Mappalujo by Jeff Noon & Steve Beard

Well here’s some fantastic news that Gary has been working on. The new Spectral imprint has re-signed the wonderfully talented, Jeff Noon & Steve Beard. Their amazing book, Mappalujo will be published by Spectral’s rEevolution imprint and the good news is we also have audio rights as well as print and ebook permissions.

So can’t wait for this one and many thanks to Jeff and Steve for supporting me personally by still having confidence in Spectral and of course Gary over at Tickety Boo Towers.

Here’s the blurb for one of the most anticipated science fiction novels of next year, Mappalujo by Jeff Noon & Steve Beard. Jeff is, of course, well known for his groundbreaking novel Vurt published in 1993, (which was followed by a sequel, Pollen, in 1995 and a prequel, Nymphomation, in 1997) and this is surely going to be counted amongst his best works to date.

Prepare to enter the world of Lujo, a city caught somewhere between reality and a dimension which may/may not be real…

Mappalujo is a shared dream set in the twilight realm of Lujo, a city dominated by the surreal cartoons and artificially bred toy creatures of the Zeno Entertainment Company. Since the company’s founder died in mysterious circumstances, Zeno’s visions have become darker and even more sinister. An identity-altering drug is leaking onto the streets. For a few brilliant, flickering moments users are transformed into famous or infamous celebrities, only to find that the other side of fame lies in the gutter, or in death.

The novel follows a lowly salesman, an information gatherer, a private detective and a teenage psychic. Four stories, four people – each of them connected to the bizarre fate of Zeno, its bitter heir, and a hostile faery spirit named Mama Lujo.

Here is one city’s epic tale told in seventy-five chapters, each influenced by a different iconic figure. From Lewis Carroll to Patti Smith, from Sigmund Freud to Raymond Chandler and Sophie Calle – the ghosts haunting the streets of Lujo are all conjured from the collective unconscious of the modern media age.

Mappalujo is baroque science fiction, tumbling with ideas and images, exuberant to the extreme. It documents a world only a few metres and a few minutes away from our own – yet stranger by far.”

You can pre-order here.

Publication date 15th May 2016

Mappalujo: the blurb

"Mappalujo" ©2015 Jeff Noon & Steve Beard/rEvolution SF. Artwork and design by John Oakey ©2015 .

“Mappalujo” ©2015 Jeff Noon & Steve Beard/rEvolution SF. Artwork and design by John Oakey ©2015 .

Here’s the blurb for one of the most anticipated science fiction novels of next year, Mappalujo by Jeff Noon & Steve Beard. Jeff is, of course, well known for his groundbreaking novel Vurt published in 1993, (which was followed by a sequel, Pollen, in 1995 and a prequel, Nymphomation, in 1997) and this is surely going to be counted amongst his best works to date. Prepare to enter the world of Lujo, a city caught somewhere between reality and a dimension which may/may not be real…

Mappalujo is a shared dream set in the twilight realm of Lujo, a city dominated by the surreal cartoons and artificially bred toy creatures of the Zeno Entertainment Company. Since the company’s founder died in mysterious circumstances, Zeno’s visions have become darker and even more sinister. An identity-altering drug is leaking onto the streets. For a few brilliant, flickering moments users are transformed into famous or infamous celebrities, only to find that the other side of fame lies in the gutter, or in death.

The novel follows a lowly salesman, an information gatherer, a private detective and a teenage psychic. Four stories, four people – each of them connected to the bizarre fate of Zeno, its bitter heir, and a hostile faery spirit named Mama Lujo.

Here is one city’s epic tale told in seventy-five chapters, each influenced by a different iconic figure. From Lewis Carroll to Patti Smith, from Sigmund Freud to Raymond Chandler and Sophie Calle – the ghosts haunting the streets of Lujo are all conjured from the collective unconscious of the modern media age.

Mappalujo is baroque science fiction, tumbling with ideas and images, exuberant to the extreme. It documents a world only a few metres and a few minutes away from our own – yet stranger by far.”

Preorder your copy today – copies are already being snapped up so get one while you still can!

