The TO HELL AND BACK Trilogy Re-Printed!

We’re very happy to report that Angry Robot Books are reprinting Matthew Hughes‘s acclaimed To Hell and Back trilogy! First published between 2011-13, the trilogy includes THE DAMNED BUSTERS, COSTUME NOT INCLUDED, and HELL TO PAY. Here’s the synopsis for the first novel in the series…

When mild-mannered Chesney Arnstruther accidentally summons a demon and causes Hell to go on strike, he doesn’t expect to wind up as what he had always dreamed of being: the Actionary, a costumed crimefighter with a weasel-headed fiend for a sidekick.

But that’s just the beginning of a journey that will see the “high-functioning” autistic actuary enmeshed in the schemes of a greedy televangelist, romancing a pepper-spray-wielding manicurist, and sitting down to a poker game with the Devil where the stakes include his immortal soul.

Here are just a few reviews the series has received…

‘This is a funny and surprisingly endearing book with some interesting discussions about the role of sin and our reactions to it.’ The Guardian on THE DAMNED BUSTERS

‘You’re missing out if you haven’t bought this book yet. Pure and simple.’ The Founding Fields on THE DAMNED BUSTERS

‘A witty superhero story that’s just plain fun.’SFSignal on THE DAMNED BUSTERS

‘Hughes continues to carve out a unique place for himself in the fantasy-mystery realm. A droll narrative voice, dry humor and an alternative universe that’s accessible without exposition make this a winner.’ Publishers Weekly on COSTUME NOT INCLUDED

‘Part mystery, part comic book, part religious treatise, and part crime drama, Hughes manages to work in entertaining twists and character confrontations on a regular basis without overloading his story.’Sacramento & San Francisco Book Review on COSTUME NOT INCLUDED

‘The first book in the series was very good, the second was better. The events of those books were leading up to this final volume in the trilogy and it’s the best yet.’The British Fantasy Society on HELL TO PAY

‘A highly enjoyable read, with some interesting philosophical underpinnings and surprising twists. The book makes for a satisfying ending to the To Hell & Back series, which gave us a quirky, off-beat story about an unlikely super hero, with unexpected depths.’A Fantastical Librarian on HELL TO PAY

Short Fiction Watch: Aliette de Bodard & Matthew Hughes

We’re delighted to report that both Aliette de Bodard and Matthew Hughes have short stories in the September 2014 issue of Lightspeed Magazine, and are also both interviewed.

Aliette’s Author Spotlight is a free preview article from the magazine, and can be read here. Her story is PRAYERS OF FORGES AND FURNACES. Here’s the synopsis…

The stranger came at dawn, walking out of the barren land like a mirage—gradually shimmering into existence beside the bronze line of the rails: a wide-brimmed hat, a long cloak, the glint that might have been a rifle or an obsidian-studded sword. Xochipil, who had been scavenging for tech at the mouth of Mictlan’s Well, caught that glint in her eyes—and stopped, watching the stranger approach, a growing hollow in her stomach.

Matthew’s story is UNDER THE SCAB

It was too late in the day to start back to Indoberia. Kaslo tried to find ways to busy himself about the castle, but his thoughts would not leave him alone. Finally, he went up to the flat roof of one of the larger towers and leaned against the parapet as the planet’s sun sank below a horizon no longer broken by the Commune’s skyline. In the opposite direction, the stars were coming out, but Kaslo saw only a handful of the glittering orbitals that used to stretch in a sparkling, glinting arc across the night sky.

Aliette de Bodard is the author of multiple award-winning and -nominated short stories, and also the Obsidian & Blood trilogy, published by Angry Robot Books. Matthew Hughes is the author, most recently, of the To Hell & Back trilogy, published by Angry Robot Books.

