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Time's Fool

A novel for M R James fans who sometimes want something a little more modern and edgy from their weird fiction by Alys Earl

  • https://unbound.com/books/times-fool

The Synopsis

Autumn in the market City of Barchester, and two bright students begin their final year at University, content with old friendships, paying lip-service to old dreams. Until, that is, an ill-conceived prank introduces them to Julian.

For Sophia and Steven, the friendship they form with this worldly stranger marks a coming of age, a possibility to embrace the needs and longings they have never had the language to express. But Julian has his own secrets, and as the nights grow longer, it becomes clear that not all desires are without cost; that some things should never be brought into the light.

Time’s Fool is a novel about monstrosity, about desire and communication. It’s about the self we present to the world and the needs we whisper to ourselves in the darkness. It is about honesty and the fear of honesty. It is about the things we refuse - refuse to say, refuse to seek, refuse to believe - because sometimes, ignoring those things is all that keeps us sane.


You can see a transcript of the video script here

The Excerpt

Beside him, Lucy’s head hit the table with a quiet thud. It occurred to Steven this might be some sort of prompt.

“What I mean,” he said, raising his voice to be heard above the pub noise, “is that knowledge is the antithesis of fear.”

Across the table, John stared into his pint with an expression that suggested he’d sooner be elsewhere - but no one cared about John.

“Bring it out in the open and,” Steven blew a raspberry, “and okay, while there’s some evidence that Le Fanu...”

Lucy started to move her head in a slow, rocking motion, sending seismic ripples through John’s beer. Steven snatched up his own glass before her convulsions sent it over the edge of the table. He took a drink. Opposite him, Sophia massaged her temples.

“Where was I?” he said.

“You were shutting up,” Lucy replied, her voice muffled by her hair.

“Le Fanu!” he said.

“Please not Le Fanu,” said Sophia.

“Well, now, there is some evidence Le Fanu was a believer, but we’ll let him off. The fact is, though, the stronger a writer’s conviction that they knew how spiritual manifestations worked, the worse the ghost story.”

“Steven,” said Sophia.

He tipped his glass in her direction and tried to arrange a smile on his face. It was difficult, as he had reached the stage where his flesh felt rubbery and uncooperative, where his fingers seemed to be moving without him instructing them.

“Please shut up, Steven.”

“I will not be censored,” he said, or maybe he shouted it, because a couple at the next table turned, looked at him in a bemused fashion. “No,” he insisted, more quietly, “I shall not have my rights violated in this fashion. Le Fanu is very important.”

“So’s my birthday,” said Sophia.

“And technically, that isn’t until tomorrow.”

“Do you really believe all that?” said John.

Steven tried to trace back over the last few exchanges to establish some context for this, but drew a blank, “All what?”

“All this ghost story bollocks.”

“Well, yes,” said Steven, “yes, I should hope so. I mean, it is sort of central to my dissertation, so I should really try to, shouldn’t I?”

John stared at him as though he was obtuse which, all things considered, was unjust.

“He meant, do you believe in ghosts,” Sophia explained.

“No-one believes in ghosts,” said Steven, and leaned back against the booth, “that was my point.”

Lucy raised her head, grabbed her glass and drained it before resuming a face down position.

“Exactly, so why bother?” said John, “Why would you study something that you know doesn’t exist?” And he had that smirk on his face, the point scoring one.

Read more...

The Author

Alys Earl is a writer, storyteller, folklorist and the Last Romantic Poet. They studied Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and have a MA in Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures. A past performer in both the Norwich and the Medway Arts scenes, they now live in the wilds of Suffolk. They love to write and read about dark places and scary things, especially when it comes to this history of gender, sexuality, marriage and childbirth.

http://www.alys-earl.com

The Rewards

All supporters get their name printed in every edition of the book. All levels include immediate access to the author's shed.

$15
Digital
A copy of the ebook edition and your name in the back of the book
📖 Pledge $15 23 pledges
$25
Hardback
A copy of the hardback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
📖 Pledge $25 26 pledges
$40
Collectable
A signed copy of the hardback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
📖 Pledge $40 21 pledges
$65
Bespoke Birthday Cakes
Alys will bake and decorate a bespoke birthday cake to your specifications. The weird and the wonderful a speciality, Alys will discuss your needs with you and create accordingly. Unfortunately, cakes will contain gluten and not be suitable for vegans, plus a copy of the hardback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book Cakes do not travel well, collection advised! UK only
$65
Read with a friend
Two signed copies of the hardback first edition (shipped together) plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
📖 Pledge $65 5 pledges
$95
Murder Mystery Script
A script for a vampire/gothic-themed murder mystery party written by Alys, plus a copy of the hardback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
📖 Pledge $95 2 pledges
$100
Small Book Club
Five hardback first editions, plus a visit from Alys to discuss the book (or over Skype), the ebook and five names in the back of the book
📖 Pledge $100 1 pledge
$125
Print of the Cover Art
An a4 fine art giclee print of the cover art work, plus a copy of the hardback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
📖 Pledge $125 4 pledges
$150
Original Art Print
A numbered, limited print of an original illustration by Vic Hill Check out Vic’s website here, signed by the artist and the author, plus a copy of the hardback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
$190
Large Book Club
Ten hardback first editions, plus a visit from Alys to discuss the book (or over Skype), the ebook and ten names in the back of the book
$440
Murder Mystery Night
Alys will come to your dinner or party and run a vampire/gothic-themed murder mystery event, plus a copy of the hardback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
Only 1 available
$1,250
Frontispiece
A special acknowledgement printed in the front of the book thanking you for your donation, plus 10 signed copies of the hardback first edition plus the ebook