Throwback Thursday: Michael Cobley’s SHADOWKINGS series


Today, we wanted to draw your attention to Michael Cobley‘s first series, the grimdark fantasy Shadowkings trilogy: SHADOWKINGS, SHADOWGODS and SHADOWMASQUE. The trilogy is still available widely in eBook in English and German, and various rights are available (please get in touch if you have any questions).

The novels were published before the grimdark wave came to dominate the fantasy genre (albeit relatively briefly), and was published in the UK by Earthlight, between 2001-5. Here’s the synopsis for the first novel…

For one thousand bright and fortunate years the Khatrimantine Empire had guaranteed peace and benevolence. Then came the vast hordes of the Mogaun, driven by an evil deity, the Lord of Twilight, corrupter and devourer. At the very pinnacle of his triumph, the Lord of Twilight made a fatal mistake, shattering his essence into five parts: five lost souls destined to become the Shadowkings. Now, sixteen years after the invasion, Mogaun warlords and petty despots squabble amid the ruins. Yet ancient powers are stirring and the Empire’s last valiant defenders are gathering their strength, hoping that one decisive strike can reverse their long, bleak decline.

The covers at the top of this piece are for the current eBook editions of the trilogy, available through the JABberwocky eBook Program. Here are the original covers…

The series was well-received on publication, and here are just a few of the reviews the series has enjoyed…

‘A pacey action and adventure story, packed with battles, rescues and political double-dealing… a refreshing and believable take on the Fight Against Insurmountable Evil Foes sub-genre, without dispensing with any of the familiar staples that make the genre what it is.’ Infinity Plus on SHADOWKINGS

‘Impressively unpleasant first fantasy novel… If it were not for its unrelenting bleakness, Shadowkings would be a fairly standard story of apocalyptic evil and heroic good–Cobley has a sense, however, of how bad a battlefield or a ruined town smells, and his dark magic is appropriately sinister.’ Roz Kaveney on SHADOWKINGS

SHADOWKINGS, was brutal, cruel and realistic in a way genre usually avoids. SHADOWGOD, his second, is not only lighter, it is better written and makes good use of the world Cobley has created… writing to rival David Gemmell.’Guardian (Jon Courtenay-Grimwood)

‘Unconventional high fantasy trilogy… [Cobley] has taken traditional sword and sorcery to some new and perhaps uncomfortable places… Once again Mike has succeeded in producing an unusually dark and claustrophobic piece of work, though it is a lot less bleak than its predecessors. It is also a lot less convoluted with the battle lines more clearly drawn.’ Infinity Plus on SHADOWMASQUE

‘[Cobley] drew the characters with verve and style, encouraging the reader to participate in the story he was unfolding. The plot was complex but clearly spun out, providing tantalising teasers at the end of each episode, which made me want to skip ahead to the next time that particular thread was picked up and woven. In my opinion, a clear winner for Michael Cobley.’ SF Crowsnest on SHADOWMASQUE

The series has also been published by Heyne in Germany. Here are the covers…

Michael Cobley is also the author of the critically-acclaimed Humanity’s Fire series, which includes the trilogy SEEDS OF EARTH, THE ORPHANED WORLDS and THE ASCENDANT STARS, and the stand-alone ANCESTRAL MACHINES. All four novels are published by Orbit Books in the UK and US, and Heyne in Germany.

Rivers of London signing at Forbidden Planet this Sunday!


This Sunday, between 1-2pm, Forbidden Planet will host Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel and Lee Sullivan for a Rivers of London signing! A special variant edition of CRY FOX #1 and a mini-hardcover edition of the DETECTIVE STORIES collection (both pictured above) will be available at the event. Here’s the synopsis…

The bookstore smash-hit returns for a brand-new story, picking up the threads from the most recent bestselling Rivers of London novel, The Hanging Tree!

Peter Grant, apprentice magician and freshly-made detective, tackles supernatural crimes for the London Met, walking the fine line between two worlds to keep the peace!

The Rivers of London comic series are published by Titan Comics, and include: BODY WORK, NIGHT WITCH, BLACK MOULD, DETECTIVE STORIES and CRY FOX.

Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series of novels is published by Gollancz in the UK, Del Rey (1-3) and DAW Books (4-6) in the US, and widely in translation.

The first novella in the series, THE FURTHEST STATION, is published in the UK by Gollancz, and in the US by Subterranean Press.

Short Fiction Watch: INFINITY WARS, feat. Aliette de Bodard and E.J. Swift


In our latest instalment of Short Fiction Watch, we wanted to draw your attention to INFINITY WARS, a new anthology published recently by Solaris Books. Here’s the synopsis…

Conflict is eternal

We have always fought. War is the furnace that forges new technologies and pushes humanity ever onward. We are the children of a battle that began with fists and sticks, and ended on the brink of atomic Armageddon. Beyond here lies another war, infinite in scope and scale.