Short Fiction Watch: Aliette de Bodard & Matthew Hughes

Various-MammothBookOfWarriors&Wizardry-BlogIn the latest instalment of Short Fiction Watch, we draw your attention to the MAMMOTH BOOK OF WARRIORS AND WIZARDRY, published by Running Press as an eBook on September 18, 2014, and in paperback in November. Both Aliette de Bodard and Matthew Hughes have stories included in this anthology. The anthology, edited by Sean Wallace, brings together a stellar collection of short fantasy from authors who have made an impact on the genre over the last decade, along with some bestselling favorites.’ Here are their contributions…

  • Aliette de BodardA WARRIOR’S DEATH

Aliette de Bodard is a multi-award winning and nominate author. Her Obsidian & Blood trilogy was published by Angry Robot Books. Matthew Hughes is the author of, most recently, the To Hell and Back trilogy, also published by Angry Robot Books. Both trilogies are also available in audiobook editions.

Zeno Clients at Loncon 3…


The SFF extravaganza that is Loncon 3 will be rolling into town this weekend. Certain events have already kicked off, of course – some of which we’ve mentioned here before. From Thursday 14th to Monday 18th, a great number of Zeno clients will be participating in the festivities, events and signings.

So, below are all of the Zeno-related events, organised by day and time. If you’d rather search by author, however, here’s an alphabetical list of our clients attending, complete with links to their Loncon 3 schedule pages: Peter V. Brett, Jack Campbell, Michael CobleyMyke Cole, Edward Cox, Aliette de Bodard, Simon R. GreenDaryl Gregory, Matthew HughesTanya Huff, Anne Lyle, Ian R. MacLeod, Ian McDonald, Justina Robson, Melinda Snodgrass, Kari Sperring, E.J. Swift, Lavie Tidhar, Freda Warrington. Continue reading “Zeno Clients at Loncon 3…”

Tomorrow: Matthew Hughes’s TO HELL AND BACK Trilogy is an Amazon Kindle Daily Deal…


Tomorrow, Amazon US and Canada will be offering Matthew Hughes‘s super-hero urban fantasy trilogy To Hell And Back as their Kindle Daily Deal! This is your heads-up to get ready! (We’ll remind you all via our Twitter feed, too.) Published by Angry Robot Books, the series includes THE DAMNED BUSTERS, COSTUME NOT INCLUDED and HELL TO PAY.

Here’s the synopsis for the first book in the series…

After accidentally summoning a demon while playing poker, the normally mild-mannered Chesney Anstruther refuses to sell his soul… which leads through various confusions to, well, Hell going on strike. Which means that nothing bad ever happens in the world – and that actually turns out to be a really bad thing.

There’s only one thing for it. Satan offers Chesney the ultimate deal – sign the damned contract, and he can have his heart’s desire. And thus the strangest superhero duo ever seen – in Hell or on Earth – is born!

And, in case you needed more convincing, here is just a small selection of praise that has been heaped on the series…

‘Hughes continues to carve out a unique place for himself in the fantasy-mystery realm. A droll narrative voice, dry humor and an alternative universe that’s accessible without exposition make this a winner.’Publishers Weekly

‘You’re missing out if you haven’t bought this book yet. Pure and simple.’Founding Fields

‘A witty superhero story that’s just plain fun.’SF Signal

‘Part mystery, part comic book, part religious treatise, and part crime drama, Hughes manages to work in entertaining twists and character confrontations on a regular basis without overloading his story.’ – Sacramento & San Francisco Book Review

‘The first book in the series was very good, the second was better. The events of those books were leading up to this final volume in the trilogy and it’s the best yet.’British Fantasy Society on HELL TO PAY

‘A highly enjoyable read, with some interesting philosophical underpinnings and surprising twists. The book makes for a satisfying ending to the To Hell & Back series, which gave us a quirky, off-beat story about an unlikely super hero, with unexpected depths.’Fantastical Librarian on HELL TO PAY


An earlier version of this post erroneously stated that Amazon UK was offering the series as a Kindle Daily Deal. It is, in fact, Amazon US and Canada. Apologies for the mistake.

New Lavie Tidhar & Matthew Hughes Short Fiction…


We’re happy to share with you information about two new pieces of short fiction from Zeno clients!

