Stephen Palmer‘s eighth novel, the wonderfully strange steampunkish fantasy Hairy London (Infinity Plus | Amazon US | Amazon UK), was published in March 2014, telling the story of a group of gentleman-adventurers on a quest to find the true meaning of love in a London transformed by an inexplicable manifestation of, well, hair. His earlier novels include science fiction (Memory Seed, Glass, Flowercrash, Muezzinland and Hallucinating) and the dark literary fantasies Urbis Morpheos and The Rat & The Serpent (originally under the name Bryn Llewellyn). Much of Palmer’s writing focuses on environmental change, and his prose tends to be vivid and strange: writing about his novel Urbis Morpheos, Publishers Weekly says that “Palmer’s writing can only be called psychedelic. The world is richly imagined, unusual, and creative…” Palmer is also an accomplished musician, playing and recording with the band Mooch and his solo project, Blue Lily Commission. He lives and works in Shropshire, UK.
Keth Brooke had the opportunity to chat with Stephen about his new book, Hairy London, described thusly:
What is love?
One evening at the Suicide Club three gentlemen discuss this age-old problem, and thus a wager is made. Dissolute fop Sheremy Pantomile, veteran philosopher Kornukope Wetherbee and down-on-his-luck Velvene Orchardtide all bet their fortunes on finding the answer amidst the dark alleys of a phantasmagorical Edwardian London.
But then, overnight, London Town is covered in hair. How the trio of adventurers cope with this unusual plague, and what conclusions they come to regarding love is the subject of this surreal and fast-paced novel.
And always the East End threatens revolution…
Keith Brooke: HAIRY LONDON is one of the strangest things I’ve read in years. I should really start with a question, but we need to get that out there from the beginning: HAIRY LONDON reads like Lewis Carroll and Monty Python’s love-child doing drugs and reinventing steampunk. With jokes, and philosophy. I know it’s a standard question for writers of the fantastic, but how on Earth did you come up with a story about revolution and love in an alternative Edwardian London that is…covered in hair?