“It creased me up” – Des Lewis review of Mirrors in the Deluge

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On his website, Gestalt Real-Time Reviews, Des Lewis has recently been reading the stories in Rhys Hughes’ collection Mirrors in the Deluge and writing a review of each as a ‘thought-stream’ over the last month. It has been fascinating to watch the reviews of these stories pop up on the page on a more-or-less daily basis, in an approach that lends itself well to a book, such as Mirrors in the Deluge, full of 32 such diverse stories. It’s not really feasible to do justice to the extent of Des’ often detailed, and always incisive, review in such a brief summary here, so I hope Des won’t mind me picking out a handful of highlights and then recommending that you go over to his website and read it all for yourself. One general comment that I’d like to pick out first, though, is that Des believes that for many of the stories in the book, “if they had been published separately in high profile anthologies each would have made a name for itself as a literary classic, but they seem lost here gathered together, shame to say.” It is indeed a shame, but hopefully Des’ review will help encourage more people to embrace Rhys (or at least his stories!)

On The Soft Landing
“The autobiography of a deep space photon…
This is so eye-opening, I feel it would not have been out of place as a work in ‘The Big Book of Science Fiction’ that I read recently. Seriously.”

On Najort Esroh
“Only in Rhys Hughes do things happen that make you think more laterally than any other author whom I read makes you think. And I read a lot!”

On The Mouth of Hell
“It creased me up. Seriously.”

On Arms Against a Sea
“This is probably the nearest you will get to reading literature written by an extraterrestrial.”

On The Apple of My Sky
“This light piece with distractive silly names for characters did actually cause me to laugh out loud on more than one occasion (e.g. The Big Apple joke) and that is no mean feat.”

On The Taste of Turtle Tears
“This is a Rhysian classic. If not THE Rhysian classic.”

On The Bones of Jones
“A major Rhysian work that I would love to read aloud, to see if it it is utter rubbish (a stream of word association?) or pure genius. Amazingly, it could be both. It’s certainly set my mind buzzing, as you can tell.” Rhys maintains this is the best story in the book, with which Des does not disagree.

You can review Des’ full thought stream here.

 

“surreal, daft anthropomorphisms of the everyday” – review of Mirrors in the Deluge on Starburst Magazine website

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On the Starburst Magazine website, Jennie Bailey has written a review of Mirrors in the Deluge by Rhys Hughes. She describes the short stories in this collection as “surreal, daft anthropomorphisms of the everyday”. She says that there’s “fun to be had with the mythical… and the fantastical”, and as “promised by the book blurb, the book is filled with word play”. Having started her review by praising short stories and saying how the “best short stories tend to leave you wanting more”, her “small criticism” of Mirrors in the Deluge is that a few of the stories are too short. She sums up by saying that the stories in the book are “colourful romps told by a storyteller with a vivid and often witty imagination” and as such they “allow Hughes’s playful stories to whisk you along”. Thanks Jennie.

You can read Jennie’s full review here.

 

“pure pleasure and literary excellence” – review of Mirrors in the Deluge on Risingshadow

The Risingshadow.net website is not only one of the largest science fiction and fantasy book databases full of detailed book information, but also hosts well-written and absorbing reviews of many of those books. Their latest review, by Seregil of Rhiminee, is of Mirrors in the Deluge our new collection of 32 short stories by Rhys Hughes. Seregil describes Rhys as “one of the most imaginative authors ever to grace the field of speculative fiction” adding that his “stories have an enormous amount of originality, style and unpredictability”.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

He starts by saying that “Mirrors in the Deluge is clearly one of his best books” and that “all the stories in it are excellent” going on to say they are “imaginative and well written, and they contain elements of fantasy, science fiction and horror. There’s a delightfully quirky and twisted edge to many of these stories that will charm readers”. He adds that it’s “easy for me to praise this collection” because it’s “delightfully different” and says that he “was very impressed by this collection and its diverse contents”.

Seregil then lists all 32 stories in the collection, with a brief outline of each (no spoilers, don’t worry!) followed by his own comments on some of them. I’ll quote some of his comments here, but you really must read the full review for all of them.

The Soft Landing is my personal favourite of the whole collection, and Seregil says it “is one of the most intriguing and brilliant science fiction stories I’ve ever read” adding that Rhys “is one of the few authors who have the ability to make this kind of a story work well and be of interest to readers”.

The Fairy and the Dinosaur”, says Seregil, “is a story that is impossible to forget once you’ve read it. In my opinion, this fascinating story about a fairy who travels back in time to eat a plum is one of the best and most entertaining stories the author has ever written.”

Vanity of Vanities is one of the most memorable stories in this collection”, says Seregil. A story about the internet achieving consciousness and taking over the world, but he adds “What the internet does will be quite a surprise for readers, because its actions are not what one might expect them to be.”

