APOCALYPSE NOW NOW wins SAFTAS award for Best Short Film!

Last month, we shared the news that the short film based on Charlie Human‘s debut novel APOCALYPSE NOW NOW had been nominated for the SAFTAS award in the short film category. We’re delighted to report that, this past weekend, the short film won the award! Here’s the announcement, from the SAFTAS Twitter account on the night…

The short film was adapted by XYZ Film. APOCALYPSE NOW NOW is the first novel in Human’s critically-acclaimed Baxter Zevcenko duology, which also includes KILL BAXTER. Both novels are out now, published by Arrow in the UK and Titan in the US. Here’s the first book’s synopsis…


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 series has been very well received by readers and Charlie’s peers alike. Here’s just a small selection taken from the reviews…

‘It’s mad, dark, irreverent and wonderfully twisted in all the right ways.’ Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls

‘… 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

‘I don’t even know how to describe reading this book, so just look at my wide eyes and my silently mumbling mouth and take my shell-shock as a good sign that you need to read this book right now.’ Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds

‘… 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

‘With a wild imagination and savage glee, Charlie Human throws us into a school yard battle zone that’s part teenage wasteland, part Lovecraft fever dream. Rock and Roll High School meets the apocalypse.’ Richard Kadrey, author of Sandman Slim

‘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

James Maxey Named 2015 Piedmont Laureate

Maxey-headshot2The Orange County Arts Commission has named Zeno client James Maxey as the region’s 2015 Piedmont Laureate. The Piedmont Laureate program aims ‘to promote awareness and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts in the Piedmont region’, and ‘is dedicated to building a literary bridge for residents to come together and celebrate the art of writing, enriching the lives of all our citizens.’

James Maxey is the author of, among others, the critically-acclaimed Dragon Apocalypse trilogy – GREATSHADOW, HUSH and WITCHBREAKER – which was published by Solaris Books (individually and as an eBook omnibus in the US).

As Laureate, James will appear at workshops, reading programs and speaking engagements throughout Durham, Orange and Wake counties, giving the public an opportunity to meet him and learn more about his body of work.

‘He writes fast-paced, action-driven pulp fiction with strong emphasis on character growth and world building, dealing with larger-than-life characters adventuring in exotic worlds… Readers who delve past the dragons and superheroes on the covers of Maxey’s books will discover stories that explore the deeper aspects of the human condition. In the course of introducing imaginary worlds, Maxey hopes to provoke readers into thinking more deeply about our own world and our shared responsibility to improve it.’

Here’s the synopsis…

The warrior known as Infidel (Princess Innocent Brightmoon, to a very, very few) is legendary – as much among the drunkards of Commonground as among heroes and bards – for her superhuman strength and skin tough as mail. Stagger, her long-time friend and closest companion, is a wastrel and a sot, but a gifted scholar. Sorrow, a powerful and possibly deranged witch, will stop at nothing – including mutilating her own body – in her pursuit of a fairer, more just world.

Once, dragons covered this world, warring with each other for dominance over great territories. In aeons past, however, their numbers dwindled, and the few that remained withdrew from mundane affairs, claiming the very primal forces of the world – fire, cold, storms, plants, the sun, wild beasts, even the principle of decay itself – as their own. Now the powerful Church of the Book has set its sights on destroying the primal dragons and freeing humanity of their supposed ‘tyrrany’ forever. Wearying of the mercenary life after Stagger’s death, Infidel – with an eye on the dragons’ celebrated wealth – agrees to take part in their first expedition.

But the primal dragons are not to be tackled lightly. In the most hectic, touching romp since The Princess Bride, Infidel, Stagger (or his ghost) and Sorrow will find their lives, and the world around them, changing beyond their grasp as the Church’s hubris reaps its rewards…

Here is just a small selection of reviews his novels have received…

‘A magnificently entertaining romp bursting with charm.’ — SFX

GREATSHADOW is a clever, funny, goofy read… This isn’t your bog-standard intro quest: GREATSHADOW is a skip-to-the-back-of-the-book epic-level adventure … level 30+ adventure is charming, not po-faced, with a group of flawed, sarcastic, quick-witted and oddball adventurers that are equally comfortable with set-piece battle and rapid fire sarcasm.’ — Pornokitsch

A fun, well-thought out fantasy romp which is packed with clever one-liners and plenty of action… Maxey proves that fantasy doesn’t have to be po-faced and serious in order to be fun, whilst at the same time tells a story with depth and emotion… intelligent fantasy that doesn’t waste it’s time trying to prove how smart it is… feeds the reader with plenty of fuel for the imagination whilst delivering on its promise of action and fun…  it’s an exceptionally well done example of its genre, and a breath of fresh air for anyone sick of swords and sorcery stories covered in mud, blood and misery.’ — Starburst

‘The good news is that WITCHBREAKER is just as fun as the other books… a great book and a wonderful continuation of the story.’ — Fantastical Librarian


Naomi Foyle’s Poetry Wins Award!