First up we have MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL, a new Bookman Histories novelette by Lavie Tidhar will be included in the June 2014 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction. Lavie is the author of the critically acclaimed THE VIOLENT CENTURY (Hodder), and also the three Bookman Histories novels – THE BOOKMAN, CAMERA OBSCURA, and THE GREAT GAME (Angry Robot Books).

Next, Matthew Hughes is to be features in the upcoming anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardener Dozios, ROGUES! Joining such leading lights as Neil Gaiman and Scott Lynch, Hughes has contributed his story THE INN OF THE SEVEN BLESSINGS. The anthology is due to be published by Bantam Spectra in June 2014. Matthew is the author most recently of the To Hell & Back trilogy – THE DAMNED BUSTERS, COSTUME NOT INCLUDED, and HELL TO PAY (Angry Robot Books).

Some More Recent Audible Releases…

Here are the details for some more recent Audible releases, from our clients…

March 11th…


March 13th…


March 14th…


LOCUS 2013 Reading List and Zeno!

Locus-LogoLOCUS Magazine has announced its 2013 Recommended Reading List, and we’re delighted to report that they have selected a number of Zeno titles! The list is compiled through consultation of all of their reviewers, editors and contributors, and is separated into categories (fantasy, non-fiction, etc.). Here are their selections from our list…

Blaylock-AylesfordSkull-BlogJames P. Blaylock‘s THE AYLESFORD SKULL (Titan Books)

It is the summer of 1883 and Professor Langdon St. Ives brilliant but eccentric scientist and explorer is at home in Aylesford with his family. However a few miles to the north a steam launch has been taken by pirates above Egypt Bay, the crew murdered and pitched overboard. In Aylesford itself a grave is opened and possibly robbed of the skull. The suspected grave robber, the infamous Dr. Ignacio Narbondo, is an old nemesis of Langdon St. Ives. When Dr. Narbondo returns to kidnap his four-year-old son Eddie and then vanishes into the night, St. Ives and his factotum Hasbro race into London in pursuit…

THE AYLESFORD SKULL is James’s latest novel to feature Langdon St. Ives, and follows HOMUNCULUS and LORD KELVIN’S MACHINE (which were also published by Titan Books in the UK last year). The characters also appear in two novels, THE EBB TIDE and THE AFFAIR OF THE CHALK CLIFFS. St. Ives will ride again…



As seen on Sky Arts’ Playhouse Presents: Imagine there’s no Lennon… In the reality-altering novella “Snodgrass,” John Lennon sidesteps his musical destiny and instead becomes a civil servant.

After spending his adolescence like so many others had, playing in a band with friends, John Lennon knows it’s time to grow up. Skipping out on the Beatles before they would go on to become one of the greatest rock groups of the twentieth century, John moves to Birmingham. As he watches the exploits of friends Paul, Ringo, and George, John grows older and lives an ordinary life… and he is left wondering “what if?”

With “Snodgrass” as its anchor, this collection of eleven stories also includes “The Chop Girl,” inspired by the infamous Dresden bombing raids; “Past Magic,” a futuristic account of parents cloning their children who have passed away; “New Light on the Drake Equation,” inspired by a man’s journey as he searches for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence; and seven more tales that showcase MacLeod’s breadth as a writer.

Tidahr-ViolentCenturyUK-BlogLavie Tidhar‘s THE VIOLENT CENTURY (Hodder)

They’d never meant to be heroes.

For seventy years they guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable friends, bound together by a shared fate. Until one night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart.

But there must always be an account… and the past has a habit of catching up to the present.

Now, recalled to the Retirement Bureau from which no one can retire, Fogg and Oblivion must face up to a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism, – a life of dusty corridors and secret rooms, of furtive meetings and blood-stained fields – to answer one last, impossible question:

What makes a hero?

Tregillis-M3-NecessaryEvilUK-BlogIan Tregillis‘s NECESSARY EVIL (Orbit)

The history of the Twentieth Century has been shaped by a secret conflict between technology and magic. When a twisted Nazi scientist devised a way to imbue ordinary humans with supernatural abilities – to walk through walls, throw fire and see the future – his work became the prized possession of first the Third Reich, then the Soviet Army. Only Britain’s warlocks, and the dark magics they yield, have successfully countered the threat posed by these superhuman armies.

