PDF/EPUB Andrew J. McKiernan ☆ Last Year, When We Were Young PDF â Year, When We ☆

WINNER 2014 AHWA Australian Shadows Award Collected Work'Last Year When We Were Young' brings together 16 tales that defy conventions of genre and style every one with an edge sharper than a razor and darker than a night on NeptuneFrom the darkly hilarious All the Clowns in Clowntown to the heart breaking and disturbing title story this debut collection from multi award nominated author and illustrator Andrew J McKiernan pulls no punchesA troubling collection of weird and twisted tales Sometimes funny sometimes horrifying; always clever always disturbing Highly entertaining Jonathan Maberry New York Times bestselling author of CODE ZEROMcKiernan's stories are hauntingly dark evocatively written and viscerally compelling With little regard for genre boundaries McKiernan creates utterly convincing characters who will take you on a journey through fully realised worlds and every journey is than worth it Alan Baxter author of Bound and RealmshiftThese clever compelling stories explore the dark edges of human existence Utilising deceptive often collouial prose and an array of startling imagery McKiernan has staked his own claim in a dark corner of imaginative fiction Start reading him now; this guy will go far Gary McMahon author of The Concrete GroveMcKiernan is a magician He performs magic tricks in every story spinning us around making us believe one thing before showing us we were wrong all along His stories are pure magic staying with you like an echo long after reading Kaaron Warren author of Slights Walking the Tree


10 thoughts on “Last Year, When We Were Young

  1. says:

    I have read some amazing collections this yearWorks by Laird Barron Hank Schwaeble and Clive Barker to name just a few So when I say that McKiernan's collection Last Year When We Were Young ranks alongside those previous books I don't say it lightly Last Year When We Were Young was one of my favourite reads of the year so far and its stories are still haunting me weeks after I finished it Collecting all of McKiernan's previous short work Last Year When We Were Young is one of the most impressive collections I have ever read Period From the opening story The Memory of Water through to the last Last Year When We Were Young McKiernan draws you into a series of tales that not only deal with the absurd and the horrific but also the notions of deep loss and grief And it works It works so well in fact that it's still haunting me weeks later So what did I love about this collection? Where do I even start? One of the things that floored me reading through this collection was McKiernan's width and breadth as a writer He is never limited or bound by convention in this book and he openly explores paths that I would never have considered possible with his story telling Take for example his tale All the Clowns in Clowntown Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would read a story about the last surviving resistance members of a clown counter revolution And never did I imagine that such a story would work But fuck me it does McKiernan also embraces old school horror weird survivalism the grotesue and tragedy throughout this book and seamlessly shifts from locations such as urban cities right through to the hot and dusty desert And his use of prose is to put it bluntly magical McKiernan has a vivid and haunting way with words that is very reminiscent of writers such as King in his early days and McCarthy He never overplays his hand but as you read you are slowly drawn into his dark visions so deeply that they resonates with you for a long time afterwards The title story Last Year When We Were Young highlights this by starting out as a seemingly innocent tale about teenagers and moving uickly to a world dying due to a mysterious virus that ages their bodies rapidly McKiernan's characterisation is also impressive Every protagonist is believable fascinating and darkly layered You cannot help but relate to them from the get go and as each tale unfolds you find yourself moving through a wide range of emotions joy grief anger and hopelessness to name just a few This is yet another reason why this book is masterful No two stories are the same but all are intrinsically linked to each other by an exploration of defining human emotions Whether he is telling a gothic tale or exploring a meteorite that is not all that it appears to be McKiernan's words send you on a cathartic exploration of yourself and all those around you The pacing is seamless and every story strong and worthy of inclusion in this collection Last Year When We Were Young never stumbles and kept me enthralled and emotionally drained from start to finish I cannot find any faults with it I literally adored this collection and find it criminal that McKiernan's work is not as well known as it should be outside of Australia If you want to read a riveting collection of stories that cover a wide range of topics and styles Buy this book If you want to be taken on a journey that will be cathartic to your soul Buy this book If you want to see a wordsmith delight horrify and grip you in ways you never thought possible Buy this book Actually just buy this book Original entertaining and stirring Last Year When We Were Young is one of the most powerful collection of stories I've ever read McKiernan mines the dark veins of the human soul on every single page leaving you both moved and disturbed at the same time Highly recommended for all readers 5 out of 5 stars


  2. says:

    Review copyI've mentioned before how much I enjoy what's coming out of the Australian horror writing community and this new collection of shorts from Andrew J McKiernan just adds to that impressionLast Year When We Were Young cover's his young career from his first published short in July of 2007 though November of 2012 Sixteen stories with only one thing in common they are all exceptionalIt all starts with a delightful fantasy with beautiful prose The Memory of Water which opens with the line 'The ocean it remembers us' David said the heel of his foot dredging shallow trenches in the sandThere's the powerful didactic story White Lines White Crosses A tale of speed and peer pressure told in a haunting mannerI loved Calliope A Steam Romance A bit of steampunk fantasy beautifully told It's at this point in the collection that I'm getting the feeling I'm reading something special as McKiernan does with words what a great painter does with his brushstrokesThere is a distinct diversity in the stories found in this collection as evidenced in Love Death an intriguing story of a newlywed who turns to a necromancer to bring back his bride after a wedding day accident and the conseuence that followsI keep thinking that I won't comment on every story but each one is even better than the last One of my favorites is The Message in which Marion leaves her abusive husband and takes a job answering a very special phone and taking messages Sounds simple right? I really enjoyed where this one wentAt the end of the book the author tells where the inspiration came from for select stories Back in 2006 my second son who would have been about 7 years of age at the time came home from school with a birthday card he'd made for me from clip art It read; All the clowns in Clowntown wish you barrels of fun on your birthday There was a cartoony picture of a clown on front and the instant I read it I knew there was a story hidden inside The resulting story was All the Clowns In Clowntown There's even a second visit to Clowntown later in the collectionAutosarcophagy look it up is a big part of The Final Degustation of Doctor Ernest Blenheim That's as good a place as any to end this reviewLast Year When We Were Young is among my favorite reads for 2014 Currently available in both paperback and for the Kindle through com from Satalyte Publishing Plus if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read it for FREEThis one gets my highest recommendation I can all but guarantee you won't be disappointed


  3. says:

    Last Year When We Were Young contains some of the finest horror writing I have come across Edgy intelligent in conception and delivered with poise in an easy and engaging literary style McKiernan has penned a compelling collection of shorts brimming with darkness and menaceMy favourite is ‘Daivadana’ a story of Mark Reynolds a son sent to Tajikistan to do his father’s bidding and discover what is going on inside a new high rise development in a city rebuilding after war He meets Jahandar and his son Kurshed and through each learns of the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism its power and particularly its propensity for summoning evil Here is one of those perfectly balanced stories containing all the elements of a well written thriller with all the elements of well written horror at once elegant stylish intriguing and fast paced McKiernan displays a deep knowledge of his subject and makes use of that knowledge to full effect peppering his story with insights‘He realised what really matters is not what colours the players wear but who gets to hand out the costumes in the first place”Throughout this collection the reader will encounter the weird the unusual the grotesue the disturbing and the tragic McKiernan never slips into horror for horror’s sake Instead he exercises restraint Each story is uniue and strong the reader taken to a variety of settings the collection diverse and rich and haunting Highly recommended


  4. says:

    Here is the link to my review over at Thirteen O'Clock


  5. says:

    'Last Year When We Were Young' is loaded with well written gripping tales each uniuely different in tone voice and themeMcKiernan's style is both descriptive and restrained His turn of phrase is a delight His characters are each as full and flawed and realised as you could want for their bite sized turns on the pageFrom the eerie premise of 'The Message' through the dreadful certainty of 'Love Death' to the inevitable fate of the hero of 'Calliope A Steam Romance'; each story creates a world that is distinct and unexpectedThe tales that stick with me are those where the horror was brought home to roost 'A Prayer for Lazarus' took me back to every gothic sinister tale I've ever seen or read Frailty 1922 as examples Beginning with the line Daddy keeps Momma chained up in the barn out back this struggle of a family coping with something so monstrous was as compelling as it was disturbing However the real tragedy was the wider global event outside the farmstead and the ramifications beyond this one family's story'The Final Degustation of Doctor Ernest Blenheim' was like a slow moving train wreck from which I could not tear my gaze Darkly funny and dare I say delicious'All the Clowns in Clowntown' was the standout for me I never in my reading life thought I would care so deeply for a bunch of flappy footed red nosed clowns But I did I was scared for them and cheering for them the whole way More stories in that universe please


  6. says:

    This is a collection of short stories by someone I consider to be one of Australia's most promising short story writers It should also have another half starOne of the things I like most about this author's work is the amount of scholarship that obviously goes into his stories Another is the wide range of genres and situations he is willing to explore I have read a number of these stories before and they're still good and it is great to see them finally collected together in one place My three favourites would have to be 'All the Clowns in Clowntown' 'Daivadana' and the title story 'Last Year When We Were Young'Caveat I know this author and I am soon to join him as a Satalyte Publishing author But that doesn't mean he can't write a damn good story


  7. says:

    There's an undeniable skill in being able to tell a complete story within a limited amount of words and not everyone can do it Andrew McKiernan is one of those writers who damn well can See complete review here


  8. says:

