Short Fiction Watch: Ian McDonald in NOT ONE OF US


In this episode of Short Fiction Watch, we wanted to draw your attention to NOT ONE OF US, a sci-fi anthology edited by Neil Clarke and published by Night Shade Books. Within, you will find Ian McDonald‘s TENDELEO’S STORY, the third story in his Chaga series. Here’s the anthology’s synopsis…

They Are Strangers from Far Lands…

Science fiction writers have been using aliens as a metaphor for the other for over one hundred years. Superman has otherworldly origins, and his struggles to blend in on our planet are a clear metaphor for immigration. Earth’s adopted son is just one example of this “Alien Among Us” narrative.

There are stories of assimilation, or the failure to do so. Stories of resistance to the forces of naturalization. Stories told from the alien viewpoint. Stories that use aliens as a manifestation of the fears and worries of specific places and eras. Stories that transcend location and time, speaking to universal issues of group identity and its relationship to the Other.

Nearly thirty authors in this reprint anthology grapple both the best and worst aspects of human nature, and they do so in utterly compelling and entertaining ways. Not One of Us is a collection of stories that aren’t afraid to tackle thorny and often controversial issues of race, nationalism, religion, political ideology, and other ways in which humanity divides itself.

Here’s the synopsis for TENDELEO’S STORY

From the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, an alien force begins to spread, turning the land into an unrecognizable alien landscape. Tendeléo is nine years old when this first package comes down, and before she reaches adulthood the Chaga will change her life forever.

The first two books in Ian’s Chaga series, the novels CHAGA and and KIRINYA are available as eBooks published via the JABberwocky eBook Program. Ian’s latest series is the critically-acclaimed Luna, which is published by Gollancz (UK) and Tor Books (US), and is also available widely in translation. Recently, Tor.com also published the novella TIME WAS.

Ian McDonald’s ARES EXPRESS is out now in Italy!


Zone 42 has published the Italian edition of Ian McDonald‘s ARES EXPRESS! Here’s the synopsis…

“Dovresti cercare di fermarmi. Dovresti farmi ragionare, dirmi quanto male staranno tutti quanti, e non pensi all’onore della famiglia, e sarà uno scandalo tale che dovranno andare in giro senza tagliarsi i capelli per i prossimi tre anni. Poi, visto che non funzionerà, dovresti chiedermi se so cosa sto facendo e se so dove sto andando e dirmi che quello là fuori è un mondo enorme e pericoloso e che mi farò del male molto in fretta e finirò per tornare con la coda tra le gambe. E quando io ti risponderò che è tutto a posto tu dovresti addolcirti e dirmi che ti mancherò e che mi hai sempre amato e che avevi questo piano brillante di comprarti la libertà e avremmo avuto il nostro treno e saremmo partiti verso il tramonto in una nuvola di vapore.”

Immagina treni grandi come quartieri, cattedrali volanti, deserti sconfinati attraversati da binari infiniti e città che si arrampicano per centinaia di piani sotto il tetto del mondo. Immagina una ragazza che vorrebbe solo guidare un treno, la sua gemella invisibile e una Storia da cui dipende il futuro — o i futuri — di un intero mondo. Immagina le meraviglie di un pianeta rutilante di colori, caleidoscopico nei molteplici panorami, con la sua corona di angeli e di intelligenze artificiali, gli artisti anarchici, le città desolate e quelle brulicanti di vita.

Ian McDonald mette in scena un’avventura governata dalle leggi ineluttabili della Narrativa, che — al solito — non sanno che farsene di un’Eroina Esuberante e Intraprendente (Ma Comunque Carina). Riuscirà Sweetness a piegare la Storia alla sua volontà, e a sopravvivere alle sfide che una dopo l’altra le si parano davanti?

Ares Express narra di uno strano mondo, così diverso, eppure così vicino al nostro, un luogo pittoresco e affascinante, dove si mescolano fantascienza e realismo magico, immaginazione e filosofia, azione scatenata e idee straordinarie.

Benvenuti nella vita di Sweetness Octave Glorious Honey-Bun Asiim XII Macchinista. Benvenuti su Marte.

The first novel in the series, DESOLATION ROAD, is also published by Zone 42 in Italy.

Both DESOLATION ROAD and ARES EXPRESS are available as eBooks via the JABberwocky eBook Program. Here are just a few of the reviews the series has received so far…

‘McDonald’s fantastic Mars is vividly detailed and owes much to Bradbury’s Martian stories… entirely worthy of its rightly lauded predecessor.’ Publishers Weekly on ARES EXPRESS

‘A phantasmagoria of nuclear locomotives and wild Martian awesomeness. It’s a definite must-read… McDonald is furthermore an extraordinary stylist. His prose is clear and lucid, and at once both beautiful and playful. There is an inescapable sense that McDonald enjoys playing with words, building prose like intricate clocks, which can persist wholly on their beauty, regardless of their subject.’ io9 on ARES EXPRESS

ARES EXPRESS is a long, adventure-filled, extravagantly colourful, often funny, quite moving, highly imaginative, excellently written, story, set on a glorious Mars… might be the most fun [novel of the year]. I loved it wholeheartedly’ SF Site

‘Ian McDonald’s DESOLATION ROAD is one of my most personally influential novels. It’s an epic tale of the terraforming of Mars, whose sweep captures the birth and death of mythologies, economics, art, revolution, politics… Desolation Road pays homage to David Byrne’s Catherine Wheel, to Ray Bradbury’s entire canon and to Jack Vance, blending all these disparate creators in a way that surprises, delights, then surprises and delights again… Pyr Books has done us all the service of bringing this remarkable volume back into print after too long a hiatus.’ — Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing)

‘There’s a fair bit of science fiction that feels like fantasy, and vice versa, but DESOLATION ROAD is the only book I know that holds this particular balance… It was McDonald’s first novel, it absolutely bowled me over when it came out, and while I have read everything he’s published since, and admire all of it and like most of it, this remains my favourite of his books because it’s so unusual. It’s also some of the most beautiful prose imaginable… If you ever want to demonstrate how different science fiction can be, what an incredible range and sweep of things are published with a little spaceship on the spine, DESOLATION ROAD is a shining datapoint, because it isn’t like anything else and yet it is coming from a knowledge of what the genre can do and can be and making something new out of it.’ — Jo Walton (Tor.com)

Backlist Plug: Ian McDonald’s CHAGA series


Today, we wanted to draw your attention to Ian McDonald‘s classic Chaga series: CHAGA, KIRINYA and TENDELÉO’S STORY. The trilogy is now available in eBook, published by the JABberwocky eBook Program, and the first two books are also published in Germany by Heyne.

