Tag Archives: epub

Keith Brooke on the background to new ebook release The Accord

The Accord by Keith Brooke“One of the finest novels of virtual reality yet written… a dazzling work of the imagination.” SF Site

The Accord, a virtual utopia where the soul lives on after death and your perceptions are bound only by your imagination. This is the setting for a tale of love, murder and revenge that crosses the boundaries between the real world and this virtual reality. When Noah and Priscilla escape into the Accord to flee Priscilla’s murderous husband, he plots to destroy the whole Accord and them with it. How can they hope to escape their stalker when he can become anything or anyone he desires and where does the pursuit of revenge stop for immortals in an eternal world?

This one came from three pieces of short fiction. After I’d written the first story I knew there was far more to do with that background; the second and third stories, set earlier, were deliberate explorations of the idea of a virtual heaven, with the intention always being that they would become part of a novel.

And that’s what I did. The first story was published in one of the Solaris SF anthologies and was then reprinted in the 2008 Gardner DozoisYear’s Best. The other two stories appeared in Postscripts (summer 2008) and Pete Crowther’s AI anthology, We Think, Therefore We Are (January 2009), both shortly before the print edition of the novel came out in March 2009.

To me, the best SF sets huge ideas against the intimate and personal, and this was what I quite explicitly tried to do with The Accord. Sure, it’s about building a complete virtual universe – ideas don’t come much bigger than that – but equally, it’s a love triangle; but when the triangle involves multiple personalities and different instances of the people taking part, the geometry gets a whole lot more complicated than that…

I have a lot of fond memories of working on this novel; it’s one I’m very close to, and it was gratifying to see so many excellent reviews – people got it. There’s one scene, however, that really sticks: one of those moments writers cherish where as you write a scene takes a new turn, or suddenly becomes fuller, more rich, as you pursue its internal logic to a natural conclusion. Earl on in this book, in the migrants’ camp; I won’t say any more than that, but it shocked me as I wrote it, and it still does.

I do love it when your own writing can have that effect!

Samples and purchasing:
amazon.com (Kindle format, $3.99)
amazon.co.uk (Kindle format, £2.99)
Smashwords (various formats, including epub, mobi, Sony and PDF, $3.99)

“The emotion-driven love triangle neatly complements the tech- and philosophy-heavy nature of the Accord, making this rumination on posthumous, posthuman love a rare treat.” Publishers Weekly 5* review

“One of the finest novels of virtual reality yet written… a novel that combines elements of love story, thriller, and work of ideas, yet gains its impact from being more than the sum of these. And it all works. It works brilliantly. In The Accord, Keith Brooke has created a dazzling work of the imagination.” SF Site

The Accord is a literary science fiction tour de force that is sure to be one of the best novels of 2009.” SciFi Wire

“First and foremost a superbly written novel, featuring beautiful prose that instantly hooked me from the powerful opening page and kept the pages turning… a rare combination of thought-provoking ideas including hard sf… a lyrical novel of love, loss, revenge, exploration and adventure… The Accord is highly, highly recommended.” Fantasy Book Critic

“A truly major sf work that should be considered for all eligible awards.” SFF World

“Keith Brooke’s take on posthumanism is one of the best approaches of the subject I’ve ever seen.” SF Signal

“As well as being a masterful story, The Accord is a feat of daring and accomplished composition… Romantic, edgy, moving, tight and fast, The Accord is Keith Brooke on incandescent form and in an angry, sweary mood. The Accord offers a sense of obscene wonder the likes of which this reviewer might not have felt since Geoff Ryman’s The Child Garden. This is Keith Brooke at his absolute best.” Interzone


New: Hallucinating by Stephen Palmer

Hallucinating by Stephen PalmerEurope, 2049.

Nulight, a Tibetan refugee and notorious underground record company owner, emerges from an obscure Berlin night club realising that an alien invasion is imminent. Or is he hallucinating? Contacting his ex-lover Kappa and the invisible man Master Sengel, he begins an investigation.

Then he is abducted. Released.

And soon the aliens invade.

To save humanity, Nulight and his motley friends must decide if the aliens are real or not – and if they are, what to do about them. For Britain has become a land of pagan communities and wilderness, where the strength and resolve for the forthcoming struggle may not exist.

Can music save Britain?

Can it save the world?

Hallucinating is a unique vision of future invasion and future music, featuring cameo appearances from Ed Wynne of Ozric Tentacles, Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, Toby Marks of Banco De Gaia and many more. Michael Dog has written a foreword. This new edition contains an afterword written by the author and a never before published “syntactic remix” of the original story, also by the author.

Samples and purchasing:
amazon.com (Kindle format, $2.99)
amazon.co.uk (Kindle format, £1.99)
Smashwords (various formats, including epub, mobi, Sony and PDF, $2.99)

“… [the] element of questionable reality raises this book above simply being a fairly entertaining read. This is an intriguing book with a novel take on the alien invasion theme that raises a number of questions about what we actually mean by alien.”
– Vector, BSFA

“Certainly the rock’n’roll science fiction vibe of the story and all the humorous bits adds to the fun of the book… conjures up some crazy imagery.”
– Aural Innovations

“…a tour de force in imagining possibilities that lie beyond our information age… If you enjoy the full immersion experience of neo-magic, you’ll [like] Muezzinland.”
– Gwyneth JonesNew York Review Of SF, on Stephen Palmer’s Muezzinland


Guest blog: Stephen Palmer – Muezzinland and the music of Aphrica

I wrote the first draft of Muezzinland in 1998. At the time I was working at the University Of Luton, which had a very good library – I would spend an hour a day there researching the novel, and having great fun doing it. At home, I had a book by Jan Knappert called African Mythology, which was the perfect resource for the various African folk tales that the novel makes use of. Muezzinland takes place in the Africa of 2130 (Aphrica, as I called it), where the “cyberspace” of the world has advanced from a neutral version to one with its own cultural flavour. In this world it is possible for a locally relevant folk tale to co-opt an unwary traveller: as Gwyneth Jones memorably put it in her review, “like awful pop-up adverts that take over your screen.”

The other research I did was to listen to lots of African music. I was already a fan of this kind of music, particularly the Arab influenced music of North Africa, but I liked West African music too. In this guest blog I want to signpost six African albums that I’ve enjoyed over the last few years.

Staff Benda Bilili Tres Tres FortThe first is Tres Tres Fort by Staff Benda Bilili. This group of paraplegic, wheelchair based Central African musicians have acquired exalted status in the last year or so because of their extraordinary story, but I bought the album when it came out, encouraged by the adulatory reviews. And it really is an incredible album, made by extraordinary people. All the members of the group effectively live as homeless people in Kinshasa, which is in the Democratic Republic Of Congo – a country beset by evils, as anybody who’s read Tim Butcher’s Blood River will know. But the band were “discovered” by Vincent Kenis of Crammed Discs, who went on to record the album in the vicinity of the Jardin Zoologique, where the group live, though there are a few overdubs recorded in somebody’s front room. The tracks are all joyous and wonderful, and I can’t recommend the album highly enough.

Toumani Diabate Mande VariationsIn 2008 a groundbreaking album was released by Toumani Diabaté, one of the acknowledged masters of the kora, the prime African stringed instrument. (I used the kora symbollically in chapter five of Muezzinland, played by the vodou-enhanced Baron Samedi.) Diabaté’s album was called The Mandé Variations, and it is a work played by the great man alone. Listening to it, I sometimes can’t believe this is one man playing one instrument, so fast and complex is the playing. It’s mesmerising, and makes for great listening.

Returning to Kinshasa and Crammed Discs, one of the albums I bought a while after it came out was Congotronics by Konono No1. The musicians on this album featured on Bjork’s Volta, and it was hearing her music, and reading the reviews of how Congotronics was recorded, that made me want to buy it. Konono No1 first appeared in the ‘seventies in the Bazombo region near the Congo/Angola border, but their debut had to wait until 2004 to get a release. Most of the musicians on the album use the African thumb piano, the likembe, elsewhere known as the mbira, and the music is full-on African trance, played and recorded through microphones and amplifiers scavenged from old equipment (including parts from ruined cars). It’s an astonishing sound world.

konono no1 Congotronics tinariwen aman iman

Travelling now to Saharan North Africa, one of the best known musical exports of that area is Tinariwen, whose politically charged desert-blues, as it has come to be known, is popular all over the Western world. The band play live and have recorded quite a few albums, one of the best being Aman Iman: Water Is Life, which takes their sound to new, electric levels. The band are seven in number but are often augmented by local singers, and they sing in their native Tamashek language, some of their work being rooted in the freedom struggle of the Touareg people. Other tracks exhort the Touareg to put aside tribal rivalries and unite to better cope with the modern world, or as with Izarharh Tenere to celebrate the beauty of the desert. The music is simply entrancing. issa bagayogo mali kouraThe album was recorded in Bamako, Mali, a country that has for some time inspired my imagination, not least Timbuktu, where two central chapters of Muezzinland are set.

Also recorded in and around Bamako (on the Bamako Mobile Studio) was Mali Koura by Issa Bagayogo, a Malian who has brought the sound of the n’goni to the Western world. Released on the forward thinking Six Degrees record label, the album merges traditional Malian music and sounds with synthesizers and modern production techniques. It’s a great mixture. Sometimes, augmenting traditional music with Western sounds doesn’t work, but on this album the fusion is fabulous.

Finally on this brief tour I come to Fondo by Vieux Farka Touré, who is the son of world-famous Ali Farka Touré, the much loved musical maestro. Touré senior was globally feted, and worked with some major Western stars, not least Ry Cooder on the Grammy award-winning Talking Timbuktu. vieux farka toure fondoHis son Vieux had very big boots to fill following Ali Farka’s death from bone cancer in 2006, but on Fondo he certainly does. He has a distinctive guitar sound, at once slender, slinky and soca-infused, that makes all the self-penned tracks on the album a delight to listen to. There’s also one traditional song, the Timbuktu classic Walé, and a guest appearance by Toumani Diabaté, so this album comes highly recommended from me.

I hope that this mini tour encourages you to explore the wonderful African music that is out there. You won’t regret it!

~

Muezzinland by Stephen Palmer

Muezzinland by Stephen Palmer

Life has changed in the mid 22nd century. The aether is a telepathic cyberspace. Biochips augment human brains. AIs, concepts, even symbols can be dangerous. Mnada is heir to the Ghanaian throne, yet something has been done to her brain that has made her insane, something to send her fleeing north across jungle and desert towards the mysterious place called Muezzinland.

Available from:

amazon.com (Kindle format, $2.99)
amazon.co.uk (Kindle format, £2.15)
Smashwords (various formats, including epub, mobi, Sony and PDF, $2.99)

“…a tour de force in imagining possibilities that lie beyond our information age… If you enjoy the full immersion experience of neo-magic, you’ll [like] Muezzinland.”
– Gwyneth JonesNew York Review Of SF

“…succeeds when many other similar attempts to fuse the mythic and the modern fail… in Muezzinland, the hybrid thrives, creating a compelling and cohesive vision… It’s an unusual and successful combination.”
– Matrix magazine, BSFA

“While the plot can be read as a relatively straightforward thriller, the book as a whole is considerably more than this. It succeeds in integrating the elements of myth and high technology, producing something of a hybrid that feels right.”
– Vector magazine, BSFA


Queen Bee: an experiment in cheap, short SF

Queen Bee - short science fiction by Keith Brooke

Continuing my exploration of electronic publishing, first started almost exactly 14 years ago with the online genre fiction showcase infinity plus, I’ve brought out one of my short stories as a standalone ebook.

Will people buy it? Priced at 99 cents, short stories have been successful for some e-published authors: tapping into the market of impulse buyers, people looking for a quick lunchtime read, and those looking to discover new (to them) writers.

I’m not expecting to retire on the proceeds, but what I am hoping to do, with this and other ventures, is try to find ways that writers can find their best audiences. It’s clear that there are a lot of people buying ebooks; what’s missing, or not yet complete, is the way of matching them up with the best writers. I’d hasten to add that I’m not making great claims for myself here: this is about exploring market mechanisms and seeing what’s emerging. It’s what I’ve been doing for 14 years, at least.

Anyhow… here’s the blurb:

Domed cities; a lost lover; alien lifeforms whose biochemical excretions might kill you or worse…

Colvin Stark must battle deadly jungle and primitive settlers to find his fleeing lover, and his destiny. Traditional science fiction with a contemporary spin, Queen Bee showcases the short fiction talent of an author described by Locus as belonging in “the recognized front ranks of SF writers”.

Available from:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords


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.


The price of ebooks

How much should an ebook cost?

It’s pretty clear that a large proportion of the ebook audience resents publishers setting ebook prices at the same levels as print editions. We can all see that, for a start, an ebook has little material cost to produce: no paper, no ink, no physical distribution or storage.

Other costs are similar, though, if a book is to be produced well. A book needs editing (yes, even indie books need that!) – structural edits, copy edits, proofing. A book needs marketing, perhaps more so in a market swamped by e-product; although, let’s face it, most ebooks get little if any additional marketing input from the big commercial publishers. The book needs design, both internal and external, and striking, appropriate cover art. And, of course, someone has spent a substantial part of their life producing the words: most writers can’t just give that work away for nothing.

Taking all of the costs into account, it’s still clear that an ebook is far cheaper to produce than a print edition, but even then, from a publishing perspective we should consider a book’s different editions as a package: good mass market paperback sales can subsidise the hardback edition; ebook sales can provide an income flow that makes the difference between a book being viable or not. Deal or no deal, as far as the author is concerned.