Zeno’s own Aliette de Bodard and E.J. Swift have stories included in the collection — “In Everlasting Wisdom” and “Weather Girl”, respectively.

Aliette de Bodard is the author, most recently, of the award-winning Dominion of the Fallen series: THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS and THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS, published by Gollancz (UK) and Roc Books (US).

E.J. Swift is the author of the critically-acclaimed Osiris Project sci-fi trilogy: OSIRIS, CATAVEIRO and TAMARUQ, published by Del Rey (UK) and available as eBooks via the JABberwocky eBook Program.

Swift’s next novel is PARIS ADRIFT, which will be published next year by Solaris. Here’s the gorgeous cover by Joey Hi-Fi…

Aliette de Bodard nominated for Prix de l’Uchronie!


THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS by Aliette de Bodard, the award-winning first novel in the Dominion of the Fallen series, has been nominated for the Prix de l’Uchronie! Published in France by Fleuve as LA CHUTE DE LA MAISON AUX FLÈCHES D’ARGENT, here’s the synopsis…

Paris n’est que ruines et décombres depuis la Grande Guerre magique qui a opposé les Maisons régnant sur la capitale. Et celles-ci n’ont pas été épargnées : elles ne sont plus que l’ombre de leur splendeur d’antan. La Maison aux Flèches d’Argent fut la plus puissante parmi toutes. Mais sa position est précaire dans l’équilibre fragile qui s’est instauré. Et en son coeur, au sein de Notre-Dame, une malédiction terrible est dissimulée, prête à se déchaîner sur elle.

Son destin est désormais lié à celui d’un jeune homme aux mystérieux pouvoirs et d’une nouvelle Déchue.

La puissante magie de l’ange suffira-t-elle à les sauver de la chute?

The winner of the award will be announced at Rencontres de l’Imaginaire de Sèvres, on November 25th.

THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS and its sequel, THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS are published in the UK by Gollancz and in the US by Roc Books. Here’s the English-language synopsis…

Multi-award winning author Aliette de Bodard, brings her story of the War in Heaven to Paris, igniting the City of Light in a fantasy of divine power and deep conspiracy…

In the late twentieth century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins, the aftermath of a Great War between arcane powers. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.

Here are just a few of the great reviews the series has received so far…

‘Will grab readers and force them to pay attention to the amazing writing and the phenomenal characters. de Bodard will sweep you up into the dark and dirty world Paris has become. The characters are very vivid and will stay with you until long after the last page, as each of them is fighting and longing for something. The writing style rendered the characters’ feelings and emotional turmoil beautifully. Watching Philippe and Isabelle work through their “connection” is fascinating and lovely. There’s so much going on, and every character has their own past, their own tragic history. It’s a whirlwind, it’s heartbreaking and it’s one of the best fantasy novels of 2015.’ RT Book Reviews (Top Pick August 2015) on THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS

‘A gripping tragedy of forlorn individuals caught up in an angelic version of the Cold War… The story holds up well as a standalone, with clear possibilities but no pressing need for a sequel. De Bodard aptly mixes moral conflicts and the desperate need to survive in a fantastical spy thriller that reads like a hybrid of le Carré and Milton, all tinged with the melancholy of golden ages lost.’ Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS

‘De Bodard… has spun a fascinating Paris of decay and cruelty. ­Phillippe is a marvel of a character, unreliable as a narrator but compelling in his flaws and his deep well of homesickness.’ Library Journal (Starred Review) on THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS

‘A beautifully crafted novel full of complex characters, set in a post apocalyptic Paris – the image of which is truly haunting… vivid and fast-paced battles and intense political manoeuvrings… with carefully crafted characters both with layers and depth, De Bodard reflects the best and worst of human nature in her novel… an intriguing mystery, elegantly written… Something any avid fantasy reader with an open mind will devour!’ Guardian on THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS

‘De Bodard’s writing is very precise, like a well-oiled machine. The tempo is piston perfect, with the prose style having a strong and steady rhythm throughout. The emotional journey is relatively predictable (especially when we get into a marriage sequence), but the narrative is not. In other words, you can pretty much tell that the big emotions are coming, but the how and the why is what keeps you on edge. This is not a villains book; this is a powerful sequel that shows us that the incredibly complex world of the last novel is even more involved than we first expected. Strong stuff which you won’t stop reading till the end.’ Starburst on THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS

‘The author spins a tale that’s rich, emotional and gripping, and delivers that rare thing: a superior sequel… This is an incredibly rich novel. Even as the scheming, double-crossing and action set pieces unfold, the author never loses sight of the people whose lives are on the line… There’s just so much going on here: social commentary, myths and fairytales that often feel under-represented in genre fiction, a gripping genre adventure and an affecting love story. The author has gone from strength to strength and we can’t wait for this story to continue.’ SciFi Now (5/5*) on THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS

‘Meddling gleefully in the affairs of devils and dragons, this affective sequel to 2015’s THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS touches the heart as often as it cuts throats… Having fully crafted her world, de Bodard is now completely in control: she can move swiftly from gentle poetic touches to bloody Grand Guignol gestures, and she sure-handedly holds the reader by exposing the vulnerabilities and needs that drive even the seemingly all-powerful figures of rebel angels and ancient serpents to surrender to a higher collective power. In this world lacking signs of heaven, redemptions are painful but possible.’ Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS

THE FURTHEST STATION is a US Kindle Daily Deal today!


Ben Aaronovitch‘s first Peter Grant novella, THE FURTHEST STATION is a US Kindle Daily Deal today! Published by Subterranean Press, here’s the synopsis…

There have been ghosts on the London Underground, sad, harmless spectres whose presence does little more than give a frisson to travelling and boost tourism. But now there’s a rash of sightings on the Metropolitan Line and these ghosts are frightening, aggressive and seem to be looking for something.

Enter PC Peter Grant junior member of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Assessment unit a.k.a. The Folly a.k.a. the only police officers whose official duties include ghost hunting. Together with Jaget Kumar, his counterpart at the British Transport Police, he must brave the terrifying the crush of London’s rush hour to find the source of the ghosts.

Joined by Peter’s wannabe wizard cousin, a preschool river god and Toby the ghost hunting dog their investigation takes a darker tone as they realise that a real person’s life might just be on the line.

And time is running out to save them.

With this new novella, bestselling author Ben Aaronovitch has crafted yet another wickedly funny and surprisingly affecting chapter in his beloved Rivers of London series.

THE FURTHEST STATION is published in the UK by Gollancz, as are the rest of the novels in the series.

‘Aaronovitch’s novella featuring PC Peter Grant of London’s Special Assessment Unit (aka the Folly), which has the brief of investigating “disruptive phantasmagoria,” is an excellent entry point to the Peter Grant series for newcomers who like their urban fantasies rendered with a light touch.’Publishers Weekly

‘Though it be but little, this newest adventures of PC Peter Grant (technically book 5.7 in the Peter Grant/Rivers of London series) is fiercely entertaining; the endlessly imaginative Aaronovitch is in top form. Perhaps because there is so much intrigue, ghostly action and unique characterization packed into such a comparatively small space, the deft blend of supernatural adventure and police procedural is particularly impressive here, as Grant is called upon to use all the tools at his disposal, both the magical and the mundane.’RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)

‘Aaronvitch guarantees a thrilling read; his style and approach to world building are simply too tight and too accomplished not to. THE FURTHEST STATION is a strong example of compact and intense storytelling… We get some nice character development, especially via Peter’s cousin. She’s beginning to dabble in magic herself, which is a little like learning to juggle hand live hand grenades, and this provides a decent B-plot. THE FURTHEST STATION is short, but perfectly formed.’ — Starburst

CENTRAL STATION giveaway!


From today until October 10th, Tachyon Publications is running a CENTRAL STATION giveaway on Goodreads! CENTRAL STATION is the latest novel by critically-acclaimed, multi-award winning author Lavie Tidhar. Up for grabs is a signed hardcover of the novel. Here’s the synopsis…

A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Cultures collide in real life and virtual reality. Life is cheap, and data is cheaper.

When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris’s ex-lover is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap into the datastream of a mind with the touch of a finger. His cousin is infatuated with a robotnik — a damaged cyborg soldier who might as well be begging for parts. His father is terminally-ill with a multigenerational mind-plague. And a hunted data-vampire has followed Boris to where she is forbidden to return.

Rising above them is Central Station, the interplanetary hub between all things: the constantly shifting Tel Aviv; a powerful virtual arena, and the space colonies where humanity has gone to escape the ravages of poverty and war. Everything is connected by the Others, powerful alien entities who, through the Conversation — a shifting, flowing stream of consciousness — are just the beginning of irrevocable change.

At Central Station, humans and machines continue to adapt, thrive… and even evolve.

CENTRAL STATION won the 2017 John W. Campbell Award Winner, was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and longlisted for the British Science Fiction Award. In addition, it was selected as a best-of-year novel by NPR and Barnes & Noble, a best-of-month by Amazon, and was included on Locus’s Recommended Reading List. The cover also won the 2016 British Science Fiction Award Best Cover Illustration, for artist Sarah Anne Langton.

