Monday 2 December 2013

Ditch the pound shop Advent calendar - the Abaddon and Solaris daily December deals are here!

Forget the stale chocolates and badly-drawn festive image, we've got the Advent calendar you want right here...

Yes, every day in the run-up to Christmas we'll be offering a different ebook title for the tiny sum of just 99p!

Yes! Just 99 of the Queen's pennies (or corresponding amount of your non-British equivalent) and you could own some of the finest SF, fantasy, horror, and genre around!

Tuesday 12 November 2013

The "Literally" Thing

Word Nerd

Hey, yo!

So a little while back I doodled on here about expressions - turns of phrase with various roots - that have drifted, just a little, from their intention when first used. Like turn the other cheek or the game is afoot. Lovely little examples of how language and culture shift over time.

'Cause that's what editors do. Rock and roll, baby. Rock and fuckin' roll.

Anyway, it got a very modest feedback on Facebook and Twitter, and there was a little chat about misuses that people were fond of - or irritated by, as it happens - and a bit of fond discussion about usage and etymology. Then it came up again.

What about "literally"?

Ah, yes. So this is an old chestnut, and one which the internet's guardians of language are very fond of railing about (seriously, I love the Oatmeal, but I haven't got your back on this one). And it's had a bit of a resurgence in everyone's minds, lately, since the Oxford English Dictionary made the decision to include the figurative sense of the word in its entry.

(Many tophats flew off many heads, that day. Many monocles popped out in outraged splutter. That terrible, terrible day.)

But wait!

Because seriously, this is a thing. And it's not a big deal. Untwist that there knicker, podner! And let me sort this out for you, so you can stop worrying yourself about it and go back to explaining the difference between affect and effect to people. Let me explain why your objections to this are all wrong...

"You can't just change what things mean in dictionaries!"

Well, that's just silly, for starters. If you couldn't "just" add or change words in the dictionary, it would look like this and would be worse than useless. Obviously English changes, and the dictionary tells us how to use words in English, so the dictionary has to change. You may choose to rail against drift in the language if you wish, although I can think of better uses of your time, but you can't really complain about the dictionary doing its job, which is reflecting how language is used. Don't blame the OED for being the world's pre-eminent English Dictionary...

"But it's the opposite of what it means! You can't do that!"

Why the hell not? Cleave means "to stick together" and "to separate." Sanction means "to grant approval to" and "to withdraw support from." Fast means "moving quickly" and "fixed and immobile." Trimming that tree, are you? Would sir like the secateurs or the tinsel?

And anyway, it doesn't. People say that the modern usage of literally means "figuratively," but who in the history of saying things with your face has ever actually pointed out, mid-metaphor, that they're being metaphorical? Can you imagine anyone saying, "My father figuratively exploded when he saw the scratch on the car; I say figuratively, because I don't want you to be alarmed at the prospect of my father's detonation. He's actually quite well. I meant to say he was very angry."?

(You can? Huh. I'd keep away from that guy. I bet he tucks in his t-shirt and collects used matches.)

The contemporary, figurative use of the word literally actually completely depends on both the speaker and the listener being aware of its traditional meaning. It's used for emphasis. I'm presenting what is clearly a metaphor ("I'm neck-deep in paperwork down here!") and then playfully suggesting that it's not a metaphor ("No, help me! I'm genuinely, literally, neck-deep in paperwork here! Haha! It's funny because it's not in fact true, but I'm pretending it is!") in order to emphasise the metaphor.

Get it? It's supposed to be funny, you jerk. And you ruined it.

I love you. Please don't be angry.

"But it's not what it's supposed to mean! It's new!"

You're dead right... in about the seventeenth century.

This usage goes back hundreds of years. There was only just such a thing as dictionaries when people started using literally this way.

Jane Austen was "literally rocked in bed" in a stormy night; Mark Twain was "literally rolling in wealth"; Louisa May Alcott's land "literally flowed with milk and honey." This is not a new thing. How can it be an irritating change to the language you speak if it happened before your grandmother's grandmother was born? There is honestly no way you can claim to remember a time when you only knew the original sense of the word and was unpleasantly surprised to discover its new meaning.

