Archive for the ‘Surrealism’ Category

A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed

June 22, 2016

OUT NOW! A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: National Flash Fiction Day 2016 Anthology.

 nffda abosbtb


A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed is an anthology of flash-fictions, published to celebrate National Flash-Fiction Day (UK), and showcasing the very best talents to have written in this challenging miniature literary form. The stories in A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed are in a variety of genres, styles and forms, ranging from horror to romance, from fantasy to dark reality, from urban terror to comedy. Many of the stories in A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed will resonate with readers long after reading.


A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed


Foreword: The Editors

Before the Sun Comes Up: Tim Stevenson

Miss Scarlet in the Shed: Tracy Fells           

Cold Hands: Rhoda Greaves

Ambush: Richard Holt       

Outsider: Laura Huntley     

Theseus in Belleville: Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber

Bocca Baciata: Ruth McKee        

Health and Pleasure, Glorious Sea!: Sharon Telfer      

Gingerbread: Virginia Moffat

A Marionettist’s Musings While on a Park Bench: Charley Karchin

Bubblegum Barbie: Emily Devane      

Lifer: Adam Trodd       

Shirts – A Fable: R J Dent

Sam, 29: Martha Gleeson

Three Kids, Two Balloons: KM Elkes            

Who? What?: Ashley Chantler

Pub Quiz: Alison Wassell

Sushi and Kitty Cats: Kaitlyn Johnson

Desert Blossom: Annie Mitchell

Premiums: Ian Shine             

Misunderstanding: Vivien Jones        

Wakes Week: David Hartley      

Burning Faith: Frankie McMillan

Pigeon English: David Cook         

Kittiwakes: Catherine Edmunds

The Door Closes: Kevlin Henney

Clippers: Debbi Voisey      

I Go on the Morrow to Murder the King: Joy Myserscough

Special Delivery: Calum Kerr         

Grains: Joanna Campbell

Panda: Fat Roland          

Fish Supper: Laura Tickle         

The Vineyard: Catherine McNamara

What We Threw Into the Lake: Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

The Pleasure Principle: Rob Walton         

Onion: Damhnait Monaghan

My Aunt Aggie: Paul McVeigh      

A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: Jon Stubbington

A Collection: Diane Simmons

Kelly Loves Traffic Light Jelly: Jeanette Sheppard

Yellow: Nuala Ní Chonchúir

424 Likes: Jennifer Harvey

Manspreading: Marie Gethins 

Wake Up: Oli Morriss          

When Dreams are Large and Tusked: Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Ten Things that Happened After My Funeral: Santino Prinzi     

What the Therapist Said: Jude Higgins        

Gregor Samsa Quits the Track Team: Beverly C. Lucey

Honesty’s Not the Best Policy: Brendan Way       

Orphans: Chris Stanley       

And the Red Flower: Nina Lindmark Lie

One Last Pickup: Sarah Hilary         

Sunday Morning: John Holland      

About Unemployment and Rats: Bernard O’Rourke

Captain Strix: Zoe Gilbert         

Latchkey: Fiona J. Mackintosh

Lips: Nik Perring         

Map Reading: Jane Roberts        

How to Make Lolo: Michelle Elvy       

Family Values: Jonathan Pinnock

Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night: Claire Fuller         

Hornet’s Nest: Sally Burnette      

The Taste of Sock and Rubber: Cathy Bryant       

In the Café: Sherri Turner       

On the Invisibility of the Deaf: Debbie Young

Flying Ant Day: Judy Darley          

Marzipan Bride and Groom: Sal Page

I Believe in You: Meg Pokrass        

When She Was Good: Safia Moore         

Injuries in Dust: Poppy O’Neill     

We Can Be Asteroids: FJ Morris             

Purple with a Purpose: Amanda Saint      

Little Ghosts: Jan Carson           

The Night Life of Wives: Angela Readman

The Jumper: Anne Patterson

A One-Word Yet…: Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Storm: Gemma Govier

Jessie Learns How to Keep A Secret: Alison Wassell

Illumination: Judi Walsh           

When Words Aren’t Enough: Lucy Welch          

Christmas: James Watkins

Always One: Tracy Fells           

Notes: Elaine Marie McKay

Energy Efficient, Extremely Slim, Easy to Install: Ed Broom


A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: National Flash Fiction Day 2016 Anthology is out now!

