Closed to Submissions

3 Jul

Atlantean Publishing is closed to submissions during July and August.

You may still send news, adverts, letters of comment, and review copies, but no submissions.

This doesn‘t apply to View From Atlantis – to see if the webzine is open to submissions and what the theme is, click here.

Fantasy Review: There Will Be One

8 Jun

There Will Be One
The Windshine Chronicles
Book 2

By Todd Sullivan
ISBN 9780999852293, 135pp, pb, Mocha Memoir Press
Available from Amazon in paperback and on the Kindle

There Will Be One

Woo Jin had been trained to kill opponents in honorable combat, so the government official’s assignment made his stomach clench.

Assassination.

So begins the excellent sequel to Hollow Men. Indeed, I could probably end the review right there – if you enjoyed the first book, you’ll want to read this, and if you haven’t read it yet, whilst you don’t need to in order to follow the plot of There Will Be One, I’d recommend starting at the beginning regardless. But, for those who would like to know a little more before buying a copy, here we go…

Although one mustn’t judge a book by its cover, There Will Be One has an advantage over the first volume of The Windshine Chronicles, in that its cover hints that this is no run-of-the-mill, quasi-European fantasy, but one set in a fantastic version of Korea. The characters of Windshine the Dark Elf and elven-sword-wielding hero Ha Jun return, but the focus is upon the youthful archer Woo Jin, facing the dilemma of whether to follow his orders and carry out an act of murderous betrayal.

Woo Jin joins a special quest, observed by the Dark Elf, to rescue the women and children of a village on the border between North and South Hanguk before the soldiers of the God-Child, ruler of North Hanguk, can seize them as breeding stock for a new generation of warriors.

It’s an interesting and unusual quest and one complicated from the outset by the honourable youth’s dilemma of whether or not to follow orders and assassinate the Dark Elf, removing her taint of foreignness from the land. The question of if and when he will make the attempt – and whether he can pull it off – adds an additional layer of tension to the story and things are further complicated when the villagers they are supposed to be rescuing turn out to have converted to  a strange, foreign faith – one that has kept them safe from the God-Child’s forces, but which threatens to strip away the heroes’ magical ace in the hole, necessary to rescue them… as well as threatening further foreign contamination, forcing Woo Jin and his companions to decide just how far they will go to protect the purity of their homeland.

I found the unusual quest and the dilemmas and jealousies facing Woo Jin made for a good story that avoided cleaving too closely to the plot of the first book. Windshine’s magic towards the end also had a somewhat different feel to a lot of fantasy.

I did find a reference to speaking Korean, at one point, odd (Hanguk is a real Korean term for Korea and the placenames are real places, but actually putting ‘Korean’ seems too real-world, pulling me out of the fantasy ever so slightly. It would be like saying Tolkien’s Hobbits, in book, were speaking English rather than Common.) This combined with the way North and South Hanguk parallel the present division of Korea and the fact that the foreign religion is a form of Christianity did make me wonder for a while if there was going to be a twist that this was a futuristic fantasy, but nothing came of this (and, Christianity is well-entrenched in South Korea, making the introduction from the West here unlikely in such a scenario). Instead, it seems the setting is a much-closer, magical alternative reality than I first imagined – although how the Dark Elves fit into this remains to be seen!

Those niggling thoughts are about as close to a flaw as I can find with the tale, quite minor and a sign that I was engaged with the story and setting and wanted to learn more. I hope that more will be revealed in future instalments in The Windshine Chronicles!

There Will Be One manages that rare feat of being a good sequel and a good standalone story at the same time. Another solid fantasy story for those seeking something a little bit different. Recommended.

Awen 108

25 May

The May 2020 issue of Awen is now available to download from the site and features fiction by Harris Coverley, David M. Smith, and DJ Tyrer, and poetry from Bruce-Grove, Marc Carver, Aeronwy Dafies, DS Davidson, Diane R. Duff, David Edwards, Colin Ian Jeffery, Alan Lacock, Donna McCabe, SchiZ, Howard F. Stein, and DJ Tyrer.

A Wuhan Whoddunit

20 May

A Wuhan Whodunnit  is the title of the second Garbaj Presents… pdf available for download. It joins SuperTrump and the two Black and Red Mythos ebooklets on the site.

As you may expect from the title, the release deals with the current Coronavirus outbreak, so may not be suitable for all readers, but we hope you find it entertaining, amusing and thought-provoking if you choose to download it.

Awen, Emails, and Aliens

18 May

This month’s issue of Awen has content, so should be online before the end of the month. This means that most short poetry email submissions have been responded to. There are now about eighty emails in the Atlantean inbox left to tackle with a small number still dating back to later 2018/early 2019.

There should also be another pdf of Garbaj Presents… to download soon, too…

In other news, the deadline for submissions to the next issue of View From Atlantis has been extended till the 24th of May. The theme is First Contact and all kinds of poetry and short fiction, including reprints, are welcome.

Latest News

5 May

Those of you who have been following Atlantean news will know that illness and lockdown have completely thrown the press’s plans and schedules out the window. Not much has been released and the backlog of submissions, which had begun to look manageable, has been growing again. So, I wanted to update you all on where things stand at the moment. (Of course, in the current situation, this could all change, but it represents the current state of play.)

Latest and Forthcoming Releases

A pdf exclusive, Cosmic Joke, is Atlantean Publishing’s latest release, but I can reveal that the third decadent poetry booklet, Carcass Literature, should be available next week, hopefully accompanied by a new issue of Bard. Later in May, new issues of A View From Atlantis and Awen should be online.

Submissions

The press is still open to some submissions. However, given the current situation and the fact that it’s not clear how many releases there will be during 2020, we are closed to submissions for Monomyth, fiction anthologies (except The King In Yellow @125 and Franco-Prussian War booklets), Buxton and solo-author booklets.

We are primarily looking for are submissions to Awen, Bard and The Supplement, and solo-author selections of poetry, short fiction, silliness, etc, for Garbaj Presents…

The only booklets that remain open to submissions are The Dark Tower (poetry and flash fiction, open call), The King In Yellow @125 (fiction, deadline: end June 2020), and Franco-Prussian War (fiction and poetry, deadline: June 2020).

In addition, we will consider submissions for Yellow Leaves and Xothic Sathlattae, although the situation means that response times and publication may be substantially delayed.

Please clearly indicate in the email subject line or on the envelope where a submission is directed, otherwise it may be overlooked.

The press will be closing to submissions as usual in July and August.

The Backlog

I must apologise for the fact that submissions have gotten away from me, again. Recently, I’ve only been able to chip away ever-so-slightly at the inbox backlog and answer a few snail mail submissions, but I plan to dedicate some time over the next few days to tackling the backlog. I will primarily be focusing on poetry and short fiction suitable for Awen, as that is next on the release schedule and only partially filled, with Bard and The Supplement next on the list, but do hope to also tackle some older submissions and any queries.

I will be responding to submissions for A View From Atlantis after the deadline for the current call.

If you have submitted to Monomyth (although poetry and flash fiction directed there will be considered for Awen), booklets, or solo-publications, please be patient as I work my way through the backlog. If you have been waiting a long time for a response and need to withdraw a submission, I understand – please send an email with WITHDRAWAL in the subject line and the title of the submission(s), along with the submission date if known.

Please bear with me, and I hope to have more (and, more positive) news soon.

Cosmic Joke available now!

1 May

The music industry is hell to break into and concerts can be real killers, but then, isn’t like just a cosmic joke? It is to The Laughing Man….

Available now to download from the site, Cosmic Joke is an ebook exclusive from Atlantean Publishing featuring a story apiece from DJ Tyrer and Joseph Bouthiette Jr. and is a sequel to the urban horror Black and Red, also available for download from the site, and in print.

Aliens in Atlantis

30 Apr

View From Atlantis opens tomorrow to submissions of poetry and flash fiction on the theme of First Contact – the initial meeting between humanity and aliens. The submission window closes on the 15th of May.

Review of Skywalker

25 Apr

Wherein I review the conclusion to the Star Wars sage, Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker. Expect to find spoilers if you read on; so if you’d prefer to form your own opinions before reading mine, go watch it, if you haven’t already done so…

First The Good News…

To be honest, this review is going to be negative, but I want to start with something positive. With Carrie Fisher’s death and the news she wouldn’t be recreated digitally, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of a part Leia played in the movie thanks to cunning repurposing of unused footage from the previous instalment. It’s not quite perfect, but it works well enough and gives the character a decent send off, rather than seeing her awkwardly dropped.

The Return of Palpatine

I was enthused when I learnt that the Emperor would be returning for the final instalment, but what should have made the film amazing actually made it a disappointment. A big red flag was the way in which his broadcast to the galaxy – something that should have been a major plot point, either as a shocking cliffhanger for the previous movie or a sudden twist during this one – was reduced to a ‘by the way’ in the opening crawl (itself, the worst opening crawl of any of the movies by far).

Part of the problem, compared to the original trilogy, where the Emperor was mentioned early on, despite only playing an actual part in the third film, is that his return is from out of nowhere, rendering the intriguing but villain Snoke as, almost literally, a puppet. Then, we have Kylo Ren and the Emperor: After his rage in the opening crawl, Kylo Ren joins with him, only to plot his overthrow – I’m not sure if we were supposed to take this as factored into the Emperor’s plot to get Rey, but it seemed as if he were either ignorant of it or just didn’t care, despite Vader’s spontaneous (if predictable) betrayal having already cost him one empire, making Palpatine seem incompetent.

Overall, the Emperor does little, and nothing that couldn’t have been done another way, thus adding nothing to the plot, whilst devaluing the franchise’s big villain.

Plot? What Plot?

