Monday, 17 August 2015

CFP: Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2016: Gender and Emotion

The University of Hull
6th – 8th January 2016

Call for Papers

The grief-stricken faces at Edward’s deathbed in the Bayeux Tapestry; the ambiguous ‘ofermod’ in The Battle of Maldon; the body-crumpling anguish of the Virgin witnessing the Man of Sorrows; the mirth of the Green Knight; the apoplectic anger of the mystery plays’ Herod and the visceral visionary experiences of Margery of Kempe all testify to the ways in which the medieval world sought to express, perform, idealise and understand emotion.

Yet while such expressions of emotion are frequently encountered by medievalists working across the disciplines, defining, quantifying and analysing the purposes of emotion often proves difficult. Are personal items placed in early Anglo Saxon graves a means for the living to let go of, or perpetuate emotion? Do different literary and historical forms lend themselves to diverse ways of expressing emotion? How does a character expressing emotion on stage or in artwork use both body and articulation to communicate emotion to their viewer? Moreover, is emotion viewed differently depending on the gendered identity of the body expressing it? Is emotion and its reception used to construct, deconstruct, challenge or confirm gender identities?

This conference seeks to explore the manifestations, performances and functions of emotion in the early to late Middle Ages, and to examine the ways in which emotion is gendered and used to construct gender identities.

Proposals are now being accepted for 20 minute papers. Topics to consider may include, but are not limited to:

- Gender and emotional expression: representing and performing emotion
- The emotional body
- Philosophies of emotion: theory and morality
- Emotional objects and vessels of emotion
- Language and emotion and the languages of emotion
- Preserving or perpetuating emotion
- Emotions to be dealt with: repressing, curtailing, channelling, transforming
- Forbidden emotion
- Living through (someone else’s) emotion
- The emotions of war and peace
- The emotive ‘other’
- Place and emotion
- Queer emotion

We welcome scholars from a range of disciplines, including history, literature, art history, archaeology and drama. A travel fund is available for postgraduate students who would otherwise be unable to attend.

Please email proposals of no more than 300 words to organiser Daisy Black by the 7th September 2015. All queries should also be directed to this address. Please also include biographical information detailing your name, research area, institution and level of study (if applicable).

Further details will soon be available on the conference website.

GUEST POST: Elizabeth Bathory - Female Werewolf

by Jazmina Cininas

Jazmina Cininas is a practicing visual artist, curator, arts writer and lecturer in Fine Art Printmaking. Her elaborate linocut portraits reflect a long-standing fascination with representations of female werewolves, and draw on a wide range of sources such as historical records of witch hunts and werewolf trials, psychiatric and medical literature, fiction, folklore, cinema and the internet. Jazmina’s chapter ‘Fur Girls and Wolf Women: Fur, Hair and Subversive Female Lycanthropy’ appears in She-Wolf: A Cultural History of Female Werewolves (Manchester, 2015). For the record, Jazmina is not a werewolf.


Erzsébet was frequently mistaken for a vampire, 2011
reduction linocut
edition: 20
image: 37.0 x 28 cm
paper: 43 x 34.3 cm

In 2011, I created the linocut portrait Erzsébet was frequently mistaken for a vampire commemorating the early seventeenth-century Hungarian countess Erzsébet Báthory, as part of my Girlie Werewolf Hall of Fame PhD project. In his 1980s’ book, Dracula was a Woman: In Search of the Blood Countess of Transylvania, Raymond McNally argues that Erzsébet is at least partly responsible for inspiring Bram Stoker’s Dracula, while Hungarian director Peter Sadsy christened Erzsébet Countess Dracula in his 1970 horror film of the same title. It is a moniker that has persisted not only in popular culture but also amongst Báthory scholars, including Tony Thorne, who named his 1997 biography Countess Dracula: The Life and Times of Elisabeth Báthory. That Erzsébet has come to be immortalised as the Countess of Blood demonstrates just how entrenched vampire lore has become in the Báthory persona; however her earliest supernatural incarnation in popular culture in the West was as a werewolf. It is this lesser known incarnation of Erzsébet’s persona that I commemorate in my portrait.

