A chance to win:
A chance to win:
War stories… I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with them. My kind of SF is the polar opposite of all those gung ho militaristic right-wing wet dreams that are pretty much a sub-genre in their own right. I’d hate to write anything that might be seen as glamorising combat.
And yet… I loved war stories as a kid, whether they were the adventures of Biggles or the Combat! TV series and all kinds of war movies. And looking back on my writing career, I can see that a fair proportion of my output has explored various aspects of war, from my angry young man first novel Keepers of the Peace to my post-war fantasy Lord of Stone and my recent Nick Gifford ebook, “The Ragged People”.
Fiction is all about conflict, after all, whether it’s the tensions of a love triangle, a murder thriller or a courtroom drama: it’s the conflict that makes things happen, that creates story; and conflict doesn’t come much more dramatic than warfare.
Just announced is an anthology of war stories, edited by Andrew Liptak and Jaym Gates. Not stories that glamorise or sensationalise, but fiction that explore “the cultural, social, political and psychological repercussions of modern war”. The editors have already had strong interest from some great authors, including TC McCarthy, Karin Lowachee, F Brett Cox, Laura Anne Gilman, Will McIntosh, Joe Haldeman and yours truly (they’ll be including my story “War 3.01″). They’ll also be running an open submission period later this year. It looks like being a really interesting – and no doubt entertaining – book, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
War Stories will launch on Kickstarter in early September, with a variety of perks for backers, ranging from an ebook / physical copies of the anthology, to prints of the cover and other exciting things to come!
To follow the progress of the anthology’s planning, and to get sneak peeks, excerpts and news from around the military science fiction world, you can visit the project’s website, follow the project on Twitter (@warstoriesantho), or like the anthology on Facebook.
June will be a big month for us at infinity plus, with three big titles to be published in paperback and a variety of electronic formats.
Salvage by Eric Brown
When Salvageman Ed saves Ella Rodriguez from spider-drones on the pleasure planet of Sinclair’s Landfall, he has no idea what he’s letting himself in for. Ella is not at all what she seems, as he’s soon about to find out.
What follows, as the spider-drones and the Hayakawa Organisation chase Ed, Ella and engineer Karrie light-years across space, is a fast-paced adventure with Ed learning more about Ella – and about himself – than he ever expected.
The Salvageman Ed series of linked stories – four of which appear here for the first time – combine action, humour and pathos, from the master of character-based adventure science fiction.
“Eric Brown’s modest, slightly retro, extremely charming and very human voice has been a distinctive, indeed unique, presence in British SF for many years. Here he offers another interlinked selection of stories which, as is typical of Eric Brown, manage to be small scale, close-up, and completely free of heroic posturing, in spite of the galactic scale of their setting. There is something restful about them, something comforting. Yet while they gently entertain, they also, very quietly, deal with big questions about identity, love, and the relationship between body and soul.” Chris Beckett
The Fabulous Beast by Garry Kilworth
A set of beautifully crafted tales of the imagination by a writer who was smitten by the magic of the speculative short story at the age of twelve and has remained under its spell ever since.
These few stories cover three closely related sub-genres: science fiction, fantasy and horror. In the White Garden murders are taking place nightly, but who is leaving the deep foot-prints in the flower beds? Twelve men are locked in the jury room, but thirteen emerge after their deliberations are over. In a call centre serving several worlds, the staff are less than helpful when things go wrong with a body-change holiday.
Three of the stories form a set piece under the sub-sub-genre title of ‘Anglo-Saxon Tales’. This trilogy takes the reader back to a time when strange gods ruled the lives of men and elves were invisible creatures who caused mayhem among mortals.
Garry Kilworth has created a set of stories that lift readers out of their ordinary lives and place them in situations of nightmare and wonder, or out among far distant suns. Come inside and meet vampires, dragons, ghosts, aliens, weremen, people who walk on water, clones, ghouls and marvellous wolves with the secret of life written beneath their eyelids.
‘Kilworth’s stories are delightfully nuanced and carefully wrought.’ Publishers Weekly
‘A bony-handed clutch of short stories, addictive and hallucinatory.’ The Times
‘Here is a writer determined and well equipped to contribute to the shudder-count.’ The Guardian
Falling Over by James Everington
An ordinary man who sees his face in a tabloid newspaper. A soldier haunted by the images of those he has killed from afar. Two petty criminals on the run from a punishment more implacable than either of them can imagine. Doppelgängers both real and imaginary. A tranquil English village where those who don’t fit in really aren’t welcome, and a strange hotel where second chances are allowed… at a price.
Ten stories of unease, fear and the weird from James Everington.
