March 19th 2013
Posted by: Simon Morden in: From the Author, Metrozone, News and Updates
Tags: Degrees of Freedom | Equations of Life | Metrozone | Orbit | Philip K Dick award | Samuil Petrovitch | The Curve of the Earth | Theories of Flight | Thy Kingdom Come
Or, as my editor said on the phone yesterday, “It’s really difficult to embargo a book these days…” The Curve of the Earth has been spotted up and down the land, and other lands, previous to this day, and The Evil Tax-dodging Corporation Which Must Not Be Named (no, not the one that sells coffee, or mobile phones. The other one) seems to have been shipping copies since the weekend. But today is the Official Launch, so I should really post about it.
It’s a funny old business really. Here I am, in the middle of the final edits for Arcanum, and a book I wrote a year ago is coming out now. There’s a slight feeling of “is this happening to me?” about it, an air of bemused detachment, because while I lived and breathed this story during its creation, and then all over again for the edits, it’s now in my past, while for many of you, it’s in your present or even your future. This launch is certainly less nerve-wracking than the bang-bang-bang release of the first three books. I’m older, and a lot more sanguine, for one thing. More confident even (thanks again, Philip K Dick award!). What I’m looking forward to most is hearing what you think of it: Petrovitch is all grown up. He’s been at more-or-less peace for ten years. Then … this happens. And dear Lord, he’s angry. Not incandescent angry, but coldly calculating angry. Which makes him far more dangerous to both his enemies and his friends.
Do you need to have read Equations of Life, Theories of Flight and Degrees of Freedom to enjoy The Curve of the Earth? Actually, no. The story will probably be richer if you have, but I’ve written it in such a way (avoiding the as-you-know-Bob infodumps) that it’s not necessary. Orbit have kindly released an ebook omnibus if you need to catch up, but you can reasonably do that afterwards if you want, just in the same way it’s not necessary to have read Thy Kingdom Come before starting on Equations. Someone told me they’d read the original trilogy in reverse order. Okay, not recommended, but hey.
However you choose to read about Petrovitch, his world is now four books and a short-story collection long. Enjoy responsibly. You can, of course, hear from the man himself in this exclusive interview posted at the Orbit website. It’s a bit sweary (as you’d expect) but it’s quite enlightening. It was recorded just before the events of The Curve of the Earth, so it should give you some idea to his state of mind at page 1…
February 19th 2013
Posted by: Simon Morden in: From the Author, Metrozone, News and Updates
Tags: Degrees of Freedom | Equations of Life | Metrozone | Orbit | Samuil Petrovitch | The Curve of the Earth | Theories of Flight
Do you have an ereader – any variety? Do you think that you’d like all three original Petrovitch books for little more than the price of one?
Excellent news: because Equations of Life, Theories of Flight and Degrees of Freedom have been packaged under one sparkling new cover, giving new readers just enough time to experience the Thrill-Ride(tm) that is the Philip K Dick award-winning Petrovitch trilogy, before diving headlong into the New Cold War shenanigans of The Curve of the Earth.
It’s available for pre-order now, and will descend like an avenging angel onto your device at the stroke of midnight on the 1st March.
June 10th 2012
Posted by: Simon Morden in: From the Author, Ignite, Metrozone, News and Updates
Tags: audio book | Degrees of Freedom | Equations of Life | Greenbelt | Ignite | Lauren Panepinto | Metrozone | Philip K Dick award | Samuil Petrovitch | Theories of Flight
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.
April 10th 2012
Posted by: Simon Morden in: From the Author, Heart, Metrozone, News and Updates
Tags: Another War | appearances | Degrees of Freedom | Equations of Life | essay | Greenbelt | Heart | Metrozone | Samuil Petrovitch | The Lost Art | Theories of Flight | Thy Kingdom Come
As you can probably imagine, there’s been a bit of a surge in traffic recently, so I thought I’d write something in order to point out some of the tourist attractions on offer here.
Now that I have your attention… but seriously: free books. If you’re wondering about the Metrozone (as it’s known in the UK)/Samuil Petrovitch (furrin parts), there’s sample chapters of Equations of Life, Theories of Flight and Degrees of Freedom off the links on this page. There’s also Thy Kingdom Come, which is a short story collection I wrote back in 2002, which eventually formed the back-story to the world of the London Metrozone. The whole text is available free as a .pdf file, on this page.