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Yellow Book interview

Sometime earlier this year I posted the news that Spectral is going to publish a pamphlet of poetry in April 2016 (via Theatrum Mundi), reminiscent of the Yellow Book journals of the late 19th century and based around the King in Yellow mythos, edited by John Allen, called Songs of the Shattered World: The Broken Hymns of Hastur. Here’s an interview with the editor, originally posted to Thomas Ligotti Online, which gives an interesting insight into the interpretation of Robert W. Chambers’ creation. 

king_ace

A King in Yellow Q & A With John Thomas Allen

John Thomas Allen is a part of the online weird fiction community, maintaining Facebook pages devoted to surrealism and Richard Chambers’ King in Yellow. As a result of this devotion, he and a group of fellow-minded writers now have an anthology of poetry centered around the Yellow King and all things Carcosian appearing in the near future. Over the course of our discussions, I had the opportunity to ask Allen a number of questions about everyone’s favorite golden-hued otherworldly monarch, to explore some of the mysteries, and explain his own fascination with the Yellow King.

Q: How and when did you first encounter The King in Yellow, and what sort of effect did it have on you?

I borrowed an edition that was a dark yellow hardback, no cover illustration, from a University library and I don’t think I ever returned it. I was feeling especially forgetful at the time. That got to be a big thing. I got in trouble for not returning the book, serious financial trouble.
It wasn’t just that book, but they almost brought me to court on that one and a few others. Let me tell you something, when you have a guy at your door with a ticket for a prospective court date and on the summons is something for the King In Yellow, you’ll think about it a lot more.

Q: At the time Chambers was writing, the color yellow had become associated with corruption and decadence ( The Yellow Book , etc.); what sort of significance, if any, does ‘yellow’ possess for you?
Yellow is an inherently fascinating color, I think. I don’t why, specifically, but when I hear about the word “yellow” I think of madness, decay, death before I think about anything beautiful in nature. I grew up reading decadent poets like Ernest Dowson, Thomas Beddoes, etc.
Like probably every other quote on quote “literary” person, I’ve fantasized about drinking absinthe with Verlaine or snorting something with Sara Teasdale in the rain or whatever and dying some fanciful death you can never really die.

Q: Speaking of the Decadent movement itself, do you think it shares any special connections or connotations with the King in Yellow mythos?
I’m in love the idea of the King In Yellow; there’s something of a color coordinated majesty about Chambers’ idea that synthesizes the blood starved, ghastly iridescence of the so called “Decadent movement”. I like my idea of the Decadent movement probably more than what I would see if I went back and saw Maurice Rollinat bang away on his piano or, tangentially, watched the habits of Isidore Ducasse for a few days. To answer your question I absolutely do see a connection between Chambers’ stories and the collection of individuals who were later negatively termed “decadents”.

Q: The creations of some authors of weird fiction, such as Lovecraft’s ‘Great Old Ones’ and Machen’s ‘little people’ for example, can be read as expressions or embodiments of the personal beliefs of their creators; did Chambers intend the King in Yellow to retain a similar meaning? If so, how do you interpret him?


As a person who aspires to be an individual artist and write supernatural prose (Though I’m ordinary and boring enough to have started a surrealist group and stood with that group as one of them; ergo I’ll never be cool as Paul Valery and his disciples.), I don’t believe you can write anything with that kind of sustained genius and not attach a personal meaning to it. For all I know, the King In Yellow might exist in a non ironic and non symbolic and non reductionistic way.

KIY01

Q: While The King in Yellow is typically categorized as ‘supernatural fiction’, Chambers’ stories also contain such elements as Poesque psychological horror, near-­future alternate history, symbolist/proto-­surrealist phantasmagorias, and the conte cruel; it is fair then to classify Chambers amongst the authors of weird fiction, or does he deserve a different place in the literary canon?
Whatever play is being read by the characters in Chambers stories is not something one could reproduce. It drives people mad (it doesn’t give them a mental illness treatable by a psychotropic; it drives them mad, a word brought into question by the NIMH) and creates a venereal, polluted atmosphere.
I couldn’t go buy that at Barnes and Nobles and no amount of discouraging logical positivism is going to drive one mad either. Therefore, I personally conclude it is supernatural..which is to say a phenomenon outside the bounds of space, time, and any kind of limitation whatsoever by physics or human and natural laws.

