January 10th 2017
10 days to go until the release of my next novella*. And when I say next, it’s only my second (after the tentacular Another War). There isn’t much I can tell you upfront about it, because to say too much would be to ruin the reading experience – it’s a multiply-layered mystery, set in the deepest of deep space. It’s very much a return to Proper Science Fiction, written with a calculator in one hand and a text book in the other, while I peck out the actual letters with my nose: you don’t get to see any of my working, but it did need to be there, lurking in the background, for plot purposes.
So what can I tell you about it? Apart from the fact that it’s brilliant and has a spaceship on the cover which I’ve never had before. Or that I had the best time ever writing it.
- I bought a book on special relativity so I could check through what I remembered and incorporate the latest thinking.
- I wrote some of the ms in a shed in a forest in the Cairngorms, recharging my little laptop up from a car battery which itself was topped up using a solar panel.
- I am currently obsessed with artificial intelligences, how they might perceive the world and how they would arrive at an ethical framework.
- You’ll notice some nods to some of the SF greats: Philip K Dick, Arthur Clarke and Larry Niven specifically.
- The MacGuyvering that happens is done in real-time. None of the story was plotted out first, and I just hoped I could work everything out as I went along.
The book comes in three flavours: ebook (kindle), paperback, and signed, limited edition hardback, and is part of a 4-set collection of SF novellas from Newcon Press, with contributions from myself, Alistair Reynolds, Anne Charnock and Neil Williamson. The set will be ‘officially’ launched at Eastercon this year, but I wouldn’t necessarily wait if you want the hardback. The Reynolds has already sold out…
Buying details are here.
*shorter work – it clocks in at 35,000 words. Please don’t get cross online because it’s not a full-length novel, like one Amazon reviewer did for Alistair Reynold’s The Iron Tactician, because they didn’t read any of the details and subsequently felt ‘cheated’.
December 25th 2016
Some of you lucky ones have been given a book for Christmas, so inevitably, you’ve hit the internet to find out who this Morden bloke is and whether he’s any good. So, here’s a quick primer before you delve deeper into the website (free stories, even a free book, essays, stuff like that…).
- Yes, I have a PhD in planetary geophysics. I don’t use it explicitly in most of my stories, but you’ll discover that even when a story is allegedly a fantasy, it’s also science fiction. And yes, I accidentally got to handle a piece of Mars.
- Some of my characters are quite sweary. I’ve got a bit of a reputation for that. Sometimes (Sam Petrovitch, Peter Buber, Mary) they just are, because people just are. At least Petrovitch mostly swears in Russian.
- I don’t write the same book twice. Some authors with ongoing series follow a formula. I don’t: I like to challenge myself each and every time to write something different. It probably loses me readers, but it keeps my interest.
- I’ve inexplicably fallen in love with running, at a late age. I’m not very good at it, but neither am I as terrible as I was when I first started. I run for all sorts of reasons – fitness, community, mental wellbeing – but chiefly, to feel the burn. Weird, I know.
- My newsletter is one of the best ways of keeping up with what I’m doing. I started it half way through 2016, and genuinely enjoy writing it. I try and send it out every month, and you can subscribe to it here.
There’s lots more stuff about cats, politics and religion, but that’s for another day. Anyway, enjoy the book, and hopefully you’ll buy more!
December 23rd 2016
A last post before the Festivities begin: Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope that it’s peaceful and restful for you all.
December 22nd 2016
Just a quickie before Christmas – there’s a giveaway, organised by Gollancz, of both Down Station and The White City. Link is here.
October 28th 2016
Book blog Bart’s Bookshelf have snagged a copy of both Down Station and The White City from Gollancz, and they’re giving them away!
October 27th 2016
In all the rush to do blog posts and email interviews for other people, I completely forgot to do one for here…
So here we go: the second Book of Down, The White City, is published today and is available from all the usual outlets. While I do usually try and make sequels at least have the potential to stand alone, The White City isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense without having read Down Station, but fortunately there are two low-cost options to catch up – the mass market paperback (retailing at a reasonable UK£8.99) or the Kindle e-book (priced at a ludicrous UK£2.99). Of course, the original trade paperback with the bigger shinier cover is a thing of wonder, and probably worth getting just for that.
The White City follows directly on from events in Down Station. It’s a bit of road trip (although, not giving anything away that the cover doesn’t, much of that is by sea), and because my
player characters don’t pay any attention to the DM, they split the party early on. Which, inevitably, leads to shenanigans of the highest order when they do get back together again.
As with all my books, you can file it under ‘intensely personal’, because that’s the nature of the beast, but this one was more so than most. The first book I’d written after my father died. I was worried enough that I sent a note along with the first draft, telling my editor pro tem that she was to tell me if there was leakage from the Real World into the Down, because I was too close to the manuscript to spot it. I appear to have got away with it, mostly. The story is chiaroscuro: the dark is as dark can be, but the lighter stuff (pirates!) is quite fun. Until that bit turns dark too. But the ending – I hadn’t known until that point what was going to happen, and I was shocked. I think you will be too. But shocked in a good way.
