Short stories by Michael Conley
How many ways can the world fall apart? A smug superhero belittles the very people he’s supposed to save. An Aztec god escapes the sacking of his city to take refuge in modern-day Manchester. Rebels topple a despotic regime, much to the disappointment of the dictator’s body double, and even the penguins decide to rise up against their human captors.
Welcome to the unforgettable worlds of Michael Conley: horrific, hilarious, and forever on the brink of collapse. Lives are turned upside-down by ducks, the alphabet attacks every country on the planet, and civil unrest breaks out when we realise that only half of us can see the kraken clinging to the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. Sly and silly, chaotic and carnivalesque, often poignant and always unpredictable, Conley’s stories shred the thin veil that protects our familiar reality from an apocalypse of the bizarre.
Michael Conley is a writer from Manchester. His poetry has appeared in various literary magazines, and has been Highly Commended in the Forward Prize. He has published two pamphlets: Aquarium, with Flarestack Poets, and More Weight, with Eyewear. His prose work has taken third place in the Bridport Prize and was shortlisted for the Manchester Fiction Prize.
Flare and Falter (Paperback, UK Postage)
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Flare and Falter (Paperback, Rest of World)
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Flare and Falter (eBook, Worldwide)
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Excerpts from Flare and Falter
Six stories from Flare and Falter are available to read here in PDF format:
- “When It Starts”
- “Krill Rations”
- “The God Quetzalcoatl Has Retired and Now Runs a Pub in South Manchester”
- Read “The Village Where Everyone Keeps Punching Themselves in the Mouth”, a brand new story by Michael Conley published exclusively on Splice.
- Read a two-part interview with Michael Conley about his inspirations and creative process.
- Listen to a live recording of Michael Conley reading “Pinniped”.
September 20, 2018: Michael Conley reads from Flare and Falter for “Big Words” at Vinyl Fiction in Chorlton.
September 24, 2018: Michael Conley reads from Flare and Falter for “Verbose” at Fred’s Ale House in Levenshulme.
September 6, 2018: Michael Conley launched Flare and Falter at The Metropolitan in Didsbury, Manchester, where he also gave a live reading. Event details here.
Praise for Michael Conley’s Aquarium and More Weight
Conley’s poems can be incredibly dark — but they’re also, at times, extremely funny… [and] there’s poignancy in these frightening-but-funny vignettes.
Conley is the real deal. There are no airs about his poetry. … It’s genuinely original and properly engaging… thoughtful and self-aware.
— Claire Askew
author of This Changes Things
Many of [Conley’s] poems are like the joke before the punchline, taking place in an absurd mirror-world. We accept the estrangement from normality in jokes on the assumption it will be joyfully resolved, even though there’s no guarantee that this bargain will be kept. Conley takes us somewhere disconcerting and then stays there to explore. It’s often amusing as well as a little uncomfortable…
[E]ntertaining, troubling, witty, mean, clever, sad…
— Charles Whalley
Under the Radar
…always surprising… wry and funny.
— Kim Moore
author of If We Could Speak Like Wolves
and The Art of Falling