Pleasant Tales intro…

October 14, 2017

Justin Isis has posted the introduction he wrote to my forthcoming book “Pleasant Tales” on his blog.

Pleasant Tales now available for preorder

July 22, 2017

My forthcoming book “Pleasant Tales” is now available for preorder from Eibonvale Press, along with a special limited edition chapbook titled “Curious Births to Light the Universe” that is free with the hardcover and only another 2 pounds with the paperback — there are only 50 copies of the chapbook available.

Here is the basic info on the book with a link at the bottom to the publisher/ordering page:

According to inductive process, the more weed someone smokes, the more likely they are to eat a green apple. Billy Glandzk has been smoking too much pot and hates apples, so it’s time for him to change his lifestyle. Justin Isis lives in a single tiny room in Ikebukuro but, through amore and refined fashion-sense, hopes to rise to higher spheres. Ricky Fishback is a bicycle cop who has spent too much time in the saddle, and his restless sex life is taking a turn for the worse. Can he get his mojo back? Carla Jo Arduini works at the Family Dollar Store, but her aspirations go higher—much higher. Will her faith guide her to success?

In Pleasant Tales, a contrasting follow up to his critically acclaimed 2010 collection Unpleasant Tales, Brendan Connell has written ten unusual and colourful stories of contemporary life. The brittle and deranged mundanity that surrounds us is viewed through a lens that is both extremely perceptive and ever so slightly flawed, resulting in both an inverted projection of the familiar and a dose of the alien. These are modernist, sparse and slightly subversive expositions on the normal that perform a disjointed dance with the world you thought you knew.

New, Revised edition of Unpleasant Tales available.

August 28, 2015

The new edition (second edition) of Unpleasant Tales is now done – well, at the printers anyhow. So if you order it, that is what you will get. The cover is actually now slightly different than what is on the website. Also, the paperback version is a somewhat larger format with fewer pages – the same size as the hardcover.

This edition has many, many revisions. Probably somewhere around 500-700 small changes.

I should emphasize though, buy it from the Eibonvale site. If you get it from Amazon they might end up sending you the old version.

It is amazing how much work went into revising this text. Anyhow, if you were looking for the perfect gift for your beloved one, this just might be it.

As Max Wedge says “UNPLEASANT TALES is almost too potent for even the bravest soul to absorb in one or two sittings, yet there is plenty at hand for the next time you wish to test the strength and stamina of your horror muscle…the prose itself is always impressive. There is a real artist at work here, and for lovers of the bizarre, Connell’s collection is a must-have–one that will reward even the most discerning reader of horror fiction.”

Or “…I have heard many novels described as “great examples of prose” before, but this is truly one of only a few modern books I would easily give such a title to.”

Or Innsmouth Free Press “Brendan Connell has taken the geometry of storytelling and thrown it off, ever-so-slightly, causing a sense of unease that defies simple explanation.”

Or Ross Jackson “vice for the connoisseur”

Or The Agony Column “The stories you’ll find in ‘Unpleasant Tales’ are, to the extent that they will make you feel uncomfortable in every way that you can made to be feel uncomfortable, horror stories. But in terms of content, you’ll find an alarmingly unfettered exploration of what we are by virtue of revealing who we are.”

Or Hellnotes “You can hardly ask more from a single book by a single author.”

Miss Homicide Plays the Flute – Available for pre-order

September 8, 2013

Eibonvale Press has openned pre-orders for my forthcoming novel Miss Homicide Plays the Flute. It will be printed in multi-colored ink (a sort of ox-blood red and green if I am not mistaken) and limited to 200 copies. The first 26 will include a special signed and lettered chapbook titled “Drops of Poison” – my understanding is that for these first copies, about half are already gone, so probably worth getting now rather than later if such a thing is of interest.

Click here for more info, etc.

Quentin S. Crisp, Defeated Dogs, Introduction

July 27, 2013

I wrote the introduction for Defeated Dogs, a collection of short stories by Quentin S. Crisp, published by Eibonvale Press.

This is the introduction:

“The masses are prone to perspicacity in minor facts, but to stupidity in the major ones.”

This is what Ko Hung said.

Never, since history began, have more people been able to speak English. Never, since the language began, have fewer people been able to write it well.

Who can find joy in its depths, appreciate its magnificence—its abundance?

The Earth is engulfed in a deluge of words—words clumsily skewered together like expired meat on a kebab, charred by the fires of inanity and seasoned by the clumsy hands of technology.

“Verbiage-fakers: you gulp down all that is on the plates, before wise men can dine or even get a bite.”

Hermias said this; and that some are grateful for the rush of this never-ending sewer, in which bawdy romances whirl about the precincts of gauche volumes intended for the pre-pubescent members of our society, we can have little doubt. But we also know that, ultimately, beauty attracts. Bandinelli is forgotten; Michelangelo forever remembered.

Mr. Crisp was born in North Devon in 1972. His parents were vegetarians and ran what might well have been the first vegetarian guesthouse in England. Crisp has, for the most part, avoided meat to this very day, giving “strength to his body so that it might contain his soul,” as Eunapius says.

The first word he spoke was ‘brontosaurus’. While he was still at a tender age, his family spent a period in Israel, and young Crisp returned with a cage full of smuggled preying mantises. Being naturally inclined to humour, in Secondary School he secretly put woodlice in his hair and then shook them out on his desk, causing a crisis, as the teachers thought they were giant headlice. The following year he hitchhiked to High Wycombe in drag in order to attend a concert of the German heavy metal band Accept. One of the band’s roadies, a middle-aged transsexual who went by the name of Robin Roma, was able to get the young Crisp backstage. The two afterwards corresponded with great frequency and at Roma’s suggestion Crisp had his first foray into ‘publishing’ by producing a photocopied magazine of mermaid pornography, the discovery of which earned him two weeks suspension from school.