CHAGA, originally called EVOLUTION’S SHORE, was first published in 1995 and was nominated for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Here’s the synopsis…

On the trail of the mystery of Saturn’s disappearing moons, network journalist Gaby McAslan finds herself in Africa researching the Kilimanjaro Event: a meteor-strike in Kenya which caused the stunning African landscape to give way to something equally beautiful – and indescribably alien. Dubbed the ‘Chaga’, the alien flora destroys all man-made materials, and moulds human flesh, bone and spirit to its own designs. But when Gaby finds the first man to survive the Chaga’s changes, she realizes it has its own plans for humankind… Against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, McDonald weaves a staggering tale of keen human observation and speculation, as the Kilimanjaro Event changes the course of the human race by exposure to something beyond its imagination.

Here are some of the reviews CHAGA received…

‘McDonald… consistently explores new territory with his breathtaking images and incisive language. Both form and substance blend fortuitously in a work that features strong characters, a suspenseful story, and a profound message of hope and transformation. A priority purchase for SF collections.’ Library Journal

‘One of the finest writers of his generation, who chooses to write science fiction because that is how he can best illuminate the world.’ New Statesman

‘Optimistic near-future alien-contact yarn… McDonald’s tale is also inventive and challenging… a dense, complex, rather weighty, often fascinating piece of speculation.’ Kirkus

You can also read an excerpt from the novel here.

KIRINYA (1998) was showered with similar accolades when it was published: the novel was described by SFX as ‘a huge and ambitious novel’ and ‘the work of a supremely talented writer’, and McDonald was hailed as an ‘outstanding writer’ and ‘marvellous talent’ by The Times...

The end of the universe happened at around ten o’clock at night on 22 December, 2032. It’s just that humanity hasn’t realized it yet. And the Chaga, the strange flora deposited from the stars, is still busy terraforming the tropics into someone else’s terra. Gaby McAslan was once a hungry news reporter who compromised her relationship with UNECTA researcher Dr. Shepard for the sake of her story… but Gaby is no longer a journalist and she doesn’t want to be a full-time mother, even though her child Serena is her last link with Shepard. Gaby’s fire has gone out; she’s gone soft. But the massive political and military upheavals rocking the world are about to drag her back into the action.

The final book in the Chaga series, TENDELÉO’S STORY is a novella that was originally published by PS Publishing in 2000.

From the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, an alien force begins to spread, turning the land into an unrecognizable alien landscape. Tendeléo is nine years old when this first package comes down, and before she reaches adulthood the Chaga will change her life forever.

Ian’s latest series is Luna, of which the first two books are out now: NEW MOON and WOLF MOON, published by Gollancz in the UK and Tor Books in North America. The series is also available in a growing number of translated editions.

Ian McDonald’s THE DERVISH HOUSE and CYBERABAD DAYS reissued in Poland


This week, MAG re-issues Ian McDonald‘s critically-acclaimed THE DERVISH HOUSE and CYBERABAD DAYS in Poland! Published as an omnibus edition colleting DOM DERWISZY and DNI CYBERABADU, here are the synopses for the two novels…

DOM DERWISZY

Minela pora modlitwy, ale pora pieniedzy — jeszcze nie.

Stambul, Królowa Miast, budzi sie z krzykiem.

W halasie budzacego sie miasta wybuch przechodzi niemal niezauwazony. Gluchy trzask. Potem cisza.

W sennej dzielnicy Eskiköy stoi dawny dom wirujacych derwiszy Mistrza Adema. W ciagu pieciodniowej fali upalów w Stambule, zycie szesciorga bohaterów splata sie w historie o korporacyjnych knowaniach i machinacjach, islamskim mistycyzmie, intrydze politycznej i gospodarczej, tajemnicach dawnego imperium osmanskiego, nowym, przerazajacym zagrozeniu terrorystycznym oraz nanotechnologii mogacej potencjalnie odmienic zycie wszystkich mieszkanców Ziemi.

DNI CYBERABADU

Zbiór nadzwyczajnych opowiadan osadzonych w Indiach przyszlosci Rzeki bogów.

Rzeka Bogów Iana McDonalda, obwolana przez ,,Asimov’s Science Fiction” arcydzielem, chwalona przez ,,Washington Post” jako ,,wielkie osiagniecie autora, który staje sie wlasnie jednym z najwybitniejszych wspólczesnych powiesciopisarzy” – kreslila zywy obraz Indii w bliskiej przyszlosci, w stulecie niepodleglosci. Zrewolucjonizowala nowa generacje fantastyki, przyjmujac perspektywe, która nie byla ani europejska, ani amerykanska. Nominowano ja do nagród Hugo i Arthura C. Clarke’a, zdobyla nagrode BSFA; bogata sceneria tej powiesci zainspirowala McDonalda do ponownej wizyty – w serii opowiadan, których fabula takze odbywa sie w swiecie Rzeki Bogów.

