Four inhabitants of a crumbling world:
a drug-addled boy, living in dank recesses, sets out in an ancient car to find his ex, who has mysteriously vanished overnight;a privileged girl, obsessed with the past, and exiled by her esteemed father, learns more about her long-vanished ancestors than she ever could have wished for;an old man, on his hundredth birthday, deserts his quiet post as an elevator operator, climbing the great shaft in hopes of seeing the fabled topmost level before he dies;and a fisherman, seeking answers to why his once-vibrant wife is now chronically ailing and wasting away, begins a quest to find and confront the god of all gods.These stories intersect and wrap around each other, revealing deeply disturbing truths about the artificial world they inhabit.
Brent Hayward was born in London, England, and grew up in Montreal. His short fiction has appeared in various publications, including OnSpec, ChiZine, Horizons SF, Tesseract 14, and the first Chilling Tales anthology. In 2006, his story "Phallex Comes Out" (ChiZine) was nominated for a Story South award for best on-line fiction of that year. In 2008, his first novel, Filaria, was published by CZP. Among other great reviews, Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred write up, calling Filaria 'powerful' and 'beautifully written'. His second novel, The Fecund's Melancholy Daughter, also got a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was short-listed for the 2012 CBC Bookie Awards. Brent attended the Clarion SF workshop in 1995. For a few years he lived in Poland with his family but is now back in Canada. His third novel, Head Full of Mountains, was published in 2014 and nominated for a Sunburst award. A collection of short stories is forthcoming. He can be reached through his website, brenthayward.com. By day, he works in the aerospace field.
Praise for Brent Hayward
“Where [Head Full of Mountains] stands out from its brethren is in the quality of Hayward’s (Filaria) prose, and the skill with which he carefully details each scene and each character, using well-worn set pieces with an energy and splendor that blinds readers to their essential familiarity.”
“[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)
“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. . . . [The protagonist’s] journey suggests an allegory of human development progressing through different stages of life, but readers will probably come up with many other interpretations as well, perhaps seeing in it a nightmare of isolated and introverted consciousness, or the endgame of technologies that have left humanity behind. The result is one of the more different and difficult SF novels of the year, but also one of the most rewarding.”
—Alex Good, The Toronto Star
“Hayward’s debut [Filaria] is a powerful, beautifully written dystopian tale. . . .”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“. . . Filaria is simply one of the best books written in the last decade and is the best science fiction/fantasy book that I have read in a long time.”
“A disquieting, claustrophobic, compelling hybrid of China Miéville and J. G. Ballard. I first read Filaria almost two years ago: its subterranean imagery has been stuck in my midbrain ever since.”
—Peter Watts, author of Starfish and Blindsight