Archive for December, 2015

Interview with GUY HALEY

Posted: December 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

Here’s an interview with me, over at Civilian Reader, about my upcoming book, The Emperor’s Railroad, The Beast Arises, and writing stuff in general.

Source: Interview with GUY HALEY


Cthulhu calling

Posted: December 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

Cthulhu.jpgHey, I have news with tentacles. If you enjoy nihilistic cosmic horror as much as the next bipedal entity (and who doesn’t like being reminded they are an insignificant speck of barely something, at the mercy of a hostile universe?) then listen up.

Jonathan Green, gamebook expert, feted editor, and author of the Pax Britannica series, has a new anthology planned, and I’m in it! Called Shakespeare versus Cthulhu, it will feature a range of Cthulhu mythos stories inspired by Shakespeare’s plays or during his lifetime. Jon explains it all so much better, so follow this link to the Kickstarter page to read his wise words.

I finally got round to playing Age of Sigmar a week ago, and I loved it. I’m going to write a post about why it is a such a good game later. In the meantime, here are some pictures I was sent by folks on Twitter and Facebook when I asked what colour schemes they chose for their Stormcast Eternals, because, ya know, I was looking for cool ideas to pinch! I said I’d put ’em on my blog, so here they are, and very nice they look too.

If you’ve got a Stormcast Eternals paintjob you want to share, send it to me via the comments, on Twitter or my Facebook page. If I get enough, I’ll collect them here again.



This one’s by James Bragg who works at Warhammer World. He went for a battle-scarred look. I really like that, so may dirty up my own too. Follow James on @JamesBragg1984


John French SCE

John French (THE John French, of Ahriman and Heresy fame) devised his own colour scheme – The Stormhost of the Last Oath. @johshfrench


JPipin SCE

This one’s from @Jipin, who I may know offline, or I may not. That’s the problem with Twitter when people don’t use their real names! Anyway, he’s chosen turquoise as a spot colour to link his Forces of Order, as on the shoulder pads of this Knight-Venator (awesome model, I have to get one).



Graeme Lyon, fellow writer and one-time Black Library editor, has elected to join the Celestial Vindicators, because “they’re green and angry”. @graeme_lyon


WitchHunterSCE (2)

An Iron Warriors inspired Stormcast, by @witchhunterrecs



Clint Mallet reckons his bone-coloured work in progress isn’t fit for the blog, but I disagree. Nice contrast. @kluncau



Finally, James Karch’s stunning Astral Templars Knight-Vexillor. James is a big cheese at Warhammer World. All those fancy displays there? His job. Great looking model. No twitter handle here, as this one came via my Facebook page feed.


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From SFX #240.


Author: Christopher Priestley

Publisher: Bloomsbury

213 pages

Rime reloaded

Christopher Priestley brings us more nautical chills with this retelling of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner – you know the one: Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s big poem, water, water everywhere, dead albatrosses, cursed sailors. That one.

We’ve plenty of time for Priestley, his horror stories are spooky in the manner of MR James. That they’re for kids is frankly irrelevant, they give us the willies too. His other gift – for crisp, uncluttered writing – is marvellously utilised to render Coleridge’s poem as prose. A new young protagonist gives us our viewpoint (he’s in one line in the poem), a fresh ending provides salvation, and much atmosphere is spun from Coleridge’s words along the way. It’s beautifully told, but for all that not as scary as some of Priestley’s other stories.

Did you know?

Coleridge – who was a philosopher as well as a poet – came up with the oft-used phrase “suspension of disbelief.”

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You may have spotted a flurry of book reviews recently on this here blog. I’ve a couple more pieces from Death Ray to put up, but they’re tricky things to transfer over and I wish to wallow in nostalgia when I’m done. I’m not ready for that, and neither are you, so I’ve moved on to my store of reviews done from 2005 onwards for other folks. In tandem with this effusion of criticism, I’m sticking all my reviews from here onto Goodreads. You know, if I were rich and famous and all that Barbara Cartland stuff then I’d pay someone to do this, but I can’t afford any more staff, and the dog can’t type. (The dog is the staff. He’s pretty rubbish at anything except being a dog, actually. Don’t hire a dog to do a man’s work. That’s good advice, heed it).