In his 1912 anthology of werewolf lore, Werwolves (most of it his own invention) Elliot O’Donnell differentiated vampires from werewolves on the basis that the former was a transmissible disease while the latter was not, declaring: “Vampirism is infectious… Lycanthropy is not infectious.” The statement indicates not only that the infected bite is a relatively recent development of werewolf lore, but also that there was sufficient overlap or confusion between vampirism and lycanthropy to necessitate the articulation of a clear distinction between the two at the time. Werewolves found themselves swept up in the vampire wave which peaked in 1730s Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland, sustained within the established concepts of witchcraft, animal familiars and cannibalistic devil worship. Etymology reveals a special intimacy between the occult entities, particularly in Eastern Europe. The Russian volk-odlak, from volk meaning ‘wolf’ and dlak meaning ‘hair’, originally designated the werewolf; however it has come to refer exclusively to vampires, and we see a similar shift in occult allegiances in the Serbian vukolak/vukodlac, the Bulgarian vrkolak, the Czech vilkodlak and the Greek vrykolakos. In Romania, Greece and East Prussia it was furthermore believed that a werewolf could return as a vampire after death or vice versa. Among the other elements of werewolf lore absorbed into the later vampire tradition are the tell tale omens of paranormal inheritance such as having been born with teeth or a tail.

Sabine Baring-Gould first brought Erzsébet’s story to the Western imagination in the English language’s first in-depth examination of werewolfism, The Book of Werewolves. Published in 1865, some thirty-two years before Dracula, Baring-Gould’s text suggests that in the late nineteenth century the Countess was more properly considered a werewolf than a vampire. Baring-Gould conforms to nineteenth-century protocols of self-censorship in not providing a surname, simply referring to the Countess as “Elizabeth __”, which may go some way towards explaining why her association with lycanthropy never took hold in the same way that her directly-identified association with vampirism did, although the former is not completely forgotten. An online search of The Columbia Encyclopedia sees Erzsébet “celebrated in legend as a female werewolf”, and she also rates an entry in Brad Steiger’s 1999 encyclopaedia of all things shape-shifting, The Werewolf Book.

Čachtický hrad, where Báthory was imprisoned from 1610-1614.
Site visit, European Werewolf Odyssey, 20 April 2009

Erzsébet Báthory remains a contested figure, even amongst historians. The general consensus is that Erzsébet was arrested and imprisoned in her own castle tower at Čachtice in the final days of 1610. She was charged with witchcraft and the reputed torture and murder of anywhere between thirty-six and 650 young women from her local village and the lesser gentry, although she was never formally convicted of any crime, unlike four of her servants, believed to be her accomplices. She finally died in her tower prison in 1614.

In his chapter, ‘Posthumous Verdicts’, Thorne points to a number of writers who question the motives of those who brought the accusations against Erzsébet and the legitimacy of the court proceedings against her. In an age and society that saw mistreatment of servants as the nobility’s prerogative, violence as commonplace, and medical practices that were often akin to torture, Thorne argues that the shaming and incarceration of the powerful and wealthy widow was suspiciously convenient for a number of her political rivals, especially those who owed her money. Numerous books, films and visual representations perpetuate the myth that Erzsébet bathed in the girls’ blood in her belief that it would preserve her youth and beauty, and this salacious detail has become the default visualisation of the Countess, as a Google image search will attest. This was certainly the form chosen by the McFarlane toy company for their Elizabeth Bathory action figure, released in 2004 as part of their Monsters Series 3: Six Faces of Madness collection.

McFarlane Toy Company, Elizabeth Bathory painted action figure,
McFarlane’s Monsters Series 3: Six Faces Of Madness,
released June 2004, 15.2 cm

The series is known for its graphic depictions of notoriously bloodthirsty serial killers or tyrants from throughout history, and adds the macabre touch of three heads impaled on a candelabrum in the Báthory figurine while the Countess indulges in a literal bloodbath. Yet this latter motif did not appear in the Báthory legend until 130 years after her death, first appearing in László Túróczi’s 1744 travelogue of the Hungarian nation, A Short Description of Hungary together with its Kings.

