Sunday 25 October 2009

The Mercury Annual, by Michael Wyndham Thomas

The Razalians take the sun’s contempt in good part. The nature of their planet has long inured them to disappointment – hope, too, but this isn’t as bleak as it may sound. They know examples aplenty of what hope can lead to – most notably, in their system, the Twenty Aeons war between Barask and Sehunda, adjacent planets at the opposite end of the arc. There, the hope ignited and persisted on both sides that the other would surrender its world. So powerful did the hope grow that the actual reason for hostilities was clean forgotten by Aeon Three. It finally took the intervention of the sun – tired of seeing its spiral path littered with phosphorescent cannon-shafts and the goggling eyes of garotted helots – to lay all hope to rest. For three and thirty parts of an aeon, it looped around these two planets alone, sending out secondary rays to warm the rest of the arc (apart from Razalia, which got a dab or two, equal to an electric fire left on for half-an-hour every other day). Closer and closer it looped, till the famed serpent’s-tail rivers of Barask were boiling and the thousand-foot snow-trees of Sehunda were stripped of their magenta bark. Only then did the planets’ leaders cease hostilities.

"one of the strangest stories I have read in a long while ... The characters are well-drawn, the scenario and relationships entirely convincing. … I will be looking to get hold of Part 2 when it comes out." – Anthony Williams, Prism

A new book by Michael Wyndham Thomas! The Mercury Annual is now available from Lulu, Amazon and all over the place, for about £6.99 – an ebook version is available from Lulu for £2.50!

And now available on Kindle!

Small, unfinished, more like a blueprint for a world than the real thing, Razalia props up one end of the Arc of the Fifteen Planets. In some places, its landscape looks like the efforts of a water-colourist suddenly called away from his easel. The Razalians live with the gaps – those spaces of unfathomable white – in many of their ridges, valleys, forests.

And then the white begins to move…

Parts of this book first appeared in Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #8 and #14.

Michael Wyndham Thomas is a poet, fiction-writer, dramatist and musician who has been widely published in the UK, Europe and North America. His first poetry collection, God's Machynlleth and Other Poems, is available from Flarestack, while Port Winston Mulberry is forthcoming from Peterloo Poets. His CD, Seventeen Poems (and a Bit of a Song), is now on release from MayB Studios. Publication of his novel, The Song of the Sun, is also forthcoming, as are productions of his play, Mr Culverson's Apostle. Since April 2004 Michael has been poet-in-residence at the annual Robert Frost Poetry Festival, Key West, Florida. In consequence, he is now Poet-at-Large in the Navy of the Conch Republic of Key West. He undertakes these "bardic" duties with due solemnity and happy bafflement. See for more information.

The cover art is from Simon Bell, an artist who works in a wide range of media and lectures in Art and Design at Coventry University.

Review copies: we've taken a leaf out of PS Publishing's book on this one – we'll supply pdfs of our books to anyone who can point us to where their reviews appear (online or offline), whether that's a blog, a website, a magazine, an ezine or so on. If you'd prefer the books in another format, for example epub, just let us know. Email and include a link to your previous reviews or the publication you're reviewing for.

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