This latest review is of Adam Roberts’ tribute to Jules Verne, Twenty Trillion Leagues Under The Sea. I love Roberts, like properly, as a man, I mean, he has a manly beard and twinkly eyes and speaks French. He also writes awesome books, and is finally getting recognition for doing so. I have his latest, The Thing Itself to read over Christmas and I am very much looking forward to that. Not quite as much as I anticipate the new Star Wars, but it’s a close run thing. Anyway, on with this. (more…)

From SFX #240.


Author: Stephen Baxter

Publisher: Gollancz

485 pages

Per Ardua Ad Astra

A book about a risky colony mission to a tidally locked planet. No, we’re not talking about Crash (by some bloke called Guy Haley), but Proxima, Stephen Baxter’s latest. Inspired by the same bit of science as Crash – the discovery of  exoplanets all over the galaxy – it’s fascinating to see another writer’s take on similar subject matter.

Protagonist Yuri is an out-of-time remnant of “The Heroic Generation”, whose energy intensive geo-engineering efforts to sort out global warming caused more problems than it solved. Popped into cryo-stasis by parents hoping for a better future, he wakes up into a world that resents him for his association with the disastrous past. He’s not treated well, and that includes being shipped off on the dodgy, bare-bones colony effort to the Alpha Centauri multiple star system. His struggle to remain alive, and the mysteries he uncovers on the way, form one of the novel’s two major strands. The other strand takes place in the Solar System, where the cold war between the expansionist Chinese Empire and the constituent countries of the United Nations is hotting up. Alien artefacts have been discovered on Mercury, and the UN isn’t sharing.

It’s not often you can agree with the hyperbole on the back of a book, but calling Baxter Arthur C. Clarke’s natural successor is bang on the money. Clarkian tropes such as mysterious extra-terrestrial leavings, deep time and the sinister majesty of the cosmos are greatly in evidence here. Baxter takes a worthwhile chunk of time detailing a fascinating planetary ecology for “Per Ardua” as the colonists end up calling their world. This is ingeniously alien, and includes a banded series of biospheres. Rather than possessing cells like Earth life, the creatures of Per Ardua are made of much larger, interchangeable “stems” with the result that they behave somewhat like predatory Lego, brutally disassembling one another and using the parts to create their own young. The depth and ingenuity of this part of the tale has one thinking of Clarke’s efforts in Rendezvous With Rama. Similarly well set out are Baxter’s various modes of space travel, which include a multi-year colony mission, a one man cosmic dash, and an interesting take on interstellar sailing, where the vessel contains tens of thousands of disposable sails, each invested with its own consciousness.

Baxter’s specialty is hard hard SF (and he’s very good at it). The flipside of this is that we’ve occasionally found his characters remote, and although those in Proxima are mostly well rounded, there is a fair bit of “as you know, Bob,” expository dialogue towards the beginning of the novel; the Australian billionaire Sir Michael King being particularly guilty of this. Having said that, this is only Baxter’s solution to a particular problem in writing hard SF – how do you convey to the reader the science and history of your future era? There are other solutions, all equally as flawed. This is simply the one Baxter favours, it’s just not our preference.

Despite the Baxter’s hard SF bias, he’s always been invested in the human side of things, and a large part of Proxima is concerned with stresses climate change will place on geopolitics, the ethics of artificial intelligence, and the flexible morality people require to survive in difficult circumstances.

There’s a lot more in Proxima besides – alternate realities, wormholes, Teilhardian galactic consciousnesses, and a couple of mysteries set up for the next book on both human and cosmological scales. That’s right, this is number one of two, but we’re sufficiently hooked to come back for more. Classic Baxter.

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