Thursday, 1 December 2011

An Obverse Year

Having been reminded of the date both by the fact I shaved my Movember moustache off this morning and Paul's blog post about stories he's written this year, December 1st seems as good a time as any to reflects on the various bits and pieces Obverse Books, mine own tiny book imprint, have pushed out into the wild this year.

First up was the initial volume in the inaugral Obverse Quarterly, the Johnny Mains edited Horror anthology, Bite Sized Horror.  I'd be lying through my teeth if I said that year one of the Quarterly has exactly been a commercial triumph, but I'd be equally mendacious if I said that I was anything other than delighted with the quality of the books themselves.  And Johnny got us off to a great start, with six scary as hell stories from a pretty impressive line-up of modern horror writers, including himself.  The description by the Short Review reviewer of this as 'top notch dark fiction' wasn't far off the mark, if you ask me.

 We'd put out a couple of books just before the turn of the year, so the first month or two was pretty quiet, but come March and there was a flurry of books either being published or being put together.

In May, a long sought desire for Obverse was fulfilled when I edited and published a collection of Faction Paradox short stories.  The quality of the writers was such that I can make little claim to the credit which poured in the direction of A Romance in Twelve Parts, but I think I'm right in saying that this was the most critically acclaimed book Obverse have done so far, with more incredibly positive reviews than even the Iris books.  Looking ahead to next year, we definitely hope to build on this first collection in several different this space!

 Next up on what increasingly looks like the Obverse Conveyor Belt was book two in the Quarterly - Senor 105 and the Elements of Danger.  Edited by the incomparable (and newly married!) Cody Quijano-Schell with stories from several entirely new to Obverse authors - and one by one of the mysterious Petit sisters - I thought this was perfect little book, from brilliant cover art by Paul Hanley to the little image of a jukebox which ended the book.  If you haven't read it, this is the book from this year that I'd recommend you go out and buy right now!

Book four this year was a bit of an oddity - but a very, very enjoyable oddity indeed, and one which turned out to be the book which got us some national publicity, no less!  Basically, Paul Magrs and George Mann, two of my favourite writers and people, were looking for something to have to hand at conventions, readings and other publicity related gee-gaws, and between us we came up with the idea of doing one of those tete-beche books (where two books are presented in one binding, with one book flipped 180 degrees in relation to the other).  In the aptly named Team Up, Paul had one side for The Dreadful Flap and other Stories and George had the other for his Newbury and Hobbes collection, The Sacrificial Pawn.  The book was a big success, possibly because - in spite of enquiries from Waterstones, Forbidden Planet and several other big chains, we decided to stick to our original decision to sell the book at just about cost, and only via our website or form the authors directly at conventions.  This is one experiment I'd like to repeat next year, actually.

Finally, for 2011, there are three books out in the next month.  First up is book three in the Quarterly, featuring the science fiction short stories of US Civil War veteran, Fitz-James O'Brien.  Then we have a limited edition small Christmas collection from George Mann, and - somewhat delayed for reasons beyond anyone's control - Wildthyme in Purple, which I personally think is amongst the best Iris collections to date!

And that's that for this year (though we have a very special release scheduled for January 2012 which I'm really excited about).  Which might be a good point to thank Cody, without whom this entire enterprise wouldn't be possible; Paul, who started it all with me back in 2008 and has remained supportive throughout; and George, who is just the nicest, most encouraging person ever.

And of course all the authors and artists, old and new, who were in our books this year...

* Dave Hoskin 
* Philip Purser-Hallard 
* Niamh Petit
* Matt Kimpton 
* Jon Dennis 
* Jay Eales 
* Ian Potter 
* Daniel O’Mahony
* David N Smith
* Violet Addison 
* Scott Harrison
* James Milton 
* Blair Bidmead
* Reggie Oliver
* Johnny Mains
* Conrad Williams
Paul Kane
David A. Riley
Marie O’ Regan
* George Mann
* Paul Magrs
* Cody Quijano-Schell
* Julio Angel Ortiz
* Joe Curreri
* Lawrence Burton 
* Steve Mollmann
* David McIntee
* Paul Ebbs
* Simon Bucher-Jones
* Geoffrey Hammell
* Steffan Alun
* Dale Smith
* Richard Salter
* Iain McLaughlin
* Richard Wright
* Nick Campbell
* Paul Hanley
* Mark Manley
* Bret Herholz

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