I’ve written a couple of other books you may be interested in: The Lost Art, my YA-but-secretly-for-grown-ups looks-like-a-fantasy-but-it’s-really-hard-SF from David Fickling Books, and my spectacularly tentacular Lovecraftian-styled World Fantasy Award nominated novella Another War. Both are available as dead-tree copies and ebooks from various suppliers.
Second of the free offerings is Heart, my first ever published novel. After being pretty much unavailable for 10 years, I decided to wheel it back out. The unaltered text as an ebook (various formats) is free, and hard copies are available from Lulu.com.
I have also done various talks and workshops at the Greenbelt Arts festival. If you want to know what I really think about Christian fiction, or How Not to Write a Novel, those things can be found in the Essay section. I’m back at Greenbelt this August, talking about the future of publishing.
Apart from that, feel free to wander around. I’m not a prolific blogger, but sometimes have something interesting to say: there’s an RSS feed and a Metrozone facebook page to help keep folk up-to-date. Thanks for dropping by.
April 7th 2012
My lovely wife (and this just shows how lovely she is) watched the live streaming content and then phoned me up to tell me I’d won. Having staggered to conciousness, because let’s face it, 4am in the morning is not my best time, she played me the relevant bit over the phone, and yes – there it was: Ellen Wright reading out my acceptance speech, some of it in Russian.
“Yobany stos! I appear to have won. What I have failed to do, however, is appear in person to collect the award and thank the judges, for which I sincerely apologise.
I’m reasonably certain that any author sitting down to write an award-winning novel would be in the grip of massive hubris – and therefore almost certain to be destroyed by the gods – and winning anything, let alone the Philip K Dick award, couldn’t have been further from my mind when I wrote Equations of Life, Theories of Flight and Degrees of Freedom.
What I did do was set out to have a huge amount of fun. I hope that showed through, even as Petrovitch lost yet another body part to be replaced with shiny, shiny metal. I appreciate that the series isn’t exactly ‘high art’, and the books have been on the receiving end of brickbats as well as bouquets. Apart from writing them – and there’s a tip right here: don’t write something you’re not enjoying, because life is genuinely too short – what I’ve enjoyed most is hearing from people who Get It. Not that I’m suggesting for a moment that “What would Petrovitch do?” is any way to approach decision-making, but the sparks of recognition some of you have been kind enough to tell me about, or just post on the internet, have meant a great deal to me. Every author seeks an audience, and I’m very lucky as I have the smartest and best audience in the world, people who read science fiction.
It’s probably a good thing I’m not actually on stage at the moment because I would be blubbing like Gwyneth Paltrow, and no one wants to see that. Thank you for this tremendous honour. I’m going to let Ellen sit down now: vyp’em za to, chtoby u nas vsegda byl povod dlya prazdnika! (May we always have a reason for a party!)”
Which pretty much sums it up. Thanks to everyone involved over in Seattle, judges, organisers and audience. Onwards and upwards.
January 10th 2012
No, not that sort of vibrating…
The Metrozone series – all three books, no less – have been nominated for this year’s Philip K Dick award. I am properly stunned. Dick is one of the authors I not only enjoy, but admire: big concept stuff, played out at the personal level.
Congratulations to all the nominees – I’ll be dining out on this for a while!
December 26th 2011
Just a quick note to those lucky, lucky people who found one or more Metrozone books all carefully wrapped up in shiny paper and bows this Christmas. Once you’ve got over the eye-searing covers and read the expertly-written blurb on the back covers, you’ll be ready to start heading down the mean streets of post-Apocalypse London.
Two things to say at this stage:
Firstly, enjoy. Whilst the Metrozone is serious business (or srs bsns, as the kids say), the books are meant to be fun. If you find yourself snorting inappropriately as something terrible happens, don’t worry. You’re in good company.
Secondly, the Russian. None of it is translated. Just go with it – get the sense of it by reading it (it’s mostly phonetic), and if you’re desperate to find out what Petrovitch says, feel free to look it up on the internet. It is mostly absolute filth, though, as the guttersnipe was dragged up on the streets and paint-peeling insults are simply stock-in-trade for the man.
Other than that, welcome. Have a look around here for extra content, and if you’ve got any questions, don’t be afraid to ask!
