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Friday Five(ish): 10 Strange Stories of the Apocalypse

Two days left for Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse! We love all our print & digital children, but Apocalypse was our first book, and will always hold a special place in our hearts. 

Here's ten sneaky secrets and fun facts about Stories of the Apocalypse:

Cover - ApocalypseExtra limited. 

Apocalypse is ostensibly a 100 copy hardcover... but the print run was five copies short (Tip to budding publishers: check contracts carefully). A 95-copy limited edition doesn't have the same ring to it. Despite being a numbered edition, we're not sure which 5 numbers don't exist - something in the 70s, we think...

Rebecca Levene is not in this book.

But we can understand the confusion. For some reason, one of the editors (cough) got it into his head that Rebecca Levene had a story in Apocalypse. So all the publicity material - the first website, the postcards, a few A3 posters - had her name on it. (We finally got her for Smoke.) (Other name goofs: the mysterious "Louise 'K.' Morgan"...)

First print appearances. 

Lou Morgan, Tom Pollock, Archie Black, Oz Vance and Den Patrick. Lou and Tom had their book deals already. Den's came this year. Archie and Oz have both since sold stories to other publishers. Like a reverse-curse! (Fun facts: although not the first short from either Louis Greenberg or Sarah Lotz, it is the first S.L. Grey short story. Also the first prose fiction from Chrysanthy Balis.)

London burning, America flooding. 

The London riots appear (or inspire) the stories by Lauren Beukes and Scott Andrews - possibly Andy Remic's, as well. And the US goes under (literally) in stories by Kim Lakin-Smith and Archie Black. Other parts of the US, UK and South Africa are destroyed in the other stories. (The suburbs are particularly lethal - they're singled out for special attention by Lauren Beukes, Magnus Anderson and Chrysanthy Balis.) The only story to take place wholly off Earth? Jon Courtenay Grimwood's "The Last Man". 

Cover - notworldFirst past the post. 

David Bryher. By a country mile. David's "The Architect of Hell" is, appropriately, the first story in the collection as well. David also deserves a lot of credit for the book's design. "The Architect of Hell" was a free download from Tate Britain's site, and that, working with David, set the look and feel for the entire book. (Tip to inexperienced editors: have friends who are experienced editors)

John Martin wuz here.

Although all the stories are inspired (to some degree) by the work of John Martin, only three share titles with his paintings: "The Last Man", "Sadak In Search of the Waters of Oblivion" and "Deluge". (More confusingly, the collection features "The End of the World" [in which the world doesn't end] and "Not the End of the World" [in which it does].) Although Martin himself never appears in the collection, he features prominently in David Bryher's story, and the paintings are key to Scott Andrews'.

Demons: 6; Angels: 2.

Tom Pollock's "Evacuation" and Jon Oliver's "The Day or The Hour" are the only two stories to feature angels. Devils and demons, however, appear in stories by Andy Remic, Lou Morgan, David Bryher, Jon Oliver (again), Den Patrick and Sam Wilson. Also appearing: bugs (1), frogs (1), aliens (2) and shapeless, formless evils (1).

Great moments in editing.

"Upfrogging" with Lou Morgan, porniness with Sophia McDougall and a genteel discussion of the proper spelling of "whisk(e)y" with Lauren Beukes spilling over into in a full-on Twitter war.

We'll take her word for it.

The final paragraphs of Archie Black's "Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion" are written in iambic pentameter.


The book launch, at Tate Britain, had no books. (Tip to budding publishers: check delivery dates carefully.) But the gallery had wine and the authors brought cake, so all the really important stuff was there.

Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse goes out of print (paper and digital) this weekend. Grab your copy now, before it is too late! You can find it until Sunday on Amazon (US) and Amazon (UK).