“Good writing gives off fumes, the sort that induce dark visions, and Everington’s elegant, sophisticated prose is a potent brew. Imbibe at your own risk.” – Robert Dunbar, author of The Pines and Martyrs & Monsters
“The horror angle in the stories is almost always a metaphor for other things – loneliness, fear, isolation, regret. The word “haunting” really does double duty here… Beautifully written, evocative, masterful…what shines through these stories is the author’s love of language.” Red Adept Reviews, 2011 Indie Awards Short Story category
“Everington is excellent at evoking a mounting sense of unease, turning to dread, that close, oppressive feeling when everything is still and ordinary, but the whole world is filled with the sense that something huge and terrible is just about to happen.” Iain Rowan, author of One Of Us and Nowhere To Go
Just published: a standalone ebook edition of one of my favourite back-list stories, “The Greatest Game of All”. It’s a love story, a near-future drama, an exploration of one man’s insecurities… with test-tubes. The ebook includes an afterword about where the story came from.
At first I believed her in her proclamations of love. I couldn’t believe her when she promised it would last forever, but sometimes I thought Maybe.
Once, when she told me in the throes of orgasm that she would always love me, absently I said, “Will you really?” She looked at me, hurt, eased her grip on me and turned away. Why was she angry? If her words were true she should have reassured me, she should not have been so hurt.
She signed the contract in ’16. She vowed to love me forever and, upon breaching the contract, to relinquish any claim on my property or person, all couched in expensive legalese. I should have been satisfied but I was not. Broken contracts were not unheard of, paper could never seal our bond.
The Greatest Game of All is available from:
“The stories in this collection are among the best science fiction. These are stories imbued with a rich intelligence and a deep sense of humanity. These are mature stories, tales of love and loss, of pleasure and pain. Cherish them.”
– from the foreword by Stephen Baxter
Both authors shortlisted for this year’s Philip K Dick Award. Cover by Dominic Harman.
Parallax View showcases ‘In Transit’, written specially for this collection, a novella set in a future war-torn universe in which human expansion has come up against the implacable Kryte. Xeno-psychologist Abbott finds himself the guardian of a deadly Kryte on a mission to study it on his return to Earth. When they crash-land on the fortress planet of St Jerome, the Kryte prisoner turns the tables and takes Abbott into terrible custody. What follows is a terrifying journey across a hellish landscape towards a finale that might change the destiny of the Kryte and humanity, forever…
Plus six other stories that examine the interface between human and alien – a parallax view from two of Britain’s top science fiction writers, both shortlisted for the 2012 Philip K Dick Award.
“Individually, Keith Brooke and Eric Brown purvey SF of the highest order: their stories have epic scope and a huge heart. The fusion of their talents is a sublime alchemy, a seamless pageant of humanity and wonder, eloquently expressed.”
“A stunning cluster of sf parables … Brooke and Brown possess the world-building ability of Frank Herbert, the same capacity for extrapolation and black humour that marked Philip K Dick’s work and a social conscience to rival that of Orwell’s …to view this book is to view science fiction at its very best.”
–Paul Kane, Terror Tales
In 1999, when I was still an unpublished newbie, I attended the World Horror Convention in Atlanta, where some of the notable writer guests included Neil Gaiman, John Shirley, Michael Bishop, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Ramsey Campbell. At that point, I thought that I might still be a horror writer, even though my innate squeamishness for violence and terror was beginning to win the battle for my chosen subject matter, and I attended very much because of the writers there. However, on the second day of the convention, at the urging of several new friends, I made my way into the art show, and beheld the gloriously dark and whimsical sculpture work of Lisa Snellings, who was the Artist Guest-of-Honor. Her smaller pieces made me smile and her larger kinetic works (including the moving Ferris wheel that inspired the anthology Strange Attraction, edited by Edward E. Kramer) filled me with wonder, but it was her largest piece on display that literally stole the breath from my lungs.
Named “If Love’s a Fine Game, Hell’s a Good Joke,” the sculpture consisted of two life-sized harlequins, one balancing on the knees of the other; the expressions that Lisa had so painstakingly crafted on their faces were so devilish and sly that, right there on that spot, I conceived of the siblings Blue and Dane: immortals, manipulators, elementals.
When I got home from the convention, I immediately cast these two characters in a novelette called “Wicked Game” (which can be found in my ebook collection The Curragh of Kildaire). The story examined the shifting balance of control that comes with power both earned and taken; it also established the borstal plane, a dimension of existence that both acts as a prison and as the source of all the magic in the world, a locale I would visit again in my prose. I later returned to the siblings in a middle-grade story called “Watersnake, Firesnake,” but this time put them in a distinctly Asian setting, as the antagonists of a young boy who has found a phoenix egg.
