The best blog post of the year is...

Stocking Stuffer 2012: Crime and Merriment

If you're on the Pandemonium Fiction mailing list, you would've received a link for your copy of the Stocking Stuffer - our annual collection of bonkers short-short stories - on Christmas Day. If you're not on the mailing list, we still love you (just a week or so less). 

Here's a sneak peek with our introduction, "Crime and Merriment".


Cover by Sarah Anne LangtonMy, how time flies.

A year ago, we released the first Stocking Stuffer. The festive chapbook had a ‘darkly humorous’ theme – three fantasy stories with a twist. It was our second-ever book, with our first, Stories of the Apocalypse, having been released the month before.

This year’s Stocking Stuffer is our twelfth book. Counting Apocalypse, (which is now out of print), we’ve published four anthologies, four chapbooks, three novelettes and one beautiful novel.

What a year.

2013 will be even bigger. We have two anthologies in the pipeline: The Lowest Heaven (coming this spring, with the Royal Observatory Greenwich) and The Book of the Dead (coming in fall, with the Egypt Exploration Society). The start of the year also includes the long-awaited ‘Cafe de Paris’ edition of A Town Called Pandemonium and the publication of Speculative Fiction 2012, a collection of the year’s best online reviews and commentary, co-edited by Justin Landon.

Three new novelettes are scheduled as well: Archie Black’s ‘Uncle Smoke’, Will Hill’s ‘The Sad Tale of the Deakins Boys’ and Adrian Tchaikovsky and Janine Ashbless’s ‘Reading Between the Lines’. Archie’s and Will’s novelettes will come with exclusive new content, and Adrian and Janine’s book will be its first publication anywhere.

Our chapbook series will continue with 1853 in January, as well as companion volumes to both the new anthologies. Plus, of course, next year’s Stocking Stuffer... and then 2014.

That’s going to be really big.

Meanwhile, within this slim (and virtual) volume, four of our favourite authors have combined to create a collection of fiendish tales of mystery, madness and holiday mirth.

Archie Black kicks things off in style with ‘A Study in Viscera’, a locked-room mystery with no shortage of suspects. The story features the same cabal of disgruntled villiannesses that starred in last year’s Stocking Stuffer.

Jenni Hill’s ‘But I Didn’t Eat the Deputy’ also features the return of two of our favourite characters: Lili and Georgia. The story of how these two met can be found in Crossroads, although judging by the events of ‘Deputy’, they’ve been up to quite a lot of mischief since then. Lili and Georgia are in a classic whodunnit, and time is running out.

In ‘The Glove’, Glen Mehn gets a bit meta, as an award-winning author comes to terms with his new publishing arrangement. Every cloud has a silver lining and a hard-working writer can find inspiration in the unlikeliest of places.

Finally, Den Patrick’s steampunk – trenchpunk, even – scamp Valente makes another appearance in ‘Something Fishy’. When we last saw Valente, in 2011’s Stocking Stuffer, he was testing his new Tesla rifle (with shocking results). This year, Valente’s the one biting the bullet, figuratively, as he’s suspected of murdering a prominent general...

From all of us at Pandemonium, have a very merry holiday season. And don’t forget to lock the doors.

Not that it’ll make a difference.


The Pandemonium Stocking Stuffer 2012 is available free from pandemonium-fiction.com and Kobo. Happy holidays!