Which means you've learned your distaste of its figurative sense. Someone - some low-down son of a gun - has gone to the trouble of teaching you to be irritated by a usage that's been utterly ubiquitous since long before the people who taught the people who taught the people who taught them to hate it were even born.

So frankly, if you're gonna get angry at someone, I'd track down that guy. 'Cause he just plumb filled your world with aggravation to no good effect.

You're welcome.

Monday 11 November 2013

Ritual Crime Unit OUT NOW!

Hey all,

So shut up and set down your coffee and donut - yes, I can see you, stop hiding it behind that stack of paperwork and pretending it's somebody else's donut; it's okay to eat donuts, I don't mind - for just one moment and check this motherfunster out right now.

Because E. E. Richardson, the brilliant and talented young adult horror writer, has made her adult debut right here at Abaddon Towers, and it is awesome.

Ritual Crime Unit: Under the Skin is a novella, the first in a new series of urban fantasy police procedurals which I'm frankly sure will have nerds all over the country saying "Who Aaronovitch? Is that even a real name?" in about a month. Maybe two, tops.

Elizabeth come to my attention via the open submissions month last year (which you may remember), and was a very happy discovery.

Here's the blurb:

A tough, hard-nosed career officer in the male-dominated world of British policing, DCI Claire Pierce of North Yorkshire Police heads Northern England’s underfunded and understaffed Ritual Crime Unit. Unregarded by the traditional police, struggling with an out-sized caseload, Pierce is about to tackle her most shocking case so far.

Following reports of unlicensed shapeshifters running wild in the Dales, DCI Pierce leads a failed raid to capture the skinbinder responsible. While the dust is still settling, a team from Counter Terrorism turns up and takes the case off her.

Pursuing the case off the record, she uncovers something murkier and more terrible than she suspected. Has her quarry achieved the impossible and learned to bind human skin?

Under the Skin is available right now, from the Rebellion Store,  from Kindle (US, UK, and elsewhere) and most other ebook channels. If you don't buy it, you might be unprepared.

It's even available, in strictly limited numbers, as a physical edition from Forbidden Planet! These babies are signed and numbered, and won't last long.


About The Author

E.E. Richardson has been writing books since she was eleven years old, and had her first novel The Devil’s Footsteps picked up for publication at the age of twenty. Since then she’s had seven more young adult horror novels published by Random House and Barrington Stoke. Under the Skin is her first story aimed at adults. She also has a B.Sc. in Cybernetics and Virtual Worlds, which hasn’t been useful for much but does sound impressive.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Save Lincs Libraries!

Hey all,

So bit of a serious moment here (what do you mean, I never did Day Two of my con report; it's coming, okay?). So the fine folk at reviews/fiction/geek culture website have asked us to highlight stuff going on at Lincolnshire County Council, and this is serious stuff. Libraries are many people's primary or sole source of books, and they deserve our protection.

Here's the spiel:

Lincolnshire County Council plan to close all but 15 of the county's library buildings. They want to reduce the hours of the remaining libraries, take mobile library stops down from 400 to 126, sell off buildings, and cut 170 skilled library jobs. In all, these cuts are worth some £2 million, out of a front-line libraries budget of around £6 million.

You can read more details of the campaign here.

In order to save our libraries, we need to make our opposition to these cuts known before the 3rd of December, when the council executive make their decision. This is an outrage that will cut thousands of people off from the discovery of literature, it will damage literacy rates, and it will deprive many people of access to the internet. Libraries are also hugely important for midlist writers, for whom discovery is proving harder thanks to the closure of so many independent book stores.

Please tweet your opposition to @savelincslibs. If you'd like to go further and blog about this, an email to will ensure I see your post and get it included in the Save Lincs Library links round-up, Facebook page, and so on.