To purchase the paperback edition of the anthology, please follow this link here: A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed. (paperback)

To purchase the e-book edition of the anthology, please follow this link here: A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed. (e-book)

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Richard Brautigan

June 5, 2016

Richard Brautigan (January 30, 1935 – September 16, 1984) was an American novelist and short story writer.


His writing is often considered to be either black comedy, parody or satire – or a combination of these.

Richard Brautigan has written ten novels. They are:

A Confederate General from Big Sur (1964, ISBN 0-224-61923-3)


Trout Fishing in America (1967 ISBN 0-395-50076-1)


In Watermelon Sugar (1968 ISBN 0-440-34026-8)


The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 (1971 ISBN 0-671-20872-1)


The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western (1974 ISBN 0-671-21809-3)


Willard and His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse Mystery (1975 ISBN 0-671-22065-9)


Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel (1976 ISBN 0-671-22331-3)


Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942 (1977 ISBN 0-440-02146-4)


The Tokyo-Montana Express (1980 ISBN 0-440-08770-8)


So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away (1982 ISBN 0-395-70674-2)


An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey (1994 ISBN 0-312-27710-5)


Richard Brautigan has also written a collection of short stories, Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970


Richard Brautigan’s novels and short stories are available from:






Some of the Life of Gilbert by R J Dent

January 9, 2015


Gilbert was very, very fed up.

          He’d been sitting inside a locked vault for several weeks and wanted to be out in the world again – circulating, as he’d been created to do. He thought back to his last week of independence; the way he’d been happily mixing with others, in and out of different environments, aware of movements and touch. He’d made a lot of people happy and had not been bored once.

          Now – a few weeks later – he was feeling a little dull, there being no light, movement or friction in the vault. He’d asked some of the others about possible futures, but they were all – with the exception of Rhonda – too busy crowing about past glories.

          “Once,” Oswald rather pompously stated – for the twentieth time – “I was exchanged – with a few others – for a Rolls Royce.”

          “You said Jaguar before,” Ellen said shrilly.

          “Or was it a Rover?” Jamie asked in his soft voice.

          “The type of car doesn’t matter,” Oswald snapped impatiently. “What is of paramount importance is that my personal value is far higher than yours.”

          “But you’re worth exactly the same as the rest of us,” Gilbert interrupted.

          Oswald sighed in exasperation. “I’m very much aware of my value, thank you, Gilbert. My point is that – unlike many of you – my actual value exceeds my stated value. Read more…

Some of the Life of Gilbert

Copyright (c) R J Dent (2010)

Harry by R J Dent

January 9, 2015


It was exactly one week after her birthday that Muriel realized that Harry was a robot.

          Up until then, she’d just thought that he was as near as it was possible to get – for a man – to being a perfect human being.

          He did everything for her: listened to her, helped her, did jobs around the house without being prompted and took her on surprise holidays. On top of all that he was good-looking, had a great sense of humour, was a great fuck and did his job well. Muriel couldn’t help but be in love with him.

          Yet at odd times, there was something a little distant about him. When he didn’t know she was watching him, she saw a look of detachment cross his features, as though he’d suddenly switched off from her and her world. This hurt her a little, so one day she asked Harry about it. He apologized for giving her that impression, but all it was was that she’d simply observed him when he was tired and trying to unwind from a hard day at work.

          “Are you sure?” she’d asked, and he’d taken her into his arms and held her tightly.

          “Of course,” he’d responded, stoking her head gently, before taking her to bed and making love to her. Read more…



R J Dent says: ‘After reading Isaac Asimov’s wonderful I, Robot stories, I always wanted to write a robot story. Once I’d had the idea of a woman becoming unhappy because her lover was too attentive, too perfect, I had the main story idea. The other spark that really brought the story to life for me was the idea that the robot was in a permanent state of being improved, according to the partner’s wishes. Harry’s name came from the protagonist of Hubert Selby Jr’s, The Demon; Muriel’s name came from Steve Harley’s Muriel the Actor.’


