When it came time to create the third Literary Mix Tapes, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do an actual “mix tape” and base it in a single year.
I chose 1989 for many reasons, but the core of the inspiration came several years ago when I ran across someone from my high school days on Facebook and I was given a small insight to what might have been that year. A novel idea immediately followed, but in the interim I created EIGHTY NINE and wrote “Cocaine, My Sweetheart” which is a small glimpse into what that novel might be one day.
A Playlist of Champions
I asked all the authors from Nothing But Flowers if they’d nominate a song from 1989. Those 26 songs created the backbone of the anthology. There is everything from Bon Jovi to Bob Dylan on the list… and just about everything in between, from hit to obscurities. I contributed Deacon Blue’s “Real Gone Kid” and I find myself wondering what Rebecca Dobbie may have written had I chosen Madonna’s “Express Yourself”.
Constructing EIGHTY NINE
The interpretation of the theme by the authors is as varied and colourful as the music and events of the time. ~ Alan Baxter
I struggled to succinctly articulate my vision for EIGHTY NINE. I started the project just before my first fall into depression last year. It was frustrating when the concept for Nothing But Flowers had been so easy to share. So I told the authors they had to create a story using:
- the song they’d be randomly assigned
- an event from 1989
- spec-fic parametres
A Rolling Stone Gathers….
By using lyrics to inspire authors, editor extraordinaire Jodi Cleghorn has compiled a body of work that doesn’t have a single cementing theme… In a way it led to the creation of its own theme: a bunch of writers having a whole heap of fun. ~ Zena Shapter
It was one of those experiences (of which I seem to be accumulating) where stepping away from the concept allowed authors and their stories to blossom across genres which include, but are not limited to, alternative history, horror, science fiction, urban fantasy, paranormal fiction, cyberpunk, ghost stories and modern mythology.
Who You’ll Find
Journeying into worlds populated by book-burning terrorists and shape-shifting political activists, by ghosts, vampires, devils and a cybernetic freedom crusader with one last trick to play, “Eighty-Nine” is a testament to the imagination. ~ Zena Shapter
There are some brilliant characters in EIGHTY NINE: creepy wax workers, a lost Russian soul, a revolutionary who is more than the sum of his parts, a Japanese seer who is consort to the Emperor, a band of futuristic criminals looking for the ultimate jailbreak, a book-loving air-guitar playing priest, aliens in the skin of secret police and a vampire with tragic imprinting.
Some of my all-time favourite stories are in this anthology. It was a pleasure to publish stories from a number of authors I’ve worked with for a long time, who really producing tour de forces for this anthology.
Why Am I Blathering About EIGHTY NINE?
Today for the first time EIGHTY NINE is available in full and free at Amazon USA and Amazon UK. You don’t need a Kindle to read it. You can read it on your phone, tablet or computer with a quick click of one of the nifty Kindle apps.
So you want the official low down…
Eighty Nine re-imagines the social, political, cultural and personal experiences at the end of the decade which gave the world mullets, crimped hair, neon-coloured clothing, acid-wash denim, keytars, the walkman, Live Aid, the first compact disc and MTV.
Table of Contents
Ashes to Ashes – Adam Byatt
Shrödinger’s Cat – Dale Challener Roe
Diavol – Devin Watson
Nowhere Land – Maria Kelly
Chronicle Child – Lily Mulholland
Angelgate – Tanya Bell
All I Wanted – Rob Diaz
Drilling Oil – Kaolin Imago Fire
30 Years in the Bathroom – Icy Sedgwick
Amir – Benjamin Solah
Over the Wall in a Bubble – Susan May James
Disintegration – Stacey Larner
Choices – Laura Eno
Divided – Emma Newman
Blueprints in the Dark – Rebecca Dobbie
Eighteen for Life – Jo Hart
New Year, Old Love – Jim Bronyaur
Solider Out of Time – Laura Meyer
The Story Bridge – Josh Donellan
If I Could Turn Back Time – Alison Wells
An Exquisite Addition – Paul Anderson
Maggie’s Rat – Cath Barton
The Banging on the Door – Jonathan Crossfield
Now Voyager II – Monica Marier
Cocaine, My Sweetheart – Jodi Cleghorn
Paragon – Jason Coggins
Next week’s free promo is Emma Newman’s FROM DARK PLACES. A truly nifty pick up considering the gorgeous Emma has just signed a three book deal with Angry Robot for her Split World project (which is the world her story, Divided from EIGHTY NINE, is bound in).