Dni Cyberabadu to triumfalny powrót do Indii roku 2047, nowego, preznego supermocarstwa majacego póltora miliarda mieszkanców, w epoce sztucznych inteligencji, suszy wywolanej zmianami klimatycznymi, wojen o wode, osobliwych nowych plci, genetycznie ulepszonych dzieci, starzejacych sie dwukrotnie wolniej od zwyklych ludzi, i ludnosci, w której mezczyzn jest czterokrotnie wiecej niz kobiet. Same Indie rozpadly sie tu na kilkanascie panstw, od Kerali, po górne doplywy Gangesu w Himalajach.

Dni Cyberabadu to zbiór siedmiu opowiadan, wsród nich jedno nominowane do Hugo i jedno bedace zdobywca tej nagrody oraz osiemdziesieciostronicowa mikropowiesc.

Jak zwykle w przypadku utworów McDonalda, i o tej ksiazce bedzie sie w tym roku wiele mówic.

CYBERABAD DAYS is published in the UK by Gollancz, and available in the US via the JABberwocky eBook Program. Here’s the English-language synopsis…

The world: ‘Cyberabad’ is the India of 2047, a new, muscular superpower of one and a half billion people in an age of artificial intelligences, climate-change induced drought, water-wars, strange new genders, genetically improved children that age at half the rate of baseline humanity and a population where males out-number females four to one. India herself has fractured into a dozen states from Kerala to the headwaters of the Ganges in the Himalayas. Cyberabad is a collection of 7 stories:

The Little Goddess. Hugo nominee Best Novella 2006. In near future Nepal, a child-goddess discovers what lies on the other side of godhood.

The Djinn’s Wife. Hugo nominee and BSFA short fiction winner 2007

A minor Delhi celebrity falls in love with an artificial intelligence but is it a marriage of heaven and hell?

The Dust Assassin. Feuding Rajasthan water-rajas find that revenge is a slow, subtle process.

Jasbir and Sujay go Shaadi. Love and marriage should be plain-sailing when your matchmaker is a soap-star artificial intelligence

Sanjeev and Robotwallah. What happens to the boy-soldier roboteers when the war of Separation is over?

Kyle meets the River. A young American in Varanas learns the true meaning of ‘nation building’ in the early days of a new country.

Vishnu at the Cat Circus. A genetically improved ‘Brahmin’ child finds himself left behind as he grows through the final generation of humanity.

THE DERVISH HOUSE is also published in the UK by Gollancz, and available in the US as an eBook via the JABberwocky eBook Program. Here’s the English-language synopsis…

Welcome to the world of The Dervish House — the great, ancient, paradoxical city of Istanbul, divided like a human brain, in the great, ancient, equally paradoxical nation of Turkey. With a population pushing one hundred million, and Istanbul alone swollen to fifteen million, Turkey is the largest, most populous, and most diverse nation in the new Europe, but also one of the poorest and most socially divided. The Dervish House is seven days, six characters, and three interconnected story strands all woven around the common core of the old dervish house of Aden Dede. A terror attack, a vision of djinn, a commodities scam, a hunt for half a miniature Koran that holds the key to new technology, and a quest for a creature from Arabic legend — that may not be so legendary after all.

Ian McDonald’s LUNA NUOVA available now in Italy


LUNA: NEW MOON by Ian McDonald, the first novel in the critically-acclaimed Luna series, is now available in Italy! Published in eBook by Urania/Mondadori as LUNA NUOVA, here’s the synopsis…

Anno 2110. Il nostro satellite è stato colonizzato e industrializzato, e cinque potenti famiglie, i “Cinque Draghi”, detengono il potere sulle preziose risorse che vengono estratte ed esportate sulla Terra: l’elio-3, il carbonio, il ghiaccio e i metalli rari. Ma il modello di governo ha riportato la società spaziale al feudalesimo, perciò ciascuno deve combattere per conquistare il proprio posto. Adriana Corta, a capo di uno dei “Cinque Draghi”, ci era riuscita sottraendo il controllo dell’elio-3 alla Mackenzie Metal Corporation. Adesso, ormai anziana, deve difendere la florida azienda di famiglia da tutti i nemici che si è fatta negli anni. Per sopravvivere, però, dovranno essere i suoi cinque figli a scendere in campo contro i numerosi avversari. E per difendersi da loro stessi…

The series is published in the UK by Gollancz, in the US by Tor Books, and widely in translation — the second novel is WOLF MOON, and the upcoming third novel is MOON RISING. Here’s the English-language synopsis for NEW MOON

The scions of a falling house must navigate a world of corporate warfare to maintain their family’s status in the Moon’s vicious political atmosphere.

The Moon wants to kill you.

Maybe it will kill you when the per diem for your allotted food, water, and air runs out, just before you hit paydirt. Maybe it will kill you when you are trapped between the reigning corporations — the Five Dragons — in a foolish gamble against a futuristic feudal society. On the Moon, you must fight for every inch you want to gain. And that is just what Adriana Corta did.

As the leader of the Moon’s newest “dragon,” Adriana has wrested control of the Moon’s Helium-3 industry from the Mackenzie Metal corporation and fought to earn her family’s new status. Now, in the twilight of her life, Adriana finds her corporation — Corta Helio — confronted by the many enemies she made during her meteoric rise. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana’s five children must defend their mother’s empire from her many enemies… and each other.

WOLF MOON out now in Russia!


Ian McDonald‘s critically-acclaimed second Luna novel, WOLF MOON, is out now in Russia! Published by ACT as Волчья Луна, here’s the synopsis…

Дракон мёртв.

Корта Гелио, одна из пяти семейных корпораций, правивших Луной, пала. Те, кто пережил катастрофу, рассеяны по разным местам; богатства поделены между многочисленными врагами. Прошло восемнадцать месяцев.

Выжившие дети Гелио, Лукасиньо и Луна, находятся под защитой могущественных Асамоа, тогда как Робсон, который всё ещё не в силах оправиться от зрелища жестокой гибели своих родителей, теперь подопечный (практически заложник) клана Металлы Маккензи. Последний назначенный наследник, Лукас, исчез с лица Луны.

