Mind the Gap: next stop, Down Station

February 12th 2016

Posted by: in: From the Author, News and Updates, Reviews, The Books of Down
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You can’t get off at Down Station, of course, merely glimpse it as you rush by between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner on the Piccadilly Line. But you can visit the outside of it. It’s on Down Street (unsurprisingly), third road on the left as you walk along Piccadilly from Hyde Park. This is what you’ll see:

Which is unprepossessing, but that door with the blue sign is precisely the door through which our beleaguered travellers find Down. And this is my invitation for you to find Down, too.

There’ve been some more reviews in the last week:

Down Station is filled with choices that mirror well into the real world, the sense that we are never too far away from chaos, and it’s the decisions we make that define our future. 9/10, A ‘must read now’. (SciFiNow)

…a balanced, nuanced, story with no absolute heroes and villains, but plenty of muddled, baffled people trying to do the right thing, to make their own history. (Blue Book Balloon)

This book was really good! Exciting, imaginative and unexpected. It felt different and creative and had a good story. The world was fascinating, the characters diverse and the plot was very intriguing. (How to Become a Heroine)

All of which are good signs. There are over 250 hoping to win a copy over at Goodreads (draw still open at time of posting). And the first three chapters are now online, in lovely audio (not read by Cathy Tyson, who had to pull out at the last minute due to family commitments, but by Thomas Judd, who does a very fine job indeed).

The book itself is out on Thursday, but I’m signing copies (along with Tricia Sullivan, who’s going to be there with Occupy Me) at Forbidden Planet in Shaftsbury Avenue, London, on the 20th of Feb, 1pm-2pm. It’d be brilliant to see you there. I’m also supposed to be at the Super Relaxed Fantasy Club on the 23rd – I’m a little unclear as to where that’s actually being held, but hopefully I can snag a native guide to help me find it.

What else can I say about Down Station? If you want a story of ordinary people finding themselves in extraordinary situations, which have morally complex and not always noble solutions, where secrets can kill and lies are mandatory, then Down Station is what you’ve been waiting for. Even if it’s not, I’ve had more than one reviewer comment, “I didn’t expect to enjoy this quite as much as I did.”

Open the door. Step through. Find Down in all its terrible glory.

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Climbing the stairs to Down Station

December 4th 2015

Posted by: in: From the Author, News and Updates, The Books of Down
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(photo credit: Peter Humphrey Photography)

It’s a little over two months to publication of the first Book of Down, Down Station. Which means the wheels of the publicity machine are slowly grinding into life (fortunately, it’s not all left to me, because no one will hear of it otherwise…).

There’s been three reviews so far – and all of them good, which is a relief, because no one needs a crap review at this stage in the game. They are, in no particular order:

Fantasy Book Review, who give Down Station 9/10. Which will do for me. “Morden has written a book full of mysteries that are just waiting to be discovered.”

Books by Proxy, who slap on 3.5 hearts/4 stars, and opine, “Down Station is a fun and interesting read which I zipped through in no time at all!”

Random Redheaded Ramblings, hefts 4 stars at it, and lo: “This is an interesting read with a great new world to immerse yourself in, it is fantastical and thrilling, a great book to add to your fantasy/sci-fi shelf.”

There is further news, however, news which had me all a quiver, and I still have a frisson when I think about it. There’s going to be an audiobook of Down Station – complete and unabridged, clocking in at a mighty 11 hours and 17 minutes – from those lovely people at Oakhill Publishing. And they’ve got Cathy Tyson to read it. Cathy Tyson’s been in lots of things – but people of a certain age (my age…) will always remember her starring opposite Bob Hoskins in the 1986 Neil Jordan film, Mona Lisa. That Cathy Tyson. Which, when you realise what Down Station is about and who one of the two POV characters is, is the absolutely perfect choice. Good work.

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One year on

June 10th 2012

Posted by: in: From the Author, Ignite, Metrozone, News and Updates
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I’ve been contemplating writing this post for a few weeks now (which is why it’s gone a bit quiet), and it appears to be the case that the only way to get my thoughts out is to just start and see what happens: which is pretty much how I write books anyway…

I’m not one for annual celebrations. I’ll be more specific: I’m not one for annual celebrations that involve me. Birthdays, having had so many of them, are something I can honestly take or leave. Cake is nice, but the fuss involved for the rest of the family is out of proportion. Christmas is important for other reasons, but not necessarily the gift-giving and mountain of food cooked. My wedding anniversary, I admit, becomes more significant with every year that passes because it actually represents an achievement that is greater than simply staying alive. But one orbital revolution is pretty much the same as the next. What matters is what’s done during it.

