“Scenes from the Second Storey”, Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall’s anthology published by Morrigan Books in 2011, is one of the best collections of short stories I’ve read in the past several years. Born as a tribute for the music album “Scenes from the Second Storey” of the alternative rock band The God Machine the eponymous anthology featured some very strong stories from some very talented and powerful writers. Among them, Andrew J. McKiernan, who at the time of my reading of “Scenes from the Second Storey” was a mystery to me. However, his story, “The Desert Song”, a mix of post-apocalyptic setting, zombie/vampire fiction and spaghetti western to the best effect, opened my eyes to and made me very interested in Andrew J. McKiernan’s works. So, since then I was on scouting duty for more of his stories, enjoying each opportunity to read the discovered tales, “Calliope: A Steam Romance”, “All the Clowns in Clowntown”, “The Final Degustation of Doctor Ernest Blenheim” or “They Don’t Know That We Know What They Know”. And each new story I read was one more step taken by Andrew J. McKiernan in becoming one of my favorite writers. But as pleasant and rewarding as it is the search for new stories from favorite writers I find the benefits of a single author collections a bit more satisfying. As is the case with Andrew J. McKiernan’s debut collection, “Last Year, When We Were Young”. I was thrilled to see Andrew J. McKiernan’s stories gathered for the first time in a volume, not because I didn’t enjoy searching for them, but because as satisfying as the rewards offered by these tales were sometimes for me it was very frustrating to learn of one of his stories and not to be able to have access to it. Still, that does not remain the only reason for my delight, because after all, I am always happy when I can take a book by a favorite writer from the shelves of my personal library wherever I feel like doing so. And that is exactly where Andrew J. McKiernan’s collection of short stories is going when Satalyte Publishing is releasing “Last Year, When We Were Young” later this year.
The debut collection from multi-award nominated author Andrew J McKiernan brings together 14 of his previously published short stories and novelettes, plus two brand new tales unique to the collection.
Often defying conventions of genre and style, these stories range from fantasy and steampunk to science fiction and horror, but always with an edge sharper than a razor and darker than a night on Neptune.
From the darkly hilarious "All the Clowns in Clowntown" to the heart-breakingly disturbing title story, the collection pulls no punches. Delving deep into what scares us most, McKiernan's tales are by turns heartfelt and gut-wrenching.
With an Introduction by Will Elliott, Last Year, When We Were Young is a collection of horror and dark fantasy from one of Australia's finest new authors that should not be missed.
Table of Contents (tentative):
“The Memory of Water”
“All the Clowns in Clowntown”
“White Lines, White Crosses”
“Calliope: A Steam Romance”
“The Final Degustation of Doctor Ernest Blenheim”
“A Prayer for Lazarus” (new)
“The Haunting that Jack Built”
“They Don’t Know That We Know What They Know”
“The Desert Song”
“The Wanderer in the Darkness”
“Last Year, When We Were Young” (new)