Monday 26 September 2011

Fantasycon 2011 - Our Schedule

Good morning/afternoon

As some of you folk will be aware, this weekend sees Fantasycon 2011 taking over Brighton, well a hotel in Brighton. Myself. desk editor Jenni Hill, and our PR wizard, Michael Molcher, will be in attendance, and if you too are at this splendid event, why not buy us beer and lavish us with praise? Anyway, our schedule at said event is the following:


General mingling, come find us and say 'hi' and

2pm-3pm - Fitzherbert - Abaddon's Scott Andrews will be taking part in a panel on How to Maintain Your Online presence, alongside Lee Harris, Stephen Hunt, Adam Christopher and Adele Wearing.

3pm-4pm - Fitzherbert - Hell Train author, Christopher Fowler, and Loss of Separationauthor, Conrad Williams, will be taking part in a panel on Making a Living as a Writer alongside Guy Adams, Lisa Tuttle and Tony Lee.

4pm-5pm - Fitzherbert - It's that Gary McMahon again, this time on the panel Has Crossover Overtaken Genre? Alongside Gary will be Suzanne McLeod, Mike Carey, Steve Mosby and Sarah Pinborough.

9-9.30pm - Room 134 - Lou Morgan, author of the forthcoming Blood and Feathers, will be reading a sample from her brilliant novel.

10.30-11pm - Room 134 - Concrete Grove author, Gary McMahon, will be doing a reading.


10am-11am - Russel Room - Hadrumal Crisis author, Juliet McKenna, joins Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tom Lloyd, and Joe Abercrombie to talk about trends in fantasy fiction.

10am-11am - Fitzherbert - Desdaemona and Concrete Grove trilogy cover artist, Vincent Chong, will be on a panel about, strangely enough, book covers with Les Edwards, Steve Upham, Ben Baldwin and Marc Gascoigne

1pm-2pm - Fitzherbert - Pantheon and Redlaw series author, James Lovegrove, will be chatting about What's Next in SF alongside Christopher Priest, Brian Aldiss, Ian R. Macleod and Dan Abnett

1pm - Reading Room 134 - Jonathan Oliver will be reading his story 'The Ruby Nipples of Jugulon' for the entertainment of anybody who turns up. This was written for the occasion of Jared Shurin of Pornokitsch's birthday, and has only been read/heard by a handful of the select. Now you can become one of those select and enjoy Jon's tribute to Dungeons & Dragons and smutty humour.

2pm - The Big Solaris Book Event - Regency Lounge

We will be giving away, yes giving away, a selection of our titles and giving you the chance to meet some of our authors and have a drink on us. How good does that sound? Free books, booze and literary repartee. Join us for the biggest book event of the convention.

5pm-6pm - Dealing with Agents and Editors panel - Fitzherbert

Jonathan Oliver will be moderating a panel in which we discuss the role of the agent and the editor in publishing. Joining Jon will be Jo Fletcher, John Berlyne, Meg Davis and Dorothy Lumley.

8pm-9pm - Fitzherbert - Stronghold author, Paul Finch, will be joining Stephen Volk, Pete Atkins, and Stephen Gallagher to chat about Script Writing and Improv.

9pm-1opm - Fitzherbert - Join Regicide author, Nicholas Royle and Robert Shearman, Jasper Kent, Gwyneth Jones and Peter Crowther to hear them talk about their favourite books.

1opm-11pm - Fitzherbert - School's Out author, Scott Andrews, is back to moderate a panel on Tie-in Fiction featuring Simon R. Green, Guy Adams, Mark Morris and Cath Trechman


10am - How to Market Your Novel panel - Fitzherbert

Michael Molcher will be joining Ian Whates, Jon Weir, Colleen Anderson and Gary McMahon to discuss the role of marketing and PR in genre fiction. A must-attend to those who want to know the best way to promote their novel.

1pm-4pm - Fantasycon Banquet and Awards Ceremony.

Jon and Mike will attend the prestigious Fantasycon banquet and will then attend the awards ceremony. Jon's anthology, The End of The Line, is up for Best Anthology with one short story from the collection, The Lure by Nicholas Royle, being up for Best Short Story.

Anyway, hope to see you all there.

Tuesday 20 September 2011

TIME FOR A CHANGE: Abaddon Books introduces a new direction for genre publishing

Abaddon Books is delighted to announce a bold new venue in genre publishing – one where the readers are in charge!