But for decades, this conflict has been manipulated by Gretel, the mad seer. And now her long plan has come to fruition. And with it, a danger vastly greater than anything the world has known. Now British Intelligence officer Raybould Marsh must make a last-ditch effort to change the course of history – if his nation, and those he loves, are to survive.

NECESSARY EVIL is the concluding novel in Ian’s critically-acclaimed alternative history series, the Milkweed Triptych, following BITTER SEEDS and THE COLDEST WAR (published by Tor Books in the US).


In the non-fiction category, LOCUS selected Algis Budrys‘s BENCHMARKS REVISITED and BENCHMARKS CONCLUDED (Ansible Editions) – These are the second and final installments of a three-volume series that collects all of Algis Budrys’s classic Science Fiction review columns from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

In the novellette and short story categories, LOCUS has also selected the following works by Zeno Clients…

Zeno represents Ian Tregillis in the UK and Commonwealth on behalf of Kay McCauley of Aurous, Inc.

Zeno at World Fantasy Con…

WFC2013-BrightonWith World Fantasy Con in Brighton fast approaching, we thought it would be a good idea to share some details of our author’s participation. Over the course of the convention, a number of Zeno clients will be participating in panels and also holding readings. First up, here’s the schedule for the readings…

As for panels, we have the following…

Thursday, October 31st

3-4pm – Living in the Past: Writing Historical Fiction (Oxford)

4-5pm – The Landscape of the Fantastic (Cambridge)

  • Simon Kurt Unsworth, Ramsey Campbell, Jay Lake, Alison Littlewood, Adam Nevill (mod.), Samantha Shannon

Friday, November 1st

12-1pm – The Play’s the Thing: Style or Substance in Fiction? (Hall 4)

  • Ian R. MacLeod, Pat Cadigan (mod.), Jack Dann, Ellen Kushner, Geoff Ryman, Lisa Tuttle

2-3pm – Fangs for the Memory: Have Vampires Lost Their Bite? (Cambridge)

  • Freda Warrington, Simon Clark, Nancy Kilpatrick, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Kim Newman, Tina Rath (mod.)

Saturday, November 2nd

3-4pm – Steam Punk’d (Cambridge)

4-5pm – From ‘The Bowmen’ to The Angel of Mons – When Fantasy and Reality Merge (Cambridge)

  • Stephen Volk (mod.), Simon Clark, Tim Lebbon, Fiona McIntosh, Mark Valentine, Conrad Williams

8-9pm – The Thin White Baron: Peter Cushing @ 100 (Hall 4)

  • Anne Billson, Nancy Kilpatrick, Kim Newman, John Llewellyn Probert, Uwe Sommerlad, Stephen Volk (mod.)

Sunday, November 3rd

4:30-5:30pm – The Judges’ Decision is Final (Hall 4)

  • Matthew Hughes, Holly Black, Thomas Clegg, Lee Harris (mod.), Esther Sherman

And that’s all until next year!

Award Nomination for MATTHEW HUGHES…

2013 Endeavour FINALIST WebZeno client Matthew Hughes has been nominated for a 2013 Endeavour Award!

COSTUME NOT INCLUDED, the second in Matt’s To Hell and Back series (published by Angry Robot Books), has been nominated as one of the year’s best SFF novels.

The Endeavour Award honors a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book, either a novel or a single-author collection, created by a writer living in the Pacific Northwest – 2013 is the fifteenth year in which the Award will be given. The winner will be announced on November 8, 2013, at OryCon, Oregon’s major science fiction convention.

Other finalists are Nancy Kress (After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall), Daniel H. Wilson (Amped), Brent Weeks (The Blinding Knife), and Laurie Frankel (Goodbye For Now).

Congratulations to Matthew!