This same Roma later became a Buddhist monk in Thailand, and it was through him, in fact, that I first discovered Crisp’s work, him giving me a soiled copy of The Nightmare Exhibition.

“Where you see bodies, I see forces tending towards each other by a creative impulse.”

So said Balzac.

One of Crisp’s GCSEs was Television Studies. As he could only find one other boy to work with, he convinced this latter to film him putting on a wedding gown and marrying himself, the footage then being used for a video for the song ‘Woman’ by the Anti-Nowhere League.

Ikku Jippensha said, “travelling means cleansing the life of care”.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Japanese from the University of Durham, he went to Maebashi, Japan, where he spent ten months studying Japanese at Gunma University. He boarded with a barber and received complimentary haircuts; went back to England, and then back to Japan again, to Kyoto, having received a Monbukagakusho Scholarship, through Kyoto University, in order to study the works of Higuchi Ichiyo.

There is a rather amusing anecdote about his return to England after this second stay. It would seem that one of the first people he met upon his repatriation was Mark Samuels, the noted writer of strange stories. This latter found Crisp’s speech patterns so distorted from his continuous study of classical Japanese that communication was almost impossible. The incident was the inspiration for the Franklyn Crisk character in his story ‘Glyphotech’.

Crisp is known for his vital prose, his legendary green woolen scarf, his love of tea, his fear of certain kinds of fruit, and his suspicion of all things digital.

“My lowly self has sat quietly out of sight, for I was not fitted to the times, and my work has been out of tune with the day. Whatever I said ran counter to popular belief; every step I took was against the direction of the masses.”

So said Ko Hung.

For many years his work has been followed by a rather elite group of readers and its quality has placed him amongst a unique group of writers, not as part of any particular school, but rather as one of those who should be read.

“Great desire to begin another story; didn’t yield to it. It is all pointless.”

So said Franz Kafka.

To earn a living, Crisp has done various things, such as testing software for mobile phones, freelance writing, and teaching English at a nursery school in Taiwan. At one point he was employed in London as a ‘Green Champion’ which entailed him going to low income housing blocks and informing the tenants on various ways they might be greener, such as getting them to recycle, ride their bicycles to work, put bricks in their toilets, etc. And throughout all this, he has, fortunately, continued to write, despite not being petted by the soft hands of the large publishing houses.

He has written numerous short stories, several novels (a number of which are, as of this writing, still unpublished) and lyrics for the band Kodagain.

“Why talk about insects when the whole world is before you?”

This is what Shih Nai-An said.

To call Crisp’s stories simple would be to malign them; to say that they are complex would be to slander, for the highest art is that which, in its directness, its naturalness, says what it has to say without pretence.

The stories are not marked by imaginative paroxysms in which vapid thoughts are tethered together with the tails of absurd beasts, and neither are they studded with knowledge flaunted. There is in them much of the sort of realism used by Patricia Highsmith—much of the same sort of introspection. In Crisp’s case, however, the introspection has a much quieter tone—and the strokes of his brush, so to speak, are more often broken, giving the stories a heightened sense of mystery. The world is not always exactly what it seems.

Gold and vermillion rarely enter into his palette which consists primarily of white, indigo, grey-green, and yellow—the colours used to paint trees, flowers, mountains and people—but even then, the ink is not wasted and is treated as if were more valuable than money.

One might call these stories restrained, but the word naturally calls to mind tension, and in them the reins are let loose and quiet observance given its chance to roam.

Lu Ch’ai said, “Neither complexity in itself, nor simplicity is enough.”

In other words, great distances are pointed towards with a simple gesture. Simple things are made beautiful with direct presentation. The composer sees the common with eyes uncommon and finds the sublime in the poverty of his surroundings.

“To be a man, that is to say a participant of the infinite, one must abjure all fraternal conformities and wish oneself special, unique, absolute.”

These words Remy de Gourmont wrote.

With powerful simplicity Crisp evades banality. Detail is perfect, but gives way to sweeping gestures. Eccentricity, the most precious thing in good writing, is achieved without violating natural order.

“So many people have stood in my way,
But I am not afraid.
I brush my teeth each day
With new, improved yuugen.”

These are words written by Crisp for the Kodagain song ‘The Iowa Writers Workshop Lacks Yuugen’.

Metrophilias and Blind Swimmer reviews

October 25, 2010


The latest issue of Prism, the magazine of the British Fantasy Society, has a nice review of Metrophilias by Adam Shardlow. To Quote:

“Metrophilias is a book about love and the morphing of such an all encompassing emotion into strange twisted desires. Taking the city, the urban social attitude, and mixing it with Aristotle’s concept of philia, partnering or brotherly-love taken to extremes, sounds a potent mix for fantasy. This slim volume does not disappoint.”

In other news, the Finnish website has a review of Blind Swimmer (an anthology I am in). Quote:

“I have to confess that I read all the stories twice, because I loved the way they were written. After reading these stories twice I can say that Blind Swimmer is without a doubt one of the best anthologies of 2010.” 

This is the second time that I have heard it called one of the best anthologies of 2010.

Did I mention that

September 1, 2010

Blind Swimmer is out . . . ?