Short Fiction Publications 2015-16
Tyler's last publication of 2016 was a contribution to the Canadian speculative fiction anthology, Strangers Among Us: Tales of Underdogs and Outcasts. Edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, the goal of the book was to raise awareness of mental health and mental illness. A portion of the net profits go towards supporting the Canadian Mental Health Association, and all the stories in the book are related to those themes. Tyler's contribution, 'The Weeds and the Wildness', features as its narrator a reclusive pensioner, who begins to notice something peculiar, and menacing, about a new landscaping company in his neighbourhood. To find out what, you'll have to buy a copy - you can click through via the image ont he right. It's for a good cause, and the book has received great reviews from a range of Canadian periodicals.
Tyler's story, 'The Search' appeared in the summer issue of PRISM: International; the piece is about a North American living in a small town in Britain who volunteers to join the hunt for a missing girl. It uses that storyline to explore themes of alienation and cultural discord, and the universal desire for belonging. PRISM is one of Canada's longest running and most highly regarded literary journals, and previous contributors include Margaret Atwood, Seamus Heaney, Michael Ondaatje, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Appearing alongside Tyler's piece in the Summer 2016 issue is work by Taryn Pearcey, Lesley Krueger, and Richard Kelly Kemick, among others. The issue, and other back issues, can be purchased via the PRISM website here.
In its spring issue, Interzone published Tyler's novelette, 'Starlings'. Sam Tomaino's inciteful review over at SFRevu does a wonderful job of summarizing the narrative:
Earth has doomed itself as the result of an accident with a device meant to control the climate. Babies, conceived in the normal way, have been genetically altered in utero to be superior in mind and body and, sometime after their first birthday, sent on a trip outside of the solar system to a planet suitable for them to continue the human race. This is a long message sent by the mother of one of them, Colum, explaining things to him that will not be told to the others. It's a sad, bittersweet tale and the mother's character is brilliantly delineated.
One of Tyler's first creative publications in a peer-reviewed journal was in the winter 2016 issue of HARTS & Minds. The journal, edited by Maria Lopez and Imogene Newland, has a different theme for every issue; the issue in questions focused on 'Haptics and the Senses'. Their editorial summed it up nicely: 'This collection of articles, creative pieces, and reviews reflects on the sense of 'touch', 'hearing', and 'vision', as well as the less commonly recognized senses of 'pain' and 'kinesis'. In each of the following contributions, these senses are mapped as traces of stimuli that mark themselves upon the brain and nervous system in order to relate important information to us about ourselves and our surroundings.' Sound intriguing? Tyler's contribution explores notions of sight and blindness, both on a literal and symbolic level. It's available to read in its entirety here.
Tyler's first publication of 2016 was courtesy of Black Static, who printed his horror story 'Foul Is Fair' in their landmark 50th issue. The story focuses on a reportoiry theatre actor, in London to perform MacBeth. There is a hint of the supernatural, but that takes second seat to the themes of family, fidelity, ambition, and the terrible possibility of loss. There's a complimentary and insightful review of the piece over at Dread Central, courtesy of Gareth Jones: 'Everything in Foul is Fair is brilliantly drawn...The welling of emotions builds perfectly in the final stretch – all panic and barely-contained rage thrown against a wall of all-encompassing sadness that speaks directly to the nuances of human life and packs quite the wallop in doing so.' The story was published alongside work by Ray Cluley, Georgina Bruce, VH Leslie, Tim Casson, and Gary Budden.
'The Short Glamourous Career of Aquaman and his Amazing Aquacide Machine' was a story that didn't seem to fit traditional markets. Thus, Andy Cox, the forward-thinking editor of TTA Press, publishers of Interzone and Black Static, decided to create a new genre niche. The Flux series - of which 'Aquaman' is the first - will be shipped as individual chapbooks to TTA subscribers. The story is about...well, the title says it all, really. You'll have to buy Flux to find out more.
In April 2015, Seren launched its much-anticipated anthology New Welsh Short Stories. It featured a brilliant selection of contributors, including Deborah Kay Davies, Stevie Davies, Cynan Jones, Owen Sheers, and Rachel Trezise. In his review for the Independent, Brandon Robshaw pointed out certain commonalities between the stories: 'clarity of writing, a strong sense of place, a recurring tinge of melancholy, an interest in youth and adolescence, night-time.' All those apply to Tyler's contribution, 'Night Start,' which deals with a male character's (somewhat) late transition to fatherhood. Robshaw says the piece 'is about an epiphany on a hot June night with a hint of the supernatural about it.' That sums it up nicely, and at times the 'supernatural' can seem quite natural, depending on your disposition. You can pick up the collection from Seren here.
Any appearance in On Spec is big event for Tyler: it was one of two magazines - along with New Welsh Review - that supported him back when he was cleaning toilets at the Texaco garage in Llandrindod Wells. Tyler's latest On Spec appearance presents a new spin on the vampire tale. Eamonn Murphy's review over at SF Crow's Nest provides a great synopsis of 'It’s In You To Give’: I know the NHS is in dire straits at the moment but employing vampires in the blood donation field shows a real lack of scrutiny, even if he is a qualified doctor. It’s set in Wales, where the author lives, and written in the present tense and it’s about a good vampire. From this description, many editors would set fire to the manuscript. There are myriad submission guidelines online that tell you they don’t want any more vampire or zombie stories. Happily, Tyler Keevil writes with a nicely understated line of prose, a strong sense of place and has interesting characters. Pity, if not terror, is evoked and it’s all wrapped up neatly.'
Tyler's first published story of 2015 was a horror fiction novelette in Black Static #44, from TTA Press. Tod, an American living in rural England, is dismayed by the lack of interest in the Halloween traditions he is accustomed to: the candy, the costumes, the trick or treating. But when he makes the mistake of encouraging some local youths to stop by his house on Halloween night, he finds himself confronted with the more ancient traditions of Samhain - the Gaelic festival that influenced the modern holiday. Critic Gareth Jones wrote a great review of the story, and the issue in which it appears, over at Dread Central, in which he described it as 'eerily amicable, yet subtly threatening, ending on a thoroughly disquieting note that embeds in the brain a cliffhanger loaded with festering doubt and unresolved tension.'