Q: Throughout its history, The King in Yellow has become a sort of collective creation; Chambers originally created the ‘Yellow King’ stories by dramatically expanding upon several short Ambrose Bierce pieces, HP Lovecraft in turn incorporated Chambers’ mythology into his own fictional universe, and numerous writers since have used these texts to build and flesh out further connections. What is it about The King in Yellow that lends itself to this sort of group effort?

To use a bit of hippy jargon, I think Chambers takes us for a moment into the forbidden zone philosopher Norman O. Brown wrote about and suggests what might happen if every degenerate, cackling impulse flew out of the ovulating giggles of our really strange, semiotically balanced psyches.
Mr. Castaigne, for instance, in “The Repairer of Reputations” is a hilarious caricature of a brain damaged nutcase. Ever met anyone with a brain injury who behaves quite like that? Probably not. But Chambers’ suggestion, that an event as simple and horrific as falling off a horse could bathe one in the fetid areas of the psyche permanently is so believable when you read the story.
He does what great horror writers do: he makes us fear ourselves, the world around us, and above all, the world within.
“In the Court of the Dragon” takes a bunch of young artists and makes their Sturm und Drang real. At first they have the average sort of ‘let’s paint something or do something but gave affairs first.’ Somehow, someone gets a copy of ‘The Yellow Book’ and boy, do things get real.

yellow-historical

Q: The King in Yellow is not just the title of a book; it is also the title of a play and the name of an otherworldly entity appearing within that book; what does this interplay of meaning and identities (potentially metatextual) suggest or conjure up for you?
I suspect that the color yellow is no more inherently disturbing than any other color, but I like to think it actually is because of my literary enthusiasms and the imaginative potency it now possesses. The King In Yellow could just as easily have been some obscure 60’s band, like The Crystal Chandelier or the Velvett Fog, or been a song lyric in one.
But Robert W. Chambers put this uncanny phrase into a series of powerful stories (as powerful, to my mind, as anything Lovecraft wrote) that Derleth later called mythos. Me? to me it suggests some sort of supernatural, immaterial, immanent antihero composed of spectral hues with an unfathomably disgusting book written in bitter calligraphy. I love it!

Q: Characters in The King in Yellow who read that titular play find afterwards find reality undergoing strange mutations; have you ever felt haunted by any of Chambers’ tales, and in what way?

Yes. Once, in college, I was watching a movie that every dystopic or antinatalistic or pessimistic would love called Pate by directorAgnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo.
It really should be on DVD, as it is a horrific and slow meditation on the nonsense of social mores and a sort of elegant, refined cannibalism–as elegant and refined as that can get.

A friend of mine who was slightly sinister offered me some Kava tea, claiming Kava was known to calm people down. I just had this thought: it’s kinda weird, us watching this beyond desolate movie and everyone being lulled to sleep with the herb which I hated. Then I noticed the 1989 Dedalus copy of The King In Yellow on his bookshelf. I got creeped, and I actually left after awhile…..with the copy of the book I’d given to him.

Q: Which of Chambers’ Yellow King stories and has had the greatest effect upon you, and why?
In the Court of the Dragon.”
Just how he rips away youth and innocence. It’s like someone threw acid on the immortal souls of everyone in the story.

Q: Many other notable weird writers, including the likes of Karl Edward Wagner and Joe Pulver, have also fallen under the spell of Carcosa; what is your favorite contribution to the King in Yellow canon not written by Chambers?
Hands down, Don Webb’s short “Movie Night At Phil’s.” That story explored this world where a fictional movie with Vincent Price entitled “The King In Yellow” drives a fairly normal household insane. It was perfect.
Don is going to be in our anthology Songs of the Shattered World: The Broken Hymns of Hastur, which has a stated release date of April 1st, 2016 from Spectral Press. Simon Marshall Jones is a warrior, one of the finest publishers I’ve ever worked with. He took this project on very short notice and displayed a generosity one rarely sees.
Yeah, Joe Pulver put that collection together, A Season In Carcossa, I just remembered. I enjoy fiction and poetry that’s more about suggestion and less about an outgoing, look at the violence here, that kind of thing, though of course that has a place.
And Karl Edward Wagner, definitely! I love what he did for Howard, who I think had a beatifically manic case of the crazies. He’s still not appreciated enough (though of course some of that is his own fault.) Wagner was like the Roky Erikson of the KIY “mythos”.

