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Horror and dark fantasy anthology inspired by the British landscape, featuring 17 leading horror and fantasy authors.
Horror and dark fantasy anthology inspired by the British landscape, featuring 17 leading horror and fantasy authors.
617 backers pledged £13,235 to help bring this project to life.

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£13,235

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Stretch goals!

After an opening day like that (we met our target in 12 hours!) there's only one thing we can do... And what better way to make the anthology better than with more stories? If we hit all three targets, we get three more stories in the book. That's good for everyone, right? The first target is nice and easy, as well...

And remember, if you've already pledged you can always increase your pledge to get us closer to the new targets. Sharing your excitement about the project on social media will help too! (If you're tweeting, use #ThisDreamingIsle to tag your tweets.)

This Dreaming Isle

We are publishing This Dreaming Isle, an anthology of dark fantasy and horror fiction dedicated to the British Isles, in 2018. We are looking for £2,500 to help cover the cost of the book.

We will take the money and give it to a selection of deserving people, including: the authors, the cover artist, the designer, the editorial freelancers and the printers.

We've got Kickstarter exclusives on offer, including the chance to have your name in the book as part of the amazing community that supports indie publishing.

The Anthology

"This Dreaming Isle brings together a group of writers whose work is intimately concerned not only with sense of place, but with the increasing pressures being brought to bear on our notion of self and belonging – the very concepts that form the core of contemporary horror fiction... I believe it may come to be seen as a landmark in the field." - Nina Allan, The Spider's House blog.

Something strange is happening on British shores. 

Britain has a long history of folk tales, ghost stories and other uncanny fictions, and these literary ley lines are still shimmering beneath the surface of this green and pleasant land. Every few generations this strangeness crawls out from the dark places of the British imagination, seeping into our art and culture. We are living through such a time. 

This Dreaming Isle is an anthology of new horror stories and weird fiction with a distinctly British flavour, edited by Dan Coxon. It collects together seventeen brand new horrifying or unsettling stories that draw upon the landscape and history of the British Isles for their inspiration. Some explore the realms of myth and legend, others are firmly rooted in the present, engaging with the country’s forgotten spaces.

As we struggle to imagine what Britain will look like post-Brexit - after the power struggles and the in-fighting, the failed negotiations and the resignations - This Dreaming Isle questions who we are and who we are becoming. Rooted in folk tales and local legends, these stories also offer an unsettling, frightening glimpse of our nation today.

This Dreaming Isle reclaims the dark heart of Britain’s literary legacy.

Table of Contents

The Pier at Ardentinny – Catriona Ward
Old Trash – Jenn Ashworth
In My Father’s House – Andrew Michael Hurley
Land of Many Seasons – Tim Lebbon
Dark Shells – Aliya Whiteley
Cold Ashton – Stephen Volk
Domestic Magic – Kirsty Logan
Not All Right – James Miller
The Cocktail Party in Kensington Gets Out of Hand – Robert Shearman
We Regret to Inform You – Jeannette Ng
Lodestones – Richard V. Hirst
The Knucker – Gareth E. Rees
The Stone Dead – Alison Moore
Hovering – Gary Budden
The Headland of Black Rock – Alison Littlewood
The Devil in the Details – Ramsey Campbell
Swimming with Horses – Angela Readman

The Authors

  • Ramsey Campbell, multi-award winning author of over 40 novels
  • Andrew Michael Hurley, author of The Loney and Devil's Day
  • Catriona Ward, author of Rawblood and Little Eve
  • Robert Shearman, World Fantasy Award, British Fantasy Award and Shirley Jackson Award winning author of four collections
  • Jenn Ashworth, author of Fell, Cold Light and more
  • Tim Lebbon, screenwriter and author of over 35 books including Dusk, The Silence and Relics
  • Alison Littlewood, author of The Crow Garden, The Hidden People and more
  • Aliya Whiteley, author of The Beauty, The Arrival of Missives and The Loosening Skin
  • Stephen Volk, screenwriter and author of Whistable, Monsters in the Heart and more
  • Kirsty Logan, author of The Gloaming, The Gracekeepers, A Portable Shelter and The Rental Heart
  • James Miller, author of UnAmerican Activities, Lost Boys and Sunshine State
  • Gareth E. Rees, author of Marshland and The Stone Tide  
  • Jeannette Ng, author of Under the Pendulum Sun 
  • Richard V. Hirst, co-author of The Night Visitors 
  • Alison Moore, author of The Lighthouse, Missing and more 
  • Gary Budden, author of Hollow Shores 
  • Angela Readman, author of Don’t Try This at Home and The Book of Tides

About the Editor

Dan Coxon is part of the editorial team at Unsung Stories, as well as owning the editing and proofreading company Momus Editorial. His book Being Dad won Best Anthology 2016 at the Saboteur Awards. He currently edits The Shadow Booth, a bi-annual journal of weird and eerie fiction.