Text: Harry (1635 words)

Copyright © R J Dent (2001 & 2016)


Image: Personal Robot 06 by Franz Steiner


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The Host by R J Dent

January 9, 2015


Eddie was watching the television.

          After a hard day’s work at the factory, there was nothing Eddie liked more than sitting down in his favourite armchair and watching whatever happened to be on the television. He’d flick from one channel to another as each programme ended, slowly eating his way through the huge portion of fish and chips he habitually bought on the way home from work.

          For Eddie, the television was a window onto the rest of the world.

          Thanks to the television, Eddie thought, I’m in touch with what’s going on on the planet.

          Eddie even had his favourite type of programme – documentaries. Not the ones in which the eating, drinking, mating and sleeping habits of some animal or other were shown, but the ones that showed real people in real situations – the ones Eddie called ‘True Life Dramas’.

          The best example of this, Eddie felt, was the ‘drama’ in which someone got wrongfully imprisoned, whereupon a research team would be galvanized into finding evidence which would prove the someone’s innocence. Read more…

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R J Dent says: ‘I wrote The Host after listening to a popular host being interviewed. The host said he never watched the television, but that without his television programme, he would not know what to do to keep himself occupied. This, combined with my interpretation of Harlan Ellison’s notion of television as a ‘glass teat’ suckling the world,  gave me the story’s central metaphor.’


The Host

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)


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Bookbuster – a great bookshop in Hastings

November 5, 2013

Bookbuster is a wonderful book shop in Hastings that is open 7 days a week.



The proprietor of Bookbuster is Tim Barton, a St. Leonards-based cultural entrepreneur with many years experience in the book trade.


Tim has opened his cheekily-named bookshop, Bookbuster, in premises formerly occupied by a gone-bust Blockbuster DVD rental store.


Tim believes in bookshops and what bookshops offer customers: “I don’t think you can beat a physical bookstore, where you are free to browse,” he says.


Bookbuster is generating a lot of interest among book-lovers. Tim says: “The fact that there has been so much interest so far is fantastic.”


Although the shelves offer many new titles, the shop has an extensive and eclectic range of books that seem to appeal to all ages and interests.


With new stock arriving daily, a calendar full of author signings, readings, poetry slams and other literary events, and an ambient soundtrack playing to ensure customers linger longer, Bookbuster is proving to be a valuable business that gives a great deal to the Hastings reading community.


There is also a significant second-hand book section that – along with a selection with some well-chosen perennial titles – offers collectors the chance to obtain copies of rare editions and signed delights from Iain Sinclair, the late Iain Banks and Tom Sharpe, amongst others.


BookBuster is an independent bookshop in Queen’s Road, Hastings. There is a huge range of stock. Bookbuster is full of literary treasures and, because of Tim Barton’s depth of knowledge regarding authors and books of every type and genre, the shop is something of a cultural oasis. It is very good news for Hastings and for book-lovers and bibliophiles.


BookBuster is at 39 Queen’s Road, Hastings. Opening hours: 9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday; 11-5 Sundays.


There are author readings, author signings, lectures, poetry readings and live music at BookBuster throughout the year.




39 Queen’s Road


TN34 1RL



BookBuster facebook page:



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Between the Frames by R J Dent

September 21, 2010


rjd btf

Once the cartoon was over, Edgar, the albino projectionist, paused the projector and turned the house lights up. Far below, in the darkened cinema, the audience began to file noisily out of the auditorium.

          Edgar waited impatiently for the room to empty before finishing his work. He reversed the projector’s ratchet, then pressed the blue button. The film began to rewind onto the huge spool.

          As the machine whirred, Edgar placed the other film reels shown that evening into cases and the cases into the rack. He slipped covers over machines, then checked that the room was tidy enough for the next day. It was.

          Edgar was in a hurry because he had a date with Emily Watson – the waitress from the Laguna restaurant – and tonight looked as though their relationship might develop into something more than the kissing and touching bouts that it consisted of at present. Read more…


R J Dent says: ‘I wrote Between the Frames because I wanted to look at different notions of image, identity and perception; these are themes that have become increasingly important due to the surveillance/CCTV era we now live in. I also wanted to try and write a surreal story that was grounded in, but which challenged, notions of what we think and what we see, contrasted with how we think we are perceived.’


