Science Fiction

Big love and hello to r/Fantasy, we are UNSUNG STORIES, and you can AMA!

Hello r/Fantasy , we are UNSUNG STORIES and we are stoked to be here as part of your Small Press Fridays. As ever, big shout out to the stalwart mods for organising this – as well as running the sub and carving out such a supportive bit of space on the interwebz to represent for genre fiction. WHO ARE UNSUNG STORIES? Twitter | Facebook | Instagram Unsung Stories started in 2014, with a mission to publish literary and ambitious genre fiction, because we felt there was a gap in the market. Writers not being given the chance to push the envelope, simply because of commercial dynamics. We were after the books that would make editors at more commercial houses say things like, 'Ilove it, but what can I do with it?' To give you an idea, our first three books published included a body horror novella,The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley , and a science fiction hardboiled noir epic poem, Dark Star by Oliver Langmead . We also want our books to look special so we commission artists specifically for each book, with the aim of creating something beautiful, striking and true to the story. Madness, right? Commercial suicide. But we got four award nominations, and discovered lots of like-minded people across the UK genre scene. Fast forward 16 books, 3 successful Kickstarters , 23 award nominations and a brace of British Fantasy Awards for Best Independent Press and, well, blimey... OK, SO WHO'S HERE? u/TheBigBadG , George Sandison, Publisher - George is the maniac who first thought it would be a good idea to set up an independent press. Since establishing Unsung he has also started work for Titan Books as their Managing Editor heading up their fiction team. Astute observers will note that means he spends his days publishing books, and his weekends... publishing books... He is also a writer, and has just had a collection of weird/horror short stories published through the mightyBlack Shuck Books , called Hinterlands .George will be in and out as he’s looking after a tiny person, but will check in across the weekend as well. u/Dan_Coxon , Dan Coxon, Editorial Lead and author - Dan is a freelance editor, anthologist, author and part-time baker. He's the lead on all things editorial for Unsung, from edits to acquisitions these days. He's maybe best known as editor ofThis Dreaming Isle , which featured writers such as Andrew Michael Hurley, Catriona Ward, Kirsty Logan, Tim Lebbon and more. So yeah, he knows his stuff. His collection,Only the Broken Remain is out now through Black Shuck Books.Dan has just had his first jab, so 1) yay! and 2) bear with him if he's wrangling viral reactions, aches and shivers etc. u/VHaig , Vince Haig, Art Director - Vince is our Art Director (also, hey, Vince, I’ve given you a job title!), and has taken over everything for our design over the recent years. If you think it looks sexy, it's Vince doing all the hip-wiggling. The funky text ‘Captain Bluebear’ design in Greensmith, for instance, and the covers for Threading the Labyrinth and Dark River. He also does a lot of work for the excellentUndertow Publishing , amongst other places, just in case you think it's a familiar name/style. Vince is in Australia, so he'll join us as soon as he wakes up. u/MalDevlin , Malcolm Devlin, author of You Will Grow Into Them - Turn a horror story inside out and it becomes a Malcolm Devlin tale, a weird fiction author extraordinaire! If you're in to Aickman, Machen, Ligotti, Balingrud, Tremblay, Langan, VanderMeer and all the other people we classify as Weird Fiction because publishing hasn't worked out how to handle genre-fuzzy authors, you'll love his stuff. Actually, you'll love it anyway because it's aces, but at least you know what to expect now. "In You Will Grow Into Them, change is the only constant. Across ten stories he tackles the unease of transformation, growth and change in a world where horror seeps from the everyday. Childhood anxieties manifest as debased and degraded doppelgängers, fungal blooms are harvested from the backs of dancers and London lycanthropes become the new social pariahs. The demons we carry inside us are very real indeed, but You Will Grow Into Them. Taking weird fiction and horror and bending them into strange and wondrous new shapes, You Will Grow Into Them reminds us that the ordinary world is a much stranger place than it seems." u/AliyaWhiteley , Aliya Whiteley, author of The Beauty , The Loosening Skin , Greensmith , The Arrival of Missives and more - Aliya writes across all genres, but always in a unique way. I know that gets said a lot, but seriously, pick a story of hers (there are loads online for free) and see what I mean. She's been shortlisted for the Clarke, BFA, BSFA, Campbell, Shirley Jackson, James Tiptree Jr, and more. You'll see a particular interest in communication and how we bridge the gaps between people with words in her fiction, along with mushrooms, charming yet flippant interdimensional aliens, and 1920s west country time travel. Fun fact - Unsung actually started after George met her on an online writing forum. We naturally gravitated towards each other as the two weirdos in the room, and then realised we could be making stuff together. u/ItsPeterHaynes , Peter Haynes, author of The Willow By Your Side - Peter Haynes is a writer with an innate knack for imagery and the potency of fantasy ideas. If you're a fan of Garner, Holdstock and their ilk then this is the guy you're after. It's that protean, elemental quality of a story, the space where potential overlaps into magic, that he excels with. "In the aftermath of war a young boy is twisted and tested trying to hold his family together. As his sister recovers from a terrible assault by her father, she teaches him about the magic in