Unsung Stories in 2018

2018 has been a hugely significant year for Unsung Stories. In addition to being shortlisted in three categories at the British Fantasy Awards (Best Independent Press, Best Anthology, Best Collection), in January we relaunched as a newly independent company. It means we are now 100% focused on genre fiction, but it also means the training wheels are off.

This Kickstarter is as much about supporting Unsung Stories as the anthology. That’s why we are also offering you the chance to pick our 2018 titles as rewards, and get them at special Kickstarter prices. 

The Loosening Skin

The Loosening Skin is the third book from eight-times award-nominated sensation Aliya Whiteley. With her novellas The Beauty and The Arrival of Missives now coming to the US, thanks to our friends at Titan, this is the perfect time to get in on the action!

When people shed their skin every seven years, it’s just a fact of life that we will cast off all the attachments of our old life. And when our loves are part of us, those memories of love can be bought, if you know the right people.  

Introducing the new drug, Suscutin, that will prevent the moult. Now you can keep your skin forever. Now you never need to change who you are.

But it’s not so simple for celebrity bodyguard Rose Allington, who suffers from a rare disease. Her moults come quickly, changing everything about her life, who she is, who she loves.  

Meanwhile, her former client, superstar actor Max Black, is hooked on Suscutin, because he knows moulting could lose him everything. When one of his skins is stolen, and the theft is an inside job, he needs the best who ever worked for him on the job - even if she’s not the same person.

The Loosening Skin peels away the layers of these stories, exploring our definitions of love, sex and friendship, and what it means to love.

 The Willow by Your Side

This debut from Peter Haynes is a clarion call for British fantasy and the perfect companion piece to This Dreaming Isle - a dark fantasy, laced with veins of Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood and a blood transfusion from Catriona Ward's Rawblood.

The woods. Dreams and portents. Youth. Magic runs through all of them. In the aftermath of war a young boy is twisted and tested trying to hold his family together.  

As his sister recovers from a terrible assault by her father, she teaches him about the magic in the land, the tombs of ancient kings and the wishing lake, about the treacherous Red Cap and the places deep in the woods where the adults don’t go.  

But when she disappears, the balance fails. Parents divided by their pain and all eyes in the village turn to the father, a man who brought his own nightmares back from the war. They search the woods, pushing deeper into the strange spaces where myths grow with the trees. But only the boy knows the secret paths they took, and the way to the lake where wishes come true.  

A story of the potent and dark spaces of folklore, Haynes plunges deep into the landscape, peeling back the delicate rules of the British identity, and what we hide beneath it.

About Unsung Stories

Unsung Stories started in 2014 with the idea of publishing ambitious speculative fiction. 

It's about finding the literary and ambitious books, the ones that refuse to conform, the ones that push the envelope of what genre fiction can be. We celebrate all great writing without distinction, and dream of a world where no one will feel compelled to say, ‘I don’t read science fiction...’ 

We've published debut writers, in genres as diverse as SF noir epic poetry, literary body horror, portal fantasy and weird fiction. And we work to make sure each book is as good as it can be.

Risks and challenges

Probably Brexit. It's always Brexit, right?

We already have the stories written and the cover artwork made. We're really close to publication so there aren't really that many risks at this stage. We're big believers in promising what we can deliver, and hopefully our track record will speak for itself.

We've worked hard to build a reputation for striking and quality writing, and the eight books we've published to date have been shortlisted for awards including (deep breath) the John W. Campbell, the BSFA Awards, the BFS Awards (four times!) the James Tiptree Jr Award (twice!), the Starburst Brave New Words Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Saboteur Awards (twice!) and the Guardian's Not the Booker Award.

We may be little, but we punch above our weight.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About US$ 1.30

    Island dreamer

    Project updates and a drop more light into the collective psyche of our islands.

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    Digital dreamer

    A copy of the This Dreaming Isle eBook.

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    This Dreaming Isle

    A copy of the standard paperback edition of This Dreaming Isle, and the eBook.