I've heard quite a few authors say things like "Well, I'll help, but I don't know what good I can do." Having heard Patrick Rothfuss state that he still considers himself a newbie during a panel on world building at WFC, I suspect a lot of authors underestimate their impact on people. Please don't. Every word of support matters a great deal to the campaign, and to those communities that are threatened with losing their libraries. You are all more awesome than you suspect. 

The Facebook page is here.

Friday 1 November 2013

World Fantasy Con Report, Day One

Wotcher all,

So, here a day so far. Good times.

GUYS THIS EVENT IS LIKE HUGE there's thousands of people here, and loads of panels, and people wandering around and oh my god.

We managed to scramble onsite about 2pm yesterday, rushed to get our stand set up (Molcher above looking pretty), and sold books for a couple of hours.

I was in a panel, "When does copy-editing go too far?" (Hint: The answer is DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I'M A FUCKING EDITOR! ON YOUR KNEES, WORM!), and was predictably fabulous. I shared the stage with Jo Fletcher, Oliver Johnston, Rina Weisman, Laurel Hill and Ramsay Campbell. Illustrious old company.

Dinner was Wagamama's after a fruitless search for the many bijou restaurantettes we knew Brighton was full of, then booze until real late.

Honestly, I think the barman spiked my beer with alcohol. I'm a trifle disappointed. Bit of a hangover.

Today was bookselling and more being fabulous. Clifford Beal showed me an awesome pizza stand in town for lunch. And now I have no hangover, which all said is better than having a hangover. Quite relieved.

There are parties waiting; will update tomorrow.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

From the Viking undead to zombie knights and Napoleonic revenants: this is the Secret Zombie History of the World

The Secret Zombie History of the World
by Paul Finch, Matthew
Sprange & Toby Venables

Coming to life on 10th Dec
in paperback (US & Can)
and ebook (worldwide)

$12.99/$14.99 ISBN 978-1-78108-160-0

Northern Europe, 976 AD: a Viking crew find themselves in a bleak land of pestilence, where the dead return as draugr to feed on the flesh of their kin and a dark castle in a hidden fjord hides a terrible secret.

Britain, 1295 AD: A young English knight joins a force sent to capture a castle from Welsh rebels, but druids summon an army of the undead, bent on revenge. Will the stronghold – once thought impregnable – hold out?

The Cape of Good Hope, the 1820s: Captain Havelock discovers his ship and the French frigate he has been ordered to hunt down are not alone as an enemy thought long since vanquished rises from the deeps...

This is The Secret Zombie History of the World – an omnibus of historical zombie stories, released in this new format for the North American market, that reveals the outbreaks that have plagued mankind for hundreds of years. From Viking ‘draugr’ to the medieval undead and Napoleonic corpses, this trio of tales from the popular Tomes of the Dead series will keep you awake at night wondering just how close humanity has come to joining the hordes of the infected!

Toby Venables, Matthew Sprange, and Paul Finch each weave historical fact into thrilling tales of rotting revenants and cutthroat cadavers!

About the Series
Rotten bone and raddled flesh, shuffling perils and moaning menaces – Tomes of the Dead re-imagines the zombie genre not as an endless retread of the same tired themes, but as a prism crack’d, exploring the gut-churning, flesh-biting world of the shambling dead from new, different and unexpected directions!

About the Authors

Paul Finch is a former cop and journalist, now turned full time writer. He first cut his literary teeth penning episodes of the British TV crime drama, THE BILL, and has written extensively in the field of children's animation. However, he is probably best known for his work in horrors and thrillers. He has won two British Fantasy Awards and the International Horror Guild Award, and has written Doctor Who audio dramas for Big Finish as well as scripts for several movie adaptations of his own stories and novellas. Paul lives in Wigan, Lancashire, with his wife Cathy and his children, Eleanor and Harry.

Matthew Sprange has a solid history in roleplaying design as well as writing over two dozen gaming books, including the Babylon 5, Judge Dredd and Starship Troopers games, and has won two Origins Awards for his work in miniature wargames. Death Hulk is his second novel, with his first being a trip into the Babylon 5 universe, entitled Visions of Peace.

