An anthology of ‘science fiction, fantasy and strange stories’ from Liars’ League, Weird Liesbrings together a broad range of styles and themes in an array of delectable morsels. It is well written, well edited and, most importantly, consistently engaging – in short it is an absolute pleasure to read, from cover to cover.
Each story stands alone and is, frankly, just pretty darn good. I love being handed a book that I’ve not heard of before (I was sent this through Goodreads’ First Reads, so didn’t know exactly what to expect) and finding that it is this good. The fact that the stories cover a lot of different topics and take on many different styles also makes the reading of it all rather inspiring. If you’re keen on writing yourself, I would heartily recommend this book as well as good anthologies in general (for more inspiration try stories by Donald Barthelme, and prose poetry by Simon Armitage and Luke Kennard).
Among my favourite Weird Lies are ChronoCrisis 3000, which takes the form of an instructional letter from a scientist to a time traveller; Let There Be Light, a story about two people in a dark world; Free Cake, a meditation on explosive workplace stress;Touchdown, a ghost story; Zwo, on monsters; Daphne Changes, metamorphosis with a general Apollo; The Love Below, in which a boy struggles to keep his feet on the ground;Candyfloss, of dreams and nightmares…
Damn, I only wanted to list two or three and, really, I could go on.
Weird Lies is an excellent anthology and if you’re feeling like reading something a little different, something that you can’t just compartmentalise into a handful of genres, then I suggest you grab this. I’m certainly planning to pick up a few of their other collections, which can be found on their site as well as Amazon.
Liars’ League itself also sounds like a rather interesting organisation.
In a sense, fiction is a lie; acting is lying too. And so the League brings together the best liars we can find – actors and authors – to tell great, brand new stories. It seems to be working, because we were recently featured in The Guardian’s list of the 10 best storytelling nights in the UK.
Writers write. Actors read. Audience listens. Everybody wins.
The League holds monthly fiction nights during which actors read out new short stories written by people the world over. Their events are held at The Phoenix pub (which is incidentally a really cool venue that also hosts an excellent weekly comedy night) in Cavendish Square, London, and the readings are filmed and uploaded to YouTube as well as a free podcast. Their online archive contains more than 300 stories.
This was also the first I’d heard of Arachne Press, the publishers of Weird Lies, but they seem pretty cool. Others must agree since they’ve won various awards for their books, which include short-story anthologies, poetry and young adult novels. They also hold workshops and readings – you can find out more about these on their blog.
Weird Lies includes stories by Alan Graham, Alex Smith, Angela Trevithick, Andrew Lloyd Jones, Barry McKinley, C. T. Kingston, Christopher Samuels, David McGrath, David Malone, David Mildon, Derek Ivan Webster, Ellen O’Neill, James Smyth, Jonathan Pinnock, Joshan Esfandiari Martin, Lee Reynoldson, Lennart Lundh, Maria Kyle, Nichol Wilmor, Peng Shepherd, Rebecca J. Payne, Richard Meredith, Richard Smyth and Tom McKay.
Thank you to the editors and Goodreads for sending me this book through Goodreads’ First Reads