It’s that time of year again! As the dust settles from the hurly-burly of Christmas and the inevitable gift-exchange (much of which, I hope, will involve books!), for many an inevitable question always remains:
What do I spend that gift voucher on?
If, as I inevitably do from relatives who have given up trying to buy for me, you have some spare cash or Amazon vouchers kicking around this Christmas, I would like to suggest a few stocking fillers that you may consider spending them on.
First up, a collection that I have reviewed before. Sarah Grey’s collection is truly excellent both moving and unsettling – perfect for traditional Yuletide chills. And what better way to celebrate the release of her new book Half Life than revisiting her other fantastic work?
Steampunk Fairy Tales
If you want a bit of Christmas magic of fairy tales, but with a steam-pumping, oil-spewing take that is both gritty and magical, then this is for you. I won’t dwell in detail on the fairy tales covered as part of the collection’s challenge to the reader is to guess – but needless to say that this is well worth picking up (and indeed, at the time of writing it is free, with a second volume retailing for only £0.99).
Set up by a group of writer friends with the intention of helping others get a foot in the door of the publishing world, Inklings Press produce regular themed collections of a consistently good standard. To focus on only two: Tales from the Tavern, a classic fantasy anthology, is worth picking up for the first and final stories alone, while their Tales from Alternate Earths is one of the best collections of alternate-history short stories that I have ever come across. These are also very reasonably priced, and do a great deal to help undiscovered authors much-needed publicity and appreciation.
Besides this sample of recent delights I have stumbled across, there are a plethora of independent presses and magazines that deserve your attention, and give a start to the up-and-coming authors yet to be recognised by the major presses. Apex publishes novels, novellas and a regular magazine, and is a treat for fans of the speculative (as my previous reviews of their publications can attest). Lightspeed and Clarkesworld magazines are famed for their fantasy and science fiction, while Beneath Ceaseless Skies is making waves in the epic fantasy market. These all contain stories written with love and dedication, and isn’t that what we bibliophiles yearn for?
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Exploring Otherwheres
Learn more about the authors and presses covered here by following them on Twitter:
Sarah Gray: @saraygray
Claret Press: @Claret_Press
Inklings Press: @InklingsPress
Apex: @ApexBookCompany and @apexmag
Beneath Ceaseless Skies: @BCSmagazine