Category Archives: Awards

Prizes! Given to us! For our books!

Great Britain recruiting poster (probably WWI)

[tap tap tap] Testing... Testing... This is Mic №1... This is Mic №1...

First, an explanation about the lack of posts the past couple of weeks. Things have been busy around the desk, what with a frantic return to editing of another novel to be released this spring (and possibly taking a tip from Radiohead in the process). Additionally, there’s another novel shortly after that, which means more editing time once the first one is completed. Then there’s editing to be done of two novels for release in the autumn, plus the careful line-​​editing and proofing of the first two novels, then back to the second two with the same goal, then plus early top-​​line editing of a novel for release in the spring of 2012, probably a slight redesign of the web-​​site at about that point, somewhere in here there’ll be FantasyCon in Brighton… plenty of time to sleep once I’m dead, obviously…

Great Britain recruiting poster (probably WWI)
Great Britain recruiting poster (probably WWI)

Anyway, the point of the above is that the time available for telling you what sorts of things have taken place in the World of Publishing in the week previous has been reduced somewhat recently. This will change shortly, however, and you can expect to see “This Week’s Fish-​​Wrap №15″ next Monday. By that point it’s fairly likely that we’ll be burying the corporate remains of Borders, USA. If not, then perhaps British Bookshops or the HMV bookshops will be mourned. Who knows?

There are two things, however, to mention in passing before things move on to ‘fresh stuff’ next week.

2010 BFS Awards Nominations Close Tonight

If you’re a member of the British Fantasy Society, or even just attended FantasyCon in Nottingham last September, then you’re eligible to recommend things for inclusion in the so-​​called ‘long-​​list’ of things for voting consideration. Eligible titles include all five of the books here on the site, using the following categories:

Best Novel:

Best Collection (Single Author):

Best Novella:

  • Ponthe Oldenguine by Andrew Hook
    (the core story of the book clocks in just under a novel, but if you include the short story in the Appendix it’s just outside the smaller novella category, so it’s up to you)

Best Artist:

Best Small Press (except large where it matters… cough cough):

  • Atomic Fez Publishing

All of the above are worthy of you considering making part of the list of things worth considering for the eventual short-​​list of nominations for actual award-​​winning, trophy-​​wielding, jumping up-​​and-​​down about, which will be announced during the first week-​​end of October in Brighton.

Interview with Proprietor Available

Heading over to the site is always an extremely good idea, but heading to the interview section is particularly good this month because there’s an interview with me in it. Hooray! Click the heading to go there.

That’s it, really. Hopefully between today and next week I won’t have to deal with my e-​​mail programme’s in-​​box suddenly emptying itself completely (and thus about 100 notes there to remind me to reply to them or follow-​​up on an issue disappeared forever), my shoulder muscle won’t be screaming at me loudly enough to make my sight occasionally disappear, the drainpipe under the bathroom sink will be doing its job again, and I’ll be more up-​​to-​​date with editing. Everyone cross your fingers… and your eyes, just for good measure…

Atomic Fez Earns Two 'Best of 2010' Picks from Black Static

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)
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)
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 [released 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!

Popular Mechanics, December 1941 (click to enlarge or close)

Clearing the Desk of 2010's Odds & Sods (Part III)

We’ve looked backwards during the last two posts, examining reviews and what was accomplished in 2010. So, now let us point our noses in the direction of 2011; TO THE FUTURE!! In other words, about 48 hours from now.

Popular Mechanics, December 1941 (click to enlarge or close)
Popular Mechanics, December 1941 (click to enlarge or close)

What’s Atomic Fez got on the horizon for then, eh? Anything you need to know about?

To start with, there’ll be books.

