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 cvandyke.com and follow him on Twitter at @aboutrunning.