Although there are numerous representations of Erzsébet in visual culture, only one portrait of her is known to have been painted from life; however it has either disappeared or is of contested authenticity. Painted in 1585, the portrait inspired a number of copies soon after, leading to speculation and contradictory claims as to which is the original painting. The portraits in question all follow the same template: standing pose in regal dress with laced, deep red bodice, pearl choker/chain and distinct white lace collar.

Anonymous, 17th century copy of the lost 1585 original portrait of Erzsébet Báthory

The question “Who is the Real Erzsébet?” posed on the bathory.org website is pertinent not only to the five portraits on display, but also to the myriad personifications of the Countess in literature and film, very few of which, however, acknowledge her early ‘career’ as a werewolf.

In my own interpretation of the Báthory legend, I wanted to draw particular attention to the lycanthropic motifs that have generally been overlooked in visual representations of the Countess without overly romanticising or demonising my subject or neutralising the wolf. My intention is to imbue my female subjects with additional agency through the wolf, part of which requires acknowledgment of the wild canid as top predator. In Erzsébet’s case I was keen to explore whether it was possible to address the complexities of the historical person and her subsequent mythic persona, without casting her as either victim or monster.

The extravagant Hungarian lace collar and the muted maroon and ochre tones, along with the placement of the crest in the top right hand corner, nod towards the historical portraits of the countess, thereby locating my Erzsébet within her ‘legitimate’ visual tradition.

Báthory crest

In their chapter ‘The Social Biology of Werewolves’,* W.M.S. Russell and Claire Russell claim that the ‘E’ in the Báthory coat of arms is constructed from a vertical jawbone intersected by three wolf’s teeth (they are actually dragon claws), and also mention a legend in which Erzsébet was followed about by a she-wolf, reinforcing lycanthropic allusions. I have included this latter element in my portrait as well, further integrating woman and wolf through merging the facial features of the two species.


Julie Delpy as Erzsébet Báthory (top) in Delpy (dir.), The Countess (2009)

Julie Delpy as the werewolf Serafine Pigot
in Anthony Waller (dir.), An American Werewolf in Paris (1997)

From amongst the multiple versions of the Erzsébet Báthory portrait and multiple interpretations of the countess in film, I have chosen Julie Delpy to be the face of my Erzsébet. The French-born actress directs herself as the youth-obsessed lead in her 2009 film of the Báthory legend, The Countess, and also played the female werewolf Serafine Pigot in the 1997 film, An American Werewolf in Paris, thereby serving to further reinforce the lycanthropic references of my portrait. Delpy’s eye has also been merged with the wolf’s profile, offering a less monstrous imagining of the confluence of the lupine with the feminine than seen in An American Werewolf in Paris.

I have resisted the blood bath and fangs, however the ruby red perfume bottle offered up by the extended, bloodied hand nods to popular myths surrounding the Countess and her belief in the cosmetic virtues of blood. The title, Erzsébet was frequently mistaken for a vampire, acknowledges the intimacy between werewolf and vampire lore, as exemplified in the Báthory legend.

Detail of working drawing for Erzsébet was frequently mistaken for a vampire,
2011, digital collage

I have excluded the fang motif from my portrait of Erzsébet Báthory, even though I have used it in other portraits. In the case of Erzsébet, I was concerned that fangs would visually locate her too strongly within the vampiric tradition, reinforcing this version of her culturally constructed persona, whereas I wished to draw attention back to her largely neglected lycanthropic legacy.

Although dominant visualisations of Erzsébet Báthory see her largely aligned with the vampiric tradition and its inherent stereotypes, I hope that returning the focus to her earlier cultural incarnation as a werewolf takes a step towards redressing this largely under-represented aspect of the countess’ mythos in visual culture, while also locating Erzsébet at a significant crossroad of an evolving tradition of representing lupine femininity.




* in Animals in Folklore, edited by J.R. Porter and W.M.S. Russell (Cambridge, 1978)

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

WIN Gothic Fiction and Exclusive Penny Bloods Keyrings


New competition from Hic Dragones and Digital Periodicals - win a copy of Hauntings: An Anthology plus two of our exclusive penny blood keyrings.