Лишь Госпожа Солнце, вдовствующая глава семьи Тайян, подозревает, что Лукас Корта не мёртв, что он всё ещё важный участник игры. В конце концов, Лукас всегда был Каверзником и, даже ценой смерти, пошёл бы на любые ухищрения, лишь бы всё вернуть и воссоздать Корта Гелио заново, ещё более могущественным. Однако Корта Гелио нужны союзники, и чтобы найти их, беглый сын решается на безрассудное, невозможное путешествие – на Землю.

В неустойчивом лунном обществе, полном постоянных измен и политических махинаций, самые многообещающие интриги всех семей, достигнув пика, разрешаются открытой войной.

ACT has also published the first in the series, NEW MOON, as Новая Луна.

The Luna series is published in the UK by Gollancz and in the US by Tor Books. The third book, MOON RISING, is forthcoming. Here’s the English-language synopsis for WOLF MOON

A Dragon is dead.

Corta Helio, one of the five family corporations that rule the Moon, has fallen. Its riches are divided up among its many enemies, its survivors scattered. Eighteen months have passed.

The remaining Helio children, Lucasinho and Luna, are under the protection of the powerful Asamoahs, while Robson, still reeling from witnessing his parent’s violent deaths, is now a ward — virtually a hostage — of Mackenzie Metals. And the last appointed heir, Lucas, has vanished of the surface of the moon.

Only Lady Sun, dowager of Taiyang, suspects that Lucas Corta is not dead, and more to the point — that he is still a major player in the game. After all, Lucas always was the Schemer, and even in death, he would go to any lengths to take back everything and build a new Corta Helio, more powerful than before. But Corta Helio needs allies, and to find them, the fleeing son undertakes an audacious, impossible journey — to Earth.

In an unstable lunar environment, the shifting loyalties and political machinations of each family reach the zenith of their most fertile plots as outright war erupts.

KIRINYA turns 20!


This week marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of Ian McDonald‘s novel KIRINYA, which was described when released as ‘a huge and ambitious novel, the work of a supremely talented writer approaching the top of his game.’ (SFX) The second book in the author’s Chaga series, it was first published by Gollancz in the UK in 1998. Here’s the synopsis…

The end of the universe happened at around ten o’clock at night on 22 December 2032. It’s just that humanity hasn’t realized it yet. And the Chaga, the strange flora deposited from the stars, is still busy terraforming the tropics into someone else’s terra. Gaby McAslan was once a hungry news reporter who compromised her relationship with UNECTA researcher Dr. Shepard for the sake of her story…but Gaby is no longer a journalist and she doesn’t want to be a full-time mother, even though her child Serena is her last link with Shepard. Gaby’s fire has gone out; she’s gone soft. But the massive political and military upheavals that are rocking the world are about to drag her back into the action.

The release of KIRINYA inspired The Times to describe McDonald as an outstanding’ writer with such marvellous talent, so vivid an imagination’ whose prose sings and zings’.

KIRINYA, as well as the other two books in the Chaga series are available as an eBook via the JABberwocky eBook Program, and also via Audible. The first two books have been published in Germany by Heyne.

Ian’s latest series is the critically-acclaimed Luna, published by Gollancz in the UK and Tor Books in the US, as well as in a growing number of translated editions (more details on his author page).

BE MY ENEMY in Italy…


BE MY ENEMY, the second novel in the Everness trilogy, is out now in Italy! Written by Ian McDonald, and published by Mondadori, here’s the synopsis…

Everett Singh è riuscito a fuggire dalle grinfie di Charlotte Villiers, ma a un prezzo altissimo: la perdita di suo padre, il fisico Tejendra Singh, in uno degli universi paralleli del multiverso. Ora, a bordo della Everness, Everett sta studiando l’Infundibulum, la mappa dei mondi della Panoplia redatta dal padre, per effettuare il prossimo salto Heisenberg che condurrà lui e l’equipaggio della nave in un altro dei mondi paralleli. Ma la malvagia Charlotte Villiers è un passo avanti a lui…

Mondadori has also published the first in the series, PLANESRUNNER, as TERRA INCOGNITA. The trilogy is published in the UK by Jo Fletcher Books, and in the US by Pry Books. Here’s the English-language synopsis for BE MY ENEMY

Everett Singh has escaped from his enemies with the Infundibulum: the key to all the parallel worlds. But his freedom has come at a price: the loss of his father to one of the billions of parallel universes in the Panopoly.

E1 was the first Earth to create the Heisenberg Gate, the means to jump between worlds, but it was quarantined long ago. No one goes in… and nothing comes out. But E1 has something that Everett needs: the means to find his father.

It’s lucky that he has the support of Airship Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her daughter Sen and the unique crew of the Everness, because Everett is about to discover the horrifying secret of E1 — and with it, his deadliest enemy!

Here are just a few of the reviews BE MY ENEMY has received so far, as well as some for the other books in the series…

‘[A] pacy book filled with tropes McDonald takes from across the genre and makes his own, whether it is AI or nanotech, unpeopled Earths or post-apocalyptic worlds… In softer hands these books could become a “monster of the week” series but here there are consequences… I can’t wait to see what happens next.’ Strange Horizons on BE MY ENEMY

‘McDonald proves the concept of his world of the Infundibulum has legs, and provides some intriguing new ideas amid an entertaining adventure… Lots of ideas thrown out and explored; good development of main characters… Malevolent Nanotech. More world hopping. A solidly entertaining second volume to the series… With all of these ideas, concepts and worldbuilding, McDonald, in terms of his core characters, provides us with meaty development and growth… I was more than satisfied with the book and anyone, young adult or otherwise, who has read the first book will find much to love here, and will likely be as eager as I for the next volume in the series.’ SF Signal on BE MY ENEMY