CNINo sooner has awards season ended than it’s started up all over again! We’re delighted to see Aliette de Bodard nominated for a BSFA Award for her short story Immersion, and Lavie Tidhar – still weighed down with last year’s World Fantasy Award and British Fantasy Award gongs, is this year nominated for best non-fiction his all his hard work on the World SF Blog.

The Kitschies Award shortlists have also been announced, and we’re pleased to see the cover (art is by Tom Gauld) of Matthew Hughes’ COSTUME NOT INCLUDED (Angry Robot) nominated for best artwork.

Well done Aliette, Lavie and Matt!


A New Year

A new year, new beginnings. It’s been a busy year over here at Zeno!

Which meant we’d neglected the blog for some time, but we’re hoping to get back to regular updates now.

And what a year it’s been!


Ian R. MacLeod won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, for his wonderful WAKE UP AND DREAM (PS Publishing).

Tim Powers won the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection, for THE BIBLE REPAIRMAN AND OTHER STORIES (Tachyon and Subterranean Press)

And Lavie Tidhar won the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella, for GOREL & THE POT-BELLIED GOD, and the World Fantasy Award, for his novel OSAMA (PS Publishing).

Award Winner 2012

Tidhar’s novel has been released in mass market paperback by Solaris. Foreign rights have been sold to RBA in Spain, and to Rogner & Bernhard in Germany (in addition to Polish and Hungarian deals announced earlier).

Meanwhile, Matthew Hughes is nominated for the 2012 A.E. Van Vogt Award for THE OTHER (Underland Press).

Congratulations Ian, Tim, Lavie and Matt!


Our authors continue to publish some fantastic short fiction online.

  • Ian McDonald‘s Driftings has just been published over at Clarkesworld Magazine.
  • Aliette de Bodard‘s Immersion has made quite an impact on publication. It appears in Clarkesworld.
  • Lavie Tidhar’s Strigoi, published in Interzone, is available as a free e-book download.


We have a full slate this month, with some new and classic steampunk coming out from our authors – we’ll tell you all about it in our next post!

Matt Hughes Wows The Critics…

Matt HughesTHE DAMNED BUSTERS, published by Angry Robot a couple of months ago has been getting some amazing reviews. Here’s a selection of gushing comments along with relevant links…

Hughes writing is both funny and clever, with some great descriptive passages.  he has a style that instantly hooks the reader, that manages  to balance the fine line between being a funny novel, and novel that is just full of jokes… I will be picking up the next instalment of this series without a doubt. A highly recommended read.‘ — Ginger Nuts of Horror

…a damn good book. Chesney Arnstruther is a uniquely charming protagonist; the plot is immensely entertaining, full of wit, humor and heart; the ideas presented are original and thought-provoking; and Matthew Hughes’ writing is skillful and engaging. Best of all, The Damned Busters is a blast to read and not quite like any book I’ve ever tried before, instantly making the sequel one of my most anticipated releases of 2012…‘ — Fantasy Book Critic

THE DAMNED BUSTERS is a supernatural adventure that blends a rich and unpredictable story, with a tone and wit that provides plenty of laughs along the way. A great balance of action and comedic situations with some romance thrown in for good measure, albeit an awkward romance, this is a great read. It will forever contain the most intense game of poker I have ever read. 5 *****Celebrity Cafe

Hughes continues to carve out a unique place for himself in the fantasy-mystery realm. A droll narrative voice, dry humor and an alternate universe that’s accessible without explicit exposition make this a winner.Publisher’s Weekly

What Matt achieves in this title is not only chock full of humour but a title that has an unlikely hero, a devilishly intriguing sidekick and above all else a plot that moves along at its own pace keeping the humour very much in the fore. It makes no bones about what it is, it has some novel solutions and it was a title that gave me a lot of fun with my reading time, so much so that I really couldn’t wait to get back to it. All in the prose is decent, the characters outstanding and the overall arc very pleasing to the reader. Great stuff.’ — Falcata Times

A little bit of Terry Pratchett, a little bit of Mystery Men, a whole lotta hilarious punny word-play alongside some meta bookishness and probably some misdirection, The Damned Busters is a damn good book.   As funny and light-hearted as it is thought provoking and belief challenging, I’ve never read anything quite like it.‘ — Little Red Reviewer

