British Fiction Focus

Tom Fletcher Does the Devil’s Work

Last year, one of the most promising young horror authors of the past decade turned his stark talents to fantasy, conjuring up “a devastated landscape equal parts Ambergris and Fallout 3” to typically excellent effect. I’m talking, of course, about Tom Fletcher, whose Factory trilogy got off to a tantalising start with Gleam—reviewed right here—in 2014.

Fast forward to last week, when the author confirmed that 2015 will indeed see the release of the sequel. It’s called Idle Hands, and it should be published sometime in September or October. The cover’s coming up under the cut—plus, I’ve bagged a blurb! But that’s not all the Tom Fletcher news I have to share with you today. Far from it, in fact. Firstly, there’s Thin Places: a bumper ebook edition of Fletcher’s first three novels, namely The Leaping, The Thing on the Shore, and The Ravenglass Eye.

The bundle will be priced to move upon its release in early June, and I can only cross my fingers in the hope that it does. Its contents are certainly deserving of the extra attention—as are the three Alison Littlewood books Jo Fletcher is bringing together in its other upcoming omnibus: Seasons of Mist.

But back to the matter at hand. At idle hands, even:

Desperate to cure his son Billy of the disease Idle Hands, Wild Alan must find a way back into the Pyramid from which he was exiled. But, trapped in the barren wasteland that is the Discard—the area surrounding the Pyramid—there isn’t much he can do alone.

Bloody Nora, the mapmaker, has her own reasons for wanting to get into the Pyramid; she believes that the secrets of Gleam’s history can be found in the Pyramid’s vaults. And she has worked with Wild Alan before.

There are more secrets there than either imagined: those vaults hold the key to destroying the Pyramid’s tyranny, but saving Billy and uniting the Discard against the Pyramidders is going to be far from straightforward.

Appealingly, the artwork adorning Idle Hands takes a couple of cues from the cover of Gleam. It makes use of the same sunset-seeming colour scheme and the same contrast between nature and artifice, not to mention the same industrial frame. It may have a hooded dude, but hey—the devil’s in the details, and if you ask me, these are some damn fine details:

Last but not least—well, maybe a little least—Fletcher also talked a bit about his next short story: ‘The Home’ is to be released as one of Nightjar Press’ cracking chapbooks, and the cover—see it here—features a rather notable quote, which has the legend Dennis Etchison comparing Fletcher’s fiction to The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter. Needless to say, that’s hella high praise.

All in all, it looks like 2015 will be a seriously busy year for Tom Fletcher—and indeed for his readers, who can look forward to insidious secrets and a legion of lies in addition to the usual moons and mushrooms… and if you’re good, maybe even a werewolf or two!


Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

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