Posts Tagged ‘Newcon Press’

X Marks the Spot: Celebrating 10 Years of NewCon Press edited by Ian Whates

January 16, 2017 - 9:08 pm No Comments

X MARKS THE SPOT: Celebrating 10 Years of NewCon Press edited by Ian Whates. NewCon Press, Cambs, UK. £6.99 (UK), $10.99 (US) paperback. 75 pages. ISBN: 978-1-910935-22-4

Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

What does a publishing house do when it has a birthday? It throws a party and publishes a book. NewCon Press began ten years ago, almost by accident. The NewCon convention made a sufficient profit for the organisers to decide to put the money into an anthology. The independent press grew from there. Since then it has hatched a good number of professional looking books which include a plethora of excellent authors within their pages. This book, which was given to all who attended the celebratory party, provides a sample of the excellence NewCon strives for.

‘The Circle Drawer’ by Paul Melhuish is a chilling story containing the elements that make a supernatural story work. It begins quietly with everyday activities. The narrator works for the housing department of the local council. He is the one who has too check out empty properties before they can be relet. For a reason he doesn’t quite understand, he puts an X on each of the letters he finds in a couple of the properties, ones that are unlikely ever to be read. On being called back due to complaints that people had been heard moving around the empty properties, he finds that a circle has been drawn around all of his Xs. Nothing much to worry about so far, but he tests it out and finds that someone is circling his Xs, however inaccessible he makes them. From here, the tension escalates.

X or ten, needs to be a feature of all the fiction here. Rosanne Rabinowitz approaches it in a very different way and ‘Not a Through Tree’ has a surreal element to it. It is the kind of story that is generated by an observed oddity, in this case a sign on a tree. Karen is on holiday in Berkley, a place an old friend she has since lost touch with, told her about. She is exploring the picturesque back streets when she sees the tree in the middle of the road with the sign. She finds it intriguing but has no idea what it means. Neither can she interpret some of the other things she sees on her walk.

‘Recursitopia’ by Adam Roberts is either a logic problem or a fractal sequence. One method of creating the conditions necessary to build a Utopia is to utilise modern technology to develop a virtual model the desired society. As the model doesn’t have the model factored into the set-up, the accuracy of the predictions begins to drift, so a new model has to be created within the first but….

Donna Scott’s poem ‘Life on Mars’ is an observation on the call for people to join a one way trip to Mars. It is a poem that starts well but because of the rhyming structure, it gets little strained towards the end.

The fin al fictional piece is a collaboration of ten authors. Ian Whates set up the scenario of an inspection in a storage facility. The Inspector accidentally, or otherwise, opens all the doors and lets out a batch of spider bots. The caretaker and the inspector have to round them up. This allows each author free rein to explore the contents of a room. Imagination runs wild until Whates pulls the story together at the end. It is a neat way to write a collaborative story without compromising the style or imagination of any of the participants.

The remainder of the book is both an archive and a vote of thanks to all the authors and artists who have contributed to the on-going success of NewCon Press over the past ten years. All are listed. And where their contributions can be found.

Congratulations to NewCon and let’s hope they can continue for another decade.