Archive for October, 2011

Roll on November

Posted: October 18, 2011 in Fiction, Journalism
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Ah, so long since my fingers trod the type keys of these digital halls. Again. Why? Work, that’s why. After whipping my creative horses into a frothy lather to complete Champion of Mars by its deadline,  I’m currently engaged in creating another Mantic Journal and writing a couple of features for SFX.  November will be a calmer period for me, just a Black Library novel to work on, and I have proper blogging plans for then. Today I bring you simply this Reality 36 review from a nice lady called Kate. She liked it. Hooray!


As promised a few days ago, here is a sample of Champion of Mars. I throw it onto your tender mercies at no charge.

Perhaps a little background to the book is in order. Although Champion of Mars is coming out from Solaris, it is set in the same universe as Reality 36. One third of the book is set in 2107, 22 years before the events of Reality 36, at a time when AIs are still commodities to be owned, the Five Crisis is still a raw memory, and the Class Seven has yet to be built. Click on the image to the left for the publisher’s lowdown on the story. You certainly do not need to read Reality 36 to enjoy Champion of Mars. There are none of the same characters in it, and it’s set on a different planet. But if you did read and enjoy Reality 36, there’s some special treats in here for you, including a little more information on the Five Crisis, and some other things that I will keep to myself for now.

The story has a somewhat unusual structure, as it begins as two stories – one set in the near future, the other in the far future – bridged by a series of short stories. What relevance the shorts have on the main plots will become clear as you read the book (at least, I fervently bloody hope so, or I’ve stuffed it up), but the idea is to  give you a rich reading experience covering tens of thousands of years of future Martian history.

As you can guess, the book is inspired to a degree by Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. Other ingredients in the stew are HP Lovercraft, William Hope Hodgson, H Rider Haggard, and of course, Michael Moorcock, whose work stands over mine like the Colossus of Rhodes. There’s no escaping that.

There’s a lot I want to say about this story, but perhaps we’ll save that for nearer the release date, which is, incidentally, 10th May 2012.

As a taster, here are the first two chapters as a simple word file. Fittingly, the first introduces the titular Champion, Yoechakenon Val Mora and his lover the spirit Kaibeli. In the second you will meet Dr John Holland, an exobiologist on the run from his past, and our hero in the near future segments.

Please bear in mind that as I post these chapters I am still writing the book (indeed, I have yet to write the finale). I have redrafted these chapters four times now, but there’ll doubtless be another pass. Furthermore, as yet they’ve had no editorial input, and no proofing. This means any errors are mine and mine alone, but also that, putting it concisely, the finished product may differ from that seen at this early outing.

Anyway, please let me know what you think! There are comment boards and everything here. Use them with abandon.

Champion of Mars free sample.

Coming soon…

Posted: October 6, 2011 in Fiction, Random wifflings

Good evening. Nothing up here for a week or so, please excuse me, as I am working like the clappers to finish off Champion of Mars. When it’s done I’ll be putting up a cover to the left there, which you’ll be able to click on to get the usual stuff. This will include a free sample and an explanation of what it’s all about. If I get time, that’ll be this weekend. Come November, I’ve set aside some time to get a load more interviews – including some big names – and reviews up here from my magazine journo alter ego, so expect much more lovely content soon(ish).

This week I’ve seen some cool thumbnails for Omega Point, and some frankly astounding artwork for the front of Baneblade, sadly neither of which I can show you yet. (Any Imperial Guard/40k/Black Library fans out there, there will be a release date for Baneblade eventually. I know roughly when it will be, but I can say no more. The Emperor protects, except when he’s executing loose-lipped authors. You understand).

In other news, I attended the Gollancz 50th Anniversary party last Thursday. Lots of fun, had a great time with the likes of Alaistair Reynolds, Paul Cornell, Graham Joyce and lots of other old pals. My sympathies go out to Paul, who had some sad news this week. Check his own website and twitter feed for his own words on this.

Happier tidings are that John Whitbourn emailed me to tell me he has started writing again. If you’ve not heard of John, he released several great books in the 90s, including A Dangerous Energy (1991) for which he won the BBC and Gollancz first fantasy novel award, and which remains one of my all-time favourite fantasy books. Other greats include The Royal Changeling, and The Downslord trilogy. He’s had a long hiatus from the tyranny of the typewriter for personal reasons, but now he’s back. One of his first acts is to reissue his Binscombe Tales. These four books of short stories are set in the area he grew up in, and where his family has deep, deep (and I mean millenia-long) roots.

The stories are weird and wonderful, ranging from Simon Clarke-esque horror (another good writer with a strong regional bent) to gentle rural whimsy. All are cropped from the field of the fantastical. Someone else described them as the Twilight Zone of England, and I can’t do better than that. These are so positively English it makes me feel I am exploring a strange and alien land (which I am, because I’m from the North). Check them out here. The links on the site lead to the US Amazon, but if you are a Brit like me, go here to buy them. Still visit the first link though, as there is plenty of information about John. Go here also. The pages might be a bit, well, green, but you’ll find plenty about his work there.

Lastly, I am honoured to report that Angry Robot chose Reality 36 to be one of their first pair of audio books, along with Moxyland by some lady called Lauren Beukes? Anyone know her? I think she’s a friend of Arthur or something. Anyway, both are out today! Click this out for more details.

Thank you for your attention. Blog over.