Q: What is the significance of the actual King in Yellow himself to you? What does he mean, and why is he frightening?
To me, he represents that which has absolutely no context. An embodied obscenity that embosses SIN across everything, like Mucha. He’s like Keyzer Soze in a less corny, postmod movie. Also I associate him more with poetry than macabre fiction, and I’m primarily a poet.

Q: A year after the whole True Detective affair, what do you feel about the show in connection to The King in Yellow ; has the effect it has had on the Carcosa mythos been negative, positive, or somewhere in between?
I certainly would not have seen a Barnes and Nobles edition of The King In Yellow without True Detective. That made my day, just seeing it there like that. The thing about True Detective I loved was that it brought that Ligottian feel in a way I hadn’t seen before anywhere.
The thing is when a philosophy–and I’m mostly friends with antinatalists, though I happen to be a Roman Catholic–tries to attach itself to everything, some of the pure magic of horror is lost. And while I loved a lot of True Detective, I don’t think everything always has to point to the perceived worthlessness of existence. It gets old. When we insist that this is what that writer meant by this story, etc etc, and everyone falls in lockstep, that dangerous magic get sealed up. Funny, one might think, or God forbid a Catholic talk like that. We are old enough!
But, like my friend Mark Samuels (also in the anthology), I feel mysticism has a place that can never be annihilated. One might say nihilism needs mysticism, and the reverse. Plus, Machen, Blackwood and James, you know, weren’t atheists or antinatalists or anything like that.
I personally wouldn’t want St. Thomas Aquinas to be the philosophical lynchpin of everything I read in terms of theology, you know? But Thomas Ligotti wrote such a great book with the Conspiracy. Every word weighed, everything taken into the most minute consideration.

People posting antinatalist videos doesn’t bother me a bit, even on my YouTube channel.

Q: Conceivably, what is the impact you would like to have this anthology to have, both as poetry and as a contribution to the Yellow King canon?

I hope this will be a fallback to Aubrey Beardsley’s Yellow Book; that’s the goal. An authentic Yellow Book filled with some of the most talented Yellow poets you could imagine, decadent as Mario Praz would have had it.
Thinking about this even makes a Coldplay song sound good. I want it to be an ultra-refined treat for fans of poetry AND fans of the macabre, as I think Chambers was thinking more of poetry than prose when he wrote his stories—or the spirit of poetry.
Speaking of music, I’m surprised none of the champions of the KIY have discovered an acoustic/ambient group entitled “Thus Sayeth The King”; you can download their first album on Bandcamp for 10 bucks.

crocKIY

A little self-indulgence

“Bibila Longcrofta” ©2015 Simon Marshall-Jones/Tickety Boo Press. Artwork ©2015 Jim Burns.

Remember a while back we told you that Spectral Press owner/editor-in-chief Simon Marshall-Jones would be having his debut collection of short stories published soon? Well, we can tell you that Biblia Longcrofta will be released into the multiverses on June 30th 2015 and that you can order copies if you so desire from HERE. In the meantime, feast your eyes on the splendiferous Jim Burns cover shown above….

“Biblia Longcrofta by Simon Marshall-Jones, publisher and editor at award-nominated Spectral Press, is a series of connected short fiction stories, semi-autobiographical in nature, set in the imaginary town of Longcroft. Although it has no precise geographical location in the ‘real’ world, nevertheless it is located somewhere on the northern coastline of Britain. It exists contemporaneously and separately in a different time stream from the rest of the world, the reasons for the split lost in the mists of time.

It is no ordinary town, however – here miracles happen on an everyday basis, and the numinous and marvellous sit side-by-side with the banal and mundane. Into this wonderland comes a tattooed stranger called Simeon, a man bored of his old life, but still unsure of what his place in the world is, who he is, and what purpose he has. Through a series of connected incidents, he comes to understand the world around him, and the person he is. Along the way he meets wonders and living myths and, through interacting with them, he finds his true destiny – however, it’s not what he was expecting nor what he would have chosen for himself.”

