Best wishes to all at the end of 2022, and with good thoughts for 2023. Let's have a bit of Kylie (she's half Welsh, don't you know) with this festive banger.
Last week I delivered MACHINE VENDETTA, the third in the Prefect Dreyfus series. All being well, it should appear in 2023. I don't want to say too much more about it until at least the final round of editing (which won't be finished until well until next year) but here at least is the provisional cover copy, subject to change:
Panoply is a small, efficient police force, dedicated to maintaining the rule of democracy among the ten thousand disparate city states orbiting the planet Yellowstone.
Ingvar Tench was one of Panoply's most experienced operatives. So why did she walk alone and virtually unarmed into a habitat with a vicious grudge against her organisation?
As his colleagues pick up the pieces, Dreyfus must face his conscience. Four years ago, when an investigation linked to one of his most dangerous adversaries got a little too personal, Dreyfus arranged for Tench to continue the enquiry by proxy.
In using her - even though he had his reasons - did Dreyfus also put her in the line of fire?
And what does Tench's misadventure tell him about an enemy he had hoped was dormant?
The book marks the end of my ten-novel contract, and since I've stated my intention to do standalones for at least the next few years, it's also the last word on both Dreyfus and the Revelation Space universe for the foreseeable.
I'm shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Greg Bear, following complications after surgery. His works meant a tremendous amount to me. Blood Music nearly cost me a degree: I was so enraptured by it that I had to tear myself away for last-minute revision. I adored Eon and its successors, Eternity and Legacy. All three stamped indelible images into my brain. The Forge of God kept me awake and focussed during the long grind of an observing run at the Anglo-Australian Telescope; its sequel, Anvil of Stars was one of the first books (perhaps the first) to play with cosmic-scale ideas about the role of competing alien intelligence in the universe, dealing with first contact, galactic war and the Fermi paradox in always fresh, exciting ways. His short novel Heads, which first appeared in Interzone, was a suitably creepy and well-imagined story about cryogenics and weird physics, one of the few SF stories to explore thermodynamics as a theme, and to do so with phenomenal boldness. I think it fits into a future history which also includes the fine Moving Mars, as well as Queen of Angels and Slant, all of which are richly recommended. His short fiction taught me how to open a story.
He could be delightfully playful. Reading the description of the alien Jart in Eon/Eternity, I realised that they were literally the Hallucigenia fossils from the Burgess Shale.
I met him only once or twice, both brief occasions at American SF conventions. He was genial, welcoming and approachable.
Thanks, Greg, and all love and best wishes to his family.
Half an hour ago I was listening to Low's wonderful, wonderful album C'Mon, one of the great records of the last decade or so, and marvelling at what a phenomenal presence Mimi Parker is; just a fabulous drummer and singer. And now I see in the Guardian that her death has just been announced.
This is dreadful news. All good thoughts to Alan Sparhawk and their children, and thank you for the music, Mimi. You were one of the greats. And, as ever, fuck cancer.
Yesterday's Memory Walk, in aid of the Alzheimer's Society, appears to have been a great success. Hundreds of people turned out for the walk. Thankfully, the weather was kind to us. There was a chilly breeze from time to time, but the Sun was out more often than not, and the autumn colours looked splendid. The only snag was a malfunctioning camera! Other than a few shots, it decided to over-expose so most of our pics were useless.
The event was extremely friendly, well organised and marshalled. Thanks to all volunteers involved.
Just before the start I was admiring this marvellous bit of wood sculpture on the edge of Cooper's Field, just behind Cardiff Castle:
The 6km walk took us out of central Cardiff, along the Taff, up toward Pontcanna Fields. Along the way there was a chance to spy some wildlife, such as a kingfisher (tiny, but just visible perched on a branch). As a general rule in life, any day when you see a kingfisher is a good day, so this was a Good Day.
And a heron:
My wife and I would like to thank everyone who contributed to our fund. Although the amount we raised is just a drop in the ocean compared to the vast challenge of defeating dementia, every bit surely helps. Our Just Giving page will remain open for a few weeks, and we'll be making a matching donation of our own to the Alzheimer's Society.
I'll say more after the event, but as we approach the weekend I'd like to thank everyone who has so generously donated to the page for the dementia awareness walk my wife and I will be doing in Cardiff in a couple of days (see a post or two below). It's much appreciated
A note that you can watch my reading and Q&A in support of The Pixel Project by going to Youtube:
If you'd like to support the Pixel Project's campaign to end violence against women, you can visit their donation page:
I've got two things on offer. One is an ARC of Eversion (two of the three have gone already) kindly supplied by Orbit, for which - once the buyers are known - I'll supply a signed and personalised bookplate. I'm also offering a "critique bundle", by which you get to send me a piece of short fiction or an excerpt from a large work, and I'll offer feedback.
My wife and I will be doing the Memory Walk in Cardiff in support of Alzheimer's Society on September 18th. We'll be thinking of several loved ones but in particular my much-missed grandmother who was taken from us in 2009 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. This horrible, horrible disease must be stopped.
Should anyone like to support us, here's a Just Giving page at the link below.
Please, no pressure - we know how tight money is at the moment. And love and best wishes to all have been touched by this disease. We'll be thinking of you as well.
A few things to mention for the coming week or so:
One of the activities of the project is the Read For Pixels campaign, a series of Youtube sessions with authors who support the initiative. This year I am one of those authors, along with Alan Baxter, Bracken MacLeod, Carol Goodman, Daniel H. Wilson, Jenn Lyons, Kathryn Purdie, Namina Forna, Nghi Vo, Rin Chupeco, Romina Garber, and Tim Lebbon.
