- Read an excerpt: ‘Anatidaephobia’ (PDF)
- Read an excerpt: ‘Marked’ (PDF)
- Read an excerpt: ‘When It Starts’ (PDF)
- Read an excerpt: ‘Krill Rations’ (PDF)
- Read an excerpt: ‘The God Quetzalcoatl Has Retired and Now Runs a Pub in South Manchester’ (PDF)
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, including Magma, Rialto and New Welsh Review, and has been Highly Commended in the Forward Prize for Poetry. 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 has been shortlisted for the Manchester Fiction Prize. He tweets at @MickConley.
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