My Dad has cancer. More than one kind in fact. He's fighting hard, but cancer is a devious bugger. It hides, it lurks, and it pounces when you think it's down and defeated.
Cancer is a monster.
It has been a presence in my life for as long as I can remember. I first came across it in the late Sixties. My Gran's brother came back to town to die with his family. I was fascinated by this man, so thin as to be almost skeletal, wound in clothes that were many sizes too large for his frame, his skin so thin that I could see his blood moving... not pumping, for it had long since stopped moving enough to keep him alive long. He rarely spoke, just sat by the fire as if trying to soak up heat, his eyes frequently wet from tears, not of sadness, but of pain. He lasted for months in that condition until it finally took him and I knew then that cancer was a monster.
Since then it has taken others, both friends and family, a young mother with two pre-teen children, a cousin who was like a big brother to me, and a girl I never got to know for she was taken before her twentieth birthday. Other family members are still fighting. There's my Dad, who meets it all with a good humour that is humbling, and my godmother who has battled bowel cancer into remission twice.
Cancer is a monster. I can't fight it for them. But as a writer and as an editor there is something I can do. I rallied up some friends, and friends of friends, and asked them for some stories. They responded brilliantly. We've put them together in a wee book.
Coming soon... THE UNSPOKEN
I've been given the opportunity by Johnny Mains and Peter Mark May at Karöshi Books to have THE UNSPOKEN published as an ebook, with a POD paperback to follow, and profits going to The Beatson Cancer Research Institute.
The lineup is almost complete... and it's stunning.
- Ramsey Campbell - Introduction
- Tim Lebbon - Just Breathe
- Simon Kurt Unsworth - Photographs of Boden
- Steven Savile & Steve Lockley - The Last Gift
- John Shirley - Where the Market's Hottest
- Stephen James Price - Pages of Promises
- Scott Nicholson - Heal Thyself
- William Meikle - Metastasis
- Nancy Kilpatrick - Alien Love
- David Riley - A Girl, a Toad and a Cask
- Johnny Mains - The Cure
- Guy N Smith - The Big One
- Pete Crowther - Cankerman
- Steve Duffy - X for Henrietta
- Gary McMahon - Bitter Soup
- Anna Taborska - title to be confirmed
- Edited by William Meikle
- Cover art by Simon Marshall Jones
With a couple of others still to confirm, I'm already officially excited.
Look out for it this coming summer.