Gold

'Delightfully unique’ is an applicable way of describing the tales in this volume. Gold contains all those stories that won the support of readers in the competitions that began with Flashpoint back in March 2018 and proceeded through Galaxy, Storm, Vortex, Window, Carrier Wave, Cadence and Fireburst. It also includes stories from other collections, including Steve Carr’s Sand and Gary Bonn’s Through Another’s Eyes. And, furthermore, there are one or two gems in this book from Rapture, Enigma and Miracle.

In short, you have in your hands the pure ‘gold’ of a selection of tales which have delighted readers already, in their places of origin, but which have proven to have the power to entertain beyond those volumes. Spanning science fiction and fantasy, comedy and literary stories, poetry and magic realism, thrillers and thoughtful tales, Gold is a treasure trove of some of the best short fiction from 2018.

Enigma

In these 26 stories, over 300 pages, you can experience not only joy over and over again as complex and befuddling lines of enquiry resolve into simplicities, but also see what new and experienced authors have done with the format of the crime, mystery and thriller genres, twisting them in new directions, surprising you in new ways, delighting you with new visions.

From the traditional old-fashioned country houses in which puzzling crimes have detained important guests, to grim and disturbing urban transgressions, to gripping thrillers with unforeseen twists, prepare to be entertained and enthralled. These skilful writers know how to bamboozle you, commanding your attention before you are aware of it, leaving you guessing all the way.

But more than that: you’ll often find within these stories a profound understanding of humanity, both its criminals and its crazies, as well as its heroes and heroines.

Rapture

The genre of romantic fiction is one which easily conjures cliché images of tall, dark strangers and meetings across crowded rooms.

This anthology blows those clichés apart: here you will find genre-spanning stories which test the outer limits of what romance is, and which also explore its depths in the heart.

Prepare for surprises, passion, energy and a smattering of the unusual; prepare for mini-sagas set in foreign climes, short pieces which evoke amorous devotion, and even some alluring poetry, in one of the most entertaining, thoughtful and heart-warming collections produced this year.

Fireburst

Intense, keen, extreme, sincere, deeply felt, wholehearted - you’ll find stories within ranging from the amusing to the overwhelming, from the earnest to the cute.

Clarendon House has once again drawn together a selection of fabulous talents to weave you into their story worlds so that you will scarcely believe what can be done in less than 2,000 words per tale.

Perfect if you want to relish the moments; ideal if you desire entertainment on-the-run; essential if you’re eager to see what the future has to offer in terms of great writers - this is the book for you.

Cadence

A whole range is here, from the almost incomprehensible but energetic, to the light-hearted and the profound, to the serene and transcendent. You’ll find poets who are raw in their talent, and others who are well-practised; you’ll discover things that you never dreamed of and have thoughts you could never quite put into words appearing on the page before you.  Enjoy the magic.

Vortex

If we define ‘literary’ as fiction without barriers, then the book you hold in front of you is a potent and vibrant contradiction. This little book is actually a portal to other worlds, much larger in scope and depth than its size would suggest. Within, you’ll find passion and poetic prose that will haunt you, experimental fiction that will challenge you, tales that will make you laugh, some that will make you cry, and many that will enthral you from beginning to end. The question that may occur to you as you complete this book is ‘Why aren’t these authors all world-famous?’

You were here at the beginning.