Time’s Arrow will be the latest book from the world’s longest continuously running Steampunk novel series, Pax Britannia. Set in a world where the Victorian age never ended, Pax Britannia is an insane world of high technology and rip-roaring adventure.

The big difference with Time’s Arrow? Each instalment will be published as an ebook and, at the end of each of the first two, readers will be able to vote on where THEY want the story to go. Once all three instalments have been published, they will be bound together into a print edition.

The first part of the book will go live online on October 11th, with the vote for what happens next closing on December 11th.

Merging the best of print and online, Abaddon is proud to engage in such an exciting experiment – one where readers actively have a say in how the book is written.

Jon Green has written titles in the legendary Fighting Fantasy series and created seven of the critically-acclaimed Pax Britannia books for Abaddon.

Pax Britannia is one of Abaddon’s most established series,” said Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Abaddon Books, “so it seemed like the natural choice for such a unique venture in publishing. This adventure is sure to reach out to new readers while giving established fans a say in the rich universe they have come to love.”

“I am passionate about the whole Steampunk milieu, and the world of Pax Britannia in particular, while my first forays into writing professionally were adventure gamebooks,” says Jonathan Green. “To marry elements of both is a fantastic opportunity for me as a writer and I, for one, can't wait to see how the story pans out!”

About the Series
Pax Britannia launched in 2007 with Unnatural History. A steampunk alternative history set in a late twentieth century in which Queen Victoria – now nearing the end of her sixteenth decade on the throne, and wholly dependent on steam technology for survival – rules over the vastly wealthy, powerful and decadent Empire of Magna Britannia. Airships ply the skies overhead as gentlemen of leisure admire the dinosaurs in London Zoo, while the Empire has extended to the Moon. Across the pond, the United Socialist States of America, loosely allied with the might of Magna Britannia, is home to dreamers, poets, madmen, and heroes, poised to usher in a new era.

The series has included seven books by Jonathan Green, featuring the adventures of Ulysses Lucian Quicksilver, dandy and adventurer and agent of the throne; an omnibus collecting the first three is currently available.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Announcing the launch of our READ ANYTHING campaign


Ever wanted to read something different but didn’t want the world to judge you by the cover of the book?

Spaceships, wizards, hooded swordsman – we love them all. But it’s not the cover, it’s the insides that matter. So, Solaris and Abaddon books are here to tell you that you can READ ANYTHING.

The revolution in eReaders gives you, the reader, the freedom to read whatever you want – fantasy, science-fiction, horror, urban fantasy, Steampunk, historical action, ANYTHING. They’re perfect to explore genre fiction you never knew even existed!

The READ ANYTHING campaign from Solaris and Abaddon Books aims to do away with judging a book, or rather its reader, by its cover. At last, content shall be king with whole new worlds of genre publishing opening up to readers.

Solaris and Abaddon Books are two of the freshest genre publishers in the UK today, producing books that transcend lazy genre clich├ęs. Explore the Steampunk world of Pax Britannia on your iPad, the terrifying sink estate of The Concrete Grove on your Kindle, or soaring SF epics such as The Recollection and The Kings of Eternity.

Solaris and Abaddon don’t just release eBooks – we want to provide new and exciting material for readers. Both imprints will:
• publish every new book as an eBook on multiple platforms on the same day as it sees prints
• publish the first chapter of every new book online, for free, ahead of publication
• publish selected future titles exclusively as eBooks
• introduce new ways to share eBooks with your friends and family.

“The world of genre fiction is as rich and rewarding as anything produced by the publishers of ‘literature’,” says Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of both Solaris and Abaddon Books. “At Solaris and Abaddon we are committed to providing great fiction in a format to suit the reader. Now with the READ ANYTHING campaign you can jump into the world of genre without worrying what your fellow commuters will think.”

What is Steampunk: Al Ewing has a few ideas...

It's The Summer of Steampunk here at Abaddon Books and before we embark on our next giveaway, we continue our look at what the Pax Britannia authors think of the genre.

Next up is the mighty Al Ewing, author of Gods of Manhatten and El Sombra. Here are his thoughts on Steampunk:

I know people who love Steampunk above all other genres - I'm not one of them. For me, it's just another kind of alternate universe, and the reason I love alternate universes is that they're experimental playgrounds - ways to interrogate aspects of the universe we live in. If you take the scope wide enough, that's what all fiction is - but let's get back to Steampunk. I'm just going to talk off the top of my head.

