My next collection of short stories, The Spider Tapestries: Seven Strange Stories, is available now for pre-order in both electronic and paperback formats.
The book will officially launch March 1. The title story is the surreal piece that recently appeared at Lackington’s, that, as it happens, works out pretty well as a sort of introduction to the remaining six. You could view this book as my follow-up to Unseaming, although it’s a very different book; there’re horror elements mixed in there, for sure, but these aren’t horror stories — at the root they’re sci-fi and fantasy (and both) but above all they’re exceedingly strange.
Why only seven stories? All seven share a density of plot and an intense visual and conceptual weirdness that to my mind justifies the smaller size of the book. Together they represent my most experimental work. Adding more from the material I have available would dilute the effect.
The book includes “The Spider Tapestries” (Lackington’s 8, 2015), “Sleepless, Burning Life” (Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, ed. JoSelle Vanderhooft, Torquere Books, 2011), “Twa Sisters” (Not One of Us 47, 2012), “Silent in Her Nest” (original to the collection, an oblique companion piece to my Mythos story “Her Acres of Pastoral Playground”), “She Who Runs” (Sky Whales and Other Wonders, ed. Vera Nazarian, Norilana Books, 2009), “Stolen Souls” (Altair 3, 1999), and “Still Life With Skull” (Solaris Rising 2: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction, ed. Ian Whates, Solaris, 2013).
A lot of “s” alliteration in this book. I think that’s just a thing I like to do. #SFWApro
I’m really privileged to have a terrific introduction to the book from Nicole Kornher-Stace; and humbling blurbs from Helen Marshall, Scott Nicolay and A.C. Wise. I’m gonna conclude this post by showing off those blurbs:
“Readers, be warned: Mike Allen will infect your subconscious with hallucinatory and alarming delight. This book is a must-read for fans of weird fiction and dark fantasy.”
—Helen Marshall, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Hair Side, Flesh Side and Gifts for the One Who Comes After
“There was a time before the marketplace sliced our wild fantastic literature into bite sized chunks, a time when visions could be astounding, amazing, and weird all at once, a time when Clark Ashton Smith could mainline a Thousand and One Nights into million-colored suns. Now comes Mike Allen, shredding raw that scar-woven shroud between then, now, and infinity, releasing hallucinatory torrents of jewel-encrusted erotic transhumanism with the intensity of a quasar and stripping bare the secret wheels and cogs of the universe beside those lovers who would destroy them. Here are stories accelerating divine sibling rivalries into ultimate cosmic horror and offering unthinkable sacrifices to mark mere step stones on journeys redefining time, space, and identity … dangerous short stories, not padded doorstops, epic explosions out of almost microscopic doses. More than a simple collection, these seven tales overlap and interplay in a crystalline cubist web that might as easily be the nightmares of deities or the dead dreams of a painted cranium, pirated memories or the visions gifted in an azure star spider’s bite. Surrender yourself to The Spider Tapestries and let these tales rewire your mind past genre for a while—a while woven out of an eternity.”
—Scott Nicolay, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Do You Like to Look at Monsters? and Ana Kai Tangata
“The aptly named Spider Tapestries forms a stunning picture that is equal parts darkness and light … a whirlwind tour through worlds of decadent fantasy, noir-touched future-weird, and elegant horror. Mike Allen offers up intricate mythologies that feel real and lived in, rich-detailed stories for readers to immerse themselves in, and from which they will emerge changed. The stories feel epic in scope, from an assassin climbing through the clockwork gears of the world to rescue a goddess in a cage, to an AI moving through bodies and networks to gather up and reassemble the pieces of his lost love. Allen takes readers on a journey through years and worlds, all in the space of a few pages.”
—A.C. Wise, author of The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again