‘[A]bsolutely triumphant sequel to Ian McDonald’s pulse-pounding young-adult science fiction novel PLANESRUNNER… a rollicking, multidimensional tale… In BE MY ENEMY, there’s a lot more of what made PLANESRUNNER great — tremendous action scenes, cunning escapes, genius attacks on the ways that multidimensional travel might be weaponized, horrific glimpses of shadowy powers and sinister technologies. But BE MY ENEMY also has more of what makes McDonald’s adult fiction some of the best work I’ve ever read: a gifted ear for poesie that makes the English language sing, the unapologetic presumption of the reader’s ability to understand what’s going on without a lot of hand-holding, and a technological mysticism that never explicitly says when the literal stops and the fantasy starts…’ BoingBoing

‘This is vintage McDonald, with beautifully drawn settings, complex characters and deft plotting. When Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped, Everett’s investigations lead him to discover that his father was working to open portals between multiple worlds. Everett finds a map linking the worlds, which various sinister organisations desire – and the thrilling chase is on.’ Guardian on PLANESRUNNER

‘The book begins with its young and likeably geeky protagonist, Everett Singh (named for physicist Hugh Everett, who came up with the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics back in the ‘50s) witnessing the kidnapping of his scientist father. But why would anyone want to drag an apparently unimportant academic off the street in London? Because, it turns out, Singh Sr has created the Infundibulum, a map of all known parallel Earths. Soon, Everett heads through a gateway and into a steampunk-tinged adventure. And yes, an airship is involved. But don’t hold that against McDonald, because this is a novel that’s knowing in the way it uses SF tropes without ever coming close to being condescending towards its intended audience. Science nerds of all ages may balk at the amount of exposition in the early chapters (arguably necessary, considering we’re talking quantum here), but most will be too busy getting lost in a cracking adventure story.’ SFX on PLANESRUNNER

‘The marvelous Everness series takes readers to a world with highly evolved dinosaurs in this third voyage through parallel universes… McDonald lets his imagination run rampant without abandoning credibility, tackling real scientific concepts such as confirmation bias, a feature lacking in far too much science fiction. Fans might wish for more focus on the original Everett, but eventually, the three storylines weave themselves together nicely, setting up another sequel with hints of forthcoming romance. Endlessly fascinating and fun.’ Kirkus (Starred Review) on EMPRESS OF THE SUN

EMPRESS OF THE SUN revels in its pulp adventure milieu… McDonald has created an incredibly “storyable” universe for his characters to have their adventures in, and he keeps those adventures coming fast and furious… Between the adventures, the pacing, the characters, and the narrative arcs, there’s a lot to enjoy about this book and the overall series.’ Strange Horizons

Short Fiction Watch: Ian McDonald’s THE GUILE is out now on Tor.com!


THE GUILE, a new short story by Ian McDonald, has been published today on Tor.com, and in eBook!

When an AI that monitors casino gambling in Reno taunts a magician by revealing all his tricks, the magician is determined to exact his revenge.

Ian is the critically-acclaimed, award-winning author of many novels and short stories. His most recent series, Luna, is published by Tor Books in North America and Gollancz in the UK, as well as widely in translation.

Zeno clients among the 2018 Locus Awards Finalists!


It’s that time of year again: the Locus Award Finalists have been announced! We’re very happy to report that a number of our clients and their work appear in the various categories. Here are the details…

Ian McDonald‘s LUNA: WOLF MOON is a finalist for Best Science Fiction Novel. Published by Tor Books in the US and Gollancz in the UK, here’s the synopsis…

A Dragon is dead.

Corta Helio, one of the five family corporations that rule the Moon, has fallen. Its riches are divided up among its many enemies, its survivors scattered. Eighteen months have passed .

The remaining Helio children, Lucasinho and Luna, are under the protection of the powerful Asamoahs, while Robson, still reeling from witnessing his parent’s violent deaths, is now a ward — virtually a hostage — of Mackenzie Metals. And the last appointed heir, Lucas, has vanished of the surface of the moon.

Only Lady Sun, dowager of Taiyang, suspects that Lucas Corta is not dead, and more to the point — that he is still a major player in the game. After all, Lucas always was the Schemer, and even in death, he would go to any lengths to take back everything and build a new Corta Helio, more powerful than before. But Corta Helio needs allies, and to find them, the fleeing son undertakes an audacious, impossible journey — to Earth.

In an unstable lunar environment, the shifting loyalties and political machinations of each family reach the zenith of their most fertile plots as outright war erupts.

Aliette de Bodard‘s THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS is among the finalists for Best Fantasy Novel. Published in the US by Roc Books and in the UK by Gollancz, here’s the synopsis…

Paris endures the aftermath of a devastating arcane war…

As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, the great Houses of Paris, ruled by Fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital.

House Silverspires was once the most powerful, but just as it sought to rise again, an ancient evil brought it low. Phillippe, an immortal who escaped the carnage, has a singular goal — to resurrect someone he lost. But the cost of such magic might be more than he can bear.

In House Hawthorn, Madeleine the alchemist has had her addiction to angel essence savagely broken. Struggling to live on, she is forced on a perilous diplomatic mission to the underwater dragon kingdom — and finds herself in the midst of intrigues that have already caused one previous emissary to mysteriously disappear…

As the Houses seek a peace more devastating than war, those caught between new fears and old hatreds must find strength — or fall prey to a magic that seeks to bind all to its will.

Aliette’s CHILDREN OF THORNS, CHILDREN OF WATER, a novelette set in the same Dominion of the Fallen series as the above novel, is also nominated for Best Novelette. You can read the story here.

