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book cover of Fain the Sorcerer

Fain the Sorcerer

A Novella by

After strangling a mime in the King's court, Fain encounters a crazy old man who offers to grant him three wishes. What will Fain ask for?
Looping through his own past and offending kings and leaders throughout the world, Fain searches for the means to wisely direct his new powers. His quest becomes progressively more vivid as he encounters monsters, mermaids, warlocks and autarchs, gathering richer understanding with each new magic gift.
With an introduction by Alan Moore, Fain the Sorcerer is a dense and mischievous work of shamanic satire.

Steve Aylett has been described as "utterly original" (SFX), "an unstoppable master of space and time" (Asimov's), "the most original voice in the literary scene" (Michael Moorcock) and "the coolest writer alive today" (Starburst).

"rip-roaring good fun ... It also features an introduction by Alan Moore, who writes, 'This is a stunning work of the imagination that is also very, very funny, from one of the most exciting and innovative creators to emerge along in years.' Moore is a wise man, and completely correct." - Jeff Vandermeer, SFsite

"Aylett never wastes a moment of your reading time here; acerbic, feral ideas are flung about like grenades of confetti and shrapnel ... the reader is lashed by superior erudition and consummate eloquence."
- The Zone

'In his introduction to Fain the Sorcerer, Alan Moore excoriates the hacks who dominate most bestseller lists and laments that a writer as talented as Steve Aylett seems to have found no place in the current scene: "Had he not been ... born too late, he might have had a Michael Moorcock New Worlds as a vehicle, have had a context in amongst all the other brilliant, mismatched oddballs." While normally I wouldn't cite such a polemic, this time (damn it!) Moore is right. Fain has only appeared in a limited edition from a British small press -- a year ago, so I'm playing catch-up -- but it deserves widespread publication, and the status of an instant classic in the field.
This novella, an extended riff on the theme of the Three Wishes, manages to be simultaneously sly, vivid, and surreal. Fain starts out as "a mere labourer and odd-job man," with a talent for getting himself in trouble. While running for his life after strangling the King's jester, he encounters a one-armed man with a jug over his head; the result of that meeting will be the gift (or curse) of three wishes, and wildly picaresque travels through scenes that might have been designed by Jack Vance in collaboration with Jonathan Swift and some early surrealists. Temporal paradox amps up the ironies, as Fain keeps returning to that starting point -- always as a partially changed man.
Aylett makes both the journey and its end an absolute delight for the reader, if not always for Fain himself, as he blunders and connives his way toward a place/time where he just might be able to escape the replicating chain of wishes, and "finish his lessons in understanding."
--Faren Miller, LOCUS

"a phenomenal talent" - Trashotron

"Aylett has made a career out of redefining the boundaries of science fiction - and sanity." - Barnes & Noble Spotlight Feature

"the sheer exuberance and inventiveness that can take a sentence, twist it through an unfathomable angle, and layer on meanings and associations that enrich the text. There's a real sense of Aylett's joy in playing with words, a sense of fun, that is still mingled with acute observation." - Concatenation


Used availability for Steve Aylett's Fain the Sorcerer

Paperback Editions

June 2012 : UK Paperback

Title: Fain the Sorcerer
Author(s): Steve Aylett
ISBN: 0-9565677-3-8 / 978-0-9565677-3-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Scar Garden Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

October 2011 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: Fain the Sorcerer
Author(s): Steve Aylett
Publisher: Scar Garden Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA