Saturday, 31 January 2015

Orpheus on the Underground

Orpheus on the Underground (2015)
Tartarus Press

Orpheus on the Underground is the new Rhys Hughes collection from Tartarus Press, containing fifteen previously unpublished stories and ‘The Concise Picaresque Adventures of the Wanderlust Bridge’, which first appeared in Strange Tales II, 2008. Ranging from the ghostly, through horror to the entirely fantastic, Hughes’ marvellously inventive tales steer the reader through the bizarre labyrinths of his unique talent for the strange.

In ‘The Upper Reaches’, two pilots discover a world beyond their mission, while the eponymous hero of ‘Orpheus on the Underground’ attempts to fit classical myth into the transport system of a modern metropolis. ‘Behind Every Ghost’ takes a conventional aphorism to its illogical limit, while ‘The Phantom Festival’ explores the history of music on various levels. In the ‘The Quixote Candidate’, a would-be film director is persuaded to give what may turn out to be an overly comprehensive interview.

In the twenty years since the publication of his first short story collection (Worming the Harpy, Tartarus Press, 1995) Rhys Hughes has become an éminence grise of the strange tale. He wears his reputation lightly, and it is the sheer fun and individuality of the stories in Orpheus on the Underground that make them so memorable.


The Upper Reaches * Orpheus on the Underground * The Gargoyles of Black Wood * The Despicable Bungling of Yorick Porridge * Behind Every Ghost * The Ghost Written Autobiography of a Disembodied Spirit * Double Meaning * The Nick of Time * The Bicycle Centaur * The Quixote Candidate * The Pocket Shops * The Concise Picaresque Adventures of the Wanderlust Bridge * The Phantom Festival * Not Looking * New Improved Recipe for Disaster * The Great Me