August 10th 2011
Posted by: Simon Morden in: From the Author, Metrozone, News and Updates
Tags: appearances | Degrees of Freedom | Equations of Life | Forbidden Planet | Metrozone | middle class angst | Orbit | riots | signing | Theories of Flight
While it’s unlikely that the Metrozone books are going to get blamed for inciting riots in the real London, it was nice to visit our capital city before it became wreathed in smoke, and hordes of looters made off with armfuls of expensive consumer products – and stuff from Poundland… I suppose the remarkable thing is that it doesn’t happen more often, given the obvious inequalities of not just wealth, but of opportunity and aspiration.
I live in a country where something like 80% of all the places at our top two universities go to leavers from just six schools – five of which are private. My kids don’t go to the one state school on that list, like 99.99% of their cohort. If either of them wants to go to either Oxford or Cambridge, then the odds are already stacked hugely against them, whereas for the moneyed elite, access to the dreaming spires is simply a matter of buying their children places. I’m sorry if I’m coming over all painfully middle class, but despite the fact they have every advantage in life (except fantastically wealthy parents), that’s the reality of it – and, in my own middle class way, it makes me want to burn stuff down. And don’t get me started on the banks.
Sorry, sidetracked there. Back to the signing.
It was lovely – the whole process was lovely. Forbidden Planet staff were lovely, my fellow authors were lovely (even if Nicole Peeler gets all the goodies – apparently it’s a Romance writer thing), and the pub afterwards was also lovely, even if we did manage to clear out their real ale stocks very quickly.
Everything, including the photographic evidence of beardage, is on the Orbit website.
July 29th 2011
Just a reminder that Philip Palmer, Tim Lebbon and Nicole Peeler and me – and my beard – will be signing books (presumably ones we’ve written, but hey, we’re an open-minded lot…) at Forbidden Planet in Shaftsbury Avenue, olde London Town, from 3-4pm tomorrow, 30th July.
July 23rd 2011
It’s about time I rounded up the non-Amazon reviews (though I would direct your attention to a couple of the more recent ones on the .co.uk site…)
Two reviewers have read all three and reviewed all three in the same blog post, which indeed makes sense. Considering the books in the round, does the series make sense? Is there a story arc that travels throughout? Does all the swearing and explosions get a bit samey after a while? Is there a law of diminishing returns?
Not according to Usagi, who not only loves the Petrovitch (“I’d totally date Petrovitch. In a heartbeat.”) but, after some (possibly accurate) criticism of my writing style from other reviewers – no, I don’t want you to have to reach for the dictionary every other sentence, and no, I’m not a great prose stylist like m’friend Chaz Brenchley (who I love – both him and his books) – says this:
“I think the best part about Sam as a character and Morden as an author is that you really live through Sam’s eyes the entire trilogy. You’re right there with him, right there next to him, inside of his head. This means everything – from his stuttering heart in the first book, to his broken heart over Maddy by the third book. You see, think, feel, smell, touch everything he does. Morden is a master with sensory language and the amount of showing over telling is overwhelmingly, joyously tipped in the “showing” direction – automatically making me love Morden. It’s so hard to do that, and doing that in a sci-fi genre book/series is even harder. I tip my hat in major respect for him being able to do that.”
That’s really quite lovely. And to continue the theme, Holly at Books for One has other nice things to say. She spots that I’ve actually written a character-driven SF series. SF is not renowned for its production of full-rounded characters, and yes, it often eschews character development for gadget-strewn, plot-heavy shininess (which I do enjoy, but sometimes it’d be nice to have people I care about in all the shenanigans). She finds Petrovitch’s determination “endearing” and is completely on-side the whole time, despite his anti-hero tendencies.
It has been pointed out that there are a lot of strong female characters. I didn’t consciously mean it to turn out that way, but that’s what organically evolved. Here’s what Holly says about some of them:
“There’s Valentina, a true Soviet communist to her red core and demolitions expert. Lucy, the schoolgirl found hiding in a bathtub from the outies who saves his life more than once. And of course Madeleine, the amazonian, Catholic trained bodyguard who does things to Petrovitch’s synthetic heart that has nothing to do with the fact it’s constantly malfunctioning. I adored all of these guys, they were all useful fully realised people, no extra bits of skirt who are only good for the hero to perv over in these stories…”
She concludes: “If you’re looking for something clever, fast paced and exhilarating then you can’t do much better than these three books. In Communist Russia book reads you.” Happy author is happy.
Search the Site
ArcanumSee all books
The Curve of the EarthSee all books
Read the Samuil Petrovitch Guide to Russian Swearing
News / Blog