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New for September: Circus of the Grand Design by Robert Freeman Wexler

Now available from Amazon UK, Amazon US and Smashwords: Circus of the Grand Design by Robert Freeman Wexler.

Circus of the Grand Design by Robert Freeman WexlerThe first of three infinity plus ebooks due out in September: Robert Freeman Wexler’s novel, Circus of the Grand Design is out now. First published in 2006 to acclaim from the likes of Jeffrey Ford, Graham Joyce and Howard Waldrop, this is a sensuous, surreal story of moving on and what you leave behind.

Here’s a bit more about the novel:

When a man named Lewis rents a vacation house on Long Island for a few days, he doesn’t expect to end up on a crazy circus train ride to nowhere.

His one night in the house, he burns it down. Then he meets charismatic Joseph Dillon, manager of the Circus of the Grand Design. Knowing he needs to leave the area in a hurry, Lewis agrees to join the circus as a publicist, despite Dillon’s warning that he might not be able to return to the place he began. The circus’s private train travels an infinite dream-loop to unknown lands, and Lewis becomes lost amongst crazy acrobats, sexy elephant riders, a magical mechanical horse, a giant woman and her savage, prehistoric rodent bears, an egotistical juggler, and…a fertility goddess who takes exceptional interest in him.

The train, its residents, and the places they visit form a complex puzzle that Lewis feels compelled to solve.

“Robert Wexler is an author who walks between the sea and the sand. He has a genius for configuring the state between waking and dreaming, and the delicious anxiety of never confirming which of these states presides. It’s a superb trick, used to brilliant effect in Circus Of The Grand Design.”
— Graham Joyce

Circus Of The Grand Design belongs up there with Nathanael West’s The Dream Life of Balso Snell and Robert Silverberg’s Son of Man. A swell, almost-hallucinated novel that moves with a logic all its own.”
— Howard Waldrop

“In the great tradition of the Fabulists, Wexler has found a path that is totally original and unforgettable. Circus Of The Grand Design is a journey of self discovery in which no twist is familiar, no turn anticipated.”
— Richard Bowes

“Robert Wexler works without a net in Circus Of The Grand Design. Smooth writing, a vibrant vision, and beautifully rendered characters makes this show well worth the price of admission.”
— Jeffrey Ford

More information on The Circus of the Grand Design.


Guest blog, Eric Brown: First novels

First novels are curious creatures because they are rarely, of course, first novels.

It’s very rare for a writer to sit down, write a first novel, and a little way down the line have it published. More often than not, a ‘first’ novel is the result of years of laborious apprenticeship, writing numerous novels in order to learn the craft, and abandoning them to the bottom drawer or, more drastically, to the flaming hearth.

There are exceptions, of course. J.K. Rowling’s first effort found a publisher – after numerous rejections – and I seem to recall it did rather well. And the host of this site, Keith Brooke, sold the very first novel he wrote, Keepers of the Peace, damn him.

But for the rest of us, the hill is steeper.

Meridian Days by Eric Brown

Looking back on my career, the hill seems to have been a mountain of my own making.

You see, I was labouring under a misapprehension from the very start.

In my late teens I read somewhere, in an interview with the SF great Alfred Bester, that all writers must write a million words of rubbish before they finally become published. Now, had I read that the prescribed total should be a hundred thousand words, I might have been published a lot earlier… But that magical million words lodged in my brain and wouldn’t be shifted – affecting me, I’m sure, subconsciously, and ensuring that Meridian Days came out when it did.

Meridian Days, my first novel, was in fact around my twentieth written novel.

The very first novel I wrote, I recall, was a terrible pastiche of two of my favourite writers at the time, Leslie Thomas and Tom Sharpe. It was horribly written, cliché-ridden, badly plotted, and unfunny… which for a comedy novel was the ultimate crime. But at least I finished it, eighty thousand words written longhand over a period of eighteen months. I even typed up the first two chapters, before realising how bad it was and abandoning the thing.Then came a slew of very short science fiction novels using the usual tropes: time-travel, alien invasions, future dystopias. These were short because while living in Australia for four years until the age of eighteen I’d come across the Ace Double range of SF novels (they also published westerns, romances and thrillers in the same format); each one was between around 25k and 55k – giving me the false impression that this was the length of SF novels. So I churned out dozens of the things, and even submitted one or two of them to paperback houses in the UK and US – Hamlyn, I think; Sphere, and in the States Major Books (that ms was returned with the note on the package that the company was no longer in business). I have a vague recollection of receiving a rejection letter from my now agent John Jarrold, when he was a commissioning editor.All the while I was writing short stories in various genres: SF, crime, mainstream, and getting nowhere.

In ’84 I spent a year in India, and that seemed to spark something – that, and the fact that I’d written a million words of rubbish, and a few years after I got back I began writing the short stories which would be published in Interzone, beginning in ’87.