It’s been a year since Degrees of Freedom was published, and by extension fourteen months since Equations of Life started to savage the eyeballs of the world. How did that work out for me? Pretty well, it turns out.

I had some concerns. Chiefly, the covers and the publishing schedule. No one was ever going to argue that the cover art (designed by the hugely talented Lauren Panepinto) was neutral. Some people loved them. Some people hated them. It’s impossible to tell whether or not they boosted sales or suppressed them. They were, however, talked about in the best Wildean sense. For a Z-list author, that wasn’t a bad gamble to take.

Publishing three books in three months is like taking a writing life and smashing it repeatedly against a wall. It’s a big thing, releasing a book into the wild: there’s an awful lot of emotional energy stored up in just one novel, along with the concepts of ‘professional’ and ‘career’. To do that bang-bang-bang? I’d underestimated how draining it would be. Reception was magnificently mixed from the ‘what fresh hell is this?’ to the ‘crowning moment of awesome’. Realising that not everybody like your book and watching them say so in a public forum are different things. My skin is considerably thicker than it was a year ago, and probably a good job too.

As time went on, several good things happened. Sales, while not stellar, were good enough – Equations of Life earned a reprint in both UK and US editions, and what’s more surprising is that it’s still selling. I’m given to understand that most books sell most copies in the first six weeks after publication; not young master Petrovitch. I don’t know what that means yet, but if new people are still discovering the Metrozone while there are newer, shinier books out, then I’m happy.

The audio books of the Metrozone were a revelation, and certainly the closest you’ll get to a cinematic experience for the foreseeable future. Toby Leonard Moore has done a simply stellar job of reading them, far, far better than I could ever do.

I’ve also got fan mail, and not in the creepy odd way, either. Smart people have written to me about stuff. I’m a bit behind in my replies, but I’ll try and get around to everyone shortly. It’s fascinating to hear about where you are and what you do, and how we stumbled into each other’s orbit. And fans have also got me into tvtropes.org, one of my all-time favourite websites. The Metrozone is built on tropey goodness, played straight, lampshaded and averted, often all at the same time, and I’m delighted to find my books in there.

I obviously need to mention the Philip K Dick award. If the three-in-three months schedule has a legacy, this was it. The first time a trilogy of books was nominated, they won. ‘What does it mean to you?’ people ask. It means that every book I write from now on will have ‘Winner of the Philip K Dick award’ on the cover. It means that I probably have more artistic freedom to do other things. It means I get to write some short stories again for a couple of anthologies I’ve been invited (invited!) to be part of. It means I’m very busy at Greenbelt this year, and probably at Eastercon next.

It does mean there’s an extra weight of expectation – one I’m putting on myself – to be better still. Book 4 of the trilogy ‘The Curve of the Earth’ is already at the publishers and it’ll be out next March. It is, I think, a different book again to books 1, 2, and 3. Expect an older, more thoughtful Samuil who’s capable of even greater acts of destruction simply because he’s better resourced. There is Science! of course, and big explosions, but the real drama is in his cybernetic heart.

The work in progress is Ignite. Followers on Facebook will know this has now passed the 200,000 word mark, and I’m probably heading towards 300,000. It is a startlingly different beast, and I have no idea how it’s going to be received by my publishers when they get hold of it – the Metrozone it most surely isn’t. My agent, however, is reading it in chunks – when he got to the end of the last of the chapters I’d sent him, he wished wistfully there were more. This is a hopeful sign. I have until the start of December to finish it – leaving myself some time to revise the manuscript too. It will be done – I haven’t missed a deadline yet, but it is very, very big. I do wonder if I’ve simply bitten off more than I can chew, but if I’m going to fail, I’m going to do it spectacularly. Wish me luck.

