Book of the Bloodless: Volume 1


Book of the Bloodless: Volume 1, Alternative Afterlives by Christopher Fielden

Finalist in the Short Story category of the 2019 International Book Awards

Book of the bloodless: Volume 1: Alternative Afterlives is a collection of stories about death, the dead and the afterlife.

‘Extraordinary good. Darkly laconic humour, that made me smile, often when I felt as if I shouldn’t’ – Sue Moorcroft, Writers’ Forum.


Book of the Bloodless: Volume 1, Alternative Afterlives by Christopher Fielden

Finalist in the Short Story category of the 2019 International Book Awards

Book of the bloodless: Volume 1: Alternative Afterlives is a collection of Chris Fielden’s short stories, many of which have won competitions. Chris’s work is known for being imaginative, filled with vivid characters and twists of fantasy. Death is the common theme, explored in a dry, humorous style.

‘Sharp, subversive and always surprising, Chris’s stories are like hiking without a GPS – you think you know where you’re going but you end up somewhere else’ – Dr Lynda Nash, creative writing tutor

‘Extraordinary good. Darkly laconic humour, that made me smile, often when I felt as if I shouldn’t’ – Sue Moorcroft, Writers’ Forum.

‘Immaculately crafted stories that hold attention through every unexpected twist. Keep the reader surprised, amused and engaged’ – Dr John Yeoman, PhD Creative Writing, founder of Writers’ Village.

‘There is an excellent use of humour, and the writing is colourful and bold’ – Anthony Howcroft, founder and Executive Chairman of InkTears.

Good Reads Reviews

Additional information

Weight197 g
Dimensions13.0 × 1.3 × 19.8 cm

The Author

Chris was born in Bristol, UK, in the 1970s, which is too long ago for his liking.

He grew up in Portishead, a town in the South West of England, and has lived in the Bristol area for most of his life.

He has played drums in rock bands for over thirty years and has been fortunate enough to tour all over the world. During that time, he lived in Los Angeles for a couple of years and has worked with well-known producers, including Andy Sturmer and Richard Dashut.

The bands Chris currently plays in are:

  • AD/HD, a tribute to Bon Scott’s AC/DC
  • Airbus, a rock band he’s played with since he was fifteen years old, who most famously recorded the ‘Sour Times (Airbus Reconstruction)’ with Portishead for their Sour Times EP from the album Dummy
  • Little Villains, a band whose early recordings featured Motörhead’s Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor – Chris still can’t quite believe he’s getting to step in for one of his heroes – RIP Philthy
  • Three Day Week, a glam band that pays tribute to the music of the 1970s
  • Ye Gods!, a parody rock band whose musical shenanigans have upset many music lovers with their blatant disregard for melodies, tuning, appropriate language and musical ability

Chris started writing fiction seriously in 2005. He self-published his first novel, Wicked Game, in 2010. To avoid a mental breakdown, he then started writing short stories as they’re a lot easier to finish.

In 2011 Chris launched his website. It contains hundreds of free resources to help authors develop their short story writing and see their words in print. Due to his background in digital marketing (Chris was Operations Director of an award-winning digital agency from 2010 to 2016) he has been able to develop the site quickly and it now attracts over 300,000 visitors a year.

Chris has been published extensively in books by an independent press, established magazines and renowned websites. These include:

  • Books: Allenthology (Eibonvale Press), Dark Lane Anthology Volumes 4 to 7 (Dark Lane Books), Darker Times Anthology (Darker Times), Death of a Superhero (InkTears), Flash Fiction Festival One (Ad Hoc Fiction), How to Self-Publish a Book on CreateSpace & Amazon, How to Write a Short Story, Get Published & Make Money and Wicked Game – his work has also appeared in multiple flash fiction anthologies
  • Magazines: Boundless, Grindstone Literary, Katha Kshetre (Temple of Short Stories), Mature Times, Scribble, The Short Story Writer and Writers’ Forum
  • Websites: Field of Words, Kindlepreneur, Portishead Chamber of Commerce, Matthew Woodward, Moz, The Short Story, World City Stories, Writers’ Village and Writing Short Fiction

Due to his success with short story writing, Chris wrote a book called How To Write A Short Story, Get Published & Make Money. It uses sixteen of his published stories as case studies, so writers can see how all the different tips and advice in the book were used in practice to achieve publishing success. The book has been an Amazon bestseller in the categories ‘Publishing and Books’ and ‘Writing Reference’.

Due to the popularity of the book, Chris recently developed and launched a comprehensive online short story writing course. The course uses a similar teaching style as his book, but the case studies are more in-depth, getting into the nitty-gritty of short story writing.