Toby Venables is a novelist, screenwriter and lecturer in Film Studies at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. He has since worked as a journalist and magazine editor – launching magazines in Cambridge, Peterborough, Oxford and Bristol – and once orchestrated an elaborate Halloween hoax for which he built and photographed a werewolf. He still works as a freelance copywriter, has been the recipient of a radio advertising award, and in 2001 won the Keats-Shelley Memorial Prize.

Tuesday 29 October 2013



So we're so keen to get you into our critically-acclaimed Afterblight Chronicles and Pax Britannia series that we're offering the first book in each series, Simon Spurrier's The Culled and Jonathan Green's Unnatural History, absolutely free!

They're free on our own website, and on as many online stores as we can manage. GET THEM! YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN WE'LL CHANGE OUR MINDS!

Thursday 24 October 2013

The Abaddon/Solaris signing schedule for next week's World Fantasy con is now up!

Well, World Fantasy Con is almost upon us, when the genre publishing world descends upon Brighton and makes it 27.1% more crazy...

We have a host, no, a bevvy of book-writing braves attending the con who will be furiously scribbling their monikers into books thrust beneath their clever noses. The Abaddon and Solaris signing schedule looks thusly:

Lou Morgan
Jonathan Green
Steve Rasnic Tem
Guy Adams
Jonathan Strahan
Jan Siegel (Amanda Hemingway)
Paul Kane
Clifford Beal
Gareth L. Powell

Geoffrey Gudgion
James Lovegrove
Ian Whates
Gaie Sebold
Simon Bestwick
Ben Jeapes

We're looking forward to it - hope to see you there!

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Phrases That You Almost, But Don't Quite Use Correctly

Word Nerd

So I was doing some editing the other day and reflected that there are a bunch of phrases in English - quotes, popular coinages and so on - that are widely (but generally only by a small degree) misunderstood. So widely, in fact, that the distorted meaning is the generally accepted one, and most people don't know the original sense at all. They don't irritate me - English is a wonderful, fluid language, and usage changes all the time - but they fascinate me nonetheless.

So I thought, heck, I'll just blog about it. Here are four of my favourites: 

Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw

Where It's From: Tennyson's In Memoriam A. H. H., a lengthy elegiac to his friend Arthur Hallam, who'd died suddenly in 1833. It's a long, meandering discourse on love, loss, and human nature. 

How It's Used: Usually to describe the violent and impersonal nature of Nature; them animals, they do so love to bite and scratch and stuff. Grr.

What It Really Means: It's actually about people! Tennyson was struggling with humanity's tendency to selfishness, and the growing materialistic worldview that was doing such a good job of explaining what it saw. If we are all driven by the simple mechanisms of evolution, then where can we see proof that love - God's ultimate law - does or should govern us?

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravin, shriek'd against his creed 

Turn the Other Cheek

Where It's From: A little thing I like to call The Bible. Matthew, chapter 5. It's from the middle of Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount," where he passes down the law on how people are gonna behave from now on. 

How It's Used: This is something your mum or teacher used to tell you if you were bullied or provoked at school. It suggests stoicism and self-discipline; just look away ("turn your cheek") and ignore them.

What It Really Means: Jesus was going a bit further than just "don't rise to their bait." He's telling you to actively participate in your own victimisation; if a man hits you on one cheek, he says, then turn the other cheek so that he can hit that one too. Your mum should not be telling you to do this. The Sermon is famously one of the most challenging parts of Christian doctrine, presenting such an extreme model of virtue that it's usually seen as rhetorical rather than intended literally.

I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

The Game is Afoot

Where It's From: Shakespeare, baby. Specifically, Henry IV Part 1, Act 1, Scene 3. Although it's also probably Sherlock Holmes's most-quoted line (from The Adventure of the Abbey Grange) after "Elementary, my dear Watson."

How It's Used: Generally, to suggest a game - you know, with dice and a board, and cards or something. It means something interesting and challenging has begun in earnest.

