Review: Million-Story City: The Undiscovered Writings of Marcus Preece

Monday, February 22, 2021

Title: Million-Story City: The Undiscovered Writings of Marcus Preece
Author: Marcus Preece, Edited by Malu Halasa and Aura Saxen
Genre: Anthology
Price: £10.99

Publication Date: 12/02/2021

When the filmmaker, teacher and editor Marcus Preece died in 2017, he left behind incomplete notes and drafts for dozens of short stories, screenplays, comic strips, poems and music journalism. He was also in the process of writing an inter-connective short story collection 'Adventures in Million-Story City' from which this collected works, edited by his friend, author Malu Halasa, takes its name.

Hello lovelies! Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you my review of Marcus Preece's posthumous anthology 'Million-Story City' as part of a blog tour. I have to say it has been a great honour to read such brilliant writing; it is truly one of the best anthologies I have read in my life. Massive thanks to Kelly Pike at Folk. and Paper+Ink for my gifted copy of the book.

The anthology starts off with an essay describing Preece returning to his birth town and home; the essay is personal and heart-warming and it's also a great introduction to Preece's great writing and descriptive imagery. There are various screenplays in the anthology: in 'Nightclub' you don't know what's real anymore. Are the characters awake or dreaming? 'Diary of a Madman' is bizarre yet brilliant and 'Here We Are Nowhere' is bound to teach you a lesson. The stand out screenplay is definitely 'Everybody's Happy Nowadays' - Preece managed to bring the characters to life on the page so it's easy to imagine how well the story would play out on screen.

Moving on, there is a number of short stories, the foundation for which is set by the story titled 'Million-Story City' which transports us to a city that is 'a living reality, distinct in a way that so many other cities no longer are; but it is also a dream'. What follows are stories of various characters living in Million-Story City, stories which are full of imaginative ideas and which showcase vivid imagery. The anthology also includes some of Preece's poetry - the poems are moving and emotional; one of the poems that really touched me was 'Black Bread'.

In addition, the anthology features some statement comics. The comics are of a genre I normally wouldn't read but I thoroughly enjoyed them. I absolutely loved the pop song references in 'The Moonheads', and 'Some Men and 'The Immigrants' are comics which are creative and original. If all of the above wasn't enough, the anthology also contains pub quizzes! Preece held regular Saturday-night quizzes at a bar in Hanoi which are fondly recalled in the collection by his friend. I quizzed myself but unfortunately I didn't get many answers right. The questions are certainly clever and the quizzes are a fun addition to the collection. The anthology also offers us a glimpse into Preece's music journalism and enables us to get to know his background and personality through his friends' reminiscences. 

'Million-Story City' is a definite 5 star anthology as it contains so many outstanding pieces of writing! Screenplays, fiction, poetry, quizzes, comics - what more would you want? Preece really is 'one of the most interesting writers you've never heard of'. It saddens me that I didn't know of his work previously but I'm glad that the editors compiled the anthology and the world is able to get a glimpse into Preece's brilliant mind.

Rating: 5 stars


About The Author

Marcus Preece was a British writer born in Australia in 1964. He grew up in East Grinstead and lived in Birmingham. He received an MA in scriptwriting from Leeds Beckett University's Northern Film School and wrote for Yorkshire TV and The BBC. Later, he became a certified teacher of English as a second language, and lived in Prague and Hanoi. He died in 2017.

Make sure to check out the other blog tour reviews of 'Million-Story City'!

You Might Also Like