Chris’s favourite authors include Crystal Jeans, David Gemmell, Douglas Adams, John Holland, Philip K. Dick, Robert E. Howard, Stephen King, Sue Townsend, Terry Pratchett and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Due to his love of laughing, Chris started running a humorous short story competition in 2013 called To Hull And Back. It offers the greatest prize in the known macrocosm: your head on the front cover of a book, a trip to Hull on a Harley Davidson with the ‘winner’s’ copy of the book strapped to the handlebars, and £1,000 in hard cash. Every shortlisted writer is paid and published. The competition attracts entries from all over the world and grows each time it is run.

Chris is also an advocate of the short story performance scene. He has presented workshops and performed his stories at many events, including the Bath Fringe Festival, the Bristol Festival of Literature, Chip LitFest, Flash Fiction Festival, New College LitFest, Small Stories and Talking Tales. He’s also undertaken presentations for many schools, colleges and writing groups.

You can learn more about Chris from his website: www.christopherfielden.com

Or find him online at social media.

·         Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/fielden.christopher

·         Facebook personal page: https://www.facebook.com/christopher.fielden

·         Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisFielden

·         LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-fielden-9415b020/

·         YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOdQCQ3x8vsBZOK-TBb8jxg

·         Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christopherfielden/

·         Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christopher-Fielden/e/B007SXY5C6/

·         Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Christopher-Fielden/e/B007SXY5C6

8 reviews for Book of the Bloodless: Volume 1

  1. Lynn Zeleski

    “Book of the Bloodless: Alternate Afterlife, Volume 1” now there’s an eye catcher! What if the stories we are told about the afterlife are wrong? If not heaven, hell or oblivion, what else could there be? Christopher Fielden brings us a smorgasbord of delectable, thought provoking, fun tales that explore that very possibility. Full of unexpected characters, O’Henry like twists, and sublime drawings, this page turner will take you on a fantastic journey through alternate realities. Don’t worry that the book ends too quickly. It is Volume 1, so we can look forward to Volume 2 .

  2. Gail Everett (verified owner)

    Fantasy, horror and humour come together perfectly in this collection of short stories by Chris Fielden. Expect the unexpected – the weird and the wacky, the twists and turns as the plot develops, and the surreal surprises all work together to make this book an interesting experience. Be careful if you’re reading it in the presence of anyone else – there were several moments when my face must have been a picture, several others when I laughed out loud, and one famous occasion when I thought they might have me taken away in a plain van!

  3. Lesley Anne Truchet

    Book Review by Lesley Anne Truchet

    Book of the Bloodless Volume One – Alternative Afterlives, by Christopher Fielden

    I don’t enjoy reading extended descriptive passages in writing and tend to skim them. That was until I read this book. In my opinion, it takes a great deal of skill to write long descriptions which hold the reader’s attention. Mr Fielden does it brilliantly:
    ‘An abundance of plant and animal life can be found near a beach, and, more often than not, a plentiful supply of intoxicated virgins, all intrigued by talk of carnal rituals. Most magic, especially an invocation of summoning, requires all these resources to be readily available.’

    He also has an exceptional capability to present surreal characters or situations as an ordinary event:
    ‘I’d been enjoying a surreal dream. I was in a kitchen, watching an impossibly fat cook basting human heads on a baking tray. The heads were all chatting amiably about the manner in which they’d been murdered.’

    These stories contain more direction changes than a labyrinth and each paragraph reveals yet another surprise angle, ensuring that the often ‘twist’ endings are impossible to predict, coexisting with elements of humour, some of which made me laugh aloud:
    ‘I look at the rest of the band. None of them seem to be zombies, although it’s always hard to tell with the rhythm section.’
    ‘Although dressed like Batman, the person standing before him didn’t exhibit the level of physical fitness you might expect from a successful crime fighting vigilante.’

    ‘Death of a Superhero’ ends with a fitting and comic punchline and the conclusion of ‘Shot in the Head and Left for Dead’ is simply brilliant. Whilst savouring one particularly gory description regarding the removal of an eyeball in the story ‘Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap,’ I actually put both my hands over my mouth.

    14 superb stories. Dark, sharp, funny, curious, sometimes gory and all interwoven with death. I was mesmerized. Christopher Fielden is a gifted storyteller and an outstanding wordsmith. I haven’t enjoyed a book so much since my first encounter with Bill Bryson’s work.
    And the icing – beautiful artwork to illustrate each story.
    A gem of a book.

