Full Color wraparound dust jacket by Bob Eggleton.
Interior Illustrations by John Kenn Mortensen.
Nearly twenty years after its initial publication, we've decided to publish a new edition of Caitlin R. Kiernan's From Weird and Distant Shores. This edition will be oversized, printed in two colors throughout, with a wraparound dust jacket by Bob Eggleton, and a full page illustration by John Kenn Mortensen for each story. This edition contains an additional story that did not appear in the original.
About the Book:
From Weird and Distant Shores: This collection of fourteen short stories and one fragment by the award-winning author of Silk and Tales of Pain and Wonder establishes Caitlin R. Kiernan as one of today's most versatile fantasists. Spanning and transcending the fields of fantasy, dark fantasy, and science fiction, these stories include some of Kiernan's early and hard-to-find work, and explore the limits of that ubiquitous bane of contemporary F&SF, the "theme" and "shared-world" anthology.
In the words of Douglas E. Winter: "Caitlin Kiernan's stories, even when appearing in theme anthologies, fill a space that is genuinely hers—thematically and stylistically. Rarely do her texts offer the punch line ending of a campfire tale, or even a tidy denouement. Instead they present a fine mingling of attitude and atmosphere, expressed with delightful idiosyncrasy . . ." Including such critically-acclaimed stories as "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" (selected for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror) and "Persephone," as well as Kiernan's first ever collaboration with Poppy Z. Brite, From Weird and Distant Shores is a nightmare tour de force you won't easily forget.
Limited: 500 signed numbered hardcover copies
Lettered: 26 signed copies, bradel bound, with an extra illustration housed in the traycase
Table of Contents:
- Preface ~ Playing God in Other People’s Sandbox
- Escape Artist
- The Comedy of St. Jehanne d’Arc
- Stoker’s Mistress
- Emptiness Spoke Eloquent
- Giants in the Earth
- Two Worlds, and In Between
- The King of Birds
- By Turns
- Between the Flatirons and the Deep Green Sea
- Hoar Isis
- Night Story 1973 (with Billy Martin)
- The Drowned Geologist (1898)
- Rat’s Star (A Fragment)
- Found Angel’s (with Christa Faust)
The Comedy of
St. Jehanne d’Arc
Malta, May 1486
The girl comes down the winding trail that leads from the old Roman house to the colonnade by the sea, her bare feet sure on the slick and uneven path, flagstones smoothed by centuries of sandals and wind. She is careful to make enough noise that the vampire will know it’s her coming, will recognize the purposeful clumsiness of her approach. And she finds him, pale skin like Carrara marble beneath the setting moon, skin like pearls and marble and the egg-sac silk of spiders, standing more alone than usual on the wide portico, staring north across the sea, toward Sicily and beyond that, holy Rome.
He says nothing, offers no sign or acknowledgment of her, and she stands a few feet behind. Listens a moment to the black heartbeat of the Mediterranean bashing itself patiently against the high cliffs, and to the east, the lights of Valetta twinkle like grounded stars or fallen angels. The wind smells like almost nothing, now, but the sea, salt and water, blood or semen.
Whitby, Yorkshire, March 1841
The snow falling, drifting down like every crystal minute of his long life and death, filling up the churchyard above the sleeping village, and he leaves his footprints in the drifts. The woman walks a few steps behind, following in his wake, barefoot and naked except for the long necklace of emeralds and rubies and black onyx beads on her throat, his gift, and she reads the names and dates aloud. Like potent charms or nursery rhymes chiseled in stone, careless and considered words in the brogue that still shows through, litany of the bones beneath their silent heels. And “Here,” she says. “Here’s a sweet fresh one, ‘William Scoresby born 1760 many years successfully engaged in arctic whale fishery died 1829.’” And she brushes snow from the top edge of the headstone. “Poor Billy. He’s hardly been down long enough to get used to the company of the worms.”
He pauses near the abbey ruins, stares down at the dark shrouded houses on both sides of the valley, the silver trail of the river Esk laced in-between, across the harbour and the headland stretching out to the storm-worried sea. Sleeping houses under snowy roofs, practical English dreams in an Age of Reason, and he thinks again how odd to be so far from home in a century so strange as this.