The Taste of Turtle Tears about butterflies who drink tears to get salt “is an excellent short story that will please readers who love beautifully written stories. This story is so enchanting that it’s almost like a fairy tale.”

Seregil says that Rhys Hughes is “an excellent author of short stories. He has an ability to create beautiful and mind-boggling stories that stimulate the reader’s imagination.” “Although many of his stories are short” he says, “there’s a wealth of depth in them.” He says that there are “no limits to his imagination”, he “can write about anything”, and “doesn’t shy away from difficult and weird material. Nothing is too weird for Rhys Hughes, because he boldly embraces the odd and produces intriguing speculative fiction that fascinates and thrills his readers (this collection has plenty of charming weirdness in it)”.

Seregil warns readers of these stories to “be prepared to be amazed, charmed, stunned and also shocked by what you’re about to read. You won’t find anything normal in these stories or if you do, you’ll find out that the author can easily twist the story into a totally new and exciting direction.”

He also praises Rhys’ way with words, saying that he’s “able to play with words in a genuinely funny way. For example, the titles of these stories are wonderfully creative”. He says that many of these stories “have been written so beautifully that at times you’ll feel almost like you’re reading weird fairy tales for adults.” Seregil says that Rhys is “one of the few authors who are capable of spicing their stories with fascinatingly absurd and brilliantly humorous elements” while being both “fashionable and original”.

His recommendation is to read Mirrors in the Deluge “as soon as possible. It offers good entertainment, thought-provoking moments, plenty of surprises and beautiful prose in one package.” His final summary is “This short story collection offers 200 pages of pure pleasure and literary excellence for quality oriented readers.”

Read Seregil’s full review here.

 

Absurd Welshman brings latest collection of stories to Elsewhen Press

Renowned Welsh author Rhys Hughes signs with Elsewhen Press for a collection of stories that encompass almost all aspects of speculative fiction.

DARTFORD, KENT – 27 October 2014 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the signing of a deal with Rhys Hughes, widely known for his absurdist work, to publish a collection of quirky tales called Mirrors in the Deluge. Currently one of the most prolific and successful authors in Wales, Hughes has published more than thirty books and his work has been translated into ten languages.

Mirrors in the Deluge is a collection of 32 stories that take elements from fantasy, science fiction, horror and other genres and give them a lateral shift. Like much of Hughes’ work these quirky tales between them encompass parody, pastiche and puns.

“The fun, as ever,” says Peter Buck, Rhys’ editor at Elsewhen Press, “starts with the title of each story – gently leading an unsuspecting reader into preconceived ideas and expectations; expectations that are soon spun around, turned on their head (or other extremities), and pushed in an unexpected direction. Thus, even a saunter through the contents page is already a hugely entertaining experience and one more akin to savouring the hors d’oeuvres of a grand banquet than consulting a list of shortcuts into a literary tome. In fact, the gastronomic metaphor serves us well here; the courses on offer range from tantalising tuck to a foody’s feast, but never mere vittles – perhaps the way to enjoy this book is to digest one story, three times a day (four if you’re a halfling who needs second breakfast), rather than trying to gorge on all the available delights and delicacies at one sitting.”

The stories include: The Soft Landing, a unique story told from the perspective of a photon; Travels with my Antinomy, how do you solve a paradox when you’re part of it?; Vanity of Vanities, the internet achieves consciousness and takes over, but with very different consequences from those you might imagine; The Fairy and the Dinosaur, in which a fairy can’t find what she wants for her picnic in the goblin market, is offered cloned prehistoric plums but turns to a time-travelling robot to go back to the age of the dinosaurs and eat an original plum. Other intriguing story titles include The Prodigal Beard, A Dame Abroad, The Unkissed Artist Formerly Known as Frog, The Goat That Gloated, The Taste of Turtle Tears, The Bones of Jones, and The Haggis Eater.

Mirrors in the Deluge will be published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 in a digital edition and a paperback edition.

Notes for Editors

About Rhys Hughes

Rhys HughesRhys Hughes was born in 1966 and began writing from an early age. His first short story was published in 1991 and his first book, the now legendary Worming the Harpy, followed four years later. Since then he has published more than thirty books, his work has been translated into ten languages and he is currently one of the most prolific and successful authors in Wales. Mostly known for absurdist works, his range in fact encompasses styles as diverse as gothic, experimental, science fiction, magic realism, fantasy and realism. His main ambition is to complete a grand sequence of exactly one thousand linked short stories, a project he has been working on for more than two decades. Each story is a standalone piece as well as a cog in the grand machine. He is finally three-quarters of the way through this opus.