What It Really Means: It's a hunting metaphor. The "game," in this instance, is an animal hunted for its meat (as in "game bird" or "game pie"). When the game is "afoot," it's on the run and the hunt has begun. Holmes most certainly used it in that sense - his "game" being Sir Brackenstall's murderer - but hunting is less relevant to most of us than it used to be, and so nowadays we mostly assume he's talking about chess or something. He liked chess, right?

"Come, Watson, come!" he cried. 
"The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!"

(Good) Samaritan

Where It's From: The Bible, natch. Luke, chapter 10. It's one of the "Parables," which were sort of moral riddles that Jesus used to tell his followers. He was crazy about riddles.

How It's Used: A Samaritan, "good" or otherwise, usually means someone who helps a stranger - especially one in dire need, who others are ignoring - with no expectation of reward or recognition. Aww. There's even a suicide charity called The Samaritans - without the "Good," which makes me insanely suspicious of them.

What It Really Means: The Good Samaritan of the parable behaved in exactly that way, sure enough. But the point of the story was that Samaritans were famed for their selfishness and officiousness; "good Samaritan" was intended as a surprising dichotomy. A bit like saying "good investment banker" or something (of course, the Samaritans are an ethnic and religious community that exists to this day, but I guess it's okay to be a bit racist when you're quoting the Bible).

And a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

So those are four of my favourite slightly misused phrases. What are yours?

Friday 18 October 2013


If you missed out on this summer’s best books from Solaris, Abaddon and Ravenstone, now’s your chance to catch up with all of these recent releases at just £4 each!

Act now! This sale is only on this weekend!

SAXON’S BANE by Geoffrey Gudgion 
AGE OF GODPUNK by James Lovegrove 
PLASTIC by Christopher Fowler 
CRASH by Guy Haley 
LUPUS REX by John Carter Cash 

Tuesday 1 October 2013

The Solaris and Abaddon Books Mob gear up for World Fantasy Con...

It is now a month until the crème de la crème of genre publishing meet in Brighton for World Fantasy Con. We're VERY much looking forward to this veritable bacchanal of book bods - last year's event in Toronto was a blast and now that it's come back to Britain 

We here at Solaris and Abaddon have gathered together a tip top table of talent for the weekend's festivities, ranging from debut authors to old hands. We're very pleased to announce that the following authors will be appearing at WFC13:

Guy Adams (The Good The Bad and the Infernal)
Clifford Beal (Gideon's Angel)
Simon Bestwick (The Faceless and Tide of Souls)
Chaz Brenchley (Desdaemona)
Ellen Datlow (Poe)
Jetse de Vries (Shine)
Paul Finch (Stronghold)
Jonathan Green (Pax Britannia)
Amanda Hemingway (The Devil's Apprentice)
Ben Jeapes (Phoenicia's Worlds)
Paul Kane (Hooded Man trilogy)
James Lovegrove (Pantheon series)
Juliet McKenna (Hadrumal Crisis series)
Lou Morgan (Blood and Feathers)
Libby McGugan (The Eidolon)
Gareth L. Powell (Ack-Ack Macaque)
Gaie Sebold (Babylon Steel)
Lavie Tidhar (Osama)
Jonathan Strahan (Edge of Infinity)
Steve Rasnic Tem (Deadfall Hotel)
Ian Whates (Solaris Rising)
Conrad Williams (Loss of Separation)
Geoffrey Gudgeon (Saxon's Bane)

To celebrate the coming storm, we'll be giving away books all month on our blogs and Twitter - so stay tuned!

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Everything you think you know about Robin Hood is a lie - this is the Hunter of Sherwood!

Hunter of Sherwood:
Knight of Shadows
by Toby Venables
A legend will be rewritten on 29th Sep
(US & Canada) and 10th Oct (UK)

£7.99 (UK)
ISBN 978-1-78108-161-7

$9.99/$12.99 (US & CAN)
ISBN 978-1-78108-162-4

Robin Hood is a cold blooded killer and Richard the Lionheart is a ruthless butcher who cares nothing for England – Toby Venables is taking one of the most beloved English folk legends turning it on its head.

