My vitals fair explode with pleasure at being able to announce
the Second Coming this forthcoming SF anthology:
Fables from the Fountain, edited by by SF author, superfan and publishing supremo Ian Whates, is an hommage to Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from the White Hart, featuring original stories from many of today’s top SF and fantasy writers. And me. I mean, just look at some of the featured authors with whose works my timid tale rubs pages, truly, I Am Not Worthy. No, really, I’m not. I’m not just saying that. If you don’t believe me, here is the full and unexpurgated bar menu:
Introduction – Peter Weston
No Smoke without Fire – Ian Whates
Transients – Stephen Baxter
Forever Blowing Bubbles – Ian Watson
On the Messdecks of Madness – Paul Graham Raven
The Story Bug – James Lovegrove
And Weep Like Alexander – Neil Gaiman
The Ghost in the Machine – Colin Bruce
The Hidden Depths of Bogna – Liz Williams
A Bird in Hand – Charles Stross
In Pursuit of the Chuchunaa – Eric Brown
The Cyberseeds – Steve Longworth
Feathers of the Dinosaur – Henry Gee
Book Wurms – Andy West
The Pocklington Poltergeist – David Langford
The Last Man in Space – Andrew J Wilson
A Multiplicity of Phaedra Lament – Peter Crowther
The Girl With the White Ant Tattoo – Tom Hunter
The 9,000,000,001st Name of God – Adam Roberts
Tales From The White Hart was a collection in which regulars at a pub swapped tall tales. So it is with Fables From The Fountain: the locale is an old-fashioned London Pub situated in Holborn, just off Chancery Lane, although nobody but regulars would be able to tell you precisely where, where Michael, the landlord, serves excellent real ales and dodgy ploughman’s, ably assisted by barmaids Sally and Bogna (from Poland). It is in the Fountain’s Paradise Bar that a group of friends – scientists, writers and genre fans – meet regularly on a Tuesday night to swap anecdotes, reveal wondrous events from their past, tell tall tales, talk of classified inventions and, maybe, just maybe, save the world (it sez ‘ere).
All the authors had to draw from the same pool of characters, creating a ‘shared Universe’, something that Whates and his partner in crime, the great Ian Watson (I AM NOT WORTHY) presumably found a headache, keeping those timelines clear for the good of humanity.
Messrs Watson (in front) and Whates (behind) at a conference at which I was inexplicably a Guest of Honour.
Those familiar with my
oeufs oeuvre know that I am fond of writing about pubs, both in fact and in fiction. I wrote about the influence on evolutionary theory of the wholly factual Cranley (don’t look for it, it’s not there any more), a right old den of antiquity in South Kensington, in my book Deep Time. And my novel By The Sea featured the entirely fictional Dazed Haddock (and the even more entirely fictional Barking Lobster).
So why now? Well, 2011 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Arthur C Clarke Award: Fables From The Fountain aims in part to raise money for the award, which lost its sponsor last year. The book will be out in May, from the proverbial All Good Bookshops, available at £9.99 as an A5 paperback, and as a seriously collectable dust-jacketed hardback (£29.99), limited to just 200 copies, each individually numbered and signed by the authors.
Go on – you know you want to.