From the author of Filaria, The Fecund’s Melancholy Daughter, and Head Full of Mountains comes Brent Hayward’s debut short story collection, featuring ten stories spanning his career, plus two new, previously unpublished pieces, the novelette Lake of Dreams and the titular novella.
In Broken Sun, Broken Moon, the storm has passed but gravity is weak again. The scribe isn’t feeling well. Houses in palmetto break apart and float away. Mechanisms behind the sun and the moon are breaking down. And now government men sail into town, from the capital, bringing with them a newborn perfect—the first in years. They’re looking for the scribe, and they’re not very happy.
In Lake of Dreams, George Triplehorn was passed over by rapture when it swept the planet. Dead people either stayed that way or got fed up with conditions and moved to the moon. Like the others left behind, George tried to muddle by, making a living with his new skills as an entertainer, but things just weren’t the same. When Myron, his agent, doctor, and sometimes shrink, lands him a gig in Lake of Dreams, the largest lunar necropolis, George figures it might just be the ticket to boost a flagging career and maybe even get his life back on track. But he’s never been to the moon before, his so-called skills are acting up, and he soon discovers that the dead are not his greatest fans.
This collection, like Brent Hayward’s other works, breaks the boundaries of literary science fiction.
Brent Hayward was born in London, England, grew up in Montreal, and currently lives with his family in Toronto. He is the author of three acclaimed novels, Filaria, The Fecund's Melancholy Daughter, and Head Full of Mountains, all available from CZP. His short fiction has appeared in various publications. By day, he works in the aerospace field. He can be reached through his website, brenthayward.com.
"Hayward's fiction often blurs the lines in presenting advanced societies that have lurched into reverse, taking us from science fiction to fantasy. Technology has decayed into theology after the decline and fall of an older, more advanced world order. This civilizational collapse isn't brought about by the usual culprits (overpopulation, environmental, or political catastrophe), but is instead the product of a general regression brought on by systematic failures. It's less dystopic than entropic fiction, with the future making a Great Leap Backward and machines breaking down to the point where science takes on the afterglow of magic and religion. . . . It's hard not to read such stories as in part allegorical, visions of what our own world might look like if the wheels were to stop turning. Most of us don't understand even the most basic aspects of how the machines that run and rule our lives actually work, and perhaps most of us don't especially care. With that mix of ignorance and dependence there naturally comes a distrust of change, a desire to keep things as they are or an indulgence in fantasies of a simpler time. Hayward's postcards from the scary and stupid towns of a dark age ahead should lead us to reconsider what it is we're wishing for."
—Alex Good, Canadian Notes & Queries
“Hayward’s debut collection Broken Sun, Broken Moon serves up twelve speculative tales to entertain. . . . Hayward’s world building here is sparse, but nevertheless effective in depicting what seems to be a Dystopian society revolving around the Have-Nots. However, by not filling in every corner, he leaves the reader to concentrate on the value of risk-taking.”
—John DeNardo, Kirkus Reviews
"It is a cliché to refer to an author as 'painterly' or possessing a 'painter’s eye,' but sometimes the comparison is too apt to pass up. In his first collection of short fiction, novelist Brent Hayward truly brings a painter’s sensibility to a series of fractured landscapes, implanting in the reader’s imagination textured images—often of bodily metamorphosis and mutilation—that linger long after the stories’ plots and characters have faded. Which in this case is a good thing. Hayward sharpens these word-pictures by dropping the reader into fully realized alternative worlds that blend elements of sci-fi, noir, horror, and dark fantasy, forcing us to negotiate alien landscapes through the limited information available to the story’s protagonist. Rich descriptions often replace character development and interaction. The effect is jarring and deeply immersive."
—James Grainger, The Toronto Star
"No one writes like Brent Hayward. No one ever has. His voice is a product of... Well, who the hell knows? These stories are nothing like what you're expecting—and that's a very good thing."
—Zachary Jernigan, author of No Return
"Hayward's debut (Filaria) is a powerful, beautifully-written dystopian tale…"
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"(The Fecund’s Melancholy Daughter is) …beautifully written and morally ambivalent; this complex tale will appeal to readers of Gene Wolfe and China Miéville."
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"(The Fecund’s Melancholy Daughter’s) …uncompromising originality leaves the reader with few familiar signposts. Reading it is like waking up in the wrong bed, in the wrong apartment, under the wrong sun… By turns surreal, macabre and stunningly violent, The Fecund's Melancholy Daughter is dreamlike in its strangeness and complexity. Like a dream, it is difficult to define and difficult to shake. The imagery lingers like archetypes dredged up from the sleeping mind."
—Mark Dunn, The Globe and Mail
"Toronto's Brent Hayward has a knack for creating incredibly lush alternative worlds and mythologies, and Head Full of Mountains may be his most complex and demanding work yet.”
—Alex Good, The Toronto Star