A year later, on the strength of these tales, I was approached by an agent: did I have a novel I would like him to look at? Well, I had twenty of the things under my bed, but none of which I thought up to scratch. I bundled together a collection of shorts instead, and miracle of miracles Pan Books bought them. The volume appeared as The Time-Lapsed Man and other stories in 1990.Of course, Pan then wanted to see a novel, so over a period of nine months I wrote Meridian Days, a short novel of doomed love, extraterrestrial colonies, matter transmission, and much more, which was published by Pan in 1992.My first novel.

Or my twentieth… which now is reincarnated by infinity plus ebooks.

Now available from Amazon UKAmazon US and SmashwordsMeridian Days by Eric Brown.

Meridian, twenty light years from Earth and with just a tiny scattering of inhabitable islands, seems the perfect place for Bob Benedict to escape the tragedy of his past. But when he meets Fire Trevellion he is drawn into a world of corruption and murder that is far darker than his past. Soon it’s all he can do just to survive…

“British writing with a deft, understated touch: wonderful” – New Scientist

“SF infused with a cosmopolitan and literary sensibility… accomplished and
affecting” – Paul McAuley

“One of the very best of the new generation of British SF writers” – Vector

“Eric Brown has an enviable talent for writing stories which are the essence
of modern science fiction and yet show a passionate concern for the human
predicament and human values” – Bob Shaw


New for August: Meridian Days by Eric Brown

Now available from Amazon UK, Amazon US and Smashwords: Meridian Days by Eric Brown.

After a bit of a break for summer and novel-writing, we’re Meridian Days by Eric Brownback with a new infinity plus ebook: Eric Brown’s first novel, Meridian Days. This was first published in 1992; a moving and powerful thriller of love and loss on a colony planet, this novel has stood the test of time well, and it’s great to be making it available again.  Once again, we have a lovely cover by Dominic Harman.

Here’s a bit more about the novel:

‘ I survive. I live from day to day – a Meridian day which humanity has created from one eternal stretch of daylight.’

Meridian, twenty light years from Earth and with just a tiny scattering of inhabitable islands, seems the perfect place for Bob Benedict to escape the tragedy of his past.

Here he can live out his days in drug abuse, despised by and despising the self-obsessed community of artists who make up the population of the colony planet: the Altereds who have swapped human form for animal, and the Augmenteds who have boosted their minds with computers.

But when Bob meets Fire, the daughter of the formidable Tamara Trevellion, the most ruthlessly ambitious of the artists, he is drawn into a world of corruption and murder that is far darker than his past.

Soon it’s all he can do just to survive…

“British writing with a deft, understated touch: wonderful” – New Scientist

“SF infused with a cosmopolitan and literary sensibility… accomplished and
affecting” – Paul McAuley

“One of the very best of the new generation of British SF writers” – Vector

“Eric Brown has an enviable talent for writing stories which are the essence
of modern science fiction and yet show a passionate concern for the human
predicament and human values” – Bob Shaw


Four infinity plus ebooks for August

That’s the intention.

We launched infinity plus ebooks with sixteen full-length titles in late 2010 and the first few months of 2011, but recently we’ve taken a bit of a break from it so I can concentrate on my new novel. Our current plan is to hit twenty titles by the end of August, with one a week during that month.

The first of the titles we have lined up is Meridian Days by Eric Brown. This was Eric’s first novel and it’s great to be making it available again.  Once again, we have a lovely cover by Dominic Harman.

Here’s a bit more blurb about the novel:

‘ I survive. I live from day to day – a Meridian day which humanity has created from one eternal stretch of daylight.’Meridian Days by Eric Brown

Meridian, twenty light years from Earth and with just a tiny scattering of inhabitable islands, seems the perfect place for Bob Benedict to escape the tragedy of his past.

Here he can live out his days in drug abuse, despised by and despising the self-obsessed community of artists who make up the population of the colony planet: the Altereds who have swapped human form for animal, and the Augmenteds who have boosted their minds with computers.

But when Bob meets Fire, the daughter of the formidable Tamara Trevellion, the most ruthlessly ambitious of the artists, he is drawn into a world of corruption and murder that is far darker than his past.

Soon it’s all he can do just to survive…

“British writing with a deft, understated touch: wonderful” – New Scientist

“SF infused with a cosmopolitan and literary sensibility… accomplished and
affecting” – Paul McAuley

“One of the very best of the new generation of British SF writers” – Vector

“Eric Brown has an enviable talent for writing stories which are the essence
of modern science fiction and yet show a passionate concern for the human
predicament and human values” – Bob Shaw

Later in August we’ll be publishing:

  • the first ebook edition of Robert Freeman Wexler’s Circus of the Grand Design (“Wexler excels at lucid prose and provocative ideas, giving the Bradbury-ish carnival-comes-to-town theme a new twist and showing promise as an original fantasist” – Booklist)
  • John Grant’s Warm Words & Otherwise: A Blizzard of Book Reviews, a bumper collection ‑ over 150,000 words! ‑ of book reviews, many of full essay length, by the two-time Hugo winning and World Fantasy Award-winning co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy and author, among much fiction, of such recent nonfiction works as Corrupted Science and (forthcoming) Denying Science.
  • and another one from Eric Brown, Approaching Omega, described by SF Site as “an action packed novella of humans vs. cyborgs”.

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