Achten Tan Land of Dust and Bone #58

At the crossroads between Mieville’s New Crobuzon and M.T. Anderson’s Viriconium, on the border of Dhalgrin and D&D, just to the left of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and Mad Max’s Fury Road … lies Achten Tan.

Tales from the Year Between is a biannual anthology that brings together some of the most talented writers from around the globe to invent an original world from scratch, then explore that world through their writing. After a week of intensive world-building, each author sets out to expand their new, fabulous universe through short-stories, flash fiction, poems,  songs, and whatever other genres their boundless imaginations unleash … 

In this inaugural volume, releasing on August 17 2020, the world in question is Achten Tan, an at times brutal and at times humorous city located at the foot of the Godtree on the southern edge of the Bonewastes. Pre-order a copy now!

Home to giant ants, mysterious mirror fragments, and the world’s greatest barbecue rib joint, Achten Tan is bursting with stories of fantasy and wonder. One part Italo Calvino, one part Frank Herbert, with just a dash of George R.R. Martin and Frank L. Baum.

Warning Achten Tan: Land of Dust & Bone is weird.

Inside its pages are drama and humor; action and longing; violence, death, and love. It’s strange and beautiful, a living instance of the old aphorism regarding the whole being greater than the parts. Oh, and there are also giant ants and a city obsessed with barbecued ribs.

Achten Tan is a shared fantasy world, a desert city built into the skeleton of an ancient leviathan and populated with elves and gnomes, wizards, and prophets, ant-riders and restaurateurs. It is a world we created together that belongs to none of us and all of us.
On May 27th, “Achten Tan” was a nonsense phrase, a series of syllables chosen at random so we would at least have a name to call the town we were about to create. By June 11th, it was a real city, filled with characters and locations. A past, a present, and a future. One month later those characters were real people, imagined and fleshed out by 30 different writers scattered from Dubai to Alaska.

Because there are so many contributors, there is no one Achten Tan. There are as many iterations of the city and its inhabitants as there were creators involved in this project. Some of the stories overlap. Some contradict each other. All of them work together to create a fantastic world none of us could have created on our own.

Inside these pages are poems and short stories, one-act plays and flash fiction, epistles and excerpts from academic texts, erotic tales and even recipes.  It’s a wonderful, fabulous, bizarre, and exciting mix of fiction that I am honored and humbled to have helped assemble. It is also but the first installment of a planned biannual series of such voyages to as of yet unknown worlds. The Writing Gods willing, Volume Two will be out in January of 2020.

But that is the future. In the meantime, join us in the first installment in Tales from the Year Between! May the Ribs shade you from the sun, may your ant be ever swift, and may your feet stay free of tar. Welcome to Achten Tan!

Chris Vandyke Editor-in-Chief & Grand Hierophant

About the author:

Chris Vandyke started The Year Between because he was bored and it seemed like a good idea at the time. When he isn’t teaching and parenting, he’s writing things. Too many things. You can see the things at and follow him on Twitter at @aboutrunning.

35 thoughts on “Achten Tan Land of Dust and Bone #58

    1. Hey, there are going to be spots open for writers for future volumes of Tales from the Year Between… maybe check out and see whether you might want to join in !

  1. So interesting. I would love to check this out in August when it becomes available. The cover through me off, but after you explained the content… I am intrigued.

    1. I’m not the Chris who’s the main editor, but I’m pretty sure that was deliberate. He likes describing it as a mash-up of a bunch of things, with Darksun being one of them!

  2. What a great book. It would be an interesting story. I guess I can get it at Amazon to buy. Thanks and great work.

  3. This is so cool. The fact that this book is a contribution of people located al around the globe is awesome. I look forward to see a review here soon.

  4. Wow! This is totally up my alley. I love how it is something that several writers came together to created. Definitely need to put this on my list. You review so many awesome books!

  5. The fact that this creation had the input of multiple writers really makes for a compelling reason to explore this further. Achten Tan – Land of Dust and Bone, sounds like a great story set in a fascinating world. Riding giant ants, aside from anything else certainly sounds a great adventure on its own!

    1. One of the contributors here – it’s awesome how many different kinds of stories have emerged in this world. There are a few involving the giant-ant-riding thing, but there are also a lot that go in totally different directions altogether!

  6. Oh my gosh! First I was creeped out by the giant ant on the cover, lol. Then the story is sooo crazy. Ants that love bbq ribs??? This would be a fun book to read.

  7. Sounds like a very intense book. What about the Writing do you think makes it possible for this book to contain so many genres?

    1. I’m not the Chris who’s the editor in chief, but I am one of the contributors and… let’s just say that there are some that meld very well and some that really kind of clash or stand out next to each other. It’s this bizarre mishmash of different stuff, yet somehow it does manage to all feel like one big single work. The erotica and recipes don’t overlap, but maybe they should!

  8. Seems like an interesting anthology, different writers and their genre amalgamated in a single book. I love these kinds, you can swing your mood at different levels.

    1. I’m one of the contributors, so it’s hard for me to know what it’ll be like for a reader who wasn’t involved in the creation of the world, but I think you’re right: it’ll be something that you can pick up, skip to a random piece, see if it fits what you’re in the mood for. If not, you can almost guarantee there’ll be something a few pages away that’s more up your street!

  9. oh this sounds really interesting. i’ll have to tell my boyfriend about this.

    1. Thanks! This is our first ever volume, so I’m as excited to see so much interest! I’m super proud of the team of writers who are putting this together — I think there will be something for everyone (and maybe not everything will be for everyone). This is just the first volume in an ongoing series, so hopefully this will not be your last time hearing about Tales from the Year Between!

  10. Hullo!

    I’m not the Chris who’s the editor-in-chief, but I am one of the contributors, and I just wanted to say that this is one of the most ridiculously cool projects I’ve ever been a part of. It’s just… bizarre, and awesome, and it really is incredible how high the standard of writing throughout the volume is (especially given that the contributors are just people who responded to a tweet; there was no screening or anything). It’s a work I’m really proud of, and I hope people enjoy it!

    It’s available for pre-order from Amazon now, of course – link for that is in the post – and it’s also now on Goodreads so you can add it to your to-read list.

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