Corner Shops and Constructive Criticism


The past month has seen some great reviews for projects with which I’ve been involved.

SF Crowsnest reviewed issue 37 of Jupiter and called it a “stupendous collection of stories”:

‘Midnight Midnight’ by Aliya Whiteley was very well written. Mystifying and atmospheric, it told the story of aliens running a corner shop on Earth. It doesn’t explain what aliens are doing on our planet or why they are selling a controlled substance called Chaka to which lots of people seem to be addicted. Characterisation very believable with sinister undertones! A great story!


The First Book of Classical Horror was reviewed by Matthew Fryer, who found it to be “a superbly edited collection of stories”.

Equally memorable is “Songs for Dead Children” by Aliya Whiteley which introduces a dejected singer. After a disastrous attempt to perform the darkness of Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder in Vienna, she befriends a charismatic and understanding oncologist at the aftershow party. Spanning several years, this emotive journey concludes with a moment of realisation that is so horrifically ice cold it’s almost beautiful. Excellent, shudder-inducing stuff.



And the first reviews have started to appear for Lonely Planet’s anthology of true-life anecdotes, Better Than Fiction. This isn’t published until November, but Publishers Weekly have already said this:

This refreshing compilation of 32 travel essays by some of the world’s best-known fiction writers offers intimate and offbeat impressions of places near and far. Included in this gem of a book are works by many familiar stylists, including Peter Matthiessen, Joyce Carol Oates, Frances Mayes, Pico Iyer, Jan Morris, and Kurt Anderson; others such as Saudi-born Keija Parssinen, 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction winner Marina Lewycka, and Booker- and Whitbread-prize winner DBC Pierre are less well-known but hardly less accomplished. 


I’m seriously looking forward to the release of Better Than Fiction – what an amazing project to be part of…

English: The travel section of a large booksho...
English: The travel section of a large bookshop in Lanzhou (in Donggang Xi Lu), with lots of Lonely Planet books in Chinese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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