Tuesday, 26 July 2011

'Fables from the Fountain' - Ian Whates

Fables from the Fountain is a collection of short stories dedicated to the memory of Arthur C Clarke. I don't read enough short stories so when I first heard about it I decided to take a closer look. The list of contributing authors is impressive: Ian Whates, Stephen Baxter and Neil Gaiman to name a few. My only concern really was how to approach the review. In the end I decided that it would be worth to stray outside of my reviewing comfort zone and I bought a copy.

The stories in Fables of the Fountain all share a common format based on the same concept that Arthur C Clarke used himself in his collection of short stories from 1957 in Tales from the White Hart. A group of authors meet regularly to swap stories over a pint or two. The pub featured in this version is the fictional The Fountain. It's supposed to be not far away from Chancery Lane, located in one of those little side streets you usually end up on when you try to walk down to Fleet Street. Funny thing is, no one is quite sure exactly where the pub is. You will either find it or not. When you find it you will discover a traditional pub. A pub where you are meant to socialise, not listen to loud music.
"Kareoke?" spluttered the Professor, his facial expression that of a Pontiff who had just stumbled upon a condom machine operating in the Sistine Chapel.
Every Tuesday a group of friends meet up at The Fountain. Most of them are writers, but not all. The group also include: academics, IT, and medics. The one thing they all have in common, apart from the love of a pint of Bodgers, is the love for the extraordinary. Each week a new story is told, and each week something extraordinary is revealed.

I'm pleased with my purchase of Fables from the Fountain. The authors managed to cover everything from sinister to fun, somber to silly. The quality of the stories is high and they are all fastidiously written and a pleasure to read.

Fables from the Fountain weighs in at 256 pages and is published by NewCon Press.

Recommendation: read

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