Ian R. MacLeod‘s RED SNOW, published by PS Publishing, is a finalist for Best Horror Novel. Here’s the synopsis…

In the aftermath of the last great battle of the American Civil War, a disillusioned Union medic stumbles across a strange figure picking amid the corpses, and his life is changed forever…

In the cathedral city of Strasbourg in the years before the French Revolution, a church restorer is commissioned to paint a series of portraits that chart the changing appearance of a beautiful woman over the course of her life, although the woman herself seems ageless…

In Prohibition-era New York, an idealistic young Marxist is catapulted into the realms of elite society, and forced to assume the identity of someone who never existed…

Red Snow is a novel of love and violence, ideas and dreams, and revolves around the mystery of a monster drawn from humanity’s darkest myths which still somehow survives, and thrives, and kills, in this modern age.

Winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 22-24, 2018.

TIME WAS tomorrow…


TIME WAS, Ian McDonald‘s new novella is published tomorrow by Tor.com! A bit of a departure from his recent books, this novella ‘weaves a love story across an endless expanse’. Check out the synopsis…

A love story stitched across time and war, shaped by the power of books, and ultimately destroyed by it.

In the heart of World War II, Tom and Ben became lovers. Brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar, the two founded a love that could not be revealed. When the project went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished into nothingness, presumed dead. Their bodies were never found.

Now the two are lost in time, hunting each other across decades, leaving clues in books of poetry and trying to make their desperate timelines overlap.

The novella has already received some great reviews and coverage. For example, Publishers Weekly said TIME WAS ‘entrances readers’ with its ‘beautiful writing’, and that ‘Fans of science fiction who enjoy a dash of history and legend will savor this tender story.’ You can check out an excerpt from the novella over on The Verge.

McDonald’s latest series, the critically-acclaimed Luna novels, is published in the UK by Gollancz and Tor Books in North America: NEW MOON and WOLF MOON are out now, and MOON RISING is out later this year.

Ian McDonald’s Luna series continues with MOON RISING…


We’re very happy to report that Ian McDonald‘s critically-acclaimed Luna series has been nominated for the Kurd Laßwitz Preis in the ‘Bestes ausländisches SF-Werk mit deutscher Erstausgabe’ category (Best Foreign SF available in German translation)!

Both of the novels — LUNA and WOLFSMOND — are published in Germany by Heyne. Here’s the synopsis for the first novel…

Kampf der Fünf Drachen

Die Zukunft: Schon lange ist der Mond den Menschen zu einer zweiten Heimat geworden. Doch auf dem Erdtrabanten geschieht nichts, ohne dass die dort ansässigen, rivalisierenden Wirtschaftsgiganten – die sogenannten Fünf Drachen – davon erfahren. Einer davon ist die Corta Helio Corporation unter dem Vorsitz der Patriarchin Adriana Corta. Als junge Frau musste sich Adriana in der brutalen Mondgesellschaft nach oben kämpfen – und hat sich dabei eine Menge Feinde gemacht. Feinde, die Adriana und ihren Clan nun zu Fall bringen wollen…

The winner of the award will be announced on September 22nd, 2018, at ElsterCon in Leipzig.

The series — NEW MOON, WOLF MOON and the upcoming MOON RISING (2019) — is published in the UK by Gollancz and in the US by Tor Books. The series has also been published widely in translation (for more information on the other editions available, be sure to check out Ian’s author page). Here’s the English-language synopsis for the first novel…

The scions of a falling house must navigate a world of corporate warfare to maintain their family’s status in the Moon’s vicious political atmosphere…

The Moon wants to kill you.

Maybe it will kill you when the per diem for your allotted food, water, and air runs out, just before you hit paydirt. Maybe it will kill you when you are trapped between the reigning corporations — the Five Dragons — in a foolish gamble against a futuristic feudal society. On the Moon, you must fight for every inch you want to gain. And that is just what Adriana Corta did.

As the leader of the Moon’s newest “dragon,” Adriana has wrested control of the Moon’s Helium-3 industry from the Mackenzie Metal corporation and fought to earn her family’s new status. Now, in the twilight of her life, Adriana finds her corporation — Corta Helio — confronted by the many enemies she made during her meteoric rise. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana’s five children must defend their mother’s empire from her many enemies… and each other.

Ian McDonald’s BRASYL and DERVISH HOUSE available in the US!


We’re very happy to report that Ian McDonald‘s novels BRASYL and THE DERVISH HOUSE are available again in the US! Published in eBook format through the JABberwocky eBook Program, here are some details…

BRASYL, first published in 2007, the novel is published in the UK by Gollancz. The novel was nominated for Best Novel in the Hugo, Nebula and BSFA Awards. Here’s the synopsis…

Be seduced, amazed, and shocked by one of the world’s greatest and strangest nations. Past, present, and future Brazil, with all its color, passion, and shifting realities, come together in a novel that is part SF, part history, part mystery, and entirely enthralling. Three characters, three stories, three Brazils, linked across time, space, and reality in a hugely ambitious story that will challenge the way you think about everything.

The release of BRASYL was met with a number of great reviews. Here are just a couple…

‘McDonald’s outstanding SF novel channels the vitality of South America’s largest country into an edgy, post-cyberpunk free-for-all… Chaotic, heartbreaking and joyous, this must-read teeters on the edge of melodrama, but somehow keeps its precarious balance.’ Publishers Weekly

BRASYL is classic McDonald: a deep thinking, high-paced adventure story, exploring the quantum universe, combining sassy, believable characters with a captivating delight in language and storytelling. McDonald inhabits the Brazil – or rather, the Brazils – of this world and sweeps you along as no other writer in the field could manage.’ Guardian

‘A beautiful story, one that cries out to be read again and again. McDonald’s light is still shining brightly, and considering the consistent quality of his titles, we say long may it burn.’ SciFi Now

Next up, THE DERVISH HOUSE! First published in 2009 by Gollancz, this novel was also nominated for Best Novel in the Hugo, Locus and BSFA Awards, and was also a nominee for the Arthur C. Clarke and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards. Here’s the synopsis…

Welcome to the world of The Dervish House — the great, ancient, paradoxical city of Istanbul, divided like a human brain, in the great, ancient, equally paradoxical nation of Turkey. With a population pushing one hundred million, and Istanbul alone swollen to fifteen million, Turkey is the largest, most populous, and most diverse nation in the new Europe, but also one of the poorest and most socially divided. The Dervish House is seven days, six characters, and three interconnected story strands all woven around the common core of the old dervish house of Aden Dede. A terror attack, a vision of djinn, a commodities scam, a hunt for half a miniature Koran that holds the key to new technology, and a quest for a creature from Arabic legend — that may not be so legendary after all.