Hauntings: An Anthology, edited by Hannah Kate

A memory, a spectre, a feeling of regret, a sense of déjà vu, ghosts, machines, something you can’t quite put your finger on, a dark double, the long shadow of illness, your past, a nation’s past, your doppelgänger, a place, a song, a half-remembered rhyme, guilt, trauma, doubt, a shape at the corner of your eye, the future, the dead, the undead, the living, a grey cat, a black dog, a ticking clock, someone you used to know, someone you used to be.

We are all haunted.

Twenty-one tales of the uncanny, by:
Rachel Halsall, Brandy Schillace, Allen Ashley, Hannah Kate, Audrey Williams, James Everington, David Webb, Sarah Peploe, Michael Hitchins, Patrick Lacey, Tracy Fahey, Rue Karney, Keris McDonald, Guy Burtenshaw, B.E. Scully, Mark Forshaw, Stewart Pringle, Daisy Black, Mere Joyce, Jeanette Greaves, and Elisabeth Brander.

Exclusive Digital Periodicals keyrings feature illustrations from Varney, the Vampyre and Angelina; or, the Mysteries of St Mark's Abbey.

Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 18 June 2015

An update from me...

Life has been a bit hectic for the last few months, so I've fallen behind a bit with blogging and tweeting. As I'm wrapping up a couple of big pieces of work and then working at Glastonbury with Oxfam Stewards for a week, normal service isn't going to be resumed until July. In the meantime, here are some updates on the things I would've tweeted and blogged about more if I'd had the chance. Sorry if this starts to sound like a Round Robin newsletter, but I guess you can just pretend it's the festive season and I've overshared in a Christmas card.

Work

I've finished teaching at Manchester Met (for now?) after a couple of great terms - my first time working at MMU and my first job purely teaching film (rather than literature and film). I'm still working at the University of Manchester, in Art History and Visual Studies, on a digitization project involving the Early Printed Medical Collection at the John Rylands Library. This has turned out to be a really fascinating project, and I'm looking forward to sharing the final product when it's done in the next few months. I'm also still an Honorary Research Associate at Swansea Uni, so the life of an itinerant academic continues. And, of course, it's that time of year when I do a bit of work for one of the GCSE exam boards. But I can't say much about that because of strict confidentiality - but I'm sure you can guess what's been keeping me busy for the last few weeks.

Publications

The big thing for me this year has been the publication of my edited collection She-Wolf: A Cultural History of Female Werewolves (Manchester University Press). Way back in 2010, I started this blog as a conference website for the She-Wolf conference (held at the University of Manchester), which I organized with Carys Crossen. The book was a few years in development, but this allowed me to include a lot of really interesting female werewolves that I wouldn't have been able to in 2010 (would you believe, Nina hadn't even been scratched when I first pitched the book to MUP). Since the conference, all the postgrad contributors have received their doctorates, including my co-organizer Carys Crossen (whose PhD was on the post-1800 literary werewolf) and the very talented Jazmina Cininas (an Australian artist whose practice-based doctorate was entitled The Girlie Werewolf Hall of Fame and is definitely worth checking out). Following the publication of She-Wolf, I was asked to contribute a short article to History Today (published earlier this month), which was great because I got to write about a 1591 broadsheet ('The She-Wolves of Jülich') that I wasn't able to include in the book.

On the creative side, it's also been quite a lycanthropic year. Despite saying that I wasn't going to write another werewolf story for a while, I was lured back to the hairy side by the editors of European Monsters (Margrét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas) last year. My story 'Nimby' was included in the book, and it's a humorous (but, according to one reviewer, venomous) story set in Heaton Park an unnamed large municipal park in an unnamed northern city and featuring a really horrible protagonist.

My plans for the rest of this year include another book chapter (about werewolves) and another short creative piece (about werewolves), working on 3 edited collections (only a little bit about werewolves) and finally making some progress with 2 monographs (sort of about werewolves). If I ever earn enough money to pay the bills and stop working 15-hour days, I'm also planning to actually do something about my novel (100% not about werewolves).