The novel has been published in the UK by PS Publishing.

Here are just a few of the reviews the novel has received…

‘Magnificently blends literary and speculative elements in this streetwise mosaic novel set under the towering titular spaceport… Tidhar gleefully mixes classic SF concepts with prose styles and concepts that recall the best of world literature. The byways of Central Station ring with dusty life, like the bruising, bustling Cairo streets depicted by Naguib Mahfouz. Characters wrestle with problems of identity forged under systems of oppression, much as displaced Easterners and Westerners do in the novels of Orhan Pamuk. And yet this is unmistakably SF. Readers of all persuasions will be entranced.’ Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

‘It is just this side of a masterpiece — short, restrained, lush — and the truest joy of it is in the way Tidhar scatters brilliant ideas like pennies on the sidewalk.’ NPR

‘The stories include some of Tidhar’s most beautiful prose, and his future Tel Aviv is among the most evocative settings in recent SF… Somehow, CENTRAL STATION combines a cultural sensibility too long invisible in SF with a sensibility which is nothing but classic SF, and the result is a rather elegant suite of tales.’ Locus

CENTRAL STATION, by the talented Lavie Tidhar, is a mindbending mosaic novel.’ Locus (2016 Year in Review)

‘It might seem like Lavie Tidhar is such a major figure by now that discussing him under international SF is hardly necessary, but his somewhat novelized storysuite CENTRAL STATION is so engaged with Israeli culture that it seems appropriate, even though it’s also a wonderful tribute to classic SF both in form (the fix-up) and content…’ Gary K. Wolfe, Locus (2016 Year in Review)

CENTRAL STATION is without question the best assemblage of short stories I’ve read in recent memory. Sublimely sensual, emotionally moreish, and composed with crystalline clarity irrespective of its incredible complexity.’ Tor.com

‘[Tidhar] has created a textured and original future that echoes real historical and economic tensions while satisfying veteran readers with deliberate echoes of classic science fiction… Deeply humane.’ Chicago Tribune

‘Powerfully imagined and beautifully rendered… capture[s] profound emotional truths…’ Interzone

Charlaine Harris’s DAY SHIFT and NIGHT SHIFT are today’s Kindle Daily Deal!


The second and third novels in Charlaine Harris‘s critically acclaimed new Midnight Texas series are today’s Kindle Daily Deal! Only 99p each, here is the synopsis for DAY SHIFT

Welcome to Midnight, Texas.

It’s a quiet little town, perched at the junction between Davy Road and Witch Light Road, and it’s easy to miss. With its boarded-up windows, single traffic light and sleepy air, there’s nothing special about Midnight… which is exactly how the residents like it.

So when the news comes that a new owner plans to renovate the run-down, abandoned old hotel in town, it’s not met with pleasure. Who would want to come to Midnight, with its handful of shops, the Home Cookindiner, and quiet residents – and why?

But there are bigger problems in the air. When Manfred Bernado, the newest resident in town, is swept up in a deadly investigation suddenly the hotel and its residents are the least of the towns concern. The police, lawyers and journalists are all headed to Midnight, and it’s the worst possible moment…

The series, which has recently been adapted into a TV series, is published in the UK by Gollancz.

Here are some of the great reviews these two novels have received so far…

‘Superstar Harris is back with the second installment of her fresh new series that explores the mysteries of Midnight, Texas. Harris excels at building a rich cast of characters who are like icebergs, with much lying beneath the surface. Having secondary characters from the Sookie-verse pop in just adds to the intriguing vibe!’RT Book Reviews on DAY SHIFT

‘Outsiders swarm the sleepy streets of Midnight, Tex., as supernatural superstar Harris returns with another practiced out-of-the-ordinary mystery…Harris continues to open up her setting, layering in more secrets as well as revealing some answers, and, in a nod to her fans, dropping the S-bomb to link this series with her famous Southern Vampire Mysteries series.’ — Publishers Weekly on DAY SHIFT

‘The reigning master of ‘‘rural fantasy’’ returns to the tiny village of Midnight, Texas (familiar from MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD) with a new story of magic and mystery, with local psychic Man­fred Bernardo embroiled in a murder case that brings unwelcome publicity to the town. Harris’s customary warmth and humor shines throughout.’Locus, New & Notable on DAY SHIFT

‘Bestseller Harris (the Sookie Stackhouse books) brings a real sense of community to the characters she introduced in MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD and DAY SHIFT, deepening the reader’s connection to an irresistible assortment of phone psychics and cowpunching vampires.’Publishers Weekly on NIGHT SHIFT

‘Harris if truly a gifted storyteller who delivers unique and fascinating characters… Great as always!’RT Book Reviews on NIGHT SHIFT

Zeno represents Charlaine Harris in the UK and Commonwealth, on behalf of the JABberwocky Literary Agency in New York.