This is a funny and surprisingly endearing book with some interesting discussions about the role of sin and our reactions to it.‘ — The Guardian

‘…you’re missing out if you haven’t bought this book yet. Pure and simple. 9.75 / 10‘ — The Founding Fields

The Damned Busters is a very clever book (and fast read), exactly the type of work that Angry Robot Books is noted for: it is a smooth melange of genres–comic, noir, humor, fantasy, and metaphysical; ultimately entertaining and damned smart.‘ — Red Book Review

Further raves can be found at The Antick Musings of G.B.H Hornswoggler, GentGoodreads ; The Horror Review ; Drying Ink and I Will Read Books.

Pats On The Back All Round…

There are all sorts of exciting goings on around here at the moment… We’ve had the staggeringly wonderful news that Ben Aaronovitch‘s novel RIVERS OF LONDON (a.k.a. MIDNIGHT RIOT over in the US, where Del Rey have just published)  will appear at number eight in this week’s Sunday Times Bestseller list for hardcover fiction – a truly amazing achievement for Ben, who, we’re told, is the first début that Gollancz have ever had on this list. Extra big pats for our Ben!

No less vigorous pattage for Mister Ian McDonald, whose novel THE DERVISH HOUSE (also a Gollancz title – and Pyr in the States) has been nominated for the 2010 BSFA award for best novel. The shortlist is impressive, but Ian is widely regarded as a favourite. We’d be very surprised if this was only shortlist this wonderful novel makes this year. Also on the shortlist for the best short fiction is our own Aliette de Bodard, for her story The Shipmaker, which appeared in issue #231 of Interzone – congrats to both authors.

THE DERVISH HOUSE has also made this year’s LOCUS Recommended Reading List, which serves as a guide for the very best material our field has to offer. Here are the Zeno authors whose work has been listed…

Novels, Science Ficition – THE DERVISH HOUSE by Ian McDonald
Novels, Fantasy – THE DESERT SPEAR by Peter V Brett
Novels, Fantasy – HESPIRA by Matthew Hughes
First Novels – THE BOOKMAN by Lavie Tidhar
Collections – JOURNEYS by Ian MacLeod
Novellas – CLOUD PERMUTATIONS by Lavie Tidhar
Novellettes –BUTTERFLY AND THE BLIGHT AT THE HEART OF THE WORLD by Lavie Tidhar (Daily Science Fiction 9/3/10)
Short Stories – SECOND JOURNEY OF THE MAGUS by Ian R. MacLeod (Subterranean Winter ’10)
Short Stories – TONIGHT WE FLY by Ian McDonald (Masked)
Short Stories – THE NIGHT TRAIN by Lavie Tidhar (Strange Horizons 6/14/10)
Short Stories –THE SPONTANEOUS KNOTTING OF AN AGITATED STRING by Lavie Tidhar (Fantasy 5/17/10)

… a pretty good haul by anyone’s standards! More pats to all those who made the list, but particularly to Lavie Tidhar who scored a quite remarkable FIVE mentions!

Massive Matt Hughes Give-away…

I finally got round to adding a Zeno author page for Matthew Hughes (sorry it took so long, Matt!), but my timing is fortuitous, for I bring news of a wondrous Matthew Hughes related give-away – one which I am seriously wanting to win all for myself!

To celebrate the release of the third of Night Shade BooksHengis Hapthorn novels, HESPIRA, the publisher  are giving away two complete sets of these books in a competition over at Fantasy Book Critic. There are other wonderful items in the prize fund too – not least *slipcased editions* of Subterranean‘s SONGS OF A DYING EARTH (signed by all the contributors) in which Matt has a story, plus TEMPLATE and POSTSCRIPTS 15 both published by PS Publishing (again, these are signed copies).

To enter follow this link to Fantasy Book Critic and follow the instructions. the competition closes on February 24, 2010 – 11:59AM PST.

Good luck!