The following are the 12 stories in the order in which they appear in the book. The links will take you to miscellaneous thoughts about the stories, what they mean to me, and/or where they came from. Personally, I’d read the stories themselves first.
The cover design is based on the illustration by Eugene Kapustiansky for the Russian translation of the title story which appeared in Esli magazine.
Collectors: the signed, numbered hardback edition is available direct from Newcon Press.
“…another bracing assortment of tales told with a jaundiced eye but compassionate heart.
“The influence of Ray Bradbury hangs over the book like a benign ghost. “Atomic Truth” is a reworking of Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian”, depicting a near future in which everyone is absorbed in the virtual worlds of their “bug eye” glasses, the only exception being a madman; and two stories set on a newly colonised planet, Lutania, echo The Martian Chronicles.
“That said, The Peacock Cloak is marvellously British in outlook, while Beckett takes the parochial and makes it universal in this fine, intelligent collection, evidence of an undeservedly underrated talent.” – James Lovegrove, Financial Times
“…a fabulous book that kept me entertained throughout…” Gareth D. Jones, SF Crowsnest [Full review here.]
“…There are two things that strike you when you have finished reading this collection. The first is that you appreciate just how clever Beckett’s writing is. The second is simply appreciating how good a collection this is…” Ian, Simpson, The Forgotten Geek [Full review here.]
“….an audacious writer, not afraid of examining big issues, but always through the humanising lens of fully rounded characters, whether they be a downtrodden husband making a life-changing decision after meeting a visitor from another dimension, a loner coming to the end of his posting on a bizarre alien world, or a pair of thieves suffering the consequences of their greed on a far-future Earth. The two standout tales are “Rat Island”, about a boy’s attempt to come to terms with his father’s suicide against a backdrop of global despair, and “Greenland”, which portrays an overpopulated future Britain and the plight of a refugee forced to submit to a horrific scientific experiment in order to ensure his family’s survival. Unmissable.”" Eric Brown, The Guardian.