News: TRUTH & DARE first review + interview

As if it’s not enough that Tilda Swinton touched TRUTH & DARE (I wasn’t there, it’s entirely thanks to Blackwells Manchester bookseller David Coates), it has also been touched by the greatness of two brilliant & tireless writers and critics. Get your Tilda-blessed copy of the book from Cipher Press.

Amelia Brown reviewed the book under the title “Endlessly Queer,” for the exceptionally-named t’ART magazine, writing:

Again and again, Mayer finds astonishing new ways to talk about, to investigate, to explode gender and sexuality on the page and the collection is conceptually astounding… Allow time to go in all the directions you are being sent and then to come back to where you started. This collection confirms Mayer as a brilliant writer, thinker and storyteller, and it is a book to keep revisiting across a lifetime.


And Mazin Saleem interviewed me for his substack Artless (part 1 & part 2), which is an inbox fave (check out this fantastic piece on Milan Kundera and storytelling fast and slow), and encouraged me to talk about my favourite subjects: speculative fiction (and why we’re living it), speculative punctuation (take a breath), non-binary God, and generally doing things differently while living difference in solidarity. There’s also a gorgeous review that says:

The stories in Truth & Dare are rich and dense with information… woven into the stories and relevant to them, and is always too fascinating to be superfluous. And its presentation is stylistically glad-ragged and decked-out – don’t expect the spare, ‘deceptively simple’ prose cliché here – without the stories ever becoming jazz-noodley.

This richness is most pronounced in Mayer’s language. You get the impression reading Truth & Dare there’s nothing they can’t write. From sensory detail as specific as it is palpable, like a swimmer’s “body that ripples with those arabesques of light that rise up from the gritty floor of the pool”, to the lyrical – “the skeletons of mist-mapped hedgerows” – to defamiliarising reversals like “coming into sleep”.

Plus I share the murder-wall method of constructing a short story collection… Read part 2 to learn more!

An A3 sheet of purple card with multicoloured index cards pinned to it. Each index card has the title of a story written on it in bold, and a few facts about that story. The cards are arranged haphazardly. There is a picture of undersea invertebrates beneath the cards.