Curated by Keith Brooke
When I first started talking with the fine people at StoryBundle about the possibility of putting together a bundle of books from writers associated with infinity plus we ran through a number of possible themes, but the one we kept returning to was Literary Fantasy. An elusive concept, perhaps – what marks 'literary' fantasy out from, simply, good fantasy, for starters? – but one that seemed to encompass the kind of books we wanted to offer: fantastical fiction with a sense of the magical and spiritual, written with a literary sensibility, by which we mean fiction with a love of language and an awareness of its place in the literary canon. As you'll see from the books we've gathered together, that definition is deliberately elastic, inclusive rather than exclusive, yet still clear enough to form a coherence to the set as a whole.
One of the first titles that came to mind for me was Stephen Palmer's Hairy London, a quite extraordinary picaresque romp across an Edwardian London transformed by an overnight growth of... hair. In the streets, across the rooftops and bridges, submerging the parks. Everywhere. This is literary fantasy crammed full with alternate-historical and cultural references, but also one that never loses sight of the need to entertain.
About as unlike Hairy London as it's possible to get and still feature here, Kit Reed's Little Sisters of the Apocalypse is a novel that treads the indistinct boundaries between fantasy, science fiction and realism, as befits an author who describes her work as 'transgenred'. A hard-hitting and impassioned story of a colony of women whose men have gone away to war and the role a gang of biker nuns plays in confronting the women's deepest fears.
The appearance of Little Sisters of the Apocalypse in this bundle marks its first – and so far exclusive – appearance in ebook format. John Grant's The Far-Enough Window is another title making its first ebook appearance, exclusive to this bundle: a classic fairytale that both delights the reader and cleverly challenges the form, from a Hugo- and World Fantasy Award-winning author. The Ragthorn, by Garry Kilworth and the late Robert Holdstock won the World Fantasy Award back in 1992 but, inexplicably, until now has never been published in standalone form – another exclusive first edition for this bundle.
It seems invidious to single out particular titles here from a bundle that manages to be so diverse in theme and approach, so all that remains is to urge you to explore what's on offer before choosing the price you want to pay for either the core bundle or the entire set. From classic fairytale, ghosts and a deal with the Devil, through strange alternative pasts and presents to those biker nuns, there's a bit of everything. Call it literary fantasy, or simply good fantasy, or give up labels altogether and simply read on.
Keith Brooke is author of fourteen novels, six collections and over 70 short stories; he has also edited several anthologies and an academic book on science fiction. His work has been shortlisted for the Philip K Dick and Seiun awards, among others, and optioned for film. For ten years from 1997 he ran the web-based genre fiction showcase infinity plus (www.infinityplus.co.uk), featuring the work of around 100 top genre authors, including Michael Moorcock, Stephen Baxter, Connie Willis, Gene Wolfe, Vonda McIntyre and Jack Vance. Infinity plus relaunched in 2010 as an independent publishing imprint producing print and ebooks.
As always, StoryBundle lets you name your own price to get a whole bunch of epic and excellent titles. A purchase of $3 gets you the basic set of five books:
Even better, if you pay $12 or higher, you unlock four more titles, which include:
The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It's also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
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StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.