So, here it is, my *counts fingers* ninth novel/novella. Enjoy.
October 10th 2016
*Does not involve actual fire
When you get a book published by a major publisher, one of the things that normally happens is that you get sent a box of the books, to distribute as you see fit. You’ve not had to pay for them, and they’re simply a thank you. I’m now mumble-mumble books down the line, and things are starting to back up a bit. We lack for storage space here at Morden Towers: I’ve already filled one cupboard, I’m spilling out into others, and I’d like to shift as many of these as possible, just to free up some more room.
Because they don’t actually owe me anything, I can reasonably flog them off at whatever price I decide, plus postage and packing.
- UK£1 per book – you’ll need a paypal account to transfer the money to me.
- When they’re gone, they’re gone. This is strictly first-come, first-served.
- You pay postage and packing on top – books are heavy, but I’ll keep the costs down as much as a I can. I’ll let you know how much that’ll be when you order, but before you pay, so you can make an informed decision. As a guide, anything up to 2kg will cost £2.85 2nd class Royal Mail, UK only, plus whatever packaging is required.
- I’ll ship them anywhere in the world. Since you’re paying the postage, it’s no more trouble for me than it is posting to the UK.
- Offer will close on December 21st 2016.
- All books are as new, or as new as they can get sitting in a box in a cupboard for a few years. None of them are damaged.
|Brilliant Things||Subway||PB||In stock|
|The Lost Art||DFB||Hardback||none|
|The Lost Art||DFB(US)||Hardback||In stock|
|The Lost Art||Corgi||MMPB||none|
|Equations of Life||Orbit US||MMPB||2 left|
|Theories of Flight||Orbit US||MMPB||6 left|
|Degrees of Freedom||Orbit UK||PB||5 left|
|Degrees of Freedom||Orbit US||MMPB||2 left|
|The Curve of the Earth||Orbit US||Trade PB||5 left|
|Arcanum||Orbit UK||PB||1 left|
|Arcanum||Orbit US||PB||In stock|
(last updated 0010GMT 16 October – post is suspended for a week because I’m away from my desk, but orders will still be accepted)
(UK and US editions are going to be slightly different – the first three Petrovitchs in the US are the smaller, fatter, ‘pocketbook’ type paperbacks.)
Please note that there are no copies of Thy Kingdom Come, Heart or Another War – Thy Kingdom Come CDs are all long gone, and the JurassicLondon hardback is, as mentioned, a rarity only to be found in second-hand bookstores . Heart is available as a free ebook, and hardback and paperback via Lulu (links on my website – http://www.simonmorden.com/books/heart/ – and also Amazon) but I don’t hold stock. Another War is available via Telos (http://www.telos.co.uk/product/another-war/). I’m not including Down Station or The White City in this, either: this is just my back-catalogue.
I’ve let subscribers to my newsletter have first shout. Now I’m offering it out to the masses. Any questions and queries, just ask, and of course I’ll be happy to sign any of the books to whomever.
Orders, queries and questions here -> firstname.lastname@example.org
Books always make excellent Christmas presents…
August 16th 2016
(Click for bigger)
Well, isn’t that smart? The good folk at Blacksheep have done it again, and given me a cover to be proud of. The White City (Down #2) will be available in trade paperback from all the usual outlets, 27th October 2016. You can pre-order it now, of course. In the next couple of days, I’ll be making up a page on this site, for easier navigation…
August 4th 2016
Warning: this is a long one, and possibly a bit rambling. tl;dr, the title.
The amphitheatre is now little more than a ruin. The gates have gone and the seating disassembled by the unscrupulous and opportunistic to become carts or tables. The shrines have vanished, no doubt after being desecrated, and their niches lay empty and abandoned. The spectacles, the pageants, the contests of my childhood will never return. It is now dark where it was once light. Soon the Saxon wolf will overtake us. Many have left the town already. The rest will leave soon. No one will remain who remembers. Not even me.
Commios Atrebates, circa 390 AD
When I’m down at my mum’s, in the family home in the village I was brought up in, my usual morning running route takes me to the old Roman amphitheatre at Silchester, where I stop, take a breather, and then run back. It’s a very pleasant route – most of my running is usually either urban or in the park – through the back lanes where there’s hardly any traffic at all, and mostly I’m left to my own thoughts as I navigate a twisty-turny course between high hedges and up/down big hills.
It doesn’t look any significantly different from four decades ago, when I used to walk and cycle the same back lanes, and the temptation is to think of the landscape as timeless. It’ll always be that way, and there’s no reason for it to change. Which is, of course, nonsense, and evidence literally stares me in the face at the half-way point: the amphitheatre.
July 25th 2016
Ronseal – if you want Bread and Salt in your inbox, then you can subscribe with a couple of clicks (and a bit of typing your email address) here. It contains a pleasant degree of stuff, as well as my belated Inconjunction report (which I’ll post here too).
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