    Last Year When We Were Young by Andrew J McKiernan is the author's first short story collection and indeed his first solo book I should note up front that once upon a time the author and I were in the same writing critiue group What this mainly means is that I'd seen early drafts of a few stories a long time ago and had very vague memories of them But I thought I should disclose that up frontThere was a decent variety of stories in Last Year When We Were Young with most of them tending towards the horror side of the spec fic triangle Spec fic is a triangle now Or maybe a triangular Venn Diagram but I digress Some were contemplative and serious while others were gory One was even science fiction Looking over the table of contents again most of the stories have very good titlesI found I most enjoyed the contemplative stories My favourites were The Memory of Water White Lines White Crosses and the titular Last Year When We Were Young although the latter is perhaps less contemplative per se The former two stories deal with loss and death in a poignant wayActually I liked most of the stories in this collection My least favourite tended to be the most gruesome which is reflective of my horror preferences generally And although I am using the term horror to describe the collection as a whole I'm not sure the three circus based stories for lack of a accurate phrase count as horror Certainly not Calliope A Steam Romance nor The Dumbshow All the Clowns in Clowntown is perhaps borderline since it definitely has a well executed feeling of dread to it but on the other hand it's about clowns I suspect coulrophobiacs may disagree with me on that pointI also liked The Haunting that Jack Built — in part for the name — and The Desert Song both of which were set in rural Australia and both of which had fairly traditional horror elements I liked the Australian angle and difference between the Australia of the past and the Australia of a not so nice future I also liked The Message which packed a powerful punch nonethelessAll in all this was a pretty solid collection and I would recommend it to horror fans and fans of dark speculative fiction With a few exceptions there was nothing too extremely horrific in the stories and I think most of them would be enjoyed by a fairly broad audienceThe Memory of Water — A story I found difficult to put down Siblings remember their departed parentsWhite Lines White Crosses — A teenaged boy and his family move from Sydney to a country town that is eerily obsessed with hooning It was a disturbing story with a creeping sense of forebodingCalliope A Steam Romance — A patent clerk is captivated by a woman playing a calliope a steam powered musical instrument True steampunk set in Sydney even steampunky when we learn that the woman is actually an intelligent automaton Also points for many physicistscientist shout outsLove Death — A young man brings his new wife to a necromancer hoping to get her back I may be a bad person but I found the circumstances around her death pretty blackly funnyThe Message — You know when you read a genre book and you know you're reading a genre book but the characters in it don't know they're in a genre book? This story made me think about that phenomenon A woman takes a job answering a mysterious phone Obviously it's far from an ordinary phone and certain aspects of the past resurfaceAll the Clowns in Clowntown — Surprisingly epic for a short story In this world clowning isn’t just something someone does it’s who they are The clowns have clustered together in Clowntown living their lives until one day the circus comes to townDaivadana — a disturbing tale of a diplomat sort of who gets caught up in an old Tajik religion Pretty gruesome at timesThe Dumbshow — Another story in the same universe as All the Clowns in Clowntown set I think shortly after the events of the previous story It's much less eerie and being shorter a straightforward story Honestly not sure how it would stand on its own without the earlier backgroundThe Final Degustation of Doctor Ernest Blenheim — A little hard to get past the self cannibalism And honestly once past that it was still a weird story As far as revulsion goes I think it did improve as it went alongTorch Song — The speculative element sneaks up on you in this one but I uite liked it A shot tale good punch Title very aptThe Wanderer in the Darkness — Sci fi horror so it automatically put me in mind of Alien My only issue with it was a character leaving an airlock without his helmet and then not dying Oh wellA Prayer for Lazarus — I think I read part of this before possibly an earlier version Anyway creepy story told from a young girl's point of view about her mother's descent into a form of zombie ismThe Haunting that Jack Built — I uite liked this story Set in a rural small town in the Australian 1950s Jack builds a house while the townspeople can't help but notice women disappearing when they come to visit him I think I'd read at least part of this story beforeThey Don’t Know That We Know What They Know — A weird story with a fitting title Reminded me a little of Daivadana although it's actually pretty different in the details A seer interrogating the dead body of a young terroristThe Desert Song — A sort of zombie story set in rural future post something bad Australia I liked it and the ideas in it but I found it a little inconsistentLast Year When We Were Young — One of my favourite stories in the collection And it's a great title which works well for the collection as a whole A speed ageing plague has infected humanity and the concept is taken to its horrifying conclusion4 5 starsYou can read of my reviews on my blog


  9. says:

    I can’t recommend this book highly enough It’s uite brilliant Written by Australian Andrew J McKiernan these dark short stories cover clowns automatons death by car cannibalism and all sorts of creepy things McKiernan’s awards include Aurealis Award Nominee for Best Horror Short Story for The Message 2009 and Australian Shadows Award for Best Collection 2014These stories are exactly the kind of writing I love uirky dark and smart


  10. says:

    Aussie horror writer although diversifying now I believe presents a collection of his short stories spanning multiple genresDark although two of them have happy endings disturbing and consistently excellent