Here are some of the great reviews THE DERVISH HOUSE has received…

‘… a writer with an unerring instinct for finding resonance between theme and location… a rich and assured novel that, like much of Ken MacLeod’s recent work, revels in the shiny precision of the airport tech-thriller, yet insists on putting forward disquieting ideas rather than offering all-too-neat reassurances that you can somehow put escaped djinns back in bottles. This is as good as contemporary literary SF gets.’  —  SFX (5* Review)

‘I know what to expect from Ian McDonald: broad vistas, intricately imagined futures, poetic language that transports and delights, a blend of mysticism and science that thrills and moves. But no matter how much foreknowledge I bring to a new Ian McDonald, I am always, always startled and thrilled by the exciting, moving epic story I find inside… To read McDonald is to fall in love with a place and to become drunk with it (see this free sample from Dervish House for a taste). I you’ve never read him, you’re in for a treat. If you’re a fan like me, you’ll be delighted anew. What a wonderful, wonderful book.’ BoingBoing

‘… thrilling… A master in his own right, McDonald has written some of the best SF of the last fifteen years… a mosaic of a story that can be admired for its finely-wrought pieces but not fully appreciated until the book is finished and looked at again from some distance. The biggest part of the thrill is wondering how the characters will inevitably intersect… As much as THE DERVISH HOUSE is about biogenetics and history, McDonald couches some of his lushest prose in explorations of mysticism… McDonald, who is a native of Scotland, has an uncanny ability to write about other cultures authentically. He is a painstaking researcher and while he cannot always write with absolute authority, his dedication to making settings and characters feel alive is incredibly impressive… Ian McDonald has crafted a gorgeously lush novel, oozing with exciting, relevant ideas, a love letter to the Queen of Cities, to all cities, really.’ Tor.com

‘A lush, complex and hugely entertaining novel.’ Guardian

Check out our previous posts about the new JABberwocky eBook editions of Ian’s Everness series and India 2047 novels.

Here are the UK covers for BRASYL and THE DERVISH HOUSE

Ian McDonald’s India 2047 series available again in eBook!


Ian McDonald‘s classic sci-fi duology India 2047 is available in North America (in eBook format) once again! Published by the JABberwocky eBook Program, here’s the synopsis for the first novel, RIVER OF GODS

A superpower of two billion people, a dozen new nations from Kerela to the Himalayas, artificial intelligences, climate-change induced drought, water wars, strange new genders, genetically improved children that age at half the rate of baseline humanity, and a population where males outnumber females four to one. This is India in 2047, one hundred years after its birth. In the new nation of Bharat, in the face of the failure of the monsoon, nine lives are swept together — a gangster, a cop, his wife, a politician, a stand-up comic, a set designer, a journalist, a scientist, and a dropout — to decide the future of Mother India.

The second novel, CYBERABAD DAYS is also available. Here’s the synopsis…

A new, muscular superpower of two billion people in an age of new nations, artificial intelligences, climate-change induced drought, water wars, strange new genders, genetically improved children that age at half the rate of baseline humanity, and a population where males outnumber females four to one. Cyberabad Days is a cycle of seven stories, three Hugo nominees and one Hugo winner among them, as well as an original thirty-one-thousand-word novella.

The two novels are published in the UK by Gollancz.

Here are some of the reviews the novels have received…

‘[A] bold, brave look at India on the eve of its centennial, 41 years from now… McDonald takes his readers from India’s darkest depths to its most opulent heights, from rioting mobs and the devastated poor to high-level politicians and lavish parties. He handles his complex plot with flair and confidence and deftly shows how technological advances and social changes have subtly changed lives. RIVER OF GODS is a major achievement from a writer who is becoming one of the best sf novelists of our time.’ — Washington Post

‘This ambitious portrait of a future India from British author McDonald (Desolation Road) offers multitudes: gods, castes, protagonists, cultures… readers will become increasingly hooked as the pieces of McDonald’s richly detailed world fall into place. Already nominated for both Hugo and Arthur C. Clarke awards, this is sure to be one of the more talked-about SF novels of the year.’ — Publishers Weekly on RIVER OF GODS

‘Hugely adventurous and entertaining, sumptuously inventive and full of heart… it is likely to rank as Ian McDonald’s finest creative achievement.’ — Locus on RIVER OF GODS

‘McDonald’s India engulfs you with an overwhelming, perfumed, stinky embrace. A hugely impressive collection. Seven nifty, witty stories.’ SFX on CYBERABAD DAYS

‘All in all, CYBERABAD DAYS is a terrific book and a satisfying return to the world of RIVER OF GODS. Ian McDonald is a genius, pure and simple.’ Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist

‘McDonald excels at conveying, in a gorgeous melange of sensory impressions, an India transformed by AIs, nanotech, robots and cybernetics: the subcontinent is chaotic and lurid, shot through with devotion to eternal Hindu gods and divided by internecine conflict. McDonald gives a refreshing take on the future from a non-western viewpoint.’ Guardian on CYBERABAD DAYS

‘One of the great pleasures of science fiction is the escape it offers readers from commonplace, everyday surroundings into strange new worlds, and nobody does it better than Ian McDonald. Although CYBERABAD DAYS is set on Earth, and only a few decades into the future, McDonald’s vision of a newly repartitioned India, warring over water and at the cutting edge of technologies based on artificial intelligence, is practically hallucinogenic in style and intensity.’ Times

Ian McDonald’s latest series, Luna, is published by Gollancz in the UK, Tor Books in the US, and widely in translation.