Again quoting from the website: "each livestream YouTube session will feature one author reading from one of their books and discussing women and girls in their books, why they support ending violence against women, and women in the media, geek culture, and popular culture. Each session will also include a live moderated Q&A segment for fans and book lovers. The sessions will take place on weekends throughout September 2022."
I'm doing my session on Sunday September 4th at 3.30pm UK time. Here's a link which will become active when the event goes live:
For much more information, hop on over to the Pixel Project website:
In association with that, I'm also doing a Reddit AMA over on r/Fantasy on August 31st. It's already listed in the sidebar over that Reddit page. Because of the inevitable time difference, Ill be doing the AMA over 24 hours so there will be ample time to get questions in and stand a good chance of an answer. It's over on r/Fantasy because that's the established venue for these events.
Unrelated to the above, I'm doing an online interview for ProWrtingAid as part of their Science Fiction Writers' Week. Many other writers are also involved. My slot is on Monday August 29th at 10.00 AM EDT/3.00PM UK. You do have to register.
My Asimov's story of the title above, my first in that magazine for more than twenty years, should be hitting the bookstores soon. I'm delighted!
Here's a link to the magazine:
And you can check out an excerpt of the piece here. It's a pretty long excerpt, but there's still a lot more of the story to come.
It's a totally standalone piece, by the way, not related to anything else I've done.
The same goes for a couple of other stories I've just sold. "Banish" will appear in the forthcoming Titan anthology The Multiverse, edited by Preston Grassman, and "Detonation Boulevard" will appear on Tot online via Jonathan Strahan. Both stories won't be out until 2023 (gulp!), so doubtless I'll post more about them nearer publication.
Back to the Asimov's piece now. The title is a blatant rip-off of "Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead" by the inestimable and much-missed Warren Zevon. So by way of gratitude, let's have some Warren.
I've seen a note on Amazon.com from a Mr Zimmerman stating that there appears to be a formatting issue with dialogue quotes in the US Kindle edition of Eversion. I'm not in a position to replicate the fault myself, but I've raised it with my US publishing team so hopefully there will be a resolution. If anyone else has seen the error, it might be worth mentioning it here. Thanks.
Full story via The Guardian:
Kate Bush is having a moment, and it's a wonderful thing. I first heard "Running up that Hill" in the late summer of 1985. I was nineteen and preparing to go to university (I'd missed a year due to failing my exams the previous time). I already liked KB so anticipation was high for her new material. Although it really wasn't that long compared to the gaps between releases now, it seemed an age since her last album, the gloriously bonkers The Dreaming. I was upstairs in my bedroom listening to Radio 1 when they played her new single for the first time and I knew instantly, from the first few bars, that it was fantastic. The drums, the weird textures, reminded me of Peter Gabriel. Later that year my sister got the album on cassette and I was able to borrow it and listen on my Walkman. It's still a wonderful LP, and "Running up that Hill" has never not sounded brilliant, one of those incredibly rare songs that just never stops being fresh and exciting every time you hear it.
My absolute introduction to KB goes back much earlier than that, though. It was March 1978. I was in the backseat of mum and dad's car, driving to Swansea. My sister would have been next to me. "Wuthering Heights" came on the radio, and I (like millions of others) was enraptured. But somewhere along the line I got my wires crossed. At that point I hadn't seen a photo of Kate Bush, and yet due to some misheard or misunderstood comment on the radio, I got it into my head, temporarily, that the woman singing the song was the same one who played Princess Leia in Star Wars. So, for a very short while, my mental image of Kate Bush was essentially Carrie Fisher with the big ear buns. I know, it makes no sense at all, but when you're twelve, you accept stuff like this. I should also mention that the reason for being in the backseat of the car was this: it was my birthday and we were off to see Star Wars for the very first time.
Just a heads up to let you know that there's a nice, three-page interview with me in the current issue of Star Trek Explorer magazine (issue 2 of the relaunched mag), in which I talk about my love of classic Trek and some favorite episodes, among other things. Thanks to Nick and Mark for the interview, which I greatly enjoyed doing.
In other news, over the last few months I've found myself going down the Sparks rabbit hole. I've always liked Sparks as an idea, but haven't actually owned any of their records - until now. I didn't want to rush into it with these flash-in-the-pan acts.
Here's the splendid video for a great Sparks song from 1994:
But - hey - there's a Star Trek connection in this video, and rather a fun one. Can you figure it out? Form an orderly queue with your answers. (And no, that's not a Q reference).
Eversion will be out in a couple of weeks in the UK, and I've already seen my author copies. It looks very nice, with a distinctly different design to my other titles.
Some early reviews have begun to appear. Writing in the Daily Mail, Jamie Buxton called it "gripping, exciting and clever, as well as a deeply moving story about truth, sacrifice and how to be human."
In New Scientist, Sally Adee wrote: "it isn't every day you get to experience a perfect collision of the Romantic macabre of Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft with The Usual Suspects and 2001: A Space Odyssey."
Finally, writing in The Guardian, Lisa Tuttle called it a "wonderfully entertaining puzzle wrapped inside an adventure story, which turns out to be science fictional after all."
In the comments to the last post, it was asked if I had any more detailed information on the timeline for the Congregation, as featured in the Revenger series.
I do have some more information on various aspects of that universe, in the form of notes and drawings done for my benefit while writing the books. These were never intended for publication, just as memory aids, and in some respects represent earlier drafts of names and characters compared to how they eventually appeared. Now that the dust has settled, though, I thought it wouldn't hurt to put them up here.
I'm going to present these scans without comment as they should be self-explanatory to those who have read the books. However, if there's anything that's not clear, please feel free to comment and I'll try to shed light. The timeline is right at the bottom.