Next Week: Meet Peter V. Brett for THE CORE’s UK Book Tour!


Next weekend, Peter V. Brett will kick off the book tour for his final Demon Cycle novel! While THE CORE is officially published in the UK on September 28th, it will be available at all of the tour stops. The full tour schedule is at the end of this post. The novel is published in the UK by Voyager. Here’s the synopsis…

Prepare for the final descent into darkness.

The war has begun.

For time out of mind, bloodthirsty demons have stalked the night, culling the human race to scattered remnants dependent on half-forgotten magics to protect them.

Two heroes arose men as close as brothers, yet divided by bitter betrayal. Arlen Bales became known as the Painted Man, tattooed head-to-toe with powerful magic symbols that enable him to fight demons in hand-to-hand combat and emerge victorious. Ahmann Jardir, armed with magically warded weapons, called himself the Deliverer, a figure prophesied to unite humanity and lead them to triumph in Sharak Ka the final war against demonkind.

But in their efforts to bring the war to the demons, Arlen and Jardir have set something in motion that may prove the end of everything they hold deara Swarm. Now the war is at hand, and humanity cannot hope to win it unless Arlen and Jardir, with the help of Arlen’s wife, Renna, can bend a captured demon prince to their will and force the devious creature to lead them to the Core, where the Mother of Demons breeds an inexhaustible army.

Trusting their closest confidantes, Leesha, Inevera, Ragen, and Elissa, to rally the fractious people of the Free Cities and lead them against the Swarm, Arlen, Renna, and Jardir set out on a desperate quest into the darkest depths of evil from which none of them expects to return alive.

Voyager has published the first four novels in the series in the UK, and also two novellas.

Zeno represents Peter V. Brett in the UK and Commonwealth, on behalf of the JABberwocky Literary Agency in New York.

APOCALYPSE NOW NOW debuts on Short of the Week!


Apocalypse Now Now – Teaser from XYZ Films on Vimeo.

We’re please to share the news that the APOCALYPSE NOW NOW short film is debuting on Short of the Week today! The film is adapted from Charlie Human‘s novel of the same name. The first in the author’s Baxter Zevcenko series, it is published by Arrow in the UK, and Titan Books in the US. Here’s the synopsis…

I LOVE THE SMELL OF PARALLEL DIMENSIONS IN THE MORNING

Baxter Zevcenko’s life is pretty sweet. As the 16-year-old kingpin of the Spider, his smut-peddling schoolyard syndicate, he’s making a name for himself as an up-and-coming entrepreneur. Profits are on the rise, the other gangs are staying out of his business, and he’s going out with Esme, the girl of his dreams.

But when Esme gets kidnapped, and all the clues point towards strange forces at work, things start to get seriously weird. The only man drunk enough to help is a bearded, booze-soaked, supernatural bounty hunter that goes by the name of Jackson ‘Jackie’ Ronin.

Plunged into the increasingly bizarre landscape of Cape Town’s supernatural underworld, Baxter and Ronin team up to save Esme. On a journey that takes them through the realms of impossibility, they must face every conceivable nightmare to get her back, including the odd brush with the Apocalypse.

The second novel in the series, KILL BAXTER, is also out now, published by Arrow and Titan Books.

Here are just a few reviews the novels have received…

‘… a riot — a firebomb of a novel, exploding with sick humour, violence and depravity… it’s never less than very funny, and the ongoing question of Baxter’s sanity adds a degree of mystery. There’s warmth here, too – you’ll likely feel sympathy for Bax by the end.’ SFX Magazine on APOCALYPSE NOW NOW

‘… wonderfully detailed scenarios, it’s fantastic… APOCALYPSE NOW NOW is often hilarious and tremendous fun… its target audience will have a blast.’ SciFi Now 

‘… breakneck pace and mad imagination… APOCALYPSE NOW NOW [is] such an addictive experience. As one of an associate of Ronin’s remarks: “There’s no pause button, you understand? … Once it starts you have to see it through.” All too true!’ Tor.com

‘Set against the refreshing backdrop of Cape Town, APOCALYPSE NOW NOW is the gloriously twisted novel… Imaginative, slightly demented and wonderfully odd, it’s a striking debut that delivers a dark monster-filled tale at a frenetically enjoyable pace… But thankfully, the voice of the main protagonist prevents the madness from taking control. His intelligent quips and cocky smart-arse attitude provides an incredibly entertaining backbone to a story that slowly reveals his heart and his struggles to grasp the world around him… If you want the dark imaginative wonder of Gaiman injected with the reckless, carefree abandon of a Tarantino flick, you’d be a fool not to hitch a ride into the mysterious world of Charlie Human’s South Africa.’ Starburst