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Impromptu Equations of Life audio giveaway

July 16th 2011

Posted by: in: From the Author, Metrozone, News and Updates
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I received several copies of the US edition of the Equations of Life audio CD thingy yesterday – it’s exactly the same as the UK version, read by the magnificent Toby Leonard Moore, and contains every word (even the rude ones) of Equations of Life, complete and unabridged. 10.25 hours over 9 CDs, costing a smidgen under US$52.

Now, I already have a copy – so I’m going go give these babies away. And this is how I’m going to do it.

1. Take a photograph or short video of yourself (or have someone take a photo for you) doing something Petrovitchy. I leave the interpretation of this entirely up to you. I cannot condone you doing anything illegal within your jurisdiction (no matter how much fun it might be), and I insist you and any bystanders, human and non-human, are not endangered in any way before, during or after the recording of your entry. This is just for fun, okay?

2. Post it to me at bookofmorden1@blueyonder.co.uk (that’s a ‘one’ at the end, not a small L) and put as your subject line something like Competition entry or Petrovitchy goodness. Try not to break my inbox with massive video files…

3. I would like very much to be able to share any of the entries on a gallery here. If you don’t want me to do that, do say at the time, and as the creator of the work, you retain copyright at all times.

4. Closing date for entries is going to be one month from today, August 16th, 23:59 GMT

5. The three entries I deem have captured the spirit of the competition the best will receive one copy of Equations of Life, narrated by Toby Leonard Moore. I will post to anywhere on the planet and will even include low-earth orbit for the crew of the ISS.

Get going…

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Equations of Life: the audio book part 2

May 20th 2011

Posted by: in: From the Author, Metrozone, News and Updates
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When you get stuff published, it’s usual that you get some complimentary copies from the warehouse: and so with three books out in three months, you get a bit blasé about the whole thing. First it’s *squeee* as the first box arrives. By the time you get to the sixth (US edition Degrees of Freedom), it’s “meh, I’ll open them later.” More fool me, for in this box was nestling a copy of “Equations of Life: the audio book”.

I was having a bit of a purge in the study yesterday, and consolidating things: so I get out the Stanley knife and open the unopened crate. Behold, the thing of wonder.

So I cracked it open, slid the first disc into the computer and started playing it.

Now, I am not a man given to bouts of hyperbole. If the phone goes, I pick up and it’s say, Steven Spielberg or Peter Jackson on the other end of the line, making me a offer for the film rights to the Metrozone series, I’d relate the tale later with a “which was nice” conclusion.

The audio book is jaw-droppingly good. Genuinely the most fantastic piece of craftsmanship I have ever had the good fortune to be involved with. The narrator is Toby Leonard Moore. He is amazing. He’s an Oz, which considering this is a book set in London, you might consider an odd choice. But this man is an Actor. An Actor who can do accents. An Actor who doesn’t trip over speech. Who has a cadence and a melody to his voice. Hearing the crude words (and some of them are very crude indeed) I wrote get spoken by a professional is simply a revelation.

He’s a lot better – and when I say a lot, I mean I’m completely outclassed – at reading this than I am.

It’s UK£25, for ten and a half hours of entirely unabridged, unexpurgated, Petrovitchy mayhem. It deserves to do well, because it is well done, and not because I had something to do with it. It’s the closest thing to the film you’ll get for the foreseeable future…

You can order it from Whole Story audiobooks.

But they won’t ship to the US, due to me having sold the US audio rights to a different, US, company. So you’ll have to wait. But I promise I’ll keep you posted.

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Equations of Life: the audio book

May 3rd 2011

Posted by: in: From the Author, Metrozone, News and Updates
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Those lovely people at WF Howes have a reputation for awesome. They take original books, and they hire a voice artist to read every single word out loud. Those words are recorded, and burnt onto CDs. Which they then sell. For money.

Let’s just go back a bit. See where I said every single word? That’s Every Single Word. Complete and unabridged. Complete. Unabridged. And they’ve done it for Equations of Life. I am vibrating with happiness. And they’ve used the talented Toby Leonard Moore, whose genre credits include Dollhouse.

This is the cover. There are 11 CDs. And it’s yours for UK£25.52. This is the Equations of Life page on Whole Story Audiobooks. Take some time to have a browse while you’re there.

(I am, of course, hoping to blag a copy, but I may just end up sticking my hand in my pocket and shelling out for one. This is simply too full of win to miss out.)

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