To control Branwell they had to subdue him. To subdue him, they chose to burn him. So, on the fifty-third day of the village’s isolation from the world, a day that might have been April 29th of 1846 if the calendar could be trusted, the farm laborers and wool-combers and idle-hands of Haworth took Branwell out of the Black Bull and incinerated him by proxy.
Samuel coaxed him from the public house readily enough with the promise of free bathtub gin at his home, but as soon as Branwell saw the grinning mob that awaited him in the street, he panicked and bolted.
BULL SPEC is pleased to announce that BULL SPEC NOVELLA #1 will be Alan Smale’s “Delusion’s Song:”
I encountered this story in Panverse Publishing‘s all-original novella anthology PANVERSE ONE and it was one of the first previously-published works whose rights we started trying to solicit, though it took a bit of a twist and turn trying to find out who exactly to ask! Not wanting to give anything away in this lovely, well-crafted, literate and literature-aware story, it is teasingly introduced by Panverse Publishing’s Dario Ciriello as: “In 1846, a space-time discontinuity has cut Haworth, Yorkshire, off from the surrounding countryside, and Emily is determined to discover the reason why…” and Bibliophile Stalker Charles Tan calls it “Particularly memorable” and that, of the novellas in the anthology, “If there’s a novella that I’d nominate for an award, this would be up for consideration.”
Alan Smale writes fantasy and horror, alternate and twisted history, urban fantasy and slipstream, with two dozen stories published in speculative fiction magazines and original anthologies. Born and raised in England, he lives in Maryland and works as an astrophysicist and data archive manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. In what is humorously referred to as his ‘spare time,’ he sings bass and serves as Business Manager for high-energy vocal band The Chromatics, and performs occasionally in community theater.
Note: There will be no English e-book or online text version of this story, as PANVERSE ONE is only recently in print, and we have no wish to hammer on its parade as a particularly cruel response to Alan’s and Dario’s generosity and flexibility in granting us the permissions we need to produce the story. On the contrary: to thank them for their willingness to bravely be our first production in our third “category” of non-original, non-donation works, please consider asking about it at your local bookstores and libraries, and/or buying it and supporting excellent novella-length original fiction, as it includes several other wonderful novellas, some of which we hope someday to give the BULL SPEC treatment to as well.
Look for BULL SPEC’s production of “Delusion’s Song” online, in e-book, and audiobook, as BULL SPEC NOVELLA #1 in either February/March or May/June. Thanks very much to Alan and Dario for their willingness to grant BULL SPEC license (Alan) and blessing (both Alan and Dario) to produce this work under these terms, and another thanks to Dario for reminding us with PANVERSE ONE that small publishing can still be great, and for his permission to use the PANVERSE ONE cover on this post while we get to work on some original art.
Update: We’re pleased to announce that the English audiobook narration will be handled by Grace Castellanos. Grace, joining Alan as a native of merry-ole England, is an experienced narrator and voice actress, with documentary work as well as being the “Voice of the Administrative Office of the Courts” phone system in Raleigh. She lives in Durham.
Update: We’ve learned that PANVERSE ONE is also available in a Kindle Edition.