‘The story is full of humour and really made me laugh many times with its absurdity, bad attitude and characters that are just pure gold to read, especially Ronin the big bearded, foul mouthed, recovering alcoholic ninja. This is a brash and ballsy read that doesn’t pull any punches and as such it is for the most part an incredibly fun read but it is the characters and the over the top nature of the story that make it so much fun.’ The Book Bag on KILL BAXTER

‘Like its predecessor, KILL BAXTER is laugh out loud funny and fiendishly creative. The anti-Hogwarts of Hexpoort gives Human the opportunity to riff more directly on pop culture… The further we delve into the supernatural world and its politics, with its psychotic fairies and violent luckdragons, the more engrossing the book becomes. Baxter himself is as entertaining a companion as ever, struggling with heartbreak and desperately trying to go against his own nature and be a good person, even as he travels through his own psyche with his psychosexual development funk band guides to fulfil his potential… tighter and more focused, and just as gloriously insane. Dark, mad, imaginative, and hilarious; KILL BAXTER is a joy.’ SciFiNow

‘Just as the author punctures holes in the twee/charming class system of magical boarding schools, Human also goes after many of the other traditions of epic fantasy. The warrior-mages of KILL BAXTER struggle with PTSD. The “rescued” girlfriends don’t feel particularly swoony or appreciative. The quest to master “the power within” involves a funk band. Baxter himself sees himself as the center of the universe (saviour for all, chosen one, etc. etc.) – but is also wise enough to seek out professional therapy for that sensation. APOCALYPSE NOW NOW was a very clever, extremely dark book with an underpinning of real insight into the teenage mind. KILL BAXTER is a step beyond – a viciously sharp adventure that combines explosive entertainment with cutting satire; the best traditions of contemporary fantasy with the truth of what it actually means to be contemporary. The odd book that should appeal to those who love fantasy and those that hate it. And I would heartily recommend it either way.’ Pornokitsch

Trailer for Charlie Human’s APOCALYPSE NOW NOW short!


Today, we are delighted to share with you the trailer for a new APOCALYPSE NOW NOW short film, made by XYZ Films! Based on the debut novel by Charlie Human, the full short will premiere next week on Short of the Week. Here’s the mini-synopsis…

Snarky, monster-porn-dealing teen, Baxter Zevcenko, might be a serial killer. His girlfriend, Esme, is missing, and he’s the prime suspect.  To clear his name, he’ll turn to Cape Town’s grizzliest, drunkest bounty hunter, Jackson ‘Jackie’ Ronin. Little does he know that Ronin is a supernatural bounty-hunter, and that he’s about to be dragged headlong into a deep, dark Cape Town underbelly full of monsters and myth, shadowy government forces, bloodthirsty crow-men and a conspiracy across time and space.

The short stars Garion Dowds as Baxter Zevcenko, Louw Venter as Jackie Ronin, and Faniswa Yisa as The Vigilante. It was directed by Michael Matthews, and written by Sean Drummond.

The Baxter Zevcenko series is published in the UK by Arrow Books, and in the US by Titan Books. The novels have also been published in select other territories. Here’s the synopsis for the first novel…

I LOVE THE SMELL OF PARALLEL DIMENSIONS IN THE MORNING

Baxter Zevcenko’s life is pretty sweet. As the 16-year-old kingpin of the Spider, his smut-peddling schoolyard syndicate, he’s making a name for himself as an up-and-coming entrepreneur. Profits are on the rise, the other gangs are staying out of his business, and he’s going out with Esme, the girl of his dreams.

But when Esme gets kidnapped, and all the clues point towards strange forces at work, things start to get seriously weird. The only man drunk enough to help is a bearded, booze-soaked, supernatural bounty hunter that goes by the name of Jackson ‘Jackie’ Ronin.

Plunged into the increasingly bizarre landscape of Cape Town’s supernatural underworld, Baxter and Ronin team up to save Esme. On a journey that takes them through the realms of impossibility, they must face every conceivable nightmare to get her back, including the odd brush with the Apocalypse.

Short Fiction Watch: CHASING SHADOWS


In this instalment of Short Fiction Watch, we wanted to draw your attention to the recent CHASING SHADOWS anthology, with was edited by David Brin and Stephen W. Potts. Published by Tor Books, it includes a story by Aliette de Bodard, and another by William Gibson

A collection of short stories and essays by other science fiction luminaries. As we debate Internet privacy, revenge porn, the NSA, and Edward Snowden, cameras get smaller, faster, and more numerous. Has Orwell’s Big Brother finally come to pass? Or have we become a global society of thousands of Little Brothers — watching, judging, and reporting on one another?