Simon will also be happy to sign copies for anyone who asks – we will have copies for sale here as well. Contact Simon at spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com for payment details.

And the winner is…

Three weeks ago we ran a competition to name a new science fiction imprint we will be setting up in the next year or so, for which we received a lot of entries amongst which were some truly brilliant suggestions. Unfortunately, as great as they were (which made choosing one extremely difficult), there could only be one winner and one runner-up. So, in reverse order as is customary, the runner up was:

KATE PROBERT with Distant Earth (inspired by Arthur C. Clarke).

Congratulations – Kate wins a signed copy of the very publication to be issued under the new imprint.

The grand prize winner though is JAY EALES (who wins all the imprint’s output as it gets published) with:

rEvolution SF

This perfectly encapsulates the aims and ambitions of the new line: fiction which provokes a response – cutting edge, adventurous, arcane, challenging, boundary-pushing, and genre-busting. Fiction that ventures into unexpected areas, and delves into places not traditionally associated with science fiction. Thinking people’s science fiction – in other words, the EVOLUTION of science fiction through REVOLUTIONary literature.

Well done and congratulations to Jay!

NEWS

"VURT" by Jeff Noon

“VURT” by Jeff Noon

And, in further rEvolution SF news, we are proud to announce that sci-fi alumni Jeff Noon (Vurt, Pollen, Automating Alice) will be the first author published by the imprint. Expect it within the next 12 months. 

Competition time!

spaceshipWe here at Spectral are always looking at ways in which to move forward and, to that end, we have for a while been planning a science fiction imprint, to be launched some years hence, to run alongside the Spectral, Theatrum Mundi, and projected crime lines. Now, here’s where you come in – we’re looking for an interesting, snappy, and pithy name for the line, and we would like you lot to come up with one for us. The winner will receive the entire output of the new imprint as they get published. Two runners-up will get the first publication in hardback, signed.

In order to enter, you MUST send your entry to spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Any suggestions in the comments section below will be considered invalid. The closing date of the contest will be midnight Sunday 7th June 2015. Please include your name and email address. Open to everyone, except those inhabitants of the Proxima Centauri system – we know what you do with spoons and it’s disgusting.

Good luck and we look forward to hearing from you! =D

Shirley Jackson Awards: three nominations

Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited by Mark Morris - ©2014 respective individual authors/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Vincent Chong

Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited by Mark Morris – ©2014 respective individual authors/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Vincent Chong

It is with immense, nay ECSTATIC, pleasure that we can announce that The Spectral Book of Horror Stories has been nominated in three categories in the extremely prestigious Shirley Jackson Awards 2014, named after the writer who brought us the classics The Haunting of Hill House (brilliantly brought to the big screen as The Haunting by Robert Wise in 1963), We have Always Lived in the Castle, and the short story ‘The Lottery’. The nominations are:

The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited by Mark Morris, BEST ANTHOLOGY
‘The Dog’s Home’ by Alison Littlewood, BEST SHORT FICTION
‘Newspaper Heart’ by Stephen Volk, BEST NOVELETTE

The awards ceremony will be held at Readercon on July 12th, at the Burlington Marriott, Burlington, Massachusetts.

The rest of the nominees can be seen HERE.

Congratulations to all concerned, and the best of luck to all the nominees!

THE SPECTRAL BOOK OF HORROR STORIES VOL 1

THE SPECTRAL BOOK OF HORROR STORIES vol 2 edited by Mark Morris

Spectral Book of Horror Stories 2, edited by Mark Morris - ©2015 respective individual authors/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2015 Vincent Chong

Spectral Book of Horror Stories 2, edited by Mark Morris – ©2015 respective individual authors/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2015 Vincent Chong

Volume 2 in the annual anthology series is coming along well too – once again edited by the inestimable Mark Morris and featuring cover artwork by Vincent Chong, this is guaranteed to follow in the magnificent steps of its predecessor. You can also pre-order a copy on the buttons bleow

THE SPECTRAL BOOK OF HORROR STORIES vol 2 – PRICES INCLUDE POSTAGE!