Hic Dragones

Rob and I are still working away at Hic Dragones - our most recent publication was Psychic Spiders!, Toby Stone's awesome follow-up to Aimee and the Bear. We were so happy to be able to publish Toby's second novel, and we love working with him. Although we've been concentrating on a couple of other projects for the past few months, once I'm back from Glastonbury we'll be announcing two new open-call anthologies and two conferences, as well as a couple of cool competitions. If you don't already, follow Hic Dragones on Twitter or like us on Facebook for updates. And, in case you haven't already seen it, all our paperbacks are now available with free UK shipping.

Digital Periodicals

You probably already know this, but Digital Periodicals is the Victorian wing of Hic Dragones. Since last June, we've been publishing Victorian penny bloods and penny dreadfuls as serialized eBooks. All our editions are re-transcribed, edited and formatted - I estimate I've transcribed around 1.5m words of early Victorian terror since we started - and the eBook conversions we do mean that, for the first time, these texts are fully searchable. So if you want to know how many times the word 'ejaculated' appears in Varney the Vampyre, we can help. We've now published complete runs of Varney the Vampyre, The String of Pearls (Sweeney Todd), Vileroy; or, the Horrors of Zindorf Castle, Wagner the Wehr-Wolf, Clement Lorimer; or, the Book with the Iron Clasps (which is BRILLIANT), Angelina; or, the Mysteries of St Mark's Abbey and (my personal favourite) The Life and Adventures of Valentine Vox, the Ventriloquist. George Reynolds' Mysteries of London will be coming to a close at the end of this month, and at some point when I get back, we'll be launching The Life of Richard Palmer (Dick Turpin), George Reynolds' Faust and The Mysteries of the Madhouse; or, the Annals of Bedlam. At the moment, all our full collections (every issue plus a couple of bonus stories) are just £3.99, or you can enjoy the Victorian experience and read them in serial form for £1 per 10 chapters.

Not going to say too much about it now, but one of the conferences we'll be announcing will be connected to the penny bloods/dreadfuls, and it's going to be part of an exciting new collaboration for us. Follow Digital Periodicals on Twitter or like us on Facebook for updates.


Hannah's Bookshelf

You might have seen something about this already, as I have tweeted a bit about it. Hannah's Bookshelf is my new(ish) radio show on North Manchester FM. It's a literature show, on every Saturday 4-6pm, where I talk books, writing and related stuff with my guest for the week. I've been really lucky with guests so far, who've included Toby Stone, Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, Andy Hickmott (from the Ancoats Dispensary Trust), Daisy Black, Nancy Schumann, Chris Monk, Bernadette Hyland, Tony Walsh, Cate Gardner, Emma Marigliano (from the Portico Library) and Mike Whalley (from Manchester's Monday Night Group). I've also done shows with my lovely husband Rob (where we talked about small press publishing), my mum (where we talked Burns Night and Scottish literature) and my brother (where we discussed RPGs and how to be a good gamesmaster). When I don't have a guest on the show, you get two hours of me musing on whatever weird and wonderful topic has caught my interest that week - so far, this has included my favourite literary dystopias and my favourite experimental fiction. Future guests lined up include Rosie Garland and Simon Bestwick, but I'm always on the lookout for others so if you're in the Manchester area and would like to come on the show, please do drop me a line. I tweet and blog about the show from my Hannah Kate accounts, so that's where you'll find up-to-date info about the show.

My favourite bit of the show so far has definitely been Apocalypse Books. This is the section of the show where I ask my guests: in the event of an apocalypse, which 3 books would you save, and why? The responses to this question have been serious, surreal, personal and pragmatic. Books have been selected for their content or their worth as an artefact, but also for their practical use in a post-apocalyptic dystopia. (One of my guests, Daisy Black, made the very sensible point that selections would actually depend on what sort of apocalypse we were facing, as I guess you'd want different reading material in the zombie apocalypse than during the Rapture.) You can see all the selections that have been made so far in The Library at the End of Days.



Creative Cats

Recently, Rob and I decided we should bring all our freelance work under one umbrella so it's easier for us to market our services. We've called that umbrella The Creative Cats, and we have a shiny new website that lists all the freelance work that we do. Rob's side of things is web design (bespoke Wordpress themes, CSS editing, eBook conversion and corrections). We also have a free Wordpress theme available - a minimalist Bootstrap theme called Bertie, which was designed with academic and creative bloggers in mind. My side is editing and research services. I've been doing more and more freelance editing recently (fiction and academic), and am also available for indexing, research assistance and fiction fact-checking. Our prices are very competitive and we're trying to avoid charging people extra for things that we think should be standard (SEO, responsive web design, 2-pass editing), because we can't be arsed trying to sell snake oil. Check out our website for more info, or follow us on Twitter - if you're interested, of course.

