Posts Tagged ‘Champion of Mars’


American author Zachary Jernigan wrote that headline to go with this article on Staffer’s Book Review, Justin Landon’s excellent site. To my extreme satisfaction, it’s about Champion of Mars (warning: if you read the article, there are spoilers).

In this game you can get a little down. Books sales are low. You do your bit and nobody cares >sob<. In his piece, Zachary makes a good point about the way so many books sink without trace. It’s a crowded market, after all. Books that don’t get a lot of marketing/ get really lucky/ capture the zeitgeist somehow disappear all too easily.

I won’t lie and say it’s all about the art. Sure, I’d love people to buy my books by the bazillion so I can get myself that motor yacht I never wanted (warning 2: writing is not a get rich scheme. The number of people who can be Stephen King is limited to Stephen King). But although it’s not all about the art, it mostly is.

I write because I’m a show off, I suppose – meet me in the pub some time when I’m three pints down and you’ll see exactly what I mean. All creative types (I feel I can, you know, legitimately call myself that now) are show offs. I decided to write as, among other things, it seemed to be a way to put on a performance without having to face the audience (I decided on this career before the internet, okay?), because I could be also have been described as the tiniest bit cowardly – certainly not brave enough to do stand-up (at least I wasn’t), which is what I dreamed about doing when I was a teen.

Anyway, times have changed. The internet means you face your audience no matter where you try to hide, indeed, as authors now bear the greater part of the burden in marketing their books, you absolutely have to. I’m older and wiser, and yes, braver. Brave enough now to perform without a filter. But that’s not the point. I digress. I’m big on digressions. There was one time when…

Sorry. The point is, all writers write because they want their writing to be read. Even more than that, they want their books to be got. I’m sure Champion of Mars, with its tricksy structure, unashamed retro styling and gleeful mixing of SF and fantasy isn’t for everyone, but it was for Zachary. He got it. He loved it. Because he decided to tell us all why, I got to know. And to know that your work has clicked with someone, well… That’s what it’s all about.

Although I’m still holding out for the boat.


Hey chaps, I noticed yesterday that the kindle version of Champion of Mars is available for a mere £3.08 on UK Amazon, and $4.77 on US Amazon. Obviously I’d recommend it, as it’s my book, but the price really is low right now, so if you fancy something a little bit different for your Bank Holiday weekend read (okay, holidays in the UK only, but you know), then check it out. Not convinced yet? Here’s a reminder of what the Guardian said about it.

Maybe one more reminder of this tomorrow, then I promise I’ll go back to standing aloof from the grubby business of commerce, like a proper author should. That’s what it says I should do in my artistes’ handbook anyway, but I might be wrong. It’s stained with absinthe, cigarillo burns and something else that looks really icky, and is written in French.


Not blogged for a while, sorry folks. Been writing see? Lots of lovely words. Okay, there has been some wandering around the wintry landscape with my improbable dog, and some whisky, and some painting of Orks… But mostly, hard, hard grafting. Today, something happened to push all my ego buttons and send me back here. Being all puffed up like, I figured I’d share.

A few weeks ago, Damien G Walter launched his annual Scifi Hunt, where he throws out an invitation to authors and independent publishers to submit their work for examination on his Guardian column. He had 800 submissions this year, and chose five of them.  Champion of Mars was among them! Here’s what he had to say:

Guy Haley’s Champion of Mars celebrates all that is best in the pulp tradition of SF and fantasy. A clear homage to the Barsoom novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs (poorly adapted to film last year as the confused John Carter), there’s also a strong flavour of British “space opera” in Champion of Mars, with flourishes of Iain M Banks and Michael Moorcock. Guy Haley interweaves two timelines, one a near-future Hard SF narrative, the other a far-future planetary romance, both focused on the looming red presence of Mars. Simply put, Guy Haley is a very good writer, with an infectious love for sci-fi that shines off every page of his pulp-inspired prose. If there is one author in this list who might write a Game of Thrones-scale hit in future, it’s Haley.

Go right here to see Damien’s other four picks: The Vorrh, by Brian Catling; The Theatre of Curious Acts, by Cate Gardner; Adrift on the Sea of Rains by Ian Sales; and his favourite, A Pretty Mouth, by Molly Tanzer.

Much respect is due to Damien for, firstly, doing this in the first place —there’s precious little publicity for indie authors, and every good word counts — and secondly, wading through his forty-score submissions.


Seasons greetings all!

Yep, snow is falling on my blog. It looks like dandruff, but it is supposed to be snow. That means Christmas approaches, and so do many deadlines… Ulp.

But I’ve been so remiss in not blogging, so here’s a short message.

For your delectation today, I have three marvellous pieces of news. First, here’s the cover of The Crash, my second book for Solaris, out next June:

Crash

It’s a work in progress right now, but it’s nearly done, I think. For a description of the book, see my previous post.

