Tag Archives: Unsung Stories

Metronome by Oliver Langmead

Metronome by Oliver Langmead

by Oliver Langmead

The Sleepwalkers hunt the nightmares that haunt sleeping minds. They traverse the connected dreamworlds where reason is banished and the imagination holds sway.

But tonight, one Sleepwalker has gone rogue. Abandoning her oath to protect the dreamscapes, she devotes herself to another cause, threatening to unleash a nightmare older than man

Once a feted musician, Manderlay lives in an Edinburgh care home, riddled with arthritis. He longs for his youth and the open seas, to regain the use of his hands and play the violin again.

For too long, Manderlay’s nights have been host to dark, corrupted dreams. His comrades in the retirement home fear Manderlay is giving in to age and senility – but the truth is much worse. The dreamworld is mapped with music – and one of Manderlay’s forgotten compositions holds the key to an ancient secret. The Sleepwalkers are closing in on him. He might be their saviour, or his music might be their damnation…

Rated: ★★½
Publisher: Unsung Stories
Publication: January 17 2017
Genre: Dreampunk, Fantasy, Surrealist
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Metronome by OIiver Langmead

SUCH an interesting concept and fantastic execution, Metronome by Oliver Langmead is a thought provoking, yet fun read. Manderlay’s adventures into the land of dreams is exciting. The idea of nightmares as something that must be physically fought and defeated is great. What Langmead does with the nightmares, his description of them, is smart, keeping them relatively nondescript so that the reader can imagine what they are.

The story takes three turns, each of which are equally interesting. The first, we see Manderlay as an elderly man living in an assisted living home suffering from arthritis and repeated nightmares. Learning more about him and his life would have made for a lovely contemporary novel. How did he get there? Why? What’s happened to his family? We never find out as it isn’t necessary for the story, yet, I was so endeared by Manderlay, I really wish I knew.

The second turn happens when Manderlay decides to stay dreaming to correct a mistake. This is when all of the action happens and the people he comes across are so interesting, especially March. The more we find out about March and the bits we find out about his life outside of dreams, the more I love him and want a story about him and his adventures. All of the characters are people I’d love to know more about, which is a testament to how well Langmead writes that his side characters are just as developed and interesting as his main character.

The last turn, well, I won’t say much on that because it is a spoiler, but it’s a great one that leaves you wondering what the heck just happened! It’s such an interesting thing to think about, yet it just makes sense.

A fun, fast-paced, and well developed book, Metronome by Oliver Langmead is sure to please both fantasy fans, as well as surrealists and intellectuals. However, it will leave some frustrated and wanting more (which can be the mark of a good writer, I suppose, but still I WANT MORE!)

About the Author

Oliver Langmead was born in Edinburgh and lives in Glasgow. He has an LLB in Law, and an MLitt in Writing Practice and Study with a distinction, and is currently working towards an MLitt in Fantasy. His first book, Dark Star, featured in the Guardian’s Best Books of 2015.

Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley

The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley

 The Arrival of Missives
by Aliya Whiteley

The Arrival of Missives is a genre-defying story of fate, free-will and the choices we make in life. In the aftermath of the Great War, Shirley Fearn dreams of challenging the conventions of rural England, where life is as predictable as the changing of the seasons.

The scarred veteran Mr. Tiller, left disfigured by an impossible accident on the battlefields of France, brings with him a message: part prophecy, part warning. Will it prevent her mastering her own destiny?

As the village prepares for the annual May Day celebrations, where a new queen will be crowned and the future will be reborn again, Shirley must choose: change or renewal?

Publisher: Unsung Stories
Publication: May 9, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction, Time-Travel
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
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Rated: ★★★

The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley

In The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley, the author continues to stun me with her expert wordcraft. Transitioning from the previous short work of New Weird fiction, The Beauty, Ms. Whiteley easily feels at home in the historical/science fiction genre. It was a solid short story, which I thoroughly enjoyed, however, I could not give it higher stars since I did end up feeling a little cheated towards the end. Perhaps it is because Ms. Whiteley is such a great author, I wanted more out of The Arrival of Missives. Literally, more — I wanted the story to continue.

I went into Missives not knowing what to expect. I thought, at first, that it was perhaps going to be a bit Pride and Prejudice-y, which had me confused since that would be remarkably different from Ms. Whiteley’s work in the past. We have our protagonist Shirley, completely smitten with a battle-scarred professor returned from war, a professor who seems to have his own agenda, and a local boy every assumes will marry Shirley. Seems pretty simple. And then, BAM! Professor goes topless and we discover the truth. What truth? Won’t talk about it here because I don’t want to spoil it, but look for a spoiler vlog about it Saturday!

The turn it took at the end, with the professor, really threw me for a loop. I guess, in the end, I felt a lot like Shirley did. Angry, confused, and determined to do something (which obviously I could not as a mere reader). The writing was infallible, pacing was great, character development (for such a short story) was fantastic. My complaint was simply that it ended too soon! I wanted to know more, to follow Shirley on her mission/adventure! But seriously, if you’re looking for a short, kinda weird kinda sci-fi story to pick up, give The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley a look.

Quotes & Excerpts

First I must go to Taunton and earn my teaching certificate, and I will cram all life into those years so that I can settle with ease when I am married and I return to the village. I would hate to have regrets. Bitterness in a teacher can spoil a pupil, I think.

They must all leave their mark somehow upon this place, even if only their letters remain.

Perhaps all old people look upon the young with envious eyes, and give their orders to reach beyond their natural time and steal from ours.

My newfound joy in saying things that upset others surprises me. I suppose it is my only source of power. If I must obey, then I will do it with no good grace.

But, of course, nature is not beautiful. It is not meant to form a pattern woven to perfection. I think of the battles I see every day around me: spider and flies, foxes and rabbits. The land and the sea, the night and the day, the old and the young. I think of how it was under the bridge, with Daniel, when we pitched our bodies against each other in an age-old struggle in which we were born to fight. It was not beautiful, but it was glorious. And there was never meant to be a victor.
That is the truth of our Earth.

About the Author

Aliya Whiteley was born in Devon in 1974, and currently lives in Sussex with her husband, daughter and dog. She writes novels, short stories and non-fiction and has been published in places such as The GuardianInterzoneMcSweeney’s Internet TendencyBlack StaticStrange Horizons, and anthologies such as Fox Spirit’s European Monsters and Lonely Planet’s Better than Fiction I and II. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice, and won the Drabblecast People’s Choice Award in 2007.

Her recent novella for Unsung Stories, The Beauty, was shortlisted for a Shirley Jackson Award and a Sabotage Award, and appeared on the Honors List for the James Tiptree Jr Award. She blogs at: aliyawhiteley.wordpress.com  and she tweets most days as @AliyaWhiteley.

Review: The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley

The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley


Somewhere away from the cities and towns, a group of men and boys gather around the fire each night to listen to their stories in the Valley of the Rocks. For when the women are all gone the rest of your life is all there is for everyone. The men are waiting to pass into the night.

The story shall be told to preserve the past. History has gone back to its aural roots and the power of words is strong. Meet Nate, the storyteller, and the new secrets he brings back from the woods. William rules the group with youth and strength, but how long can that last? And what about Uncle Ted, who spends so much time out in the woods?

Hear the tales, watch a myth be formed. For what can man hope to achieve in a world without women? When the past is only grief how long should you hold on to it? What secrets can the forest offer to change it all?

Discover the Beauty.

The Beauty
Aliya Whiteley
Publisher: Unsung Stories
Publication: September 2014
Genre: New Weird, Dystopian, Horror
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
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Rated: ★★★