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Messages - iamacanadian

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BFS Publications / Re: The New BFS Journal
« on: January 20, 2011, 12:23:26 am »
In a previous life, I ran a web-site which covered theatre in the Metro Vancouver area. I had difficulty finding enough time to see everything of a professional and semi-pro status, as often there were easily more productions on than evenings to view them that week (plus runs were short enough that they'd be gone by the time I could get to them).

Anyway, at one point I had three people doing reviews for me under nom-de-plumes for the simple reason that everyone knew everyone else, and there's far more theatre artists than paying jobs available. Saying, in public, "I thought Dean's performance in Humble Boy was flat" is a damned site more dangerous to one's financial livelihood than muttering the same thing over a pint after the show.

What in blazes has that to do with the price of coal? Just this:

If you want to review a piece of writing, go right ahead and do so. If you don't like the book, say so; especially if you liked the author's previous work and think this isn't up to their standards, or yours. Given you probably wouldn't have much to do with someone whose work you don't care for at all, why would one bother using a pen name for a review saying what you think of the work in the first place? If your writing opportunity isn't to be harmed for saying what you think or feel, then who cares who hears what you think? Run the thing under your own name and be done with it.

In summation: the previous example by me (where income is harmed by too-delicate souls) is defensible as a decision, but the latter (where it doesn't matter) is just cowardly. The only reason one can realistically conceive of is that one wishes to take a poke at someone who's already been prodded to death.

Leave the poor woman alone or at least have the decency to say things in a way which is credible and/or credit-able.

Well bless my stars and garters! Atomic Fez is just the bees’ knees, it seems! According to Peter Tennant at Black Static, certainly.

Not just one, but two of the books published last year made up two entries of the 13 in Mr. Tennant’s “Best of 2010″ list over on his blog in THIS POST HERE. James Cooper’s A Beautiful Red was cited for its excellent writing, as was Andrew Hook’s Ponthe Oldenguine.

Click through and read the full text, but here’s some selected text from last week’s post, as well as a little something from Mr. Tennant’s original reviews for the two books.   

Cover art by David Gentry
(click to enlarge or close)
Cooper writes with a scalpel like economy of style, a surreal eye and a vision uniquely out of kilter with the world we know, but still connected enough to reveal to us truths we’d rather not confront.
Peter Tennant;Pete’s Picks”, January 14th 2011

“There’s Something Wrong With Pappy”… chronicles the dissolution of a family after the death of the mother, with sympathetic magic… and all sorts of micro/​​macro shifts of perspective… but also eerie and strangely compelling… Even better is “Eight Small Men”… with events past and present informing each other, and excellent characterisation throughout… a moving and powerful story, and testament to what Cooper can accomplish when he stretches himself.
 … As so often with Cooper [in “My Secret Children”] there’s the suggestion of something else going on in the background… it’s the ideal note on which to end this collection by one of the most promising writers to emerge from the small press pack in recent years.
Peter Tennant; Black Static, Issue №16 (April/​​May, 2010)

Cover art by Steve Upham
(click to enlarge or close)
…A delirious smörgåsbord… in a barbed satire that would have brought a smile to the faces of… Swift and… Pope.
Peter Tennant;Pete’s Picks”, January 14th 2011

Despite its brevity this is a book fizzing with ideas. While so much of it, at least superficially, seems preposterous, beneath the surface serious commentary is being made about the banality of modern entertainment and life itself…
[Andrew] Hook doesn’t set a foot wrong with the writing, his voice charming the reader so that we accept the audacity of his invention, the way in which it continually fools not only us but also itself. It is his best book yet, and I loved it.
Peter Tennant; Black Static, Issue №20 (Dec. 2010  –  Jan. 2011), p.52
Atomic Fez was the only publisher to be mentioned twice, as far as I can tell, which prompted this comment from the highly respected reviewer:

…two out of five releases [in 2010], so it appears I think [Atomic Fez] are doing something right…

The titles of the two books in the second paragraph above will lead you to their product pages, where you can purchase your very own copies of both. You’ll be glad you did, too; don’t just take Atomic Fez’s word for it!

Atomic Fez / Win a copy of John Travis's Novel! (North America)
« on: January 10, 2011, 09:33:37 pm »
Atomic Fez is pleased to announce its latest give-away: five (5) copies of of The Terror and the Tortoiseshell for people in the North American postage delivery area (you know: Canada, plus the USA and their Armed Services locations)! Head to your Goodreads account, or register for your new one, and then enter the contest today!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Terror and the Tortoiseshell
by John Travis

Giveaway ends January 21, 2011.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

John Travis's first novel, The Terror and the Tortoiseshell,  is a noir-styled murder mystery with deft comedy and Science Fiction  touches. It honours of the classic hard-​​boiled detective novels of the  1940s.

Benji Spriteman takes over the “Spriteman Detective  Agency” after the world is changed overnight by 'The Terror', resulting  in the animal kingdom moving from four legs to two and banishing the now  crazy human population from existence, and becoming the dominant  species. Oh, and Benji Spriteman is a sentient, six-​​foot tall,  suit-​​wearing, tortoiseshell cat.