Another announcement – I’ve been fortunate enough to have been asked to write a short story for the Black Library’s advent calendar this year! I can’t tell you what it is about, because it’s Christmas and Christmas is all about surprises, but I can tell you that it will be available on 17th December. Click on the link to find out more.

Lastly, if you go here to Whatever, John Scalzi’s blog, you can see me dance like a monkey on an electric wire (figuratively speaking), trying to get people to consider  Reality 36, Omega Point, and Champion of Mars as Christmas presents. You mean you hadn’t thought of that yourself? Then think about it. It’s a great idea. Really.

Ahem, I should mention that Mr Scalzi has thrown open his blog to all authors,  other books are available, and indeed, there are many other writers in the thread talking about their own books, many of which sound pretty damn fine.

If you’re a writer yourself, I heartily advise taking advantage of Scalzi’s generosity and join in the festive PR frenzy.

Later this week, I’ll be posting the cover for my next 40k book, The Death of Integrity.  Till then, stay frosty, it’s cold enough to do so, even if it is unfashionable to say so (at least it’s not raining any more here in England. And it has been raining ALL YEAR).


Last week, some of you might have seen an announcement from Solaris concerning my second book to be published by them. This is another of the projects I’ve been alluding to on this blog and Twitter over the last few months, but have not been able to speak about. Typically, the news broke when I was eyeball deep in anime moppets and monsters, editing SFX‘s anime special edition. I still am, in fact, editing the magazine, but I’ve a few fleeting minutes to blog about the book now and tell you a little more about it.

First up, here’s what Jonathan Oliver had to say at the Solaris website and When Gravity Fails, their editor’s blog

Unalloyed greed, markets dictating the will of humanity – when The Crash comes, nothing will be left standing.

In a topical science-fiction take on the world’s current economic woes, breakthrough author Guy Haley envisages a society in utter thrall to commerce, which must constantly expand to sustain itself. When a mission to the stars begins to go wrong, the fragility of human society and progress is exposed.

The Crash is due for release in July 2013, it is Haley’s second book for Solaris.

His first, Champion of Mars, was released in May this year and was described by SF legend Stephen Baxter as “a novel with an ambition on the scale of Olympus Mons itself, and it delivers. Recommended.

“Guy Haley’s SF invokes in me the same excitement I had when reading Ray Bradbury, Robert Silverberg and Arthur C. Clarke’s works for the first time,” said Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Solaris. “His fiction is packed full of ideas while maintaining a very human voice. Haley’s work is complex, exciting and vastly entertaining and I’m delighted to welcome him back to the Solaris fold.”

The Market rules all, plotting the rise and fall of fortunes without human intervention. Mankind, trapped by a rigid hierarchy of wealth, bends to its every whim. To function, the Market must expand without end. The Earth is finite, and cannot hold it, and so a bold venture to the stars is begun, offering a rare chance at freedom to a select few people.

But when the colony fleet is sabotaged, a small group finds itself marooned upon the tidally locked world of Nychthemeron, a world where one hemisphere is bathed in perpetual daylight, the other hidden by eternal night. Isolated and beset, the stricken colony members must fight for survival on the hostile planet, while secrets about both the nature of their shipwreck and Nychthemeron itself threaten to tear their fragile society apart.

I have a big old thing for colony SF. I enjoy following bands of plucky frontier types struggling to survive on alien worlds, and I absolutely love colony ship gone wrong scenarios. The tougher the odds the better. In this loose category I’d include the Deathworld Trilogy by Harry Harrison, Grass by Sheri Tepper, some of Neal Asher’s books, Non-stop by Brian Aldiss, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, the Colsec trilogy by Douglas Hill (ah, good old Douglas Hill), Aliens, Avatar (still not seen it thought), Aliens, Pandorum, Red Fang by Philip Palmer… You get the idea, there are loads more. I looked at the theme of man’s expansion into space a little in Champion of Mars, but this is more of a BIG SF take on the concept – weird alien life, interstellar travel, exotic worlds, the works.

The Crash is ostensibly a standalone novel, and naturally a part of it will deal with the way I fear Earth might be heading – overpopulated, environmentally degraded, impoverished, with a small, new aristocracy who are fabulous wealthy, and the rest of us struggling to survive.

It’s also inspired by this famous quote by Kenneth Boulding: “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” And by the concept of “Spaceship Earth.”

However, don’t expect hundreds of pages setting out what I think is wrong with modern capitalism. Most of the story is about the fight to stay alive on an alien planet with limited resources. Ultimately, I want to develop a space opera series set in this universe, charting a future history where scattered groups of human beings shipwrecked on numerous worlds take differing routes to survive, and how the very diverse range of cultures these circumstances create eventually come into contact – and conflict – with one another. All very exciting, but I need to finish the first one before all that.

