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Last Year, When We Were Young [Kindle Edition]

Andrew J. McKiernan , Will Elliott , Anna Tambour

Kindle Price: $5.99 includes tax, if applicable

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Product Description

Product Description

WINNER: 2014 AHWA Australian Shadows Award, Collected Work
'Last Year, When We Were Young' brings together 16 tales that defy conventions of genre and style, every one with an edge sharper than a razor and darker than a night on Neptune.

From the darkly hilarious 'All the Clowns in Clowntown', to the heart-breaking and disturbing title story, this debut collection from multi-award nominated author and illustrator Andrew McKiernan pulls no punches.

"McKiernan is a magician. He performs magic tricks in every story, spinning us around, making us believe one thing before showing us we were wrong all along. His stories are pure magic, staying with you like an echo long after reading." -- Kaaron Warren, author of 'Slights' and 'Walking the Tree'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2319 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Satalyte Publishing; 1 edition (28 June 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #180,379 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stellar Collection 24 June 2014
By Greg Chapman - Published on Amazon.com
Andrew J. McKiernan’s collection, Last Year When We Were Young, is proof yet again of the incredible writing talent that can be found in Australia and further still, proof that horror can have a meaningful voice that goes well beyond blood and gore.

Whether it is a story about a secretary taking phone messages from the dead, a group of clowns trying to avoid forced conscription in a travelling circus, or astronauts encountering cosmic monsters in the depths of space, the impossible in McKiernan’s stories never fails to engage because the stories always orbit characters that are quantifiably human.

McKiernan’s deft hand with prose is also addictive, with each turn of phrase sweeping the reader away from reality. Although many of his supernatural tales exude mysterious atmosphere, demonic forces or faith, I think the stories where the uncanny takes a back seat are where he really shines. Here the horror is less inexplicable, but no less haunting. The tales, White Lines, White Crosses, The Memory of Water, Calliope: A Steam Romance, and the title story being prime examples.

Overall, the collection is engrossing, with every story leaving the reader with sensations of loss, hope, melancholy, repulsion and joy. It’s not often that a writer can convey such a broad section of emotions, but this is what makes collections so worthwhile – and enjoyable.

I recall reading one of Andrew’s Facebook posts some time ago about how he was finding it a real challenge to select the stories for Last Year, When We Were Young, but I can safely say that he and Satalyte have put together a wonderful treasury of fiction that is well worth any reader’s time, horror fan or no.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Talented 4 March 2015
By Nora - Published on Amazon.com
The title weaves its way through every short story in this anthology. It's been a long time since I've read a collection that touched my heart and made me weep. I wept not with sadness, but with gladness. Andrew McKiernan took me on an emotional and healing journey, for you see, I've been mourning the death of my father and I haven't felt much, mostly numb, but his stories took me on a cathartic journey and played to my heartstrings. Every story spoke to me of a loss of innocence, when I was younger and more hopeful, when I didn't have to deal with a blinding grief, but that changed in just one year. So quickly, I lost my breath. I couldn't breathe. The changes his characters went through and how they dealt with death literally or figuratively, helped me to grieve.

McKiernan's writing style is lyrical and worthy of being literary, which often isn't a term used in the speculative fiction community, but it should be celebrated and used more. The imagery in his writing is bold and beautiful, and this belongs in our community of the strange, the dark, the weird, and the macabre. Death, any kind of death can be beautiful or senseless, as he shows us. McKiernan is a kick ass, entertaining, genre bending beast of a writer. I'd keep my eyes on him; Mr. McKiernan has a lot of storytelling left to do, and he's just getting started.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Storyteller, Beautiful Collection 5 August 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Andrew J. McKiernan’s short story collection, LAST YEAR, WHEN WE WERE YOUNG, is a work of wonder. Each story is sublime and fresh. Some are macabre or even terrifying, others humorous and witty, all masterfully written, and all with an unexpected curve or spiral. I ate the stories in this book like pieces of imported Belgian chocolate. If I was good, really good, and had completed all my work for the day, I’d treat myself to a story out of McKiernan’s book. I did not start from the beginning working my way to the last page. I closed my eyes and randomly picked one tale at a time, savoring each one. The last I read was, “Love Death,” a tragic love story that days after reading still haunts my waking and sleeping dreams. Do yourself a favor, and buy your own copy of LAST YEAR, WHEN WE WERE YOUNG. You’ll want to keep this book in your library to re-read a number of times
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying Australian weird horror and dark fantasy 25 September 2015
By Dave Versace - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Andrew McKiernan’s collection “Last Year, When We Were Young” is a fine example of a strong writer testing his limits by stretching in different directions. As you might expect from an Australian writer with a well-deserved reputation for compelling dark fantasy and horror, outback ghosts and urban nightmares are represented.

