Tuesday 2nd September 2014; 7pm to 8.30pm,
CCA Club Room, Glasgow:
Book Launch with Douglas Thompson and Neil Williamson
Neil Williamson’s The Moon King is a stunning debut, from one of genre fictions most exciting new voices.
All is not well in Glassholm. Life under the moon has always been so predictable: day follows night, wax phases to wane and, after the despair of every Darkday, a person’s mood soars to euphoria at Full. So it has been for five hundred years, ever since the Lunane captured the moon and tethered it to the city. Now, all that has changed. Amidst rumours of unsettling dreams and strange, whispering children, society is disintegrating into unrest and violence. The very sea has turned against Glassholm and the island’s luck monkeys have gone wild, distributing new fates to all and sundry. Turmoil is coming. Three people find themselves in the eye of the storm: a former policeman investigating a series of macabre murders, an outsider artist embroiled in the murky intrigues of revolution, and a renegade engineer tasked with fixing the ancient machine at the city’s heart. Each must fulfill their role or see Glassholm shaken apart, while all are subject to the machinations of their inscrutable and eternal monarch – the Moon King.
“Williamson’s territories are the liminal experience and the murky corners of the psyche. He is a virtuoso of the fleeting glimpse, a laureate of loss.”
– Andrew Hedgecock, Interzone.
“Worth buying and reading, not once but many times.”
– Keith Brooke, Infinity Plus.
“A truly unique fantasy; The Moon King is a mysterious, luminous read, full of intriguing characters and featuring a twisty, page-turning plot. Beautifully written and thoughtful. Sure to be one of the best debuts of this or any other year.”
– Jeff Vandermeer.
“A talented writer who transcends genre, and should be bought, read and cherished.”
– Shaun Green, Yet Another Book Review.
“Williamson is one of the best Scottish short story writers alive today.”
– Jim Steel.
Neil was born in Motherwell, Scotland. Now residing in Glasgow, he is the author of The Ephemera (Elastic Press, 2006; Infinity Plus Books, 2011), which was shortlisted for the 2007 British Fantasy Award for Best Collection. Neil also served as co-editor (with Andrew J Wilson) of Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction (Crescent Books, 2005), which was shortlisted for the 2006 World Fantasy Award. His short story, Arrhythmia (from Music For Another World, Mutation Press, 2010) was shortlisted for the 2011 British Science Fiction Award. His debut novel, The Moon King (NewCon Press), was published in April 2014.
Douglas Thompson’s eighth novel, The Rhymer, defies the claim of any one literary genre. A satire on contemporary society (particularly the art world), the book is also a comic-poetic meditation on the nature of life, death, and morality.
A mysterious tramp wanders from town to town, taking a new name and identity from whomever he encounters first. Apparently amnesiac or even brain-damaged, Nadith Learmot nonetheless has other means to access the past and perhaps even the future: upon his chest a dial, down his sleeves wires that he connects to the walls of old buildings (from which he believes he can discern their ghosts, like imprints on tape). Haunting him constantly is the resemblance he apparently bears to his supposed brother, a successful artist called Zenir. Setting out to pursue Zenir and denounce him out of spite, in his travels around the satellite towns and suburbs of Urbis, Nadith finds he is always two steps behind a figure as enigmatic and polyfaceted as himself. But through second hand snippets, he increasingly learns of his brother’s waning fortunes – while his own, to his surprise, are on the rise.
Douglas will also be launching The Brahan Seer, a historical novel (from leading Gaelic publisher, Acair Books) about the legendary Highland prophet who has been described as Scotland’s Nostradamus. Executed at Chanonry Point, Fortrose (for witchcraft in the late 17th century), the shadowy figure of the Brahan Seer foretold the Battle of Culloden, the invention of the railways and canals, the Second World War, and even the creation of the Channel Tunnel.
Margaret Elphinstone writes in her introduction to the book: “…lyrical prose often drifting into poetry. Words fly away into the landscape, describing a stark, dangerous, frightening, and yet uncannily beautiful world… Thompson’s Coinneach Odhar is alien, powerful and inexplicable, and yet he never ceases to be one of us…”.
Douglas’s short stories have appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies, most recently Albedo One, Ambit, Postscripts, and New Writing Scotland. He won the Grolsch/Herald Question of Style Award in 1989, and claimed the second prize in the Neil Gunn Writing Competition in 2007. His first book, Ultrameta, was published by Eibonvale Press in August 2009, nominated for the Edge Hill Prize, and shortlisted for the BFS Best Newcomer Award. Since then, he has published four subsequent novels – Sylvow (Eibonvale, 2010), Apoidea (The Exaggerated Press, 2011), Mechagnosis (Dog Horn, 2012), and Entanglement (Elsewhen Press, 2012). Douglas is Events Coordinator for the Scottish Writers’ Centre.
This is a free event, open to all.