For many, Steampunk equals Victoriana. If we look at the Pax Britannia universe, it's incredibly significant that Victoria is still alive in the 'present day', kept alive far beyond her natural span by machinery. She's the mirror of what Steampunk often is - the Victorian era, returned to life through science fiction. All the story potential inherent in the imperialism of the time, in the massive class differences, in the struggles of the disempowered to empower themselves in the face of inherent societal prejudice, in emerging technology on the edge of science. We're back to interrogating the world we're in again. It's an incredibly rich seam, so to speak.

That said - I find the emphasis on Victoria, or Britain, gets a bit stifling, and also Jon has that sewn up and I like having room to work. In Gods Of Manhattan, I was exploring what happens when you let a steampunk world grow and change - I took out the Victoriana and the Verne and replaced them with Americana and pulp-fiction influences, and that worked out nicely.

What I'm doing - particularly with Pax Omega - is taking that further. Looking at what a steampunk universe looks like a hundred and fifty years before Victoria's reign, or a million years after. These are the interesting questions to me - for instance, can a steampunk world survive having Warhol in it? Or Grandmaster Flash? Or Betty Page? I'm not talking about just dressing them up in frock coats and corsets and goggles - what does their effect on the world look like when you transpose it to a steampunk world? What shape is it then?

Now take it forward five hundred years. Look around. Describe it.

Is that still Steampunk? If so, why? If not, why not?


Monday 5 September 2011

Guest post: steampunk and the world of Pax Britannia

The Summer of Steampunk continues over at our special Pax Britannia Facebook page - this week we'll be continuing with the competitions AND bringing you news of our special, super, mega, big steampunk announcement...

To kick off the new week with a bang, we asked the authors behind Pax Britannia to give their views on steampunk, writing in the genre, what makes it so much fun and why more people should read them.

First off today, we have Mr Jonathan Green:

Why do I like reading and writing steampunk adventures? Because they’re cool, that’s why. Even if they’re set in the future, they hark back to a time when there wasn’t a corner of the globe that couldn’t be explored, where there wasn’t a machine that couldn’t be built to do whatever it was that needed to be done, when the British Empire was at its height, driven on but an almost endemic sense of indefatigable optimism.

Steampunk is born of that science fiction staple “What if?”

What if the rule of the British Empire had never ended? What if Babbage’s analytical engine had been completed – and worked? What if H G Wells and Jules Verne weren’t writing science fiction but science fact? It’s precisely those questions I asked myself when I first came up with the world of Pax Britannia and created my dandy protagonist, and Hero of the Empire, Ulysses Quicksilver.

My first experience of steampunk was Tim Powers’ The Anubis Gates. Later came 2000AD’s John Smith-scripted Jack the Ripper Indigo Prime thriller Killing Time and Alan Moore’s meta-fictional The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

As well as clanking machinery, vast gothic revival backdrops and rivets by the thousand, they brought with them a certain sense of decorum, of elegance, of style, of – well – Britishness, goddammit! Tea in china cups, duelling at dawn on Hampstead Heath, locomotives constructed with an artificer’s eye to detail, along with top hats, frock coats and monocles everywhere you looked.

What wasn’t there to like, when all around us in modern society we are confronted by the total antithesis of these things on a daily basis. (I’m thinking more here about a general lack of good manners and respect for one’s elders, rather than people drinking coffee out of paper cups.)
It was this that I was, in part, trying to emulate in my own steampunk creation, the world of Pax Britannia.

The great thing about the Pax Britannia setting is that it is just that. After nine books (with more on the way) and various short stories, totalling some three quarters of a million words altogether, Pax Britannia has grown to become something that is far greater than merely the sum of its parts.

And because of that, because it is such a richly painted setting, you can write pretty much any kind of story you want to set within it. Whether it’s action-adventure, horror, murder mystery, spy thriller, superhero pastiche, romance, ghost story, out-and-out SF, war story or time travel caper, all have their place within the world of Pax Britannia.

So if you’ve not experienced Pax Britannia yet for yourself, then what, quite frankly, are you waiting for? The game is, after all, most definitely afoot!