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Aylett, Steve

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1967-    ) UK author who very quickly developed a reputation for his tone of voice, which could be described as gonzo, surreal, metacyberpunkish, riff-driven, surfer-noir; it is a voice which sometimes obscures the objects of his tales, which attack the objects of their Satire through vignettes, quotes and characters from the Pulp magazines and Comics of the previous century. He began publishing work of interest to the field of the fantastic with The Crime Studio (coll 1994), a set of fragmented shorts set in the vaguely Gotham-like crime-ridden Dystopian city of Beerlight (see Cities), where Jorge Luis Borges intersects (as in his own works) with Mickey Spillane; further volumes set in Beerlight include Slaughtermatic (1999), Toxicology (coll 1999 US: exp 2001) and Atom (2000).

The Accomplice sequence – comprising Accomplice Book 1: Only an Alligator (2001), Accomplice Book 2: The Velocity Gospel (2002), Accomplice Book 3: Dummyland (2002) and Accomplice Book 4: Karloff's Circus (2004), all four assembled as The Complete Accomplice (omni 2010) – is set in the not-dissimilar post-Disaster city of Accomplice, on a tropical peninsula whose location is not specified, except for the fact that it is built over a pit infested by demons; typically of the twenty-first-century fantastic, the Accomplice books reside unconcernedly within sf, fantasy and horror patterns of explanation and narrative, taking sustenance from all. In this sense, Karloff's Circus can be understood as a recursive summary of all Aylett's work: for the eponymous circus is not a metaphor of life but the thing – the substance and the mannerisms and the presentation of self in terms of coding – itself.

Of Aylett's singletons, the most interesting may be Lint (2005), the fictional biography of an sf writer whose failure-rocked hyperbolic life, and whose works, could be seen to reflect that of Philip K Dick. [JC]

Steve Aylett

born London: 1967




  • The Crime Studio (London: Indigo, 1994) [coll: Beerlight: pb/Graham Roundthwaite]
  • Slaughtermatic (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1998) [Beerlight: pb/]
  • Toxicology (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1999) [coll: Beerlight: pb/uncredited]
    • Toxicology (London: Gollancz, 2001) [exp of above: Beerlight: hb/Graham Roundthwaite and Nick Castle]
  • Atom (London: Phoenix House, 2000) [Beerlight: hb/Graham Roundthwaite]
  • NovaHead (London: Scar Garden Press, 2011) [Beerlight: pb/]



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