Tutoring

I've massively cut down the amount of private tuition I'm doing. I put myself through the PhD by tutoring 20-25 students a week, but I've now only got two pupils (one Maths/English Yr 9 and one Maths/English/Science GCSE). One of them is actually my first ever pupil; she was just 6 when I started tutoring her, and she's now nearly 16 and about to go into her final year at school - and I promised her a long time ago (like a sort of slightly Gothy Mary Poppins) that I wouldn't leave until the wind changes she finishes her GCSEs, so I guess I'm going to be doing this for a little bit longer. I'm not taking on any new pupils at the moment. In case you're curious, I interviewed my two pupils on my radio show in March, and I was really proud of how well they did (I particularly enjoyed Steph's comments on Twilight and sparkly vampires): you can listen again here.

Avon

I'm still an independent Avon rep, ably assisted by Avon Boy (or Rob, as he prefers to be known). I know a lot of people find it hard to reconcile this bit of my life with the others, but I really enjoy being my neighbourhood's Avon Lady. There's something nice and traditional about the role and I've got to know all my neighbours and their cats. Plus I get a good discount on the insane amount of black eyeliner I get through. If you're in Manchester and you want to buy stuff from me, feel free to have a look at my Personal Online Brochure.

Cat in a Spitfire

Ha ha! I just put this in to intrigue you. This is a new project that I'll be unveiling later in the year. I had hoped to make some progress with this over the last couple of months, but it's still a work-in-progress. Coming soon...

Anyway, that's all the self-promotion/waffling I can bring myself to do tonight. I'm off to Glastonbury on Monday, so will be covered in mud and incommunicado for a week. It's quite an exciting year for me, as it's my 20th year of volunteering for Oxfam and 18 years since I first signed up to work with Oxfam Stewards. Which means, of course, that I have now been stewarding as long as the new stewards have been alive. I fully intend to spend most of Glastonbury talking like an old woman. "I remember when all this was fields..."



PS Albert is doing fine.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

OUT NOW: She-Wolf: A Cultural History of Female Werewolves (Manchester University Press, 2015)

edited by Hannah Priest

http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/cgi-bin/indexer?product=9780719089343


She-Wolf explores the cultural history of the female werewolf, from her first appearance in medieval literature to recent incarnations in film, television and popular literature. The book includes contributors from various disciplines, and offers a cross-period, interdisciplinary exploration of a perennially popular cultural production. The book covers material from the Middle Ages to the present day with chapters on folklore, history, witch trials, Victorian literature, young adult literature, film and gaming. Considering issues such as religious and social contexts, colonialism, constructions of racial and gendered identities, corporeality and subjectivity – as well as female body hair, sexuality and violence – She-Wolf reveals the varied ways in which the female werewolf is a manifestation of complex cultural anxieties, as well as a site of continued fascination.

Contents:

Introduction: a history of female werewolves
Hannah Priest

Estonian werewolf legends collected from the island of Saaremaa
Merili Metsvahi

‘She transformed into a werewolf, devouring and killing two children’: trials of she-werewolves in early modern French Burgundy
Rolf Schulte

Participatory lycanthropy: female werewolves in Werewolf: The Apocalypse
Jay Cate

Fur girls and wolf women: fur, hair and subversive female lycanthropy
Jazmina Cininas

Female werewolf as monstrous other in Honoré Beaugrand’s ‘The Werewolves’
Shannon Scott

‘The complex and antagonistic forces that constitute one soul’: conflict between societal expectations and individual desires in Clemence Housman’s ‘The Werewolf’ and Rosamund Marriott Watson’s ‘A Ballad of the Were-wolf’
Carys Crossen

I was a teenage she-wolf: boobs, blood and sacrifice
Hannah Priest

The case of the cut off hand: Angela Carter’s werewolves in historical perspective
Willem de Blécourt

The she-wolves of horror cinema
Peter Hutchings

Ginger Snaps: the monstrous feminine as femme animale
Barbara Creed

Dans Ma Peau: shape-shifting and subjectivity
Laura Wilson

For more information, please see the publisher's website.

