Archive for June, 2013


Good day. On the site today are a number of Death Ray 17 pieces from early 2009, including:

An interview with Neal Asher, an author whose books I enjoy immensely, and whose career I helped, apparently, by publishing a very positive review of his small-press book The Engineer way back in my earliest of early SFX days. The interview, originally published in Death Ray alongside one of his short stories, has been digified and linkificated, so you can find you way to reviews of three of his books on this site too.

One of those reviews is freshly wordpressed today, The Gabble, a collection of short stories.

And finally, a short review of a DVD of Jeff Wayne’s superlative The War of the Worlds.


Crash (cutdown)

Attention, attention! My latest book, Crash is out today from Solaris. I’d be very grateful if you’d go and buy it. I could write something more subtle, coy even, but that’s what I’d really like, and we all know it, so why pretend?

But this is no one way street, no! Otherwise I’d be begging for your money simply by pan-handling, and you’d get nothing but a fleeting sense of alleviated post-Christian guilt by dropping pennies in my pot

Buy this book, and you get a… Hmm. I won’t make any claims as to its quality, I have to have some modesty, and the reviews aren’t in yet. Let’s leave it at a hard-SF novel of interstellar colonisation gone wrong.

Here’s the blurb, this is the best I’ve had yet on a book; it really encapsulates the story, so thank you Solaris.

Dariusz is an engineer whose career ended years ago; now, a man he’s never met sits in a bar that doesn’t exist and offers him a fresh start… at a price.

Cassandra —  ‘Sand,’ to her friends — is a space pilot, who itches to get her hands on the controls and actually fly a ship, rather than watch computers do it for her.

The ‘Pointers’ — the elite 0.01% who control virtually all wealth — have seen the limitations of a plundered Earth and set their eyes on the stars.

And now Dariusz and Sand, and a half-million ambitious men and women just like them, are sent out to extend the Pointers’ and the Market’s influence across the galaxy. But the colony fleet is sabotaged and the ESS Adam Mickiewicz crashes, on an alien planet where one hemisphere is seared by perpetual daylight and the other shrouded in eternal night. The castaways have the chance to create society from scratch… but the hostile planet — or their own leaders — may destroy them before they can even begin.

Here’s a link to the US Amazon page, and the UK Amazon page.

Funnily enough, I’m reading Proxima for review by Stephen Baxter at the moment. I say funnily enough as his book covers many of the same issues mine does. We both must have been inspired, I think, by relatively recent speculation on possibly tidally locked habitable exoplanets. Both of us also posit a degraded Earth, but environmental gloom is par for the course in modern SF.

In many respects Proxima is different to Crash, Baxter is inclined more to the Arthur C Clarke school of SF than I, but in some parts it’s strikingly similar. The covers are similar, and we both even have characters named Yuri. Here’s the blurb for his book:

The very far future: The Galaxy is a drifting wreck of black holes, neutron stars, chill white dwarfs. The age of star formation is long past. Yet there is life here, feeding off the energies of the stellar remnants, and there is mind, a tremendous Galaxy-spanning intelligence each of whose thoughts lasts a hundred thousand years. And this mind cradles memories of a long-gone age when a more compact universe was full of light…

The 27th century: Proxima Centauri, an undistinguished red dwarf star, is the nearest star to our sun — and (in this fiction), the nearest to host a world, Proxima IV, habitable by humans. But Proxima IV is unlike Earth in many ways. Huddling close to the warmth, orbiting in weeks, it keeps one face to its parent star at all times. The ‘substellar point’, with the star forever overhead, is a blasted desert, and the ‘antistellar point’ on the far side is under an ice cap in perpetual darkness. How would it be to live on such a world?

Needle ships fall from Proxima IV’s sky. Yuri Jones, with 1000 others, is about to find out…

PROXIMA tells the amazing tale of how we colonise a harsh new Eden, and the secret we find there that will change our role in the Universe for ever.

Why not check them both out?

