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Pheby, Alex

Entry updated 5 December 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1970-    ) UK academic and author whose first novel, Grace (2009), carries an escaped mental patient into a mysterious forest [for Into the Woods see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], where an old woman and a young girl dwell. His second and third novels adhere with some stringency to nonfantastic renderings of extreme states. He is of sf interest for his fourth, Mordew (2020), which initiates the Cities of the Weft sequence, and which with gonzo Equipoisal flare unpacks a Steampunk-ish fantasy tale within a obscurely iterated but manifestly Far Future Dying Earth frame. Pheby is productively alert to genre precedents. There are hints of Genetic Engineering in the deep past. The Edificial City known as Mordew, which draws its substance from the complex energies of the dead god it is built upon and within, evokes Frances Hardinge's Deeplight (2019), M John Harrison's Viriconium tales, Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast sequence, Lucius Shepard's Dragon Griaule sequence, among other texts [for Edifice above, As Above, So Below and Hidden Monarch below see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]; Mordew is specifically set in the sea-threatened mountain-girt ruins of Paris, aeons after Climate Change and the passages of geology have transformed the world (see Ruined Earth; Underground). The young protagonist, who may eventually be revealed as a Hidden Monarch, grows in powers for which he is unsuited in Mordew and elsewhere, monitored (see Godgame) by his threatened Master. The sequence proceeds, congestedly immersed in the Equipoisal coils of continuation, with Malarkoi (2022). Here several characters from the first volume, at least one of them technically dead, continue in central roles. [JC]

Alex Pheby

born Essex or London: 1970

works (selected)


Cities of the Weft

  • Mordew (Norwich, Norfolk: Galley Beggar Press, 2020) [Cities of the Weft: hb/James Nunn]
  • Malarkoi (Norwich, Norfolk: Galley Beggar Press, 2022) [Cities of the Weft: hb/James Nunn]

individual titles

  • Grace (Ullapool, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland: Two Ravens Press, 2009) [pb/]


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