  4. Paul Mastaglio

    A varied range of stories depicting death with Chris’s imagination in overdrive. My favourites were ‘Death of a Superhero’ featuring an amusing confrontation between the deceased, Doris, and the character, Death. Also I loved ‘The Ninja Zombie Knitting Circle’. The title alone was hilarious but the story hinted at something dreadful happening. Another good one was ‘The El Paso Phantom Feeder’. A tense tale that had you on the edge of your seat. There’s something for everybody here: Humour, tension and moral tales like ‘Bloodless’ and ‘The Treasure no Thief can Steal’ to make you think. A talented man, this Chris Fielden. When my time arrives, I’m definitely going as Batman!

  5. Steve Jenkins

    Review of Christopher Fielding’s book, Alternative Afterlives, Book of the Bloodless Vol 1.
    Alternative Afterlives is a fantastic collection of short stories. Really. You don’t believe me? Read it then. You can try to disagree with me from an informed position.
    But I reckon that after you’ve read this collection of short stories you’ll agree that these tales are stunning. Simplistic and fantastical in the same dimension. Scary and hilarious. Deep and subliminally funny.
    My favourite is The Ninja Zombie Knitting Circle. I didn’t see the twist coming at all. Made me laugh but also reminded me of the scary old woman from the horror movie Legion and the creepy old lady from the Tenacious D music video. Comical but terrifying.
    Bloodless was my next favourite story. Sad, deep, allegorical. But not without hope.
    I like the illustrations at the start of each story too. Short stories are always enhanced by these type of pictures, and I congratulate the artist here.
    Short story compilations died out a couple of decades ago but they’re making a comeback. The Pan Book of Horror Stories was a series that I used to love reading when I was young. (Explains a lot, probably). I think Christopher Fielding will be at the forefront of the short story revival and I can’t wait to read his next book.
    Seriously, read the stories. But not alone. And not at night!
    Steve Jenkins

  6. Ann Leander

    I was definitely outside my comfort reading zone when I picked up Alternative Afterlives, but instantly hooked.. Christopher Fielden combines the almost domestic to the grim and whacky and in measured, understated tones, draws us into a dark and zany world. Yet the fearsome monsters that populate these stories are oddly human. Humour adds to the bizarre – I rarely stopped chuckling throughout this book. I read Alternative Afterlives in almost a single sitting and I’ll be anxiously looking out for Volume 2.

  7. J. Rosina Harlow

    ‘Alternative Afterlives’ is an energetic, colourful romp of a collection. (Romp…never thought I’d use that word in a review!) It’s an accessible book, easy to read and get drawn into each tale.
    Here you’ll find tales of ghosts, superheroes, zombies, gangsters, pirates and killers, not to mention the Prince of Darkness himself, of course…
    In places it reminded me of a Matt Groening series and there are undeniable nods to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Most of the stories have a strong element of humour- I particularly enjoyed ‘Shot in the Head and Left for Dead’, a vibrant Spinal Tap-esque tribute.
    Other highlights for me included ‘Troll’s Head’, which was brilliantly written and poignant too, as well as ‘The Ninja Zombie Knitting Circle’, which, I am pleased to say, lived up to its title!
    Many of Christopher Fielden’s characters are flawed rogues who travel through life with a wink and guffaw, striking up questionable bargains in exchange for a better life, and we all know how often they can take a turn for the worse…
    I was expecting this collection to be a little darker and heavier and although there’s gore and guts and some very visceral characters, it is a generally light-hearted, robust set of fun tales. I enjoyed it a lot.

  8. Martin Strike (verified owner)

    Death. Do you really want an anthology where the character of Death is a constant theme? Well, it could have been Brexit or Phil Collins I suppose, but even so. Enter Christopher Fielden, champion of short story writers, instigator and custodian of his long-loved ‘To Hull and Back’ humorous short story competition.

    Deriving persistent, pernicious and pant-wetting mirth from Death, not known for his killing jokes, might be considered a life-sucking torment, but then Christopher is no mere mortal. In Alternative Afterlives Volume One he holds our hand and gives us fourteen varied and ingenious tales of craft, guile and imagination to knock such thoughts into a cocked coffin. Who ever said Death was mawkish or dull? With titles such as ‘The Ninja Zombie Knitting Circle’ and ‘The Keith of Death’ you know there will be more than enough laughs coming to raise the dead. But don’t think Christopher allows Death to be predictable. The astounding range of scenarios, twists and unlikely appearances bring Death to life, enough for you to see him in a new light with full of appreciation for Christopher’s creative thought process and ability to entertain while remaining slightly concerned for his sanity.

    But don’t take my word for it. The list of competition wins and magazine publications of these stories shows a remarkable and worthy achievement.

    So, lock yourself in a nearby mausoleum with this book, pour yourself a glass of ‘Panty Peeler’, eat some brains or suck on an eyeball and delight in Death.

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