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    Your Dreaming Isle

    A copy of the paperback edition of This Dreaming Isle, with your name added to the list of supporters in the back, and the eBook.

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    Digital fever dream

    Ebooks of all three new titles that Unsung is launching this autumn! An ebook copy of This Dreaming Isle; an ebook copy of Aliya Whiteley's new novella, The Loosening Skin, published October 2018; AND an ebook copy of Peter Haynes' debut novel, The Willow By Your Side, published November 2018.

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    Beyond the Dreaming Isle

    A paperback copy of This Dreaming Isle with your name added to the list of supporters in the back, and the eBook.

    AND one Unsung Stories book of your choice from:
    Deja Vu, The Beauty, Dark Star, The Arrival of Missives, Metronome, Pseudotooth, You Will Grow Into Them.

    We'll send both books together on publication of This Dreaming Isle.

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    A dream of Loosening Skin

    A paperback copy of This Dreaming Isle with your name added to the list of supporters in the back, and the eBook.

    AND a paperback copy of Aliya Whiteley's new novella, The Loosening Skin, published October 2018.

    We'll send both books together on publication of This Dreaming Isle.

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    • The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley
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    The dreamer by your side

    A paperback copy of This Dreaming Isle with your name added to the list of supporters in the back, and the eBook.

    AND a paperback copy of Peter Haynes' debut novel, The Willow By Your Side, published November 2018.

    We'll send both books together on publication of This Dreaming Isle.

    Includes:
    • This Dreaming Isle paperback
    • The Willow By Your Side by Peter Haynes
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    The Artist's Isle

    An A3 art print of the This Dreaming Isle cover artwork by Jordan Grimmer.

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    Collector's dream

    A limited hardback edition (dust jacket, casebound) of the anthology and your name added to the list of supporters in the back, and the eBook. The hardback will only be printed for the Kickstarter campaign, and will not be commercially available at a later date.

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    Fever dream

    All three new titles that Unsung is launching this autumn! A paperback copy of This Dreaming Isle with your name added to the list of supporters in the back, and the eBook.

    A paperback copy of Aliya Whiteley's new novella, The Loosening Skin, published October 2018. AND a paperback copy of Peter Haynes' debut novel, The Willow By Your Side, published November 2018.

    We'll send all three books together on publication of This Dreaming Isle.

    Includes:
    • This Dreaming Isle paperback
    • The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley
    • The Willow By Your Side by Peter Haynes
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    Supporting the Artist's Isle

    An A3 art print of the This Dreaming Isle cover artwork by Jordan Grimmer. A copy of the paperback edition of This Dreaming Isle, with your name added to the list of supporters in the back, and the eBook.

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    Collecting the Artist's Isle

    An A3 art print of the This Dreaming Isle cover artwork by Jordan Grimmer. A limited hardback edition (dust jacket, casebound) of the anthology and your name added to the list of supporters in the back, and the eBook. The hardback will only be printed for the Kickstarter campaign, and will not be commercially available at a later date.

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    • This Dreaming Isle hardback
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    Dream a little dream for me

    A critique of up a short story up to 5,000 words by the Unsung Stories editorial team (George Sandison, Dan Coxon).

    A hardback edition (dust jacket, casebound) of the anthology and your name added to the list of supporters in the back, and the eBook.

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    If I can dream

    A limited edition hardback of This Dreaming Isle and your name added to the list of supporters in the back, and the eBook.

    AND one each of the following Unsung titles:
    Deja Vu, The Beauty, Dark Star, The Arrival of Missives, Metronome, Pseudotooth, You Will Grow Into Them, The Loosening Skin AND The Willow By Your Side.

    Includes:
    • The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley
    • The Willow By Your Side by Peter Haynes
    • This Dreaming Isle hardback
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    Living the dream

    A critique of up a novel manuscript (or collection of short stories) up to 100,000 words by the Unsung Stories editorial team (George Sandison, Dan Coxon).

    A hardback edition (dust jacket, cloth-bound) of This Dreaming Isle and your name added to the list of supporters in the back, and the eBook.

    A paperback copy of Aliya Whiteley's new novella, The Loosening Skin, published October 2018. AND a paperback copy of Peter Haynes' debut novel, The Willow By Your Side, published November 2018.

    Includes:
    • This Dreaming Isle hardback
    • Novel manuscript critique
    • The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley
    • The Willow By Your Side by Peter Haynes
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Funding period

- (30 days)