This is the story of Guy of Gisburne. Portrayed in legend as a lackey to the Sheriff of Nottingham, Knight of Shadows reveals Guy as an outcast, a mercenary, and now newly knighted, an honourable servant of King John in his intrigues against the vicious and bloodthirsty Lionheart.

Tears up the clichés of the Robin Hood myth to reveal the deeper issues between this chaotic period of English history, Knight of Shadows will delight readers of Bernard Cornwell and the Flashman series, as it deftly weaves history and legend into a brand new pattern, with Gisburne firmly at the heart of events.

Guy’s mission is to intercept the jewel-encrusted skull of John the Baptist from the clutches of the Knights Templar before it can reach Philip, King of France. Gisburne’s quest takes him and his world-weary squire Galfrid into increasingly bloody encounters with ‘The White Devil’: the fanatical Templar de Mercheval.

Relentlessly pursued back to England, Gisburne battles his way with sword, lance and bow. But if he survives there lies ahead an even more unpredictable adversary!

About the Author

Toby Venables is a novelist, screenwriter and lecturer in Film Studies at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. He grew up watching old Universal horror movies when his parents thought he was asleep, reading 2000 AD and obsessing about Beowulf. There was probably a bit more to it, but he can't quite remember what it was.

He has since worked as a journalist and magazine editor – launching magazines in Cambridge, Peterborough, Oxford and Bristol – and once orchestrated an elaborate Halloween hoax for which he built and photographed a werewolf. He still works as a freelance copywriter, has been the recipient of a radio advertising award, and in 2001 won the Keats-Shelley Memorial Prize (both possibly due to typing errors).

His first novel (for Abaddon) was The Viking Dead – a historical-zombie-SF mashup which has been described as "A fantastic mix of history, violence and horror" and "ludicrous fun".

Monday 9 September 2013


Hey everyone!

So me and Jon have just (Well, not just; about a week ago. I was tired. It was a long flight, okay? Just shut up about it already.) got back from San Antonio, TX and the nerdapalooza that was LoneStarCon 3. And it was epic.

First off, San Antonio is hot. Like, hot. Like, okay, I'm from a pretty hot place myself, but this was actual, for real, fuck-you hot. It hit 105 degrees, and while I'm pretty sure that's some sort of crazy Imperial measurement, I wouldn't, having lived through it, put actual money on that.

But San Antonio is a place where "profligate waste of energy" ran into "oppressive subtropical heat" and broke. The convention took place in colossal indoor spaces, whole cathedrals of glass and steel, that were nevertheless cooled to bone-chillingly cold temperatures. I should, on behalf of whales and dolphins and Greenpeace protesters everywhere, have been affronted at this, but as you opened the door and this blast of frigid air hit you, all you could think was, "It's worth it. Never say it isn't."

But they have this whole semi-wonderland called the "River Walk" (pictured above). It's this spectacularly artificial tree-bedecked network of walkways, bridges and balconies built just below street level lining the river, and it's kind of shaded and lined with shops and cafes, and it really is quite lovely, even if it makes you feel like you're at Center Parcs.

And never mind all that, because for the first time in my life, dear readers, I was in the United States. So I got to all kinds of stupid shit that really don't matter, but are in their tiny way kind of amazing. Like ride in an actual yellow taxi (there's Arianne "Tex" Thompson, one of Solaris's writers, on the left); it's just a fucking taxi, but it's a proper Murican yellow taxi and I was in it and it was cool and shut up.

And we ate a lot. Texans do not believe in small portions, and that really isn't just a colourful reputation or the kind of rubbish boasting people do when they're being a bit jingoistics. We didn't have a small meal all weekend. We actually took to ordering bar snacks. And not eating them all.

