As The Crow Flies

By Dave Hutchinson

A collection of short stories from the BSFA award-winning author of the Fractured Europe novels.

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As The Crow Flies really starts with my friend John Grant getting in touch one day and pointing out that, as I’d been plugging away writing short stories for quite a while, I might just have enough kicking around to bundle together into a collection.

To be honest, the idea hadn’t occurred to me. It was almost twenty-five years since my previous collection, I was busy working as a journalist and ticking over selling the odd story here and there, and the thought of publishing another collection seemed a little…ambitious.

It turned out, though, that I did have enough stuff to fill a book – quite a chunky book, in fact. I put together the stories I’d sold to the now late and very lamented SciFiction, my one sale to Interzone, my two sales to the Polish science fiction magazine Fenix, and some other stuff that I didn’t think stood a snowball’s chance in hell of being published anywhere else, and actually it didn’t look too bad.

What actually made the book work, though, was the illustrations by Magda Zmudzinska. Magda had sent us a little booklet of her fantastical pen and ink drawings of birds some time before, but as I was putting the collection together I realised that some of the images could fit individual stories.

As is often the way with these things, As The Crow Flies eventually went out of print, and it’s been unavailable for years now. Because it was a print-on-demand book there were relatively few physical copies floating about, and it was odd to see them being advertised on Amazon for upwards of a thousand pounds a pop, and somewhat annoying because I didn’t actually have any copies I could sell.

If it has any significance as a collection, it’s as a sort of representation of what I was doing back then. Some of the stories still stand up, I think; I’m particularly pleased with ‘Discreet Phenomena’.

I’ve resisted the urge to polish up the stories for this new edition, partly because rewriting them would inevitably have made them at least twice as long, but mostly because it seems rather like cheating, as if the original versions weren’t quite good enough. So (with a couple of new stories added to the mix) here’s As The Crow Flies as it originally flew, warts and out-of-date references and all.

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