Our Laureate of the Concept Collider

Michael Conley – Flare and Falter (Splice)

This author is so far from the mass of average fiction writers, wrapped up in a fantasy idea of their own life, wanting to ‘express themselves’, or even worse, doing that but not even knowing there’s another way to work.

Conley takes two ideas to his giant particle collider brain – it runs the full length of the Mancunian Way if it had been completed – then he lets them go, BANG round the tubes at a million miles an hour. They smash into a trillion infinitely coloured fragments. A snapshot is taken from every possible angle. Conley writes up the report, lab coat on, biros in top pocket – important that – and then he condenses it into a short story. He repeats the process until he has a short story collection which also works as a novel.

Conley knows that to make good art you have to stand further back, not get closer. That you have to squint, not peer in. That you have to look out, not like, hey, inside yourself man.

He also knows that ultimately this will provide a better snapshot of Michael Conley – as well as a cracking work of fiction – than a decade of soul-searching could ever give. He’s also a bloody great poet.

Now, spoilers are very possible with this one – and will ruin your fun – but all I need to tell you is that one short story involves the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl returned to the next life as a South Manchester pub landlord.

Buy and read immediately.

– Steve Hanson

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