William Harvey's Visitor
In 1628, the English physician and anatomist, William Harvey, discovered the circulation of the blood. This story explores whether this great leap in medical knowledge might also be seen as a metaphor for something even more surprising. "William Harvey Esq was at his desk when God sidled in. Ungreeted, indeed unnoticed, God cleared the dirty coffee cups from the table, tidied up the tobacco pouch and ink - well, then set about laying a fire in the hearth. Still William Harvey’s head was bent in concentration over his papers: God is, after all, very easily missed. It was Spring 1629, the year after Harvey’s momentous book, On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals, had exploded into the medical firmament to change the shape of that intellectual space for ever. Thought by many to have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Harvey had never experienced what it was to be penniless and unknown. After medical training in the finest institutions in Europe, he had married the daughter of Queen Elizabeth’s physician and was now, himself, personal physician to King Charles. Perhaps such a charmed life should have been enough for him, but his daemon of intellectual curiosity had led him through circuitous paths until, at the heart of the labyrinth he had had no option but to challenge the age - old wisdom of Galen by publishing his own revolutionary theory that in all animals, including humans, the blood is pumped around the body by the heart..."
The On-and-On Tin
“When she first arrived they said nothing to her, they just looked. An ordinary enough woman, halfway through her life perhaps … modest and respectful, but they were shocked at this female on her own… She said her village had been wiped out in a mudslide, she alone had survived… The gods favoured her, then? No, she said, just lucky.” (from Too Much Too Soon) Across twenty bite-size flash-fiction stories of no more than 500 words each, the reader can travel from Pre-Conquest Latin America to Post-Catastrophe Britain; or see inside the mind of Don Quixote’s horse and the mind of an impatient would-be suicide bomber; or meet the mythological character who delights in other people’s dilemmas and the woman who decided not to tell the world about her supernatural experiences. Perhaps you will find the answer to questions you never thought to ask: What was the real effect of The Great Plague? And how did British cities end up with such woeful transport provision? If you get annoyed when others try to tell you what to feel, you’ll sympathise with Jeffery in “Che Bello!” And if some people just leave you exhausted but you don’t understand why, you’ll sympathise with Eddie in “Is This a Law of Thermodynamics?”
Mr H's Angels
London in the eighteenth century is no place to raise a child alone, without money or a place to live. Lili knows that the only hope her son has of living a better life is to take him to the Foundling Hospital where he might, if he's lucky, find a place in Mr Handel's famous choir. "Lili is small and the muscle in her arm stretches and aches from carrying the baby all the way across London. He is tied to her waist by a shawl, the fringes of the cambric blending into her dress so that, from a distance, no one can even see that he is there." ''Mr H's Angels' was shortlisted for the Cinnamon Short Story Prize in 2014
Brindley Hallam Dennis
Ten flash fictions of last words, last actions, and last loves...... "Wilson didn’t know he had only one week to live, whereas Seymour had been warned that he would die within the year. He was already too ill to drive, so he asked Wilson to take him to see her. Wilson was reluctant, but they had been friends for decades. Take a week’s leave, Seymour said. Wilson’s wife, knew the value of friendship, and she told him to get on with it. You never knew what they meant by ‘within the year’. Why, it might happen the next week, who could tell?"
Crisis Meeting in Hell
Seven days into the end of the world, there was a crisis meeting in Hell. This was a rare occurrence. A crisis meeting implies of course that a crisis had taken place, and needs to be resolved in some way. The usual reaction to a crisis in the seven circles was a street party.