In this strange environment,  which sees animals taking on some of the characteristics of the humans  they were closest to, human beings have become a bit like flying  saucers. Despite occasional sightings, there is never any definite proof  human existed. When humans start to re-appear, it’s in bizarre  situations. They're always dead and ‘displayed’ as if they were animals.  It’s just as Benji’s life is starting to become a bit more ‘normal’  that he gets drawn into the investigation into these murders, and soon  finds himself involved in ways he could never have imagined.

Praise for The Terror and the Tortoiseshell:

"Animal Farm" meets "The Big Sleep" in this quirky but compelling hard-boiled mystery, the first in a new series, from British author Travis ("Mostly Monochrome Stories").... Travis packs a lot in, including a twisty whodunit plot, humorous sequences to leaven the grimness, and a cult persuaded that Arthur Machen's 1917 novella, "The Terror", is a true account of an animal revolt in Britain. Despite superficial resemblances to Tim Davys's "Amberville" (2009), a crime novel featuring walking and talking stuffed animals, this is a far superior work with a more fully realized imaginary world. (Mar.)

--Publishers Weekly (January 11th 2010)

John Travis has penned a novel that’s sort of "Animal Farm", partly classic noir, and definitely acid trippy weird--but all in a good, fun, highly readable and entertaining way.

... The animals take on the jobs their people had so Benji becomes a private eye and begins his own journey.  Hopefully, it’s one that continues for a long time..

Very dark, but also funny in the sickest of ways. Here’s to hoping the world gets to enjoy much more of Benji--maybe if Atomic Fez offers a dimebag of catnip?

--Dave Simms; Horror World Book Reviews (June 2010)

Atomic Fez / HOORAY! Time for Some News, Wot?
« on: December 31, 2010, 12:10:41 am »
Well, after much silence as efforts are put into Making Things Happen, it's time to raise my head and trumpet what's been done. All sorts of things were accomplished in 2010, including a Distribution Agreement, five titles were published, oodles were re-printed (several of them repeatedly), there were many many review of books, and there's lot's more to come next year. There's so much of it to relay, it comes in three parts on the site.

  • PART THE FIRST: a couple of reviews about a couple of books, both of which you shall buy and love
  • PART THE SECOND: a look at 2010's many accomplishments with books which you shall buy and love
  • PART THE THIRD: a look ahead at 2011, including books which you shall buy and love

WARNING: statistics are mixed together with jokes.

Atomic Fez / Atomic Fez reduces eBook prices by a third
« on: October 21, 2010, 05:46:36 pm »
DRM-free multi-platform titles now priced at $4.99 to $6.99

10.21.2010 – Vancouver – Atomic Fez is dropping its eBook pricing by 33% effective immediately. This includes eBooks purchased through Amazon's Kindle Stores ( or and as well as the multi-file *.ZIP archives purchased directly from

eBooks from Atomic Fez are now just $6.99 (£4.30 GBP) with the exception of the just-released PONTHE OLDENGUINE ($4.99/ £3.07 GBP) by Andrew Hook.

'After a year in operation and with half a dozen titles published, my thinking on eBook pricing has evolved,' said Ian Alexander Martin, Publisher & Proprietor of Atomic Fez Books. 'When I realized I wouldn't pay more than 50% of the pBook cost for an eBook, I knew it was time to lower our prices. eBooks are the 21st Century's version of the mass market paperback, and they need to be priced accordingly.'

Atomic Fez remains committed to the printed book, and will be issuing two new titles early in 2011. 'Let's face it though,' said Martin, 'not all books are forever - sometimes one read is enough. eBooks offer readers increasingly cost-effective reading choices.'

The new eBook pricing structure means buyers will now save between 65% and 82.5% of the cost of Atomic Fez pBooks. All titles are DRM-free. View the complete catalog at

General Discussion / Submissions: Horror Stories
« on: September 19, 2010, 04:03:28 am »
Like a first date, anything can go wrong, and usually does, when pitching a novel or collection to a publisher. What's your worst or most memorable experience on either side of this equation?

If you like, read this post on the Atomic Fez blog to get the discussions going:

Atomic Fez / Re: Long Secret Ponthe Oldenguine History to be Published!!
« on: September 06, 2010, 04:55:36 am »
When it comes to writing fiction, Andrew Hook  is a sneaky bastard. He takes his reader gently by the hand, and leads them down a path until they’re in a pleasant, lawned area with a bench. He sits them down, hands them a nice cup of tea, has a quiet conversation about various things that don’t seem particularly connected to each other, and then asks permission to place a blindfold over the reader’s eyes. This odd request granted, he does so. At which point one realizes that what he actually did was remove a blindfold, because everything that you saw until then was fiction, and one is actually sitting with cup of exceedingly fine coffee in the hand, and are surrounded by wonderful flora and fauna in the middle of a country field somewhere in the middle of the New Hebrides. This sudden change of awareness is surprising, but not unpleasant.