This is a dangerous argument, though, and it would seem that some publishers are using inflated ebook prices to subsidise print to too great a degree, and this is one reason readers object.

Considering all the arguments, it’s clear that ebooks should be priced substantially lower than print editions. This can have other benefits for author and publisher, drawing in the waverers who might not shell out a tenner but will take a punt on an ebook for two or three quid.

That does become a self-perpetuating argument, though.

If $2.99 brings in a new audience who might then go on and buy other books by that author, why not $1.99, 99 cents, even freebies?

As the market stands, some of the most successful indie and self-published authors have priced their books at 99 cents. It’s not a guaranteed route to success, but it’s certainly a well-trodden one.

When we launched infinity plus ebooks in December 2010, pricing was something we discussed at length. Rather than match the prices of the larger commercial publishers, we opted for what seemed to be a good compromise level of $2.99, and we’ve been reasonably successful with this, with all of our titles hitting Amazon category bestseller charts at some stage.

The market is always moving, though, and the summer has been fairly quiet. Time to try something new.

Well, as it happens, what we’ve tried isn’t so new (not for us, and certainly not for other publishers): earlier in the year we priced Kaitlin Queen’s romantic crime novel One More Unfortunate (my favourite review of that one described it as “Essex noir”) at 99 cents for a month. Sales took off, and we sold around 30 times as many copies that month as we would have expected; sales subsequently returned to a bit more than previous levels, but at least a fine book found a whole bunch of new readers.

This month we’re doing it again. Iain Rowan’s first collection of crime stories, Nowhere To Go, has been cut to 99 cents for September. Again, it’s a book I love (naturally, you might point out, as I published it…), with some cracking stories, including the Derringer Award-winner “One Step Closer”. It’s been reasonably successful since we published it earlier this year, and has picked up some fantastic reviews. Hopefully this promotion will get it out to a new audience, just as the earlier promotion did for Kaitlin’s novel.

From a writer’s perspective, the whole price debate provokes mixed feelings. Writing a book is hard work and it’s nice to think that people place a value on our books. When people expect it for free that’s bound to have an effect. And do note: I don’t object to free fiction on principle – for ten years I distributed millions of words of free, professional fiction through infinity plus. What concerns me is trying to find a model that rewards the writers and encourages good writers to write, rather than making it harder for that to happen.

I’m also intrigued by the effect this rapidly changing new market has on the words we actually produce. Already ebooks place more emphasis on openings, for example.

In the past, readers might pick up a book in a shop and glance through the opening, which is one reason why we needed to make sure our openings hooked.

With ebooks and the emphasis on downloading samples, everyone’s at it! Now, the opening chapter or three become even more important: if your sample doesn’t hook ‘em, then they’re not going to click ‘buy now’.

And the impact of pricing? When prices drop below a dollar or so, prospective readers are far more likely to buy than sample. The effect this has is that these price-influenced readers accumulate large personal libraries of free and cheap ebooks. They’re never going to read them all. They’ll do the e-equivalent of picking a book up, reading a bit, putting it down again and then… next time they read they have to choose whether to resume something they’ve started or try something different. Just how many of these cheap books never get read beyond the first few thousand words?

So as the market twists and turns and finds a new shape, what do we have? Increased emphasis on good books that make a reader keep reading. More weight on good openings, on hooks, on engaging the reader. It’s all about storytelling.

Writing this, I realise that a lot of the questions that trouble me as a writer don’t really trouble me at all. The new market hasn’t changed how I write. With each new book I still want to make it my best one, and I want readers to be unable to put it down. Which is exactly the kind of writing the new market should encourage.

All I really need is to find a publishing model that allows me to find the largest, most receptive audience for that, and to make it rewarding enough to help me write, not hinder it. Easy, eh?


Nowhere To Go by Iain Rowan – reduced to 99 cents for September

Eleven crime stories first published in Alfred Hitchcock’s, Ellery Queen’s, and elsewhere by award-winning writer Iain Rowan. Iain’s short fiction has been reprinted in Year’s Best anthologies, won a Derringer Award, and been the basis for a novel shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger award.

REDUCED TO 99 CENTS FOR SEPTEMBER! Here at infinity plus we think this book, and this author, are pretty special, so for one month only we’ve dropped the price.
BUY NOW:
amazon.com (Kindle format, $0.99)
amazon.co.uk (Kindle format, £0.86)
Smashwords (various formats, including epub, mobi, Sony and PDF, $0.99)

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


Another one for August

Circus of the Grand Design by Robert Freeman WexlerAnother of the four titles we have lined up for August is Robert Freeman Wexler’s wonderfully strange Bradbury-esque carnival novel, Circus of the Grand Design:

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


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