Head Full of Mountains

by Brent Hayward | :: Jump to Buy Links ::

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When Crospinal’s ailing father finally dies, he is left utterly alone in the pen, surrounded by encroaching darkness. The machines that tended to him as a child have long ago vanished, and the apparitions that kept Crospinal company are now silenced. Struggling with congenital issues, outfitted in a threadbare uniform, he has little choice but to leave what was once his home, soon discovering that nothing in the outside world is how he had been told it would be. In his quest for meaning and understanding, and the contact of another, Crospinal learns truths about himself, about his father, and about the last bastion of humanity, trapped with him at the end of time.

ISBN: 9781771481816
eISBN: 9781771481823

Other CZP books by Brent Hayward:


Praise for Brent Hayward

“On paper, Brent Hayward’s novel shouldn’t work. In the first thirty pages, you’ll meet about four dozen people/things/monsters, across several times and places. Unless your name’s Tolstoy, that’s a non-starter in my dossier. But, I couldn’t put it down. The Fecund’s Melancholy Daughter defies every rule on world building and character development I’ve ever learned, and, somehow, it’s a breathtaking success of a fantasy story. Find yourself a copy, brew some strong coffee, and allow your mind to be blown.”
—The Arcanist

“Hayward’s fiction often blurs the lines in presenting advanced societies that have lurched into reverse, taking us from science fiction to fantasy. Technology has decayed into theology after the decline and fall of an older, more advanced world order. This civilizational collapse isn’t brought about by the usual culprits (overpopulation, environmental, or political catastrophe), but is instead the product of a general regression brought on by systematic failures. It’s less dystopic than entropic fiction, with the future making a Great Leap Backward and machines breaking down to the point where science takes on the afterglow of magic and religion. . . . It’s hard not to read such stories as in part allegorical, visions of what our own world might look like if the wheels were to stop turning. Most of us don’t understand even the most basic aspects of how the machines that run and rule our lives actually work, and perhaps most of us don’t especially care. With that mix of ignorance and dependence there naturally comes a distrust of change, a desire to keep things as they are or an indulgence in fantasies of a simpler time. Hayward’s postcards from the scary and stupid towns of a dark age ahead should lead us to reconsider what it is we’re wishing for.”
—Alex Good, Canadian Notes & Queries

“Hayward’s debut collection Broken Sun, Broken Moon serves up twelve speculative tales to entertain. . . . Hayward’s world building here is sparse, but nevertheless effective in depicting what seems to be a Dystopian society revolving around the Have-Nots. However, by not filling in every corner, he leaves the reader to concentrate on the value of risk-taking.”
—John DeNardo, Kirkus Reviews

“It is a cliché to refer to an author as ‘painterly’ or possessing a ‘painter’s eye,’ but sometimes the comparison is too apt to pass up. In his first collection of short fiction, [Broken Sun, Broken Moon], novelist Brent Hayward truly brings a painter’s sensibility to a series of fractured landscapes, implanting in the reader’s imagination textured images—often of bodily metamorphosis and mutilation—that linger long after the stories’ plots and characters have faded. Which in this case is a good thing. Hayward sharpens these word-pictures by dropping the reader into fully realized alternative worlds that blend elements of sci-fi, noir, horror, and dark fantasy, forcing us to negotiate alien landscapes through the limited information available to the story’s protagonist. Rich descriptions often replace character development and interaction. The effect is jarring and deeply immersive.”
—James Grainger, The Toronto Star, “Frightening Books to Read Late at Night”

“(The Fecund’s Melancholy Daughter‘s) uncompromising originality leaves the reader with few familiar signposts. Reading it is like waking up in the wrong bed, in the wrong apartment, under the wrong sun. . . . By turns surreal, macabre and stunningly violent, The Fecund’s Melancholy Daughter is dreamlike in its strangeness and complexity. Like a dream, it is difficult to define and difficult to shake. The imagery lingers like archetypes dredged up from the sleeping mind.”
—Mark Dunn, The Globe and Mail

“Where [Head Full of Mountains] stands out from its brethren is in the quality of Hayward’s (Filaria) prose, and the skill with which he carefully details each scene and each character, using well-worn set pieces with an energy and splendor that blinds readers to their essential familiarity.”
Publishers Weekly

“[The Fecund’s Melancholy Daughter is] beautifully written and morally ambivalent, this complex tale will appeal to readers of Gene Wolfe and China Miéville.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Toronto’s Brent Hayward has a knack for creating incredibly lush alternative worlds and mythologies, and Head Full of Mountains may be his most complex and demanding work yet. . . . [The protagonist’s] journey suggests an allegory of human development progressing through different stages of life, but readers will probably come up with many other interpretations as well, perhaps seeing in it a nightmare of isolated and introverted consciousness, or the endgame of technologies that have left humanity behind. The result is one of the more different and difficult SF novels of the year, but also one of the most rewarding.”
—Alex Good, The Toronto Star

“Hayward’s debut [Filaria] is a powerful, beautifully written dystopian tale. . . .”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“. . . Filaria is simply one of the best books written in the last decade and is the best science fiction/fantasy book that I have read in a long time.”

“A disquieting, claustrophobic, compelling hybrid of China Miéville and J. G. Ballard. I first read Filaria almost two years ago: its subterranean imagery has been stuck in my midbrain ever since.”
—Peter Watts, author of Starfish and Blindsight

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