THE ABSENCE OF WINGS by MARK STEWART #Short Stories #Animals @pendragonmist

The Absence of Wings by [Stewart, Mark]


“The Absence of Wings” is a collection of short stories intended to show the world through the eyes of some of the Earth’s most endangered and persecuted animals.

The collection is an ark of sorts, offering a literary refuge for creatures that may one day exist only in story books, fables and myths.

Here you will find, among other stories:

•A mariner snatched from the deck of his ship by a sea wraith

•The lament of a whale dragged onto the killing deck of a harpoon ship

•A caged polar bear whose only taste of freedom comes from a racial memory of the arctic tundra

•A shark that can swim into the sleeping minds of human beings

•And a dolphin whose only chance of returning to open water lies in the movement of the tides on one particular night of the year

These are stories that will change the way you look at the natural world.

“I’ve enjoyed and admired the stories of Mark Stewart that I have read: they strike me as fine bonsai pieces, strong in their structure and dense in their grain, full of surprising drama.”


This is a collection of very touching stories written in such a way as to deliver a shocking impact on the reader. Throughout the world and time man has been the cause of many animals becoming extinct mainly through fashion and greed. In this book author Mark Stewart becomes the voice of even more endangered species, their feelings fears and lack of understanding as to why humans can do this to them. It is very heart breaking and although a massive percentage of people will say it doesn’t mean me, I wouldn’t do that they are wrong because by standing back and doing nothing we are as guilty.

Unfortunately quite often in the past people were unaware of the cruelty that was inflicted on animals in order for them to have make up, trinkets and medicines. Mark Stewart is the animals representative in this book, their voice to plead and make a case for a chance to rebuild their numbers and not become just a distant memory to be  admired on the internet and in books as a thing in the past. When they are gone there is no coming back. These days there is no excuse of ignorance, we as humans have never had knowledge at out finger tips  like we do nowadays.

I thought that the way Mark Stewart set the book out and became the voice of the animals describing the conditions in which they were living and the life they had once had was very clever. It made me try to guess what the animal was. It made their plights more real rather than just describing the conditions.

I wish this author so much luck to get his message out there and just hope it isn’t too late. Knowing the consequences of our actions and that of others, and doing nothing about it makes us far from being intelligent creatures ourselves.



Mark Stewart

Mark Stewart was born in 1962 in London. He is the author of two collections of short stories: “The Screaming Planet” and “The Absence of Wings.”

The seven stories which comprise “The Screaming Planet” are available online here:

He also co-authored and co-edited the biography “Arthur C. Clarke – A Life Remembered.”

In 2014 he won the Sir Patrick Moore Medal for services to the British Interplanetary Society where he founded and edited the e-magazine, “Odyssey”, for two and a half years.

His articles and essays have been published in “Spaceflight”, “Astronomy Now”, “Foundation” magazine, and the journal of the British Astronomical Association.

He now lives in the Surrey hills; members of his non-human family include rabbits, horses, foxes and hedgehogs.

“I’ve enjoyed and admired the stories of Mark Stewart that I have read: they strike me as fine bonsai pieces, strong in their structure and dense in their grain, full of surprising drama.”
Robert Macfarlane
(Author of “The Wild Places”, and “Landmarks”)

“The Infinitesimals” – “A curious, interesting, strange, raging and intense story. I liked particularly the notion of reflection and connection between the miniscule and the galactic, and the sense that even the most mundane or ‘common’ things can reflect far more than we may realise.”
Rob Cowen
(Author of “Common Ground”)

“Mark Stewart looks at the world and our place in it from unusual standpoints. His deeply moving stories, at once poetic and analytic, take the reader on a reflective journey through space and time, making us step back from the world we think we know and see it afresh through the unclouded eyes of an outsider. He writes beautifully and elegiacally, in wonder at what we humans have been given by nature, and in sorrow for how recklessly we gamble our fragile inheritance.”
Ronald Wright
(Author of “A Scientific Romance” and “A Short History of Progress”)

“The Dreaming Spires” – “To be truthful, I found it almost impossible to read, it is so poignant.”
Sir David Attenborough


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