Travel the multiverse with the Everness crew!


Great news for fans of Ian McDonald: the Everness trilogy is available again in eBook in the US! Published via the JABberwocky eBook Program, all three novels are available once again: PLANESRUNNER, BE MY ENEMY and EMPRESS OF THE SUN. Here’s the synopsis for the first novel…

When Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer: the Infundibulum, the map of all the parallel earths, the most valuable object in the multiverse. There are dark forces in the Plenitude of Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They’ve got power, authority, and the might of ten planets at their fingertips. He’s got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking. To rescue his dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner’s going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter, Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness. Can they rescue Everett’s father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!

The trilogy is published in the UK by Jo Fletcher Books. JABberwocky have also published a few of Ian’s other novels in eBooks for the US market (follow the link above for more information). We’ll post some more information about these novels on the site over the next couple of weeks.

Here’s just a small selection drawn from the incredible reviews the series has received since the novels’ publication…

‘Also appropriating airships, larger‑than-life characters and breakneck action is Ian McDonald’s PLANESRUNNER…, the opening volume in the Everness series and his first foray into Young Adult fiction. This is vintage McDonald, with beautifully drawn settings, complex characters and deft plotting. When Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped, Everett’s investigations lead him to discover that his father was working to open portals between multiple worlds. Everett finds a map linking the worlds, which various sinister organisations desire – and the thrilling chase is on.’ Guardian

‘The book begins with its young and likeably geeky protagonist, Everett Singh (named for physicist Hugh Everett, who came up with the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics back in the ‘50s) witnessing the kidnapping of his scientist father. But why would anyone want to drag an apparently unimportant academic off the street in London? Because, it turns out, Singh Sr has created the Infundibulum, a map of all known parallel Earths. Soon, Everett heads through a gateway and into a steampunk-tinged adventure. And yes, an airship is involved. But don’t hold that against McDonald, because this is a novel that’s knowing in the way it uses SF tropes without ever coming close to being condescending towards its intended audience. Science nerds of all ages may balk at the amount of exposition in the early chapters (arguably necessary, considering we’re talking quantum here), but most will be too busy getting lost in a cracking adventure story.’ SFX on PLANESRUNNER

‘A pacy book filled with tropes McDonald takes from across the genre and makes his own, whether it is AI or nanotech, unpeopled Earths or post-apocalyptic worlds. The airship which is the series home has a real three dimensionality whilst the jump gun acts as pure plot device. In softer hands these books could become a “monster of the week” series but here there are consequences, none more so than when Everett is punched in the stomach by an authority figure. This basic, personal violence is a reminder that this is not a game and that even a genius can’t get through unscathed. I can’t wait to see what happens next.’ Strange Horizons

‘McDonald proves the concept of his world of the Infundibulum has legs, and provides some intriguing new ideas amid an entertaining adventure… Lots of ideas thrown out and explored; good development of main characters… Malevolent Nanotech. More world hopping. A solidly entertaining second volume to the series… With all of these ideas, concepts and worldbuilding, McDonald, in terms of his core characters, provides us with meaty development and growth… I was more than satisfied with the book and anyone, young adult or otherwise, who has read the first book will find much to love here, and will likely be as eager as I for the next volume in the series.’ SF Signal

‘[A]bsolutely triumphant sequel to Ian McDonald’s pulse-pounding young-adult science fiction novel PLANESRUNNERPLANESRUNNER — a rollicking, multidimensional tale of a young boy who holds the key to infinite universes, seeking to rescue his physicist father from sinister powers — finished on a brutal cliffhanger, leaving its readers gasping and cursing for more. Now we have it. In BE MY ENEMY, there’s a lot more of what made PLANESRUNNER great — tremendous action scenes, cunning escapes, genius attacks on the ways that multidimensional travel might be weaponized, horrific glimpses of shadowy powers and sinister technologies. But BE MY ENEMY also has more of what makes McDonald’s adult fiction some of the best work I’ve ever read: a gifted ear for poesie that makes the English language sing, the unapologetic presumption of the reader’s ability to understand what’s going on without a lot of hand-holding, and a technological mysticism that never explicitly says when the literal stops and the fantasy starts… If you held off on reading PLANESRUNNER because you didn’t want to commit to a series without knowing if the author could keep up the quality, have no fear. McDonald has proven himself handily.’ BoingBoing

‘The marvelous Everness series takes readers to a world with highly evolved dinosaurs in this third voyage through parallel universes… McDonald lets his imagination run rampant without abandoning credibility, tackling real scientific concepts such as confirmation bias, a feature lacking in far too much science fiction. Fans might wish for more focus on the original Everett, but eventually, the three storylines weave themselves together nicely, setting up another sequel with hints of forthcoming romance. Endlessly fascinating and fun.’ Kirkus (Starred Review) on EMPRESS OF THE SUN

‘I’ve rarely had as much fun with a Young Adult SF series as I have with Ian McDonald’s Everness — now up to three books with the brand new, shiny addition of EMPRESS OF THE SUN, possibly the best book of the bunch so far… this latest installment, with its sentient space dinosaurs, will delight folks who occasionally yearn for a good old-fashioned pulp adventure… through all of it, the characters continue to shine… I confess that I initially wasn’t too crazy about the whole Doppelgänger plot, but in this novel, it turns into a wonderful part of the overall picture… It was simply a treat to get back into the crazy palari and strange fashions of the Everness books. It may sound bizarre, but this is the first time I’ve read a novel that actually made me feel like writing fan-fic about its characters, just because they’re so utterly fresh and surprising. The Everness series is technically Young Adult, but I believe any science fiction fan, young or old, would get sucked into these adventures.’ Tor.com