But it was a good opportunity to meet and connect with folk, and enjoy the company of some extremely friendly people, and here's a picture of some of us hanging around at just about the hippest BBQ joint you can imagine (seriously, they had all ethically-produced, locally-sourced meat, and they did things like asparagus icecream accompaniments; it was cool but a bit jarring), with Jennie Goloboy, Tex, Jon, Libby McGugan, Bean Jeapes and John Carter Cash's right arm.*

We also went up the Tower of the Americas, which is mildly famous, although I had to think a bit to make sure I wasn't thinking of Stratosphere or the Space Needle, because all of these observation towers are really terribly similar. At any rate, it turns out it was built for the '68 World's Fair, and it has an obligatory moving restaurant in it, so we could very gradually see all of San Antonio pass beneath us as the sun set, which was lovely. And we had some really very nice food (a lot of it, natch) with Jack Skillingstead, Nancy Kress, Libby McGugan, Ben Jeapes, Brenda Cooper and a friend of Brenda's whose name I didn't catch.

So it was a very good time for walking around, eating, drinking (be very cautious drinking margaritas in San Antonio; or, perhaps, be very cautious ordering a second margarita in San Antonio - they're really quite strong, a fact that you won't fully appreciate until you're already started the second one and realised you should have had a coke). And it was an awesome time for meeting people: authors, agents, members of the SFWA and fans in general, and our esteemed peers and rivals across the pond.

And we got a bit of tourism in! Did you know that San Antonio's where the Alamo is? I didn't. (Okay, you did; I guess you're just a better person than me. Whatever.) Anyway, it's just right there! You can just walk to it. It's not even, like, a bus ride outside town or anything; it was right around the corner from the convention! There's Jon on a terribly pretty fountain, and me by the entrance. That thoughtful expression is me remembering the Alamo, something I gather you are encouraged to do in Texas.

"So shut up about your holiday abroad!" I hear you cry. "What about the con?" Well, I'm glad you ask.

It was immense. Thousands of fans, creators and community people, talking, showing, watching, trading, selling, buying, arguing, discussing, and generally advancing and promoting the genres and media we all love. It was amazing to see the commitment and passion on display everywhere. We sat on panels - our early-morning, still-jet-lagged, still-frankly-kind-of-hungover "Solaris Presents" (which came out as "Abaddon, Solaris and Ravenstone Present" in the end) panel went really rather well given the time and our mental states, the gender parity and economics-of-publishing (mostly about Print-on-Demand and ebooks) panels Jon sat on were a lot of fun, and the horror panel that Lee Harris very kindly invited Jon to step up to was amazing - but mostly we met people, talked about past achievements, future ambitions, and the future direction of our world.

And rather wonderfully there was a full-scale reproduction of part of the bridge of the Enterprise from the original series of Star Trek. Here we are being captains. Are we not masterful (and fat; I kind of look like later-era Kirk, while Jon looks like earlier, sexy Kirk)?

And then there were the Hugo awards. It's actually kind of awe-inspiring being there. It's always nice being invited to any awards ceremony, and it's always very gratifying to be present when the wonderful people who create the stories we read and publish are acknowledged and applauded for their efforts, but there a lot of awards, you know, and you can get kind of used to them. But the Hugo's the first award you hear about, in our circles, and it remains - to me at least - a fairly special accomplishment set out from the rest, however jaded you get. It was awesome to actually go to one.

Huge congratulations go to all the winners and finalists of the prestigious awards (and especially to Pat Cadigan, whose contribution to Jonathan Strahan's Edge of Infinity won the trophy for Best Novelette), and huge thanks to Paul Cornell for a brilliant ceremony. 

After that was the after-party, where I got to meet some of the organisers and members of the SFWA, which was a brilliant opportunity and which I was genuinely excited to be doing.

So, yeah. That was What We Did On Our Weekend. I hope you had as good a time as we did.



*And yes, three of the people in that picture are British. Never mind that.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Jon's Worldcon schedule

So, as some of you may know, this week the World Science Fiction Convention comes to San Antonio and myself and the esteemed David Moore will be in attendance. For those what want to know, my schedule while in Texas will be as follows:

Solaris Presents

Friday 10am-11

Join myself, David Moore and a handful of authors as we take you into the intriguing world of Solaris, Abaddon and Ravenstone. Upcoming titles will be revealed and our selection of authors will be on hand to talk about their work.