Oh, and before I forget, my latest Black Library Warhammer novel Skarsnik came out in the UK on Saturday. Here’s the link for UK Amazon.  It’ll be out in the States on July 16th.


I’ve a few things to share today, so I’m going to link up, and you may click if you wish.

ENGAGING LINK-A-TRONIC (there are far fewer big buttons connected to crackling devices than I expected in the future. This is in some ways a shame, but then I don’t need an underground base full of minions to post this blog, which I would have had the sixties vision of now come to pass. I’d be wearing a jumpsuit too. I’m not, by the way. Really not).

I appear magically on two blogs at the same time today, like some kind of cyber-wizard, banging the drum for Crash, my latest original SF novel. Behold! Words on the eminent Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds, and on the very lovely SF Signal. I tried to make each one sufficiently different from each other so that, should you choose to read the pair, you won’t get bored (guarantees not guaranteed). There’s stuff about writing there in fair amount if that’s your thing, as well as the lowdown on the book —  in brief: spaceships, colonies, crashes and weird alien ecosystems ahoy.

The pieces are there because Crash is out next week. But, just hang on a minute, what’s this? Skarsnik is out today? [Rushes off to check] My lord, so it is. 90% of the time, I have no idea what’s going on. I’m confusticated by the labours of fatherhood. Seriously, small children steal your power. It’s how they go from tiny to big. I willingly give up the last shreds of my youth to feed the growth of my boy, though.

No matter how much you love your offspring, you need the old batteries recharging from time to time. I’m getting a break from my highly energetic son this weekend, as I’m off to Dublin for The Black Library Live. My travels begin this very eve. I hope to see some of you there to talk about big tanks, and goblins, and other Warhammer-y things.

And oh yes, there will be Guinness…


Three more! I seem to be doing this in threes. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or a bad one. If I add one piece to this blog, it takes me so little time I always feel I should do more. If I get to three, it takes so much time it puts me off doing it regularly, but two is a nowhere number. What’s a brace of reviews in the infinite gabbletude of the internet? Three has mythic power.

This is all work avoidance, you understand.

Up fresh today, all from early 2009’s Death Ray 17:

The Taint and Other Novellas, by Brian Lumley. A collection of Cthulhu-mythos terror tales.

Joe Ahearne’s Apparitions, where a good priest tackles the Church and the devil.

And Sam Raimi’s pretty poor Legend of the Seeker, an early attempt of epic fantasy at conquering TV, failing where Game of Thrones would one day succeed.


I’ve been busy. Grim dark futures (where there is only war) and coffee table books dominate my life at the moment, so I’ve not put any archive posts up for a few weeks. But I must soldier on! Soon I will be cutting and pasting my bits of Death Ray 17 onto this very blog, after which there are only four issues to go before I’m done. Admittedly, there are sundry other pieces from earlier issues — like interviews with Terry Pratchett and Raymond E Feist — to commit to an eternity upon the web. Yeah, I’m sure you’re interested in those, but they’re massive and so take ages to format, that’s why they’re still in a folder on my hard drive. I promise I’ll get around to it. And don’t worry if you’ve a thing for my incisive commentary on ancient SF obscurities, once Death Ray is exhausted I’ve three years worth of SFX reviews, interviews and features to get on with.

Today we have:

A review of the beautiful but tedious live-action version of Mushishi.

Wildly crap Billy Zane SF-thriller Memory.

Top YA author Darren Shan’s adult horror novel Procession of the Dead.

A book on horror films called Horror Films.

And an interview with the lovely Jonathan Walker, who played Rankol in the SciFi Channel’s not-so-lovely 2007 version of Flash Gordon.


A couple of weeks ago I did an interview with Geoff and Carl at the wargaming podcast The Independent Characters. It was heaps of fun, and went up on the net earlier this week. I talk mostly about Baneblade, but within that cover my work process, what it’s like writing for The Black Library, where my ideas come from and other writing-craft related topics. Be aware, there are spoilers.