What’s your favourite colony story? Let me know!


At last! I can tell you about some of the very exciting things that I know about and that you don’t, or rather didn’t know until now!

Today I can finally reveal not one, but two of my Black Library novels. In case the picture above doesn’t give it away, one is Skarsnik, about the infamous night goblin warlord.

I’m a big Warhammer fan, as you might know. I started playing in 1984 with the first edition of the fantasy game. That’s right, when there was none of this new fangled Warhammer 40,000 business and Toughness values were represented by letters. I was 11. I’m now 39, so I’ve been playing for 28 years. And I still play. I love it. (Playing for so long puts on odd perspective on things – I bought myself a little birthday gift on Wednesday, a box of plastic bikers for my 40k ork army. I’ve wanted these for ages. To me they are “new models”. They came out five years ago).

I’ve always been a massive greenskin fan, leading orcs and goblins since day one. For years they lost, but the last half decade has been kind to my green minions and they now win more often than not. It helps that Skarsnik himself is my army general. Want to see my army list? Here it is.

Skarsnik’s Stabbas

(I date all my army lists when I draw them up. This is the most recent variation on Skarsnik’s army, but it really doesn’t change that much. The last game I played with this was 7/5/2012. It represents but a small proportion of my greater goblin horde. No, I don’t have any orcs in my army, although I have Ruglud’s Armoured Orcs prepped for painting because they are very cool. Other orcs can go feed my squigs. Literally).

Naturally I was well up for it when Nick Kyme at The Black Library suggested I write a novel about Skarsnik. Nick worked for me when I edited White Dwarf magazine, now I kind of work for him. A strange reversal, but a fruitful one. Our earlier association means he knows full well how much I like my goblins.

I’ve put up a page on Skarsnik here with a brief breakdown of the plot, so I won’t repeat myself, but I will tell you some of what I am trying to do with the story. A lot of people see goblins as funny, comic relief characters (why, just check out The Black Library’s own blog post to see how prevalent this attitude is). Granted, they are funny, but they are also vicious, wicked, baby-eating horrors of the first degree. “Ooh! Look at the funny goblins”, gamers say. Yeah well, you wouldn’t want to be bound to spiky stick in a stinky cave with a lot of them standing around you. They’d have knives, and they’d be laughing. Not so funny now, are they?

Come to think of it, you probably don’t want to face mine on the battlefield either.

So, I wanted to capture both sides of this character. You’ll see how amusing and horrifying goblins are as we watch Skarsnik trick, wheedle and stab his way from sporeling to king of Karak Eight Peaks. For non-goblin fanatics there is plenty of skaven and dwarf action, with a little bit of the Empire thrown in. Truly, Skarsnik is a cornucopic fantasy delight.

Now to the other project. Sharp eyes might have seen this on Amazon. Yes, I’ve also written a Warhammer 40,000 novel called Baneblade. It’s about the tank of the same name. Although I wrote this book quite a while ago, and it is actually out some time before Skarsnik, the arcane nature of publishing dictates that I can say only that it’s about a young lieutenant of a noble house who joins a veteran baneblade crew. And that’s your lot.

By the Emperor, there’s more! I’m also writing another book for BL called [REDACTED] about the [REDACTED] and the [REDACTED] who must [REDACTED] before [REDACTED] and the [REDACTED] is [REDACTED]! I’ve not finished writing that yet but I’m having a lot of fun with it. More later when I am free to talk.

Of course, none of this is out for a while, so why not (blatant plug time! Please forgive me, I have to eat) check out my Richards & Klein books. A buddy-cop adventure series set in the 22nd century that pairs a dour, ex-military German cyborg with a wiseass super computer in a trenchcoat. Click here for more on both books, and free R&K short stories “The Nemesis Worm” and “Ghost”. You may also like Champion of Mars, an epic tale spanning millennia from the next century to the far, far future of the Red Planet.

There are further free short stories here on the site (of varying vintage, so perhaps not me at my best, but still interesting). There are some others you can buy if you wish at The Angry Robot Trading Company.

Right, you’ve been good and read my pleading for you to buy my books. In return, please feel free to ask me anything about anything – including these hot, newly announced BL titles – in the comments. Games, journalism, GW, Mantic, SFX, White Dwarf, whatever. I will answer what I am allowed to. Think of it as an interview by you, if you like.

If you’re into wargaming, you might want to follow me on this blog and/or on twitter, as there will be another announcement on the little toy men front soon. Plus there’s all the SF/Fantasy/Horror reviews, interviews, features and so forth you get regularly on this site. On twitter you might have to put up with a bunch of stuff about dogs, beer, social issues, the environment and children, but I do talk about gaming, SF and writing sometimes.

Thank you for your attention. Guy out.