Two Worlds, and In Between
On the crumbly edge of the pit, and it seems like she’s been standing there forever, when the fever breaks and Twila opens her sleepgummy eyes. She has to blink three or four times before they even begin to focus, and they still burn and water from the greasy corpse smoke and the faintest sharpness of disappointment, dissolving with the dream. Across the little room, her Salvation Army dressing table and from the cracked mirror, Peter Murphy pouts and his lips are the bruisey color of eggplant. On the floor, the candlelight is drowning itself in a cranberry pool of liquid wax.
She lies very still, listening for the sound that woke her, remembering where she is and that apocalypse has come and gone and she’s still here. The bedroom stinks of old puke and shit and something gone over.
She had lain once, as a child, under the dead summer Atlanta sky, and pressed her face into the soil. Lin’s father had been a professor in the city and so they’d had the little shit-brown yard and its cancerous dandelions, hearty clumps of deathwhisper weeds. After the rain, iridescent petrol shimmer and wet smell of a crankshaft, oilpan shower, with her hands she had dug through the softened crust of sun-baked earth. Had closed her eyes, pursed her lips, and pressed her face into the shallow dirt scrape, arms spread wide in the unexpected mud.
Her mother had been busy. The summer the city’s water supply had made the black list and her mother was always busy with ration stamps and plastic jugs. So no one had watched or reminded or screamed at her to stop.
There had been no smell of fungus, no ripe decay, no slither of earthworms or black beetle scurry. Only the muddy chemical reek and then the pain, and quickly after, nothing else until she’d come awake in the toxi-ward of Grady Memorial, oxygen mask strapped across her swollen face.
Her mother had said that she was lucky. She wouldn’t have scars.
Night Story 1973
(with Poppy Z. Brite)
“‘It rained and it rained and it rained,’” the old woman said, reading aloud from Winnie-the-Pooh. She held the book up close to her face, squinting to see the words by the yellow-orange light of the kerosene lantern. “‘Piglet told himself that never in all his life and he was goodness knows how old – three, was it, or four? – never had he seen so much rain,’” and then she paused, lifting her head to stare at the front door of the two-room mountain cabin she shared with her grandson, whose name was Ghost.
“‘Days and days and days,’” said Ghost with just a touch of impatience, prompting her. But then he, too, sat up straighter in bed and stared at the door, recognizing the alert un-easiness on his grandmother’s face.
“Ghost child, if you already know this story by heart, why am I bothering to read it to you?” But she didn’t take her eyes off the door as she spoke, the door and the rain-slick windows on either side of it. Those windows worried her most of all. Nothing to see out there but the stormy night, blacker than pitch in a bucket, black as a coal miner’s ass, except for the brief and thunderous flashes of lightning.
“What did you see, Dee?” Her name was Deliverance, Miss Deliverance to most everybody, and Dee-for-short only to this boy. Deliverance frowned and nodded her head, nodded it very slowly, and then she looked back down at the familiar pages of the book.
The Drowned Geologist (1898)
10 May 1898
My Dear Dr. Watson,
At the urgent behest of a mutual acquaintance, Dr. Ogilvy, lately of the British Museum, I am writing you regarding a most singular occurrence which I experienced recently during an extended tour of the Scottish lowlands and the east English coast south on through North Yorkshire. The purpose of my tour was the acquisition of local geological specimens and stratigraphic data for the American Museum here in Manhattan, where I have held a post these last four years. As one man of science writing openly to another, I trust you will receive these words in the spirit which they are intended, indeed, the only spirit in which I presently know how to couch them: as the truthful and objective testimony of a trained observer and investigator who has borne witness to a most peculiar series of events, which, even now, many months hence, I am yet at a loss to explain. I fear that I must expect you to question the veracity of my story, and no doubt my sanity as well, if you are even half the man of medicine and of science that your reputation has led me to believe. As to why Ogilvy has suggested that I should entrust these facts to you, Sir, in particular, that will shortly become quite clear. Moreover, if my voice seems uncertain and strained at times, if my narration seems to falter, please understand that even though the better part of a year has passed since those strange days by the sea, only by the greatest force of will am I able to finally set this account down upon paper.
- Richard A. Kirk
- Caitlin R. Kiernan
- 237 pages
- United States
- In Print