war between a planet and its moon, about a star-crossed couple (one from each place) who have a kid and go on the run. But it's also about so much more and it is truly deserving of its grandiose title. I felt, reading the first volume, like I did seeing Star Wars for the first time.





Dune by Frank Herbert. An oldie, but a goodie. The rest of the series goes pretty far off the rails (although the next two books were also decent) and this one takes a little while to get going... but the scope and invention of this book captivated me as a kid and I never forgot about it.  The houses, the sandworms, Muad'Dib, the Spice... I haven't read the book in maybe ten years but I remember it like I read it yesterday. 





Lori's Favorites:

So my definition of science fiction may be a little looser than yours. Does apocalyptic and post pandemic count? I mean, it is all depicting alternate futures and takes science into consideration, right? Whatever. I'm going with it....


The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndhan

Nothing can beat old school science fiction. I mean, seriously, a man-made plant raised on farms for its oils, a comet of strange green lights, and waking up to a world so far removed from any that we have had to survive before? The pacing and tension made the story. I had to chuckle at the fact that everyone in the book was waiting on America to come save them. 



Above all Men by Eric Shonkwiler

This book blew me away. But you know that already. A soft science fiction novel that walks us through the brink of a dustbowl apocalypse. It's a bleak tale of the beginning of the end of the world. Of a family man who feels the weight of everyone's worries on his shoulders. Of this man who, regardless of consequence, is determined to make sure everyone is alright, even if it means hurting the ones he cares about most. It's a tale of survival as much as it is one of destruction. And Shonkwiler pulls it off effortlessly.



The Only Ones by Carola Dibbell

In a near future, a series of back-to-back viruses and infections plague the country and wipe most humans out. People are still getting sick and dying and this novel's concerned with just one thing... keeping our species from going extinct. So Carola's focus turns towards genetics and cloning and playing god by manufacturing hope for humanity in a petri dish. It's an amazing post-pandy novel that plays with language and conception in an unforgettable way. 



The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

This novel polarized many of its readers. Newman created a brand new dialect in a post-pandy world populated by children who will die of posies before they reach adulthood. It's the perfect blend of Lord of the Flies and Clockwork Orange. It's heady and ballsy and manages to break every dystopian barrier there is with a sophisticated ease. Oh yeah, and we're discussing it with the author this coming week over at TNBBC on goodreads!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Page 69: The Screaming

The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....



In this installment of Page 69, 
we put David Ellis's The Screaming to the test.







OK, David, set up page 69 for us. 

This page is about a guy called Dai Williams. He’s got a knack of getting inside peoples’ heads and he’s trying to work out what made a girl called Tania do something really horrific.He’s got a rather laconic sense of humour, too.
  



What is The Screaming about:  

It’s a transatlantic eco thriller, set in the US and the UK, that opens with mysterious homicides, apparently committed by innocent teenagers, moves on to the spookily weird and wonderful, and ends with with some paranormal twists. There’s a cast of thousands, including walk-on parts for corgis and maroon helicopters.





Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of what The Screaming is about? Does it align itself the book’s theme? 

The page throws the reader in the deep end, but introduces the reader to a pivotal character in the book. He’s a Welshman who hates leeks and just about everything that’s Welsh. But he has a rather cool talent.







~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PAGE 69 
THE SCREAMING

The paramedic shrugged and continued with his futile attempts to drip some fluids into her shocked and rapidly expiring body.

This time, Dai allowed the hocus focus to cast around more generally in her brain for clues as to what had happened that morning. With a near dead brain, it was like retrieving data from a hard drive that already had its contents deleted. There were ways of doing it, but it was a matter of knowing where to look. The problem with organic memory was that the harder he looked, the faster the images and thoughts seemed to disappear. It was as if the neurons were playing hide and seek with the hocus focus. Perhaps they’d name the phenomenon the ‘Dai Williams Uncertainty Principle’ at some distant point in the future. But he was jumping ahead of himself. He had a job to do.

The thing about human brains is that memories take many forms. It could be a snippet of music, a bit of conversation, a lingering smell, or the thoughts that drift through the brain like wispy cirrus clouds. The brain was better at visual storage, and some neuroscientists believed the last image perceived by the dying brain reverberated around like a clap in a cathedral. Dai preferred the notion of a fart in a cathedral, with the smell lingering long after the sound had died away. By pinging the remnant, he might be able to get a momentary reconstruction of the original memory. He’d tried this out on a pigeon that had crashed head first into the window of his apartment, but the thick plate glass had done too good a job of smashing the one gram brain to smithereens.

So, in for a dime, in for a dollar, Dai tried his best to establish a link with the one hundred billion neurons inside Tania’s head that were at various stages of self-destruction. First stop was the right visual cortex, which looked relatively intact. He pinged gently. Shit. That was creepy. He certainly hadn’t expected to see his own face in all its weirdness, incriminatingly recorded by her brain. But it made sense, as she’d uttered her last words just after she stared at him. Dai switched to the right auditory cortex. He pinged as gently as he could. “I can see the


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The author lives in an ostensibly carbon zero house in Kent, UK, with his partner and two cats amidst fields of maize and poly-tunnels of strawberries. At the bottom of his garden, in a nearby field, there’s a 3G network mast cunningly disguised as a tree. When he isn’t occupied enjoying the simplicity of rural life, his mind is drawn to strange imaginings about what lurks beneath the surface of the world around him. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

This Week on the Internet


In this, our newest series here on TNBBC, I'm just sniffing around the internet, linking you to some of the weirdest shit I find out there! Help keep this series alive by tweeting me links to the strangest (bookish, too) things you stumble across each week!






1. THIS #TRUMPYOUCAT HASHTAG BECAUSE THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN NEEDS MORE FURRRR








2. THIS SEA BUNNY BECAUSE MOTHER NATURE HAS A FUCKING FABULOUS SENSE OF HUMOR








3. THIS CHAMELEON POPPING BUBBLES BECAUSE TOTES ADORBS










4. THIS AMY SCHUMER STAR WARS PHOTO SHOOT BECAUSE R2D2 AND C3PO ARE SEXY AS SHIT




What did  I miss out there, you guys? What weird and bookish shit flew under my radar this week? Stick it in the comments below!