That’s what his writing is like: full of surprises, always rewarding, always exceedingly seamless in its use of technique.

He’s good; so very, very good.

For those of you in North America, the books are here (see below); for those of you in the UK,
we'll see you at the Pendragon / Screaming Dreams / Atomic Fez table at FantasyCon.

Atomic Fez / Atomic Fez Starts the September Sale-A-Bration!
« on: September 01, 2010, 08:25:32 pm »
Yes, you read that correctly: it’s a September Sale-​​A-​​Bration  at Atomic Fez Publishing! In honour of the British Fantasy Society’s FantasyCon in Nottingham (September 17 – 19) and the West Coast Science Fiction Association organized VCON: Vancouver’s Convention of Science Fiction and Fantasy (October 1 – 3), the special prices for printed and electronic books are being extended to you through the modern miracle of ‘the InterNet’!

Now, thanks to the generosity of the people in the Atomic Fez Executive Suite, you’ll find that trade paperbacks are as low as $15 /​ £8 and hardbacks are up to 25% off!

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Every title in the space-​​age Electronic Book format purchased directly from Atomic Fez is a full 50% off! That’s just $5 (roughly £3) for any title, and for that one price you get several formats in one handy *.ZIP file, and they’re all DRM-​​free!

REMEMBER: any order over $50 or £35 always qualifies for FREE SHIPPING! This is a perfect time to catch-​​up on those titles you keep meaning to experience, or to ensure your Christmas shopping is taken care of for those you know will cherish these well-​​written books.

All of the books’ product pages are live with their newly reduced prices clearly marked, and everyone can order books, anytime during the month of September, even if you can’t make it to the Atomic Fez table at either of those two events!

So it’s time to get crackin’ and click that “Book Catalogue” button on and join in on the Atomic Fez September Sale-​​A-​​Bration!

Books make part of a balanced diet!
Just ask Mother!

† PLEASE NOTE: this offer applies only to those copies of titles purchased directly from Atomic Fez, and does not apply to any external web-​​site such as,, or Please select the orange “E-​​BOOK” button on the product page. Thank you.

TTA Press / Re: Black Static
« on: August 21, 2010, 01:57:48 am »
I got mine a day or three ago and it continues to be the highlight of my day (bi-monthly, at least).

Pendragon Press / Re: The Places Between by Terry Grimwood
« on: August 21, 2010, 01:55:12 am »
Baldwin is so VERY good isn't he?

This is will be highly popular, especially at that price.

Pendragon Press / Re: Pendragon Chapbooks
« on: August 21, 2010, 01:53:21 am »

Ask the Authors and Artists! / Re: Andrew Hook
« on: August 19, 2010, 04:56:34 am »
Also, some book news will follow as soon as I can officially announce it!

You mean this news?

Atomic Fez / Long Secret Ponthe Oldenguine History to be Published!!
« on: August 19, 2010, 12:03:31 am »
Atomic Fez Publishing is delighted to make available the never-been-revealed, true story of the legendary Ponthe Oldenguine! Kept from the knowledge of the public for decades, now you can finally know what really happened in the halls of the BBC's Broadcasting house in the late 1960s and early-1970s!

Written with loving care and attention to details by noted British author Andriew Hœk from notes left on his doorstep one day by a mysterious and smelly individual (who shouted "PORCU-PIIIIINE" through the letter-box before running away giggling), Ponthe Oldenguine is the man you've been denied any information about. So secret was Mr. Oldenguine's existence, you may not even be aware how badly you've wanted to know everything about him! But now, the story can be told and you can read it for yourself.

Here's something about the book itself:
If you want a picture of the future, Trunka,
imagine a boot stamping on a cake . . . forever.
Imagine just how glorious that would be.

Ponthe Oldenguine is one part fictional biography of a former television impresario who claims he’s been hounded out of media history, and one part biography of the journalist commissioned to write his story. Where the tales merge, there is madness.

Trade Paperback copies of Ponthe Oldenguine are just $16.99 (Canada/USA) or £9.99 (UK/Others), with pre-orders being taken now. The electronic book (just $9.99 Canadian) will made available on the title's Official Publishing Date of October 8th 2010.

To pre-order your printed copy, CLICK HERE.

EDITED TO ADD THE FOLLOWING: The Proofs Are Here! The Proofs Are Here! The Proofs Are Here!

Ask the Authors and Artists! / Re: Simon Strantzas
« on: August 04, 2010, 02:20:51 am »
HOORAY! This is a damned good book, and I'm confident that more "goodness" will be added by both the author and the publisher.

FantasyCon / Re: Fantasycon 2011
« on: August 02, 2010, 07:33:14 pm »
I was planning to attend FantasyCon 2011 anyway, but am excited to attend it in Brighton. Possibly because I didn't feel the need to drive anywhere in Brighton, but I did in Nottingham and the experience of doing so in the latter was akin to cleansing the bloody Ægean Stables!

...sorry, bit of a bad flash-back there.


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