At the Speed of Light is almost here!

January 10th 2017

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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.

  1. I bought a book on special relativity so I could check through what I remembered and incorporate the latest thinking.
  2. 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.
  3. I am currently obsessed with artificial intelligences, how they might perceive the world and how they would arrive at an ethical framework.
  4. You’ll notice some nods to some of the SF greats: Philip K Dick, Arthur Clarke and Larry Niven specifically.
  5. 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’.

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So that’s the second novella…

April 19th 2016

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My first novella was Another War – published by Telos in 2005. I’ve left it rather a long time to write another, but I’m delighted to say that my second novella, At the Speed of Light, has just found a home at Newcon Press. Newcon, brilliantly run by the lovely Ian Whates, has a reputation for producing books that are high quality inside and out. At the Speed of Light is a diamond-hard SF story, clocking in around 45,000 words, and all the action takes place at 99.99999% of c. Expect shenanigans.

Publication is most likely in the first half of 2017.

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Look upon my works ye mighty

November 10th 2015

Posted by: in: From the Author, News and Updates, The Books of Down
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Now to return you to our regularly scheduled updates…

Firstly, an apology: it appears that the ‘comments’ part of the site is broken, and has been broken for some time, possibly months. I don’t have the permissions to delve under the bonnet to try and fix things, so I’m going to have to find someone at Little Brown to sort this for me. I’ll post again when it’s done.

Secondly, writing. I’ve been busy. Really busy. So I’ll break this down into bits.

Down Station: you’ve all seen the spiffing cover, designed by the wonderful people at Blacksheep. I’ve gone through the page proofs, sent everything back, grabbed a couple of the uncorrected proof copies at GollanczFest in Manchester (more on this shortly), and it’s ready to go. The publication date is set for 18th February 2016. Think of it as a late Valentine’s gift.

The White City: the sequel to Down Station is written, and the manuscript is with my editor. At some point, probably before Christmas, I’m going to have his response, and then I’m going to have to sit down and forge the best book I can from the somewhat ragged draft I sent in. It’s all part of the process. And there’s still no map.

At the Speed of Light: what? What’s that? I’ve written a novella. A hard – diamond hard – SF novella of 35,000 words, doing pretty much what it says on the tin. I’m hawking it around at the moment, but people I’ve shown it to are saying nice things about it. All the technical details in the story are, as far as I can tell, correct.

The Alchemist’s Dream: I’m sorry, I’ve written another novel, entirely unconnected and pretty much unlike anything I’ve ever written before. It’s a cross between Jeeves and Wooster, and Holmes and Watson, and Arabian Nights. If you wanted to classify it, and I’ve no idea why you would, it’s a historical but fantastic fantasy entirely without magic. Or swearing, which is a bit unusual for me, but I wanted to try and tell a story using all the traditional story-telling elements, including places where you can boo and hiss at the villains, cheer the heroes and slap your thighs to your heart’s content. So while it’s not all entirely serious, it still is. I wanted to have fun, and I did. Hopefully, you will too.

The Alchemist’s Dream, the board game. This is the last, I promise. When I started the book of the same name, I realised I needed to invent a board game to go in it, as it’s pivotal to the story. So I did. Then it got a little out of control, and I ended up with an actual board game, with rules, fully playable, and I’m commencing beta-testing it shortly. I’ll post more about it shortly too.

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