The collection includes de Bodard’s “First Presentation” and Gibson’s “The Road to Oceania”.

Aliette de Bodard is the award-winning author of, most recently, the Dominion of the Fallen series: THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS and THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS. Both novels are published by Gollancz in the UK, and Roc Books in North America.

William Gibson’s Neuromancer/Sprawl series were rereleased in the UK recently by Gollancz: NEUROMANCER (also available in a new hardcover edition), COUNT ZERO, MONA LISA OVERDRIVE and BURNING CHROME.

Zeno represents William Gibson in the UK and Commonwealth, on behalf of Martha Millard at Sterling Lord Literistic

See Ben Aaronovitch at Edinburgh Book Festival!


The Edinburgh Book Festival began this past Saturday, and we wanted to draw your attention to Ben Aaronovitch‘s appearance on Wednesday.

“Shedding Light on London’s Darker Corners” takes place from 8:45-9:45pm at the Studio Theatre. More details can be found here, and below is the official description of the event:

The bestselling PC Peter Grant series barnstorms on with Ben Aaronovitch penning The Hanging Tree. Once more, Grant is forced to traipse through the secret nooks and crannies of London, this time to investigate a murder in the circle of super rich guests at a terribly exclusive party. Aaronovitch tells us how he pulls together the various strings of magic, privilege and an everyday copper to produce another fictional gem.

Ben is the best-selling author of the Peter Grant series. The latest book, THE HANGING TREE is out now in paperback, published by Gollancz in the UK and DAW Books in the US. Here’s the synopsis…

Suspicious deaths are not usually the concern of Police Constable Peter Grant or the Folly — London’s police department for supernatural cases — even when they happen at an exclusive party in one of the flats of the most expensive apartment blocks in London. But the daughter of Lady Ty, influential goddess of the Tyburn river, was there, and Peter owes Lady Ty a favor.

Plunged into the alien world of the super-rich, where the basements are bigger than the houses, where the law is something bought and sold on the open market, a sensible young copper would keep his head down and his nose clean.

But this is Peter Grant we’re talking about.

He’s been given an unparalleled opportunity to alienate old friends and create new enemies at the point where the world of magic and that of privilege intersect. Assuming he survives the week…

Short Fiction Watch: Aliette de Bodard’s COSMIC POWERS


In this instalment of Short Fiction Watch, we wanted to draw your attention to COSMIC POWERS, a new anthology of far-away galaxies. The collection, edited by John Joseph Adams and published by Saga Press, includes a story by the award-winning, critically-acclaimed Aliette de Bodard: “The Dragon the Flew Out of the Sun”! The full table of contents can be found here, and here’s the synopsis…

A collection of original, epic science fiction stories by some of today’s best writers — for fans who want a little less science and a lot more action — and edited by two-time Hugo Award winner John Joseph Adams. Inspired by movies like The Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars, this anthology features brand-new stories from some of science fiction’s best authors…

Aliette is the author of, most recently, the Dominion of the Fallen series: THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS and THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS. Both novels are out now, published in the UK by Gollancz, and in the US by Roc Books.

Peter V. Brett returning to the UK!


Best-selling author Peter V. Brett is returning to the UK this year for a substantial signing tour! To mark the release of THE CORE, the final novel in his Demon Cycle series, Brett will be in the UK from September 24-30! THE CORE is due to be published in the UK by Voyager, on September 28th.

Here are the details (more to come):

Milton Keynes – Lunchtime Signing, Waterstones

  • What: Signing at lunchtime. Come get books signed and hang out!
  • When: Sunday, September 24th beginning at 12PM
  • Where: Unit 72, Midsummer Place, Milton Keynes, MK9 3GA

Birmingham – Waterstones Afternoon Talk

  • What: Afternoon signing/talk.
  • When: Sunday, September 24th beginning at 4PM
  • Where: 24-26 High St, Birmingham B4 7SL

Reading – Signing

  • TBC
  • When: Monday, September 25th beginning at 12:30PM

Bath – Signing

  • TBC
  • When: Monday, September 25th beginning at 7PM

London – Forbidden Planet

  • What: Evening signing at Forbidden Planet.
  • When: Tuesday, September 26th beginning at 6PM
  • Where: 179 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JR

Nottingham – Waterstones Lunchtime Signing (Nottingham)

  • What: Signing at lunchtime. Come get books signed and hang out!
  • When: Wednesday, September 27th beginning at 12:30PM
  • Where: 1-5 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham NG1 2GR

