STORYBUSKING: The City of Rotted Names
"The City of Rotted Names" is the last and first in the "CoRN, PoET, WatCH, ToMB" Cycle otherwise comprised of "The Prince of End Times" (Solaris Book of New Fantasy,) "The Whenever at the City's Heart" (Interzone #209) and "The Tower of Morning's Bones" (Paper Cities). Like those three, it's set in the same mythos as VELLUM and INK -- forms the direct bridge between that cycle and the diptych itself indeed. With The Book of All Hours being a closed work, it's not a part of that narrative per se -- given the 3D timespace at play, it takes place as much beyond the two novels as between them -- but the whole cycle is... a mandala of apocrypha for anyone who cares to explore beyond the core story told in those four volumes. So if that piques your interest...
It was set to be a chapbook for a while, should really have been the first in print, but the best laid plans of mice and men, as they say... the chapbook fell through, and being too busy with other things I never did manage to find an appropriate venue for nine thousand words of shamelessly Joycian cubist fantasy. So, I've decided to make it available direct as an EPUB, MOBI or PDF ebook, payment by Paypal, for a limited time.
How much for a copy? Whatever you think is reasonable for a half-hour's entertainment. Whatever you can afford to throw into the hat at the moment. The price of a coffee, a beer, a bagel and lox? As with any form of busking, it's up to you what the story's worth. What's more important to me, to be honest, is getting the cash into the virtual cap ASAP. I am, like no few writers before me, trying this direct distribution experiment right now because I need to get some money in the bank toot sweet. (I'll say no more, preserve my dignity. Oh, the joys of being a starving artist.)
Hence, to that end, the story will only be available until Monday midday BST, so if you want it you're going to have to move sharpish. It's simple though. All you have to do is click on the Donate button over there to the left, Paypal me the amount you reckon is fair, in whatever currency works for you, and I'll email you your very own copy of "The City of Rotted Names." Simple as that.
UPDATE: at first posting the novella was only available in PDF; it's now also available in EPUB and MOBI (many thanks to Gary Gibson -- whose Brain in a Jar ebook imprint has more fiction, come to think of it, including my own "Escape from Hell!".) I believe you can add a comment when you make a Paypal payment, so just let me know your preference there, or drop me a line from your Paypal account email address at: hal AT halduncan DOT com.
Should you feel inclined to pimp and link via social media, that would of course be much appreciated; my experience with direct distribution like this has left me somewhat skeptical, to be honest, so prove me wrong. And if you happen to be at Worldcon this weekend, do feel free to spread the word to anyone drunk and in charge of a wifi-enabled laptop... the drunker the better. (What? Drunk people are more generous, right? And let's face it, Worldcon being on probably makes this the worst possible time to try this out, but the countdown to cashflow crisis doesn't leave me much choice. Or much shame.)
So, yeah. If you fancy it, go on and click. Hell, if you donate £10 or more out of sheer beneficence, I'll even throw in "The Beast of Buskerville" or an MP3 reading of your choice.
Act now though. The offer won't be available for long.