Monday, 9 February 2015

OUT NOW: Psychic Spiders! by Toby Stone (Hic Dragones, 2015)

Really pleased to announce the release of the latest title from Hic Dragones...

http://www.hic-dragones.co.uk/psychic-spiders/


From the mad genius that brought you Aimee and the Bear comes the tale of the ultimate arachnid anti-hero…

George is an unusual spider. Born with the ability to control human thoughts, he has a unique insight into the human psyche. And he doesn’t like what he sees. It’s time to deal with the problem.

George’s crusade to save arachnidkind takes him on warped journey through the city, to the one place where he can make his voice heard – the local television station. But George’s quest for media domination brings him up against an array of unlikely opponents: Igor, a troubled man long abandoned to a nursing home by his angry daughter; Tobias, a sensitive spider with a fondness for Countdown; Captain Ahab, a man with no past (that he can remember, anyway). And it’s only a matter of time before George’s activities catch the attention of The Web – a shadowy organisation whose furry legs stretch around the globe.

Will George succeed? Will humanity survive? Will television ever be the same again?

Available now in paperback and eBook formats from Hic Dragones and all good retailers.

Watch the trailer (featuring music by the amazing Digital Front):

Thursday, 29 January 2015

OUT NOW: European Monsters (Fox Spirit, 2014)

Edited by Margrét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas



Blurb:

They lurk and crawl and fly in the shadows of our mind. We know them from ancient legends and tales whispered by the campfire. They hide under the dark bridge, in the deep woods or out on the great plains, in the drizzling rain forest or out on the foggy moor, beneath the surface, under your bed. They don't sparkle or have any interest in us except to tear us apart. They are the monsters! Forgotten, unknown, misunderstood, overused, watered down. We adore them still. We want to give them a renaissance, to re-establish their dark reputation, to give them a comeback, let the world know of their real terror.

Contents:

Here Be Monsters! by Jo Thomas and Margrét Helgadóttir
Herne by J.C. Grimwood
Vijka by Anne Michaud
Broken Bridges by James Bennett
Upon the Wash of the Fjord by Byron Black
Nimby by Hannah Kate
Black Shuck by Joan De La Haye
A Very Modern Monster by Aliya Whiteley
Mother Knows Worst by Jasper Bank and Fabian Tuñon Benzo (artist)
Fly, My Dear, Fly by Nerine Dorman
Melanie by Aliette de Bodard
Moments by Krista Walsh
Hafgufa Rising by Chris Galvin
Old Bones by Peter Damien
The Cursed One by Icy Sedgwick
Serpent Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky and Eugene Smith (artist)

For more information about the book, please visit the publisher's website.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Psychic Spiders! Launch Party

Thursday 29th January, 7-9pm
International Anthony Burgess Foundation
3 Cambridge Street
Manchester
Free event



Come and join us for the launch of Toby Stone's phenomenal new novel, Psychic Spiders!

George is an unusual spider. Born with the ability to control human thoughts, he has a unique insight into the human psyche. And he doesn't like what he sees. It's time to deal with the problem.

George's crusade to save arachnidkind takes him on warped journey through the city, to the one place where he can make his voice heard - the local television station. But George's quest for media domination brings him up against an array of unlikely opponents: Igor, a troubled man long abandoned to a nursing home by his angry daughter; Tobias, a sensitive spider with a fondness for Countdown; Captain Ahab, a man with no past (that he can remember, anyway). And it's only a matter of time before George's activities catch the attention of The Web - a shadowy organisation whose furry legs stretch around the globe.

Will George succeed? Will humanity survive? Will television ever be the same again?

Join us on the 29th to welcome our new arachnid overloads. Readings from the author, free wine reception and giveaways.

For more information, please visit the Hic Dragones website. And check out Toby Stone's debut novel Aimee and the Bear - 'a book as unique and astonishing as it is chilling'.