One of my favourite stories appears early in this volume: “White Lines, White Crosses” is a grimly familiar tragedy of teenage isolation, testosterone-fuelled recklessness and car culture, with a smear of the supernatural to amp up the stakes. “The Memory of Water” is haunted by childhood memories of beach holidays tinged with tragedy. And “The Haunting that Jack Built” is a classic yarn of strange and sinister goings-on in a country town.

But McKiernan shows his range with some unexpected variations on theme and setting: the Middle East appears in modern and mythological states, in “The Dumbshow”, “The Desert Song”, “They Don’t Know That We Know What They Know” and the excellent clash of espionage, battles handed down across generations, old gods and chess in “Daivadana”.

He does a creditable Stephen King-like grotesque in “The Final Degustation of Doctor Ernest Blenheim”. He does old-fashioned SF horror in “The Wanderer in the Darkness”. He even does a noir tragedy soaked in betrayal and cheap whiskey in “Torch Song”.

But where this collection stands out is in the weird and absurd corners. The title story is a brief piece of deranged survival horror set in the aftermath of a more than usually disturbing apocalypse. But the jewel in the crown is probably “All the Clowns in Clowntown”, which is perhaps a parable about surviving an epidemic or could be a metaphor for involuntary unionism or hostile corporatism, but in any case is probably the only story you will ever read about the last surviving resistance members of the clown counter-revolution.

“Last Year, When We Were Young” had a remarkably high hit rate for me. McKiernan’s quality as a short story writer is consistently strong across the collection. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection of dark speculative fiction 19 August 2014
By Frank Errington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Review copy

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy what's coming out of the Australian horror writing community and this new collection of shorts from Andrew J. McKiernan just adds to that impression.

Last Year, When We Were Young cover's his young career from his first published short in July of 2007 though November of 2012. Sixteen stories, with only one thing in common, they are all exceptional.

It all starts with a delightful fantasy with beautiful prose, "The Memory of Water," which opens with the line, "'The ocean, it remembers us,' David said, the heel of his foot dredging shallow trenches in the sand."

There's the powerful didactic story "White Lines, White Crosses," A tale of speed and peer pressure told in a haunting manner.

I loved "Calliope: A Steam Romance." A bit of steampunk fantasy, beautifully told. It's at this point in the collection that I'm getting the feeling I'm reading something special as McKiernan does with words what a great painter does with his brushstrokes.

There is a distinct diversity in the stories found in this collection, as evidenced in "Love Death," an intriguing story of a newlywed who turns to a necromancer to bring back his bride after a wedding day accident and the consequence that follows.

I keep thinking that I won't comment on every story, but each one is even better than the last. One of my favorites is, "The Message," in which Marion leaves her abusive husband and takes a job answering a very special phone and taking messages. Sounds simple, right? I really enjoyed where this one went.

At the end of the book, the author tells where the inspiration came from for select stories. "Back in 2006, my second son (who would have been about 7 years of age at the time) came home from school with a birthday card he'd made for me from clip-art. It read; All the clowns in Clowntown, wish you barrels of fun on your birthday! There was a cartoony picture of a clown on front , and the instant I read it I knew there was a story hidden inside." The resulting story was "All the Clowns In Clowntown." There's even a second visit to Clowntown later in the collection.

Autosarcophagy (look it up) is a big part of "The Final Degustation of Doctor Ernest Blenheim. That's as good a place as any to end this review.

Last Year, When We Were Young is among my favorite reads for 2014. Currently available in both paperback and for the Kindle through Amazon.com from Satalyte Publishing. Plus, if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read it for FREE.

This one gets my highest recommendation, I can all but guarantee you won't be disappointed.

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