Gender in SF

Saturday 12-13pm

How has SF influenced and reflected the changes in gender and gender roles over the past half century? As we look back to the work of writers such as Ursula LeGuin and Joanna Russ in the sixties and seventies, what can we say about their impact and that of their heirs today?

I will be joining Vylar Kaftan, Eileen Gunn, Tili Sokolov and Lezli Robyn on what promises to be a fascinating panel.

The Changing Economics of Book Production

Saturday 17-18pm

My fellow panelists for this are Tom Doherty, John DeNardo and Steve Silver.


 Willie Siro's marvelous Adventures in Crime and Space store in the dealer's room will be hosting several of our author's signings over the weekend. These are:

Friday 11am - Ben Jeapes signings Phoenecia's Worlds and other titles.
3pm - Jack Skillingstead signing Life on the Preservation and other titles.

Saturday 12pm - Chuck Wendig signing Gods and Monsters and other titles.
2pm - John Carter Cash signing Lupus Rex.

Anyway, hope to see some of you there!

Friday 2 August 2013

August! New Books!

Hey kids,

So yeah, it's August. Which means we're all just about ready for summer and it's already half over. Because that's how this shit works. We're British, and there's rules.

So while you're chewing your way through burned hamburgers at your dad's poorly planned barbecue, planning what to sacrifice among the approximately a billion awesome things there are to do on the Bank Holiday weekend, and alternating between complaining about the oppressive heat (when it's sunny) and how basically we haven't had a summer (when it's not sunny), I thought I'd make the days pass a little more pleasantly and announce three new books that came out this week.

Yeah, that's right. Count 'em.

Because I love you, and I want you to be happy.



So we'll start with Eric Brown's Weird Space: Satan's Reach, second book in the critically-acclaimed Weird Space series.

Telepath Den Harper did the dirty work for the authoritarian Expansion, reading the minds of criminals, spies and undesirables. Unable to take the strain, he stole a starship and headed into the unknown, a sector of lawless space known as Satan’s Reach. For five years he worked as a trader among the stars – then discovered that the Expansion had set a bounty hunter on his trail.

Following last year's The Devil's Nebula, Eric brings us a new core character - the world-weary telepath Den Harper - and introduces us to a new, seedy neighbourhood in the Weird Space universe. Still lots of horrible aliens to contend with, though, to say nothing of the oppressive Expansion.

Weird Space is available in both paperback and ebook versions right now.




We'll follow up with David Thomas Moore's* Pax Britannia: The Ultimate Secret, a new novella in the long-running Pax Britannia steampunk series.

The Ultimate Reich. The great enemy of Magna Britannia, the unwavering stronghold whose power extends from the depths of Africa to the outlands of Mexico, and even across the barrier of time itself. For more than half a century, the Führer’s empire has plagued the world, but thanks to the efforts of a brave handful, the Reich’s most terrible secret may be on the verge of exposure.

Reaching out across the pond to grasp both Jonathan Green's Ulysses Quicksilver books and Al Ewing's El Sombra tales, The Ultimate Secret shows you corners of the Pax world you've never seen before, from the ancient cobbles of Socialist Rome to the crowded villas of Buenos Aires.

The Ultimate Secret is available exclusively in ebook format.



Finally, we'll swing by Mega-City One for Michael Carroll's Judge Dredd Year One: The Cold Light of Day, the second novella in the wildly successful Judge Dredd Year One series.

2080: All leave for the Judges in Mega-City one has been cancelled: they are needed for crowd-control during the annual Mega-City 5000 motorbike race. the race crosses back and forth across the city, from north to south, and millions of people are expected to line the streets to cheer on their favourite teams and riders.

In the ongoing story of Old Stoney Face's rookie year, Joe Dredd is confronted with a grizzly murder that he could possibly have prevented, five years ago in his cadet days. But can he really be held accountable for another man's crimes? Can you be judged for an oversight you couldn't possibly know about at the time?

The Cold Light of Day is available exclusive in ebook format.



*Yes, me. And while I'm not going to say I'm going to kick a puppy if you don't buy this book and validate me, I'm not going to say I'm not going to, either.