Monday, November 10, 2008

Bull Running for Girls by Allyson Bird

I am excited.

Nothing new there - a new day, more books to read = Liz in heaven.

But this time around it is because of a unique set of stories put together by Allyson Bird. She's been around a for a little, having had short stories published in The Hub magazine amongst others. Her anthology of short stories - Bull Running for Girls - was launched at the most recent British Fantasy Society's Convention to great acclaim.

In Bull Running for Girls we find a star-selection of her slightly fey, weird tales of the normal and the paranormal with a twist of Poe and Lafcadio Hearn thrown in for good measure. The stories can be called adventure-horror stories set in various locations across the world, from China to Everydayville in Madison County US.

The stories reflect our growing obsession with the unknown, exploring the deep recesses of the mind, turning the overly mundane into nightmare-like occurences. It also reworks some old themes and the author has great fun with archetypes.

The selection of stories are - in my mind - ideal for those of us who like a bit more meat to their short fiction (forgive the unintended pun) and who enjoy having their status quo challenged by a writer with growing skill. The various protagonists within the 21 short stories all struggle valiantly with personal demons, invariably doing their best to hold up the facade of normalicy as the edges of their world are torn away by external forces.

Personal favourites are definitely: Bull Running ; In the hall of the Mountain King; and Bone Grinder. Oh, and Hunter's Moon, because to me it is reminiscent of stories published on Endicott Studio.

The book cover is beautifully illustrated by Vincent Chong and it only serves to enhance the set of stories that stay with you long after you've put the book down.
Find out more about Allyson Bird here. Bull Running for Girls is also available to purchase directly from Allyson and / or Amazon, although I think that Amazon only had a few left in print when I last checked.

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