the land, the tombs of ancient kings and the wishing lake, about the treacherous Red Cap and the places deep in the woods where the adults don’t go. A story of the potent and dark spaces of folklore, The Willow By Your Side is the best of British fantasy. Channelling Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood and Catriona Ward’s Rawblood, Haynes plunges deep into the landscape, peeling back the delicate rules of the British identity, and what we hide beneath it." u/RKechacha , Rym Kechacha, author of Dark River - Rym is a ballet dancer, educator and supremely lyrical writer. If you dip into Dark River you'll see what I mean, as her prose carries a deft and understated skill. Prehistoric fantasy crossed with cli-fi, delivered with the weight and elegance it all deserves. "Doggerland, 6200 BC. As rivers rise, young mother Shaye follows her family to a sacred oak grove, hoping that an ancient ritual will save their way of life. London, AD 2156. In a city ravaged by the rising Thames, Shante hopes for a visa that will allow her to flee with her four-year-old son to the more prosperous north. Two mothers, more than 8,000 years apart, struggle to save their children from a bleak future as the odds stack against them."Rym may be in and out because she's looking after a tiny person. u/olangmead , Oliver Langmead, author of Dark Star and Metronome - Oliver is now published by Titan (Birds of Paradise, out now !) but he started with Unsung. He's the crazy man who wrote the epic poem, and, frankly, I'm just going to leave a few lines of it here and let you make your own decision. He's also a musician with the finest line on costumes since RuPaul and Marilyn Manson got hammered in Glasgow all that time ago... Dante drives the borrowed squad car direct.He’s an accident of flesh and blunt bonesShaped human, ugly and mostly scowling,Made bitter by the job and the city. The car’s engine coughs, groans loud and sounds sick,Making the noises that mark how I am.Here’s this cycle’s comedown, deserved of timeSpent pricked and dissolved into my habits. Good old Dante pretends not to notice.He watches the glinting out in the road,Keeps us on course, wherever we’re going.The radio is coarse static chatter. u/Jarrett_VA , Vicki Jarrett, author of Always North - Ok, I confess I have a particular love of curveball science fiction, but it's not just me who loves this book. An angry scotswoman engineer joins an all-male crew sailing into the arctic to illegally survey for oil in the era of climate change, but also polar bears, dodgy medical ethics and good old fashioned WTF SF shenanigans. Caustically funny, urgent themes, the perfect level of weird, deserves to be a classic. "We all have to work to live, even if it is an illegal survey for oil in the rapidly melting arctic. Software engineer Isobel needs to eat like everyone, and as part of a weathered crew of sailors, scientists and corporate officers she sails into the ice where their advanced software Proteus will map everything there is to know. As they travel north the days grow longer, time ever more detached, as they pass through the endless white expanse of the ice. But they are not alone. They have attracted the attention of seals, gulls and a hungry, dedicated polar bear. The journey to plunder one of the few remaining resources the planet has to offer must endure the ravages of the ice, the bear and time itself.” u/Doc_Tiff , Tiffani Angus, author of Threading the Labyrinth - Who better to bring a touch of class to the list with an impeccably researched historical fantasy about ghosts in an English manor house than... an American! This is an understated and subtle book, but don't let that fool you - Tiffani delivers a quintessential ghost story across the ages along with a love letter to the history of gardening. "Toni, the American owner of a failing gallery, is called to England unexpectedly when she inherits a manor house in Hertfordshire from a mysterious lost relative. Soon she is immersed in the history of the house, and all the people who tended the grounds over the centuries: the gardens that seem to change in the twilight; the ghost of a fighter plane from World War Two; the figures she sees from the corner of her eye. A beautiful testament to the power of memory and space, Threading the Labyrinth tells the stories of those who loved this garden across the centuries, and how those lives still touch us today." u/VerityHeistGeist , Verity Holloway, author of Pseudotooth - As well as having written a certifiable banger™ portal fantasy in Pseudotooth, Verity is, amongst other things, an expert on Victorian history, the weird and grim history of medicine and the utterly ludicrous names they used to give warships. Every time she starts talking on a topic I confess I lose track of time very quickly, because she's a treasure trove of oddities. Also, seriously, Pseudotooth is aces. "Aisling Selkirk is a young woman beset by unexplained blackouts, pseudo-seizures that have baffled both the doctors and her family. Sent to recuperate in the Suffolk countryside with ageing relatives, she seeks solace in the work of William Blake and writing her journal, filling its pages with her visions of Feodor, a fiery East Londoner haunted by his family’s history back in Russia. But her blackouts persist as she discovers a Tudor priest hole and papers from its disturbed former inhabitant Soon after, she meets the enigmatic Chase, and is drawn to an unfamiliar town where the rule of Our Friend is absolute and those deemed unfit and undesirable disappear into The Quiet… Blurring the lines between dream, fiction and reality, Pseudotooth boldly tackles issues of trauma, social difference and our conflicting desires for purity and acceptance, asking questions about those who society shuns, and why." THAT'S US - ASK US ANYTHING!