Three Chapbooks from Nightjar Press

$0 - B

Anthony G Williams

Three Chapbooks from Nightjar Press

I have to admit that before receiving these three publications I had only a vague idea of what a "chapbook" might be (and that was rather inaccurate). For those as much in the dark as I was, the summary from Wikipedia might be useful:

"The term chap-book was formalized by bibliophiles of the 19th century, as a variety of ephemera (disposable printed material), popular or folk literature. It includes many kinds of printed material such as pamphlets, political and religious tracts, nursery rhymes, poetry, folk tales, children's literature and almanacs. Where there were illustrations, they would be popular prints. The term is derived from chapmen, a variety of peddler, who circulated such literature as part of their stock. The term is also in use for present-day publications, usually poetry, of up to about 40 pages, ranging from low-cost productions to expensive, finely produced editions."

Nightjar Press specialises in the publication of limited-edition modern chapbooks, each containing one short story from the fantasy or related genres. All three of the ones I received are very short (the text of the actual stories occupying between 7 and 15 pages) but are well produced on high quality paper with card covers adorned by purpose-designed colour images. They can be obtained direct from the publishers (details on their website).

A Revelation of Cormorants by Mark Valentine: a writer engaged in producing a book about the folklore associated with birds rents a cottage on a remote coast and becomes dangerously fascinated by the cormorants.

Field by Tom Fletcher: a Forestry Commission warden sets out to evict some illegal campers but finds that the situation is not what it seemed and is becoming steadily stranger.

Lexicon by Christopher Burns: related from the viewpoint of an enigmatic man who invites women to his remote house for a purpose with origins in Greek mythology.

All three are well-written, high-quality stories. I am not quite sure where they would fit into most people's book-buying patterns, though, since anthologies or magazines provide a wider choice at less cost. I suspect that given their limited publication run these are aimed at collectors as much as readers.

(This entry is cross-posted from my science-fiction & fantasy blog.)


Orthodox Herbertarian
They produce a lot of "chapbooks" or "chapter-books" for the children's educational market. My kids are forever coming home with freebies marked thus from their school, both for fun as as a part of their lessons.