Cover reveal: Spectral Book of Horror Stories 2

Spectral Book of Horror Stories 2, edited by Mark Morris - ©2015 respective individual authors/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2015 Vincent Chong

Spectral Book of Horror Stories 2, edited by Mark Morris – ©2015 respective individual authors/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2015 Vincent Chong

Vincent Chong has done it again – he’s provided the absolutely stunning artwork (see above) for the cover to the 2nd Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited once again by Mark Morris. And in about three or four months we should be able to reveal who has made it into the second edition of this prestigious annual horror anthology. In the meantime, you can preorder your copy right now. Even better, if you’re going to FantasyCon 2015 in Nottingham in October then you get pay for your copy now (saving postage) and get it signed at the convention.

It’s going to be one hell of a tasty selection!

 

The inaugural Spectral Book of Horror Stories is still available to purchase.

Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited by Mark Morris - ©2014 respective individual authors/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Vincent Chong

Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited by Mark Morris – ©2014 respective individual authors/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Vincent Chong

 

Special offer: Leytonstone, Albion Fay, & The Bureau of Them

All three of the titles mentioned in the heading will be launched at Edge-Lit 4 this year in Derby, UK on July 11th, where the authors will be in attendance to sign copies. But we here at Chateau Spectrale like to share the love around, and so we have decided to make all three limited hardbacks available as a package at a special price for a limited time (until the end of the month). All prices include postage to the respective regions of the globe.

LEYTONSTONE by Stephen Volk

"Leytonstone" ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014

“Leytonstone” ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014

One evening in 1906 a chubby little boy of seven, son of a London greengrocer, is taken by his father to visit the local police station.

There he suddenly finds himself, inexplicably, locked up for a crime he hasn’t committed – or has he? Blinking into sunlight, traumatized by his overnight stay, he is told by his father the next morning: “Now you know what happens to naughty little boys!” But the incident is the catalyst for a series of events that will scar, and create, the world’s leading Master of Terror in the century to come…

*
The boy is Alfred Hitchcock.

ALBION FAY by Mark Morris

Albio Fay ©2014 Mark Morris/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Ben Baldwin

Albio Fay ©2014 Mark Morris/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Ben Baldwin

Albion Fay, a holiday house in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature’s bounty. For the adults, a time for relaxation and to recharge the batteries, while for the children, a chance for exploration and adventure in the English countryside. A happy time for all: nothing could possibly go wrong. Or could it? What should be a magical time ends in tragedy – but what really happened that summer?

THE BUREAU OF THEM by Cate Gardner

You’re not the first to talk to your dead here, the vagrant said. The living always chase after their dead until they come upon their own.

Formed from shadow and dust, ghosts inhabit the abandoned office building, angry at the world that denies them. When Katy sees her deceased boyfriend in the window of the derelict building, she finds a way in, hoping to be reunited. Instead, the dead ignore, the dead do not see and only the monster that is Yarker Ryland has need of her there.

ALL PRICES INCLUSIVE OF P+P

£50UK (Normally £63 incl. p+p)

£60EU (Normally £72 incl. of p+p)

;

$120US & RoW (Normally $150 incl. of p+p)

Aurealis Awards 2015

Aurealis  Awards: "Home and Hearth' ©2014-2015 Angela Slatter/Spectral Press

Aurealis Awards: “Home and Hearth’ ©2014-2015 Angela Slatter/Spectral Press

See that photo above? That has brought BIG smiles to us here at Chateau Spectrale, as well as a huge boost – Angela Slatter’s Spectral chapbook Home and Hearth won in the ‘Best Horror Short Story’ category at this year’s Aurealis Awards, which were presented last weekend in a glittering ceremony in Canberra. It just goes to show that quality will always win out.

We must thank Angela for sending us the story in the first place, and trusting us with it. Plus, we must also thank the illustrious Neil Williams for providing such an atmospheric cover for it.

Onwards and upwards!!

Home and Hearth © Angela Slater/Spectral Press. Artwork © Neil Williams 2014

Home and Hearth © Angela Slater/Spectral Press. Artwork © Neil Williams 2014