We’re very happy to share the news that Zeno client Naomi Foyle is the recipient of the 2014 Hryhorii (Gregory) Skovoroda Award! The award has been given as a result of Foyle’s poetry and essays about Ukraine (some of which you can be found on her blog). The award is named after Hryhorii Skovoroda, an 18th-century Cossack poet, philosopher, teacher and composer, sometimes known as ‘the Russian Socrates’. We think you’ll agree, this is pretty cool.


Naomi Foyle is the author of, most recently, SEOUL SURVIVORS and ASTRA – both published in the UK by Jo Fletcher Books. As we reported recently, ASTRA is also available as an audiobook. Here’s the synopsis for ASTRA

Like every child in Is-Land, all Astra Ordott wants is to have her Security Shot, do her National Service and defend her Gaian homeland from Non-Lander ‘infiltrators’. But when one of her Shelter mothers, the formidable Dr Hokma Blesser, tells her the shot will limit her chances of becoming a scientist and offers her an alternative, Astra agrees to her plan.

When the orphaned Lil arrives to share Astra’s home, Astra is torn between jealousy and fascination. Lil’s father taught her some alarming ideas about Is-Land and the world, but when she pushes Astra too far, the heartache that results goes far beyond the loss of a friend.

If she is to survive, Astra must learn to deal with devastating truths about Is-Land, Non-Land and the secret web of adult relationships that surrounds her.

And just a small selection from the great reviews Naomi’s novels have been receiving…

‘A highly regarded poet and performer, Naomi Foyle has drawn on her time living in Korea to produce a detailed and fascinating debut that deals with love, betrayal and an impending apocalypse. A fast paced, riveting story set in an all-too-real dark near future, this is a character driven novel that is not for the faint-hearted.’ — BSFA on SEOUL SURVIVORS

‘Foyle’s strengths are her impeccable plotting, her rendering of a futuristic Seoul and the depiction of Sydney Travers’ gradualinveiglement in the nightmare of Dr Kim’s cloning experiment.’ — Guardian on SEOUL SURVIVORS

‘Shocking though it might be in some respects, ASTRA certainly provides food for thought… the story quickly becomes engrossing. The ending is abrupt, but it makes you crave the second instalment of the Gaia ChroniclesASTRA will certainly not be everyone’s cup of tea, but personally I am looking forwards to the next book with curiosity and excitement.’  —  Starburst Magazine

‘… intensely deep, complex and thought-provoking… It’s a beautiful story, unique and daring, which serves as a solid foundation for everything else to come.’ — Bibliosanctum on ASTRA

Aliette de Bodard Wins a Nebula Award!


We are delighted to share the news that Aliette de Bodard has won a Nebula Award! Announced over the weekend, THE WAITING STARS took home the prize in the Novelette category. The story first appeared in THE OTHER HALF OF THE SKY, an anthology published by Candlemark & Gleam. It is also available to read for free on Aliette’s website.

The novelette has also been nominated for a both a Locus and Hugo Award.

Aliette is currently working on a new novel.


Tim Powers & James Blaylock at Forbidden Planet Photos

At the end of October and beginning of November, Zeno clients Tim Powers and James P. Blaylock were over in the UK for the first time in a number of years. While in London, Tim and Jim, as well as K.W. Jeter, were hosted by Forbidden Planet for a Masters of Steampunk event on October 26th. With the calm now settled post-WFC, and because we like to share evidence of our authors out in the world, we thought we’d post a couple of pictures from the event…


The Three Masters of Steampunk – K.W. Jeter, Tim Powers, and James P. Blaylock


The Mega-Signing


While in the UK, Tim was also awarded a Children of the Night Award by the Dracula Society, for his novel HIDE ME AMONG THE GRAVES

[Photo Credits: Serena Powers]


Lavie Tidhar wins BSFA Award…

lavie-blogZeno author Lavie Tidhar continues his award winning streak. At the recent 2013 Eastercon in Bradford, he picked up the BSFA Award for Best Non-Fiction in recognition of his work with The World SF Blog. The website has grown over the past few years, becoming a market leader in global perspectives on genre fiction. This fascinating blog is ‘… dedicated to posting links, news and original content related to science fiction, fantasy, horror and comics from around the world.’ The World SF Blog currently offers news, links and original content in the form of commentary, round table discussions, essays and interviews.

This latest award adds to the 2012 Kitschies’ Black Tentacle, which the Blog picked up in February. And, of course, Lavie’s superb novel OSAMA (PS Publishing) won the 2012 World Fantasy Award.

Lavie’s got some fantastic stuff in the pipeline – we would encourage him to invest in a stronger mantelpiece!