One of the most exciting things I have been involved in over the last year and a bit has been Sixth Element Publishing the Harvey Duckman Presents anthology’s. From it’s inception (reputably over a few beers in a pub one night) it has been a project which has grow and taken on a life of it’s own. I was lucky enough to be ask to contribute to the first volume before it even had a name, and having never been asked to write a short story for an anthology before I leapt at the chance.
I had just released ‘A Scar of Avarice’ at the time, had a finished working draft of ‘A Spider In The Eye’ sitting with my friend and editor, who happens to be C G Hatton the editor in chief and driving force (along with Andy) behind 6E’s Harvey Anthologies. Back then however this was still an unnamed idea, and no one I believe really envisaged what it was to become. All the same with my usual mixture of naive enthusiasm, and coffee driven insomnia I decided to write a Hannibal Smyth story for the anthology, because I had a Hannibal novel that would be out in a month or two, building on a silly idea I’d flirted with about a younger Hannibal getting drawn into a dual over a slice of cheese cake while off his head on LSD.
It was of course six months before the Hannibal novel finally arrived, not two, and the anthology idea took longer still to come to fruition. Indeed I had sort of forgotten all about it and ‘The Cheesecake Dichotomy’ slipped off my radar for a while, because these things take time, and if getting myself organised takes a while, imagine how much effort, time and sheer willpower it takes to get fifteen writers all corralled up and release an anthology… Frankly I remain amazed that 6E managed to pull off not only that first volume which was released at Scarborough Scifi convention back in at the beginning of April, but the second volume which came out in time for Kapow in Stockton a mere three months later.
For that second volume I wrote ‘The Strontium Thing’ a story based on all those scifi and fantasy heroes that litter both genre’s who lose the odd body part and have it replaced with something else, be it cybernetics or some alien body part or other. (trust me there are more of these than you might think), an idea I took to a logical if mildly extreme and frankly ridiculous extent… But then there is no much but strontium in the waste lads of Ka, so what else could they use…
The next few months were problematic for Harvey, as sometimes things crop up you can’t account for, occasionally some people are idiots, and I know due to one idiot it was tough going for a while for the 6E team. Frankly they could have walked away from the project and I for one would not have blamed them. I had a rant about it at the time, and while I could point you to that rant I won’t because its now in the past thankfully, and after delays and a lot of soul searching Harvey is back with a third volume to be released on the eve of all hallows, and the kindle version is available for pre-order right now. It packed with story’s by a host of talented new voices in speculative fiction, including both established authors many of whom have written guest posts for this blog and or been featured within its pages before, as well as some previous contributors and as usual a few previously unpublished writers, just waiting for readers to discover them.
Harvey is a fabulous ride, and I remain proud to be a part of it and to that I keep been asked to contribute stories to the anthologies, long may it run and go from strength to strength, news on future volumes will be coming soon , but for right now, I’ll stick with volume three which I look forward to reading myself.
Volume 3 includes stories by: Peter James Martin, Ben McQueeney, A.L. Buxton, R. Bruce Connelly, Phoebe Darqueling, Melissa Wuidart Phillips, Marios Eracleous, Nate Connor, James Porter, Joseph Carrabis, Cheryllynn Dyess, Erudessa Gentian, Liz Tuckwell, JL Walton and Amy Wilson, and me. It also has a foreword by the esteemed man of fictitious scribbling Craig Hallam.
It is once again edited by the ever wonderful C.G. Hatton, and I offer my thanks (and probably another bottle for rum) to her and Andy Hatton, without whom none of this would be possible and the world would be a poorer place…
This time round, I should probably mention, I have a story, that is a story within a story, a biography of sorts, the tale of how the idea of the Harvey Duckman Anthologies first came into being. It is of course entirely accurate and 100% the true story of how Harvey came up with the idea in the first place… Well some-where and some-when in the multiverse anyway, there maybe a monochrome individual, a doorman who drinks brandy the correct way, and a multidimensional entity who is occasionally a cat or a piano bar and grill or both involved, but that would be telling…
Adios for now
PS. I got through all that and utterly failed to mention that Book tow of Hannibal Smyths Misadventures, ‘From Russia With Tassels’ is now available on kindle and in paperback. Really I am rubbish at this self-publicity lark… Click on the banner below , go on do it you know you want to….