Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Quiet War by Paul McAuley

From the teeming cities of earth to the scrupulously realized landscapes of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, The Quiet War, an exotic, fast-paced space opera, turns on a single question: who decides what it means to be human?

Twenty-third century Earth, ravaged by climate change, looks backwards to the holy ideal of a pre-industrial Eden. Political power has been grabbed by a few powerful families and their green saints. Millions of people are imprisoned in teeming cities; millions more labour on Pharaonic projects to rebuild ruined ecosystems. On the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the Outers, descendants of refugees from Earth’s repressive regimes, have constructed a wild variety of self-sufficient cities and settlements: scientific utopias crammed with exuberant creations of the genetic arts; the last outposts of every kind of democratic tradition.

The fragile detente between the Outer cities and the dynasties of Earth is threatened by the ambitions of the rising generation of Outers, who want to break free of their cosy, inward-looking pocket paradises, colonise the rest of the Solar System, and drive human evolution in a hundred new directions. On Earth, many demand pre-emptive action against the Outers before it’s too late; others want to exploit the talents of their scientists and gene wizards. Amid campaigns for peace and reconciliation, political machinations, crude displays of military might, and espionage by cunningly wrought agents, the two branches of humanity edge towards war . . .

Courtesy of Pyr Books, you can have a peak at the first three chapters of The Quiet War by Paul McAuley, which was recently nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

You can find the excerpt HERE.

The Ten Thousand by Paul KearneyJames at Speculative Horizons, picked out some news revealing that Paul Kearney, author of The Ten Thousand, has signed with Solaris Books for two more books set in the same world as The Ten Thousand.

Jonathan Oliver, the commissioning editor for Solaris Books since it was acquired by Rebellion has confirmed a two book deal with Paul Kearney. The novels, entitled Corvus and Kings of Morning, are due for delivery in 2010 and early 2011 respectively and are set in the same universe as Paul’s successful The Ten Thousand, previously published by Solaris.

Paul’s agent, John Jarrold, was quoted as saying “The immediacy of Paul’s prose and characterisation always puts me in mind of David Gemmell, who I was lucky enough to publish in the mid-1990s…With The Ten Thousand he has created a world ripe for re-visiting. Can’t wait to read these books! And I’m very pleased to have concluded my first deal with Jon Oliver and the ‘new’ Solaris.”

I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Ten Thousand, but my experience with it made me curious to see more work from Kearney. It’s good to know he’s found a home again with Solaris Books.

Nicked from the Pyr Blog:

The Office of Shadows by Matthew Sturges

Here’s the cover for my next novel, The Office of Shadow, the sequel to Midwinter. It continues the story of the struggle between the Seelie Kingdom of Queen Titania and the Empire of Mab. It’s a story of high adventure and espionage in Faerie; if Midwinter was “The Dirty Dozen with elves,” then this is “The Sandbaggers with Elves.” That fellow on the cover is Silverdun, Mauritane’s stalwart companion from Midwinter, and the young lady with him is Sela, a new character with an extremely weird and troubled past.

I’m not sure about that title, but more nice art from Chris McGrath is always a good thing. I supposes I could do without the incredibly sultry look from that one fellow, though. It’s also nice to see Pyr keeping the style consistent with Sturges first book, Midwinter.

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Jesse Bullington, author of The Sad Tale of the Brothers GrossbartJesse Bullington may be unfamiliar to you now, but I have a feeling that the upcoming release of his first novel, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart might change that. Whisked from obscurity on the wings of Jeff Vandermeer, Bullington found a home for his unusual first novel with Orbit Books.

I recently caught up (digitally) with Bullington and we shot the proverbial shit for a few days. We covered swelling heads, gorgeous covers, rambling tangets about art and music, Jesse’s late-night mis-adventures, and even the origins of the word ‘Fuck’, in the form of Fucked In Fucking: A Mildly Morose Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, a piece of original Flash Fiction that marks A Dribble of Ink’s debut as a publishing imprint! As you can probably tell, the interview isn’t always for those feint of heart. For those looking for a good time… read on!

The Interview

Alright, let’s get the most obvious question out of the way. That curlicue mustache speaks volumes. What can it tell us of The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart?

   It can tell you that it was written by one obviously lacking in the constitution to wear a beard, in other words, a liar and a cad. That the mustache is curled into dandy whips signifies an especially disingenuous character, the man who wears such curls telling the world, “behold, I smile at all things at all times, and am therefore to be trusted,” when of course the opposite is true. A down-turned mustache would at least admit sorrow at being unable or unwilling to champion a beard, but the boorish upturn of the mustache in tandem with a naked chin indicates a contempt, indeed, a scorn, for an honest beard. The longer the beard the more honest the man, and the higher the mustache the more treacherous the wag. Those who value a fair and true account of men with beards had best seek their novels elsewhere—the mustache gives away the author’s bias, and crows “slanderous revisionist historian” as loud and as proud as a rooster atop a midden heap.

Wow! Now that’s an answer. The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart is being marketed as a Fantasy, but reading the summary, it sounds more like a fucked up Brothers Grimm-fairy-tale-cum-The Blues Brothers. What was your prerogative, when you set out to write The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart?

   Authors quibbling over genre classifications is something I try to steer away from—leaving aside how well I succeed at that—because a good story is a good story is a good story. The novel certainly has its share of the fantastic and may appeal to readers who, like me, grew up with a diet of fantasy that came from all the usual sources—fairy tales, books, movies, comics, roleplaying games, video games, etc., but it also reflects my long abiding interest in history and more obscure folklore. I wanted to incorporate as much of my interests into one project as possible, something with the humor of the medieval romances and Rabelais, the attention to the historical that I so love in the work of Calvino and Eco, the theological complexities of the medieval Church, the horrors of the age (be they real or imagined), the fantasy and adventure of my favorite folklore and fiction, and a gritty, almost hard-boiled approach to violence.

   I must confess to not necessarily having too strong a mission statement beyond wanting to write what I thought would be a good story, something that would appeal as much to my current sensibilities as it would to the teenage me, and to my friends past and present. That I was writing a story about enterprising, religious-minded young men seeking an “honest” reward in the Middle East at the time that my nation was doing what it was, and is, doing certainly played into it on one or two levels, but at its heart this novel is both an ode to and satire of the pulpy fantasy and adventure I so loved growing up, an attempt to give the old tropes another go with a slightly more realistic bent. Realistic being subjective, of course.
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Red Claw by Philip Palmer

Professor Richard Helms heads up a tight-knit band of scientists and soldiers sent to explore New Amazon, a lush but savage planet seemingly determined to attack them at every turn. When they are done cataloguing every detail of this vast, unfamiliar ecosystem, they will burn it to the ground and make it fit for human habitation. But when the team falls under attack, Helms and his followers are forced to flee into the depths of the jungle. Here, old enemies and petty rivalries surface as they struggle to survive. They soon end up fighting for their lives – against the planet they are exploring, the robots designed to protect them and, most of all, against each other. For the countdown into madness is ticking. Palmer burns a new path for science fiction in this gripping, dark tale of man’s place in the universe.

Totally awesome. It manages to capture that pulpy Science Fiction feel and also bring me back to the days when I was a kid, playing in my backyard. Couldn’t help but smile when I saw it. Like The Sad Tales of the Brothers Grossbart, it’s nice to see a publisher like Orbit Books going out on a limb like this.

Thanks to Gav at NextRead for pointing it out.