Sunday, February 5, 2023

Complete Poems 1965 - 2020 by Michael Butterworth


Release date: February 3, 2023
Subgenre: Poetry Collection

About Complete Poems 1965 - 2020:



For more than fifty years Michael Butterworth, better known for his work as a writer, editor and publisher, has also been a quiet unobtrusive voice in poetry, with roots lying both in the small press poetry journals of the sixties and seventies and in New Wave of Science Fiction. His work is distinguished as much for the restless intelligence, wit and intimacy of his voice as a determination, shown in many of these poems, to paint metaphorical pictures of the perils we face due to our poor regard for the fragile biosphere in which we live. In other poems, he finds, within the events of an ordinary life, scope for the transcendent, and in still others his use of nonsense and absurdity playfully captures the moment, puncturing the illusions of the self. Across his work, elements are reiterated but endlessly transfigured –

The effect is at once familiar and yet profound, in language that has the confessional qualities and simplicity of early influences such as Sylvia Plath and the Beats, and the later influence of Zen poets such as Ryōkan. Occasionally the writing is startlingly radical – a reminder of the poet’s beginnings in the New Wave.

A collection such as this one from Space Cowboy Books is overdue, and Complete Poems: 1965-2020 brings to more deserving attention a less heard voice in modern poetry.

Critical acclaim:

"Michael Butterworth's poetry is rolling news from a since-outlawed territory of ideas; bulletins filed from a redacted country, edited out of cultural continuity. In beautifully clear language, human moments are examined as though artefacts dug from the future, or the debris of a missing world. Caught in a jeweller's eyepiece, fugitive impressions from near sixty years of subterranean endeavour here condense to lyric crystal, ringing with the poet's radical and laser-guided voice. This is a wonderful collection, mined from times that aren't supposed to happen. Lose yourself inside it."

- Alan Moore - author of Watchmen, From Hell and Jerusalem




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About Michael Butterworth:

Michael Butterworth (born 1947) is a British author, poet, publisher and campaigner who first became known publicly as an author of New Wave science fiction. He later founded the publishing house Savoy Books with David Britton in 1976 and the contemporary art journal Corridor8 with Sarajane Inkster in 2009.


Thursday, February 2, 2023

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for February 3, 2023

It's time for the latest weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with the uproar surrounding horror editor Thomas F. Monteleone, Star Trek in general, Doctor Who in general The Last of Us, Poker Face, Lockwood & Co, Wolf Pack, Knock at the Cabin, the future of The Orville, the future of the DC Cinematic Universe, Groundhog Day at thirty, tributes to Annie Wershing, Lisa Loring and Cindy Williams and much more.

Speculative fiction in general:
The uproar surrounding Thomas F. Monteleone:
Film and TV:

Tributes to Annie Wershing and Lisa Loring: 
Comments on Star Trek in general: 
Comments on The Last of Us:  
Comments on Doctor Who in general:
Comments on Lockwood & Co.
Comments on the future of The Orville:
Comments on the future of the DC Cinematic Universe:
Comments on Wolf Pack
Comments on Knock at the Cabin
Groundhog Day at thirty: 

Writing, publishing and promotion:



Classics reviews:
Con and event reports:
Science and technology:

Free online fiction: 
Trailers and videos:

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Bloodstained Shade (The Aven Cycle, Book 3) by Cass Morris


Release date: January 31, 2023
Subgenre: Historical Fantasy, Greco-Roman Mythology 

About The Bloodstained Shade:


In the third book of the Aven Cycle, a trio of sisters and an ambitious senator use charm, wit, and magic to protect their city from ruin.

Latona of the Vitelliae, mage of Spirit and Fire, lies still as death. Her fate rests in the hands of her allies, who must redeem her soul from the churning void where Corinna, leader of a banished Discordian cult, has trapped it.

Protected by a cabal of corrupt priests and politicians, Corinna plans her most daring assault yet: a ritual striking at the ancient heart of Aven, with the power to swallow the city in a maw of chaos and strife. Her success would be Aven's doom, and the greatest violence would fall upon the most vulnerable.

Before Sempronius Tarren can join Aven's defense-and his beloved Latona-at home, he must end the war abroad, outwitting the blood-soaked machinations of his Iberian opponents. His own magical talents remain hidden, but dire circumstances tempt him to succumb to ambition and use forbidden tactics to hasten the way to victory.

To defeat Corinna, Aven's devoted protectors will need to perform extraordinary magic, rally support from unexpected quarters, and face the shadows on their own souls.




Corinna bowed her head respectfully as she entered the Temple of Janus. The priests knew her face, and she wore the black-bordered tunic and mantle of a mage. In the public eye, she was a humble devotee, pledged to Fortuna and Janus. Some few might have heard more of her story, one they would deem sad. A tragedy. A broken bird.

They had no idea.

Corinna had broken herself, not been broken. She self-shattered, over and over, taking power from every rip and tear and crack in her soul. The priests of Janus, they liked their orderly divides, their doorways, their gates. Either open or closed, so simple. Either forward or back, so clear. They forgot or else they willfully ignored the true potency of Fracture, bestowed in the full-flood-blessings of its strongest and truest patron deity: not Janus or Fortuna, but the Lady Discordia.

No temples to her, not here, and no priests. No worshipers known to the world. Her cult had been banished more than once in Aven’s history, most recently by Dictator Ocella. ‘She may not be welcome, but there is no keeping her out.’

Aven sought control, regulation, order, forgetting that its past and its future were written in the jagged lines of chaos.

Corinna carried a basket full of offerings, though she kept a cloth tucked over her goods. The priests of Janus would not understand. Fruits of the harvest, they expected, bright and colorful and fresh. The first citrons, the last grapes, soft persimmons and sweet pears, and—most blessed of all—the jewels of pomegranates.

What Corinna offered cost her more than any peasant’s toil or patrician’s coin. Blighted stalks of wheat and blistered fruits, white and powdery and crisping. This, the harvest of her soul, the proof of her efforts on Discordia’s behalf.

The air went from crisp to cold as she descended beneath the temple, surrounded by stones which had not seen the sunlight since they had been laid. Had anyone thought to harness the power when they were cut from whatever mountain quarry gave them birth?

Likely not. Corinna sometimes felt no one but she saw the glorious potential in every day. Everything in the world broke, eventually; everything decayed and went to the realm of Shadow, but first it must dissolve in some fashion: splitting apart or sloughing off or with a grand sudden snap. So much power, for those willing to grasp it.

She reached out, shifting the weight of her basket to one hip and trailing her fingers over the stones and mortar. Her skin snagged, so gently, on the bumpy surface. Corinna relished the tug of rough stone against her softness, a reminder. ‘You can build from broken things, yes, but they will always still be broken. Temples, mosaics, entire cities. They are made of jagged pieces, and even if you smooth them down, they know what they are, in their depths, and that they will never be the same again. A thing once shattered cannot be made whole.’


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About Cass Morris:

Cass Morris is a writer and research editor living in central Virginia. Her debut series, The Aven Cycle, is Roman-flavored historical fantasy. She is also one-third of the team behind the Hugo Award Finalist podcast Worldbuilding for Masochists. She currently holds the position of Research Editor and Worldbuilding Specialist at Plato Learning, a company which runs mythology-themed summer camps and other educational programming. Cass provides dramaturgical research and developmental editing for the camps' immersive, interactive theatrical experiences. Previously, she worked as Academic Resources Manager at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA. She holds a Master of Letters in Shakespeare studies from Mary Baldwin University and a BA in English and History from the College of William and Mary. She reads voraciously, wears corsets voluntarily, and will beat you at Mario Kart.

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