Indeed, the plot is the problem. Or, rather the lack of a real plot. The problem, of course, goes back to the fact that there was no overarching plan for the sequel trilogy, so that nothing was properly foreshadowed, subplots and character arcs get abandoned, and there are flipflops galore. Except that, compared to The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker is riddled with these same flaws within itself, not just in comparison to the rest of the trilogy.

Indeed, the movie has the feel of a first draft written by committee with no editorial control into which ideas have been tossed without any real throught. You can almost see a good movie, a glorious conclusion to the sequel trilogy, struggling to break through. Almost, but not quite.

Beyond the problems created by not having an overarching plan for the trilogy, the final film was rushed, with three months less production time than the previous instalment, further compounded by Carrie Fisher’s death derailing the original plans (such as they were…) – and, it shows. The film is a jumble of random events that don’t really coalesce into a whole and lack emotional resonance.

In fact, I would say that the lack of emotional resonance is the key problem. I had a similar reaction to the opening of Revenge of the Sith, the lack of a ‘Star Wars feeling’, but that didn’t last for the entire film. Here, it does. Things happen, but they don’t mean anything. For example, the capture of Chewbacca takes what could have been an exciting scene and makes it bland, literally at a distance, so that his apparent death – something that should have had me going “Ah! What? No! They killed Chewie?!” – evoked a response of “Oh. They killed Chewie?” Dull surprise rather than shock. That it, shortly after, turned out he was still alive further undercut that.

What makes it worse, is that there are some great moments and even some good scenes, but they don’t tie together and, as a whole, go nowhere. Not only is that a disappointment for a Star Wars film, but, as the conclusion to not only the sequel trilogy, but the entire Skywalker Saga, it’s a massive anticlimax.

Woke, But Worthless

Throwing a same-sex kiss into the background adds nothing, but was easy to miss. But, the film ups the number of black characters in a galaxy that was once rather lacking in diversity, adding a returned Lando and… I never did catch her name as major characters alongside Finn. (Seriously, Zorii was more memorable in her role as this trilogy’s Boba Fett, despite doing less.) The problem is that these characters don’t do much. It’s ironic that the black and female imperial officers are more relevant to forwarding the action just by speaking their lines, whilst Finn, a decent character, gets less to do (especially after his barnstorming role in the previous film).

Like the female Ghostbusters, it feels as if the filmmakers were more interested in proving how ‘woke’ they were than actually producing a good film. It’s as if filmmakers want to show they aren’t racist, sexist, etc, but can’t figure out what to do with the characters, or can’t bring themselves to care for them. We should probably be glad that Rey didn’t get demoted and ignored!

Phoning It In

Perhaps it’s because Finn was largely sidelined that it felt as if Boyega wasn’t really inspired in his acting. Isaac’s Poe even more so. At points he seemed to exist solely to try and get us excited by telling us we should care or be excited in lieu of a scene actually being exciting or having emotional weight.

Adam Driver was trying, but it frequently felt as if Daisy Riley was the only one who was really putting in any effort to playing her character. Indeed, if I’m honest, if it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would have found anything much to enjoy in the film at all, and I’m not even that big a Rey fan!

Compare and Contrast

I recently watched Rogue One for the first time and the contrast couldn’t be greater with The Rise of Skywalker. Despite, in many ways, seeking to be its own thing, Rogue One captured the feel of Star Wars in a way that this film failed utterly. It had a good plot that held together (and melded almost seemlessly with the original trilogy) and characters that I liked played by actors who made me care about them. As much as Daisy Ridley was the stand-out talent in The Rise of Skywalker, Felicity Jones plays a similar sort of character much better and it’s a shame she wasn’t cast as Rey. (Or, perhaps, it’s a blessing for her, as she got to play a brilliant character in a great film rather than a mediocre character in a degarding trilogy.)

In every way, Rogue One shows what the sequel trilogy could, and should, have achieved and which The Rise of Skywalker utterly failed at. Despite only having seen it for the first time a couple of months ago, I’ve already watched Rogue One mutliple times and can see myself rewatching it many times to come in the future. I can barely see myself watching The Rise of Skywalker again, let alone repetitively…

Final Thoughts

Disappointing. Although there are some people who rave about it, mainly for its ‘wokeness’, this was a terrible film that shows Disney’s contempt for the franchise. It’s a shame all the characters from Rogue One died and we didn’t have a sequel to that instead… We’re likely to see more Star Wars films, even trilogies, but I’m not sure I care.

SuperTrump takes flight!

31 Mar

Looking for something silly to take your mind off self-isolation and lockdown? Then, you want SuperTrump, a glimpse into alternative realities where President Trump has reached his full potential as the world’s greatest billionaire-ninja-cowboy-president.

SuperTrump is the first in a new series from Atlantean Publishing, Garbaj Presents…

Unlike the previous two broadsides released under the Garbaj Presents… title, this isn’t a ‘how-to’ handout, but a poetry collection featuring four poems by DJ Tyrer. Although also available as broadside, this is primarily a digital release and the pdf is free to download from this site (along with plenty more pdfs to help you fill your time).