Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Hark to the Sign in the Moonlight

Implausible as it might seem, I can be a bit sneaky on occasions!  Like when it comes to news; I've been sitting on this particular piece for over a year now, even though it was a subject I was craving to discuss.  But I can also be sly when it comes to getting my books out in cool formats.  Today's case in point occurred somewhere around last Christmas, when, due to a contract mix-up, it turned out that my story The Shark in the Heart had been included in an audiobook adaptation of the Sharkpunk anthology though I'd omitted to sign over the relevant rights.  Editor Jonathan Green was immensely nice about the confusion (as he tends to be nice about everything, unless you're unlucky enough to find yourself up against him in a live version of Just a Minute at a convention, in which case he's a git) and offered to have my story removed.  But I'd already heard the recording of The Shark in the Heart by then, and it was a terrific take on the story, so that was the last thing I wanted to happen.  Instead, spying an opportunity, I asked if he would mind making introductions to the team who'd produced the audiobook version, studio Circle of Spears?

My goal, of course, was to talk them into producing an audiobook of my own short story collection The Sign in the Moonlight, which had been a cherished dream basically from the moment I started putting the anthology together.  And fortunately they didn't need a lot of persuading; in fact, they were flat-out enthusiastic.  The results, somewhat over a year later, are everything I could have hoped for, and something I suspect only a smaller, independent production house could have concocted.  For a start, Sam Burns and Tracey Norman split the male and female narrators up between them, which is a brilliant touch; but more than that, their deep roots in drama mean that these are more than mere narrations.  They've gone the extra mile to build on the characters I wrote, and to capture the period atmosphere that's crucial to so much of the collection.  Stories such as The Burning Room and The War of the Rats really do have the air of historical diary accounts read aloud; The Desert Cold really does have the sinister overtones of a criminal's confession; let your mind drift a little and it really is possible to believe that the teller of The Facts in the Case of Algernon Whisper's Karma is recounting from the distant past.  Sam and Tracey have found the bloody hearts of these stories and ripped them out for anyone to hear, and the result is something as special, in its own way, as the beautifully illustrated original or its lavish hardback cousin.

Anyway, no need to take my word for what a fine job Circle of Spears have done!  You can grab a digital copy here, or a physical copy here.  And full details of the collection, including the story listing, can be found on my website here.

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