Between the Frames

Copyright © R J Dent (2005 & 2016)


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Jordy Michaels Leaps the Great Divide by R J Dent

June 26, 2010



They were called the dividers, but they were all gamblers.

There were eight of them – five men and three women. Out of that eight, Jordy Michaels was, without doubt, the best of them. It was Jordy who had won the most money; it was Jordy who had set three new records – and broken two of them himself; it was Jordy who mostly found the best divides, whether they were in New York, Mexico City, Chicago, Toronto, or wherever.

After Jordy, Alec Murdoch was probably the best of the rest. Murdoch was the only one who Jordy considered offered any sort of challenge to his supremacy. Jordy watched Murdoch go through his habitual finger-stretching exercises, sure that one day Murdoch would replace him, just as Jordy had once replaced the sadly lamented Wayne ‘Wings’ Stubley. Everyone got replaced eventually – it was the nature of things. Read more…


R J Dent says: ‘Prior to writing JMLtGD, I’d been looking for a metaphor that was not an object, a person, a concept, an emotion, or an event – in short, a metaphor that was nothing at all, or rather a metaphor made of nothing actual. Finally I came up with the idea of using the empty space between two buildings. Then I wrote Jordy Michaels Leaps the Great Divide.

‘For a while, the story had no title. Then I opened a copy of The Penguin Book of Sports Writing at the contents page and there was Michael Jordan Leaps the Great Divide, an essay by John Edgar Wideman.

‘I changed the name Michael Jordan to Jordy Michaels and that was it – one fully-formed, ready-to-read story, complete with a huge (but non-existent) central metaphor, a solid theme, an underpinning philosophy, a meaning, and even a message.’


Details of R J Dent’s books – novels, poetry collections, non-fiction, short story collections, novellas – and other works including song lyrics and promotional videos can be found at

Jordy Michaels Leaps the Great Divide

Copyright © R J Dent (2002 & 2016)


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Zdzisław Beksiński

September 10, 2009
Zdzisław Beksiński

Zdzisław Beksiński



He is best known now as a fantasy artist.



Beksiński executed his paintings and drawings either in what he called a ‘Baroque’ or a ‘Gothic’ manner.


Zdzisław Beksiński’s first artistic style was dominated by representation.



The best-known examples of this style come from his ‘fantastic realism’ period.



This was when he painted disturbing images of a surrealistic, post-apocalyptic environment.



Beksiński’s  style is abstract, being dominated by form, as is typified by his later paintings.


Zdzisław Beksiński was murdered in 2005.



Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius

March 28, 2009

Michael Moorcock

Jerry Cornelius, an enigmatic anti-hero, physicist, rock star, assassin, time traveller, failure, society host, secret agent, and spirit of the age (false?) messiah first appeared in The Final Programme in 1969 and stayed around until 1984 – then vanished. He recently reappeared in a number of uncollected short stories. At present, his whereabouts are unknown.

Here is a list of the books (novels and short story collections) that Jerry Cornelius appears in:

The Cornelius Quartet:


The Final Programme (1969)

A Cure for Cancer (1971)

The English Assassin (1972)

The Condition of Muzak (1977)

The Lives and Times of Jerry Cornelius (1976)


and in:

A Cornelius Calendar:


The Adventures of Una Persson and Catherine Cornelius in the Twentieth Century (1976)

The Entropy Tango (1981)

Gold Diggers of 1977 (1980)

The Alchemist’s Question (1984)

There are also a number of uncollected Short Stories:

Firing the Cathedral

The Murderer’s Song

The Gangrene Collection

The Romanian Question

The Entropy Circuit

All the Way Round Again

The Spencer Inheritance

The Camus Connection

Cheering for the Rockets

Modem Times


Jerry Cornelius’s adventures are almost essential reading. Michael Moorcock is a master story teller and his writing addresses issues that are in dire need of debate and resolution. The stories are also very entertaining and well-written.

Try them. You’ll have a great time. They’re fun.