Sheffield – Signing

  • TBC
  • When: Wednesday, September 27th beginning at 7PM

Liverpool – Waterstones Lunchtime Signing

  • What: Signing at lunchtime. Come get books signed and hang out!
  • When: Thursday, September 28th beginning at 12:30PM
  • Where: 12 College Lane, L1 3DL

Manchester – Waterstones Evening Talk

  • What: Evening signing/talk.
  • When: Thursday, September 28th beginning at 7PM
  • Where: 91 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BW

Leeds – Signing

  • TBC
  • When: Friday, September 29th beginning at 12:30PM

Newcastle – Waterstones Evening Talk

  • What: Evening signing/talk.
  • When: Friday, September 29th beginning at 7PM
  • Where: Emerson Chambers, Blackett St, Newcastle, NE1 7JF

Edinburgh – Blackwell’s Lunchtime Signing

  • What: Signing at lunchtime. Come get books signed and hang out!
  • When: Saturday, September 30th beginning at 12:30PM
  • Where: 53–59 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1YS

Glasgow – Waterstones Evening Talk

  • What: Evening signing/talk.
  • When: Saturday, September 30th beginning at 7:30PM
  • Where: 153 – 157 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3EW

Anticipation for THE CORE is very high indeed, so we recommend everyone arrives early for these events! Here’s the synopsis for the novel…

The war has begun

For time out of mind, bloodthirsty demons have stalked the night, culling the human race to scattered remnants dependent on half-forgotten magics to protect them.

Two heroes arose — men as close as brothers, yet divided by bitter betrayal. Arlen Bales became known as the Painted Man, tattooed head-to-toe with powerful magic symbols that enable him to fight demons in hand-to-hand combatand emerge victorious. Ahmann Jardir, armed with magically warded weapons, called himself the Deliverer, a figure prophesied to unite humanity and lead them to triumph in Sharak Kathe final war against demonkind.

But in their efforts to bring the war to the demons, Arlen and Jardir have set something in motion that may prove the end of everything they hold deara Swarm. Now the war is at hand, and humanity cannot hope to win it unless Arlen and Jardir, with the help of Arlen’s wife, Renna, can bend a captured demon prince to their will and force the devious creature to lead them to the Core, where the Mother of Demons breeds an inexhaustible army.

Trusting their closest confidantes, Leesha, Inevera, Ragen, and Elissa, to rally the fractious people of the Free Cities and lead them against the Swarm, Arlen, Renna, and Jardir set out on a desperate quest into the darkest depths of evilfrom which none of them expects to return alive.

Voyager has published the first four novels in the series: THE PAINTED MAN, THE DESERT SPEAR, THE DAYLIGHT WAR and THE SKULL THRONE. The publisher has also released Brett’s novellas set in the world (more to come): THE GREAT BAZAAR & BRAYAN’S GOLD and MESSENGER’S LEGACY.

Zeno represents Peter V. Brett in the UK and Commonwealth, on behalf of the JABberwocky Literary Agency in New York.

See Andrew Hodges speak at the British Library


Next Monday, Andrew Hodges will take part in an event at the British Library celebrating the like, work and legacy of Alan Turing. You can find full details here, but here’s a mini-intro…

Alan Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954)  is now celebrated for his crucial contribution to the Allied victory in WW2 and for being the genius mathematician who set the foundations of modern computing. However during his lifetime he was a relatively obscure figure. A victim of the prevalent attitudes toward homosexuality, he was chemically castrated before dying at the age of 41. Jim Al-Khalili is joined by scientists and experts in an evening dedicated to Turing.

Andrew Hodges is the author of the critically-acclaimed, best-selling biography ALAN TURING: THE ENIGMA. In 201?, the biography was adapted for the big screen in the Oscar-winning, Benedict Cumberbatch-starring THE IMITATION GAME. The biography is published in the UK by Vintage, in the US by Princeton University Press, and widely in translation. Here’s the synopsis…

Alan Turing was the mathematician whose cipher-cracking transformed the Second World War. Taken on by British Intelligence in 1938, as a shy young Cambridge don, he combined brilliant logic with a flair for engineering. In 1940 his machines were breaking the Enigma-enciphered messages of Nazi Germany’s air force. He then headed the penetration of the super-secure U-boat communications.

But his vision went far beyond this achievement. Before the war he had invented the concept of the universal machine, and in 1945 he turned this into the first design for a digital computer.

Turing’s far-sighted plans for the digital era forged ahead into a vision for Artificial Intelligence. However, in 1952 his homosexuality rendered him a criminal and he was subjected to humiliating treatment. In 1954, aged 41, Alan Turing took his own life.