More than this I’m not going to say, as actual announcements and details will be made shortly before their publishing dates, as this is the way to make everyone more comfortable with the small press in general. Too many times people hear about such-​​and-​​such a book being published ‘very soon’ or ‘in the fall’ and then no more about it thereafter. They might have even ordered and paid for a copy in advance. Sadly, occasionally things do not go as intended and the title is either cancelled or the publishing house itself is absorbed in to another one or fades altogether. Additionally, there’s always the chance that the author suddenly wants to have another go through the book before it’s released, or the publishing house finds that it needs to delay things for the want of cash-​​flow, and both of those can’t be done due to the embarrassment of not keeping to an already announced schedule. None of this is to happen with Atomic Fez, and the way to encourage that understanding is by saying things like “Atomic Fez is publishing such-​​and-​​such a title… and here it is!” Everyone’s happier this way.

The plan at the moment is to have four new titles available in 2011: all of them novels. Three of them could easily be seen as ‘mysteries’, three with goodly dollops of ‘humour’, two of them as having solid ‘horror’ content, and one of them as a kind of ‘lad lit’. Two of the four are the first novels for the authors, two of the four are authors previously published by Atomic Fez, two of the four are Canadians, and one of the four is female. Some of the four fall into several of the categories, a couple of them fewer.

Mysterious enough for you? Well, let’s get on to some certainties and cease this wicked teasing of mine.

Atomic Fez will continue to release books in both printed and electronic formats simultaneously. Both markets are filled with people who like to read, and as long as they want words for their eyes, we aim to provide them on paper or on screens.

Atomic Fez will be attending at least one event this year: the British Fantasy Society’s “FantasyCon”, to be held in Brighton on the October 1st week-​​end. During that event, the BFS Awards for works published in 2010 will be announced, and Atomic Fez Authors will be seen filling the photo of the assembled winners. Shortly after that event, the Proprietor will be found outside the building letting out a very large sigh of relief.

Throughout the year, Mondays will continue to see posts here on the site giving a quick run-​​through of publishing industry news fitting the category “Things You May Have Missed Last Week”. Fridays will continue to be the day that your direction is pointed in the direction of the people frequently responsible for those things, in the category of “People to Give Your Attention To”. Newsletters from Atomic Fez will continue to go out, and if you’d like to subscribe to those e-​​mails, put your address in the little box at the top right of the page.

It is hoped that the economy – especially in the United Kingdom – is on the mend, as one of the areas hit has been the publishing industry. Large and small, we’re feeling the pinch, no matter how we’re approaching the changing word marketplace.

While the ground has shifted away from the Large Publishers acting as a sort of ‘cultural worth filtration device’, we are not yet in the happy land of ‘letting people vote for what they want with their money’. Just last week I was reminded that geography-​​based publishing rights are still very much alive, no matter that the market for intellectual properties of every sort know no national borders; if I want to buy a song by someone in India, I can do so, no matter that their record label is based in Mumbai. Oddly, publishers still work on the basis of what country someone’s head office is in, ignoring the fact that people in New Zealand who want to read a book don’t understand statements like “we haven’t negotiated anything past the North American and UK rights yet”. Once the Commercial Publishers work that part of the market out, then we’ll start making some progress.

No doubt in the coming year, we will all be discussing these issues, and so very much more as well. Here’s to success, happiness, and peace above all, for all, during it all.

All together now… HOORAY!

John Travis's Debut Novel 'Star Worthy', says Publishers Weekly!!

Well, this is a good day… and not just for the laboratories of Atomic Fez, either!

Not only has John Travis’s début novel The Terror and the Tortoiseshell been reviewed by the august industry periodical Publishers Weekly, the book has even rated a star, something which only ¼ of the eight ‘mystery’ titles reviewed this week received. Hurrah, John!

Publishers Weekly logoA STAR! from “Publishers Weekly”!The Terror and the Tortoiseshell by John Travis, Atomic Fez Publishing (, $34.99 (304p), ISBN 9780981159737

CLICK HERE to get more details and order copies“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”). A mysterious event has reversed the roles of animals and humans in England. In an instant, pets have grown in height, gained the ability to speak, and started assuming the jobs of their former masters. People have become the animals’ pets or playthings in a savage outburst of revenge. Some animals oppose the violence, in particular, a cat who adopts the name and profession of his owner, becoming “Benji Spriteman, Detective”. 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.)

Who could ask for better than that? How delightful!

Order your copy today. You know you want to…