The Earth Wire
Joel Lane

‘Powerfully realised visions of decay.’
Time Out


‘This was the area where he and I belonged, in transition between the city centre and the suburbs. It was an area made up of derelict buildings, factories, car parks, railway bridges, subways, canals. An area given back to whatever of nature could improvise a living there. An area whose chief landmarks were half-concealed places that had the feel of the past, but were too anonymous to count as history.’

Joel Lane (1963-2013) was one of the UK’s foremost writers of dark, unsettling fiction, in the tradition of Robert Aickman and M John Harrison. With a tight focus on the specifics of place – namely the post-industrial Black Country and his home city of Birmingham – he created a distinct form of British urban weird fiction, with a powerful eye for the darkness at the edge of our of cities.

His debut collection, The Earth Wire was first published in 1994 by Egerton Press and is reissued in paperback by Influx Press for the first time in over twenty-five years.

Love and death. Sex and despair. The Earth Wire is a thrilling, disturbing examination of the means and the cost of survival.


Praise for Joel Lane

‘Joel Lane draws us into an alarming world where the simple realities of his characters’ lives are liable to give way, at the turn of a page, to strange miracles and surreal horrors described in a language of almost visionary intensity.’
– Jonathan Coe, on The Earth Wire

‘Lane's writing is faultlessly immediate… there is a simple, unforced vividness and peeled-back clarity of perception.’
– The Guardian, on From Blue to Black

‘Traverses the urban and industrial wastelands of a forlorn UK – sometimes in a distant future, at other times in a vaguely present day or in an erstwhile, disremembered decade.’
– Entropy Magazine, on The Lost District

‘Bleak cityscapes dimmed by urban blight and human despair give rise to unique horrors in this virtuoso book of disturbing, cutting-edge tales.’
– Publishers Weekly, on The Lost District

About the Author


Joel Lane was the author of two novels, From Blue to Black and The Blue Mask; several short story collections, The Earth Wire, The Lost District, The Terrible Changes, Do Not Pass Go, Where Furnaces Burn, The Anniversary of Never and Scar City; a novella, The Witnesses Are Gone; and four volumes of poetry, The Edge of the ScreenTrouble in the Heartland, The Autumn Myth and Instinct. He edited three anthologies of short stories, Birmingham Noir (with Steve Bishop), Beneath the Ground and Never Again (with Allyson Bird). He won an Eric Gregory Award, two British Fantasy Awards and a World Fantasy Award. Born in Exeter in 1963, he lived most of his life in Birmingham, where he died in 2013.

Paperback ISBN: 9781910312575

Ebook ISBN: 9781910312582

Publication date: October 2020

Formats: Paperback / eBook