Several years passed, and I grew as a writer, and Blue and Dane refused to go away, insisting that I hadn’t yet finished telling their story. It took time, but three substantial works of fiction came into existence that further explored the power dynamics of their relationship, and the consequences of their long-term meddling in human affairs.
The Alchemy of Happiness is the result, an interwoven tripartite narrative collecting “Reality, Interrupted,” “In Jurong,” and “Always a Risk” for the very first time.
The collection’s title riffs on that of the ancient Islamic text Kimiya-yi Sa’adat by the Sufi philosopher Abu ?amid Mu?ammad ibn Mu?ammad al-Ghazali, as well as the science of alchemy that sought to harness the four classical elements (two of which my characters physically embody). However, whereas al-Ghazali’s text was designed as a moral guide toward a more fulfilling spiritual life, mine is open-ended, a question rather than an answer. Through their constant searching, will Blue and Dane ever find that existential bliss toward which all of us are striving? Or will their millennia of manipulation and destruction leave them forever in a state of metaphysical suffering?
The Alchemy of Happiness is available now from infinity plus book. Also included in this ebook volume is a hybrid-essay called “Embracing the Strange,” which looks at my own personal journey for happiness and fulfillment through the lens of speculative fiction, as well as a wide-ranging interview by Singaporean author and editor Wei Fen Lee.
And as a special bonus, anyone who buys the ebook gets a link to download the expanded second edition of my collection Red Dot Irreal completely for free.
So, just to summarise, then:
The latest books from infinity plus include two collections from Eric Brown in their first e-editions, the first e- and paperback editions of Keith Brooke’s Genetopia, and e- and paperback editions of Garry Kilworth’s memoirs.
Details at: http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/books/new.htm
The full line-up is:
infinity plus: quintet
by Garry Kilworth, Lisa Tuttle, Neil Williamson, Stephen Palmer and Eric Brown (edited by Keith Brooke) (ebook) [Dec 2012]
Five stories from top writers of speculative fiction: science fiction, fantasy and the downright strange, stories from the heart, stories to make you think and wonder.
by Keith Brooke (ebook & print) [Nov 2012]
Searching for his missing sister, Flint encounters a world where illness is to be feared, where genes mutate and migrate between species through plague and fever. This is the story of the struggles between those who want to defend their heritage and those who choose to embrace the new. “A minor masterpiece that should usher Brooke at last into the recognized front ranks of SF writers” (Locus)
by Eric Brown (ebook) [Dec 2012]
A novella and seven stories from the two-times winner of the British Science Fiction Award for Short Fiction. Take a journey into an extraordinary universe… where life and love face the demands of mortality …where mankind has become Augmented or Altered, where zebra-men talk with unicorn-women …and where you can break the chains of physics in the cobalt glory of the Nada-continuum.
The Time-Lapsed Man and other stories
by Eric Brown (ebook) [Dec 2012]
In Eric Brown’s landmark first collection of stories, fear, desire, love and redemption are forged with an innovative and stunning science-fiction imagination, creating eight exotic tales of tomorrow.
The Emoticon Generation
by Guy Hasson (ebook) [Dec 2012]
In this collection you’ll find a man who, after losing his fiancée to a terrible accident, seeks to learn if true love really exists; a girl, hardly a teen, who searches for her father only to learn a terrible truth about herself; a man who wants to immortalize his genius but ends up tricking himself out of it; an old hero whose entire life unravels when the truth about his heroic act is revealed; a harmless birthday gift that triggers a profound search into the depths of a young couple’s relationship; and more.
On my way to Samarkand – memoirs of a travelling writer
by Garry Kilworth (ebook & print) [Dec 2012]
Garry Kilworth is a varied and prolific writer who has travelled widely since childhood, living in a number of countries, especially in the Far East. His books include SF and fantasy, historical novels, literary novels, story collections, children’s books and film novelisations. This autobiography covers family history, travels and his experiences in publishing. ‘a master of his trade’ (Punch)
The Alchemy of Happiness
by Jason Erik Lundberg (ebook) [Dec 2012]
A triptych of stories rooted in Asian myth and legend, literary fantasy at its very best from the author of Red Dot Irreal. This volume also features a hybrid essay on the transformative power of speculative fiction, and a wide-ranging interview with the author. And as a special bonus, anyone who purchases a copy of this book gets a link to a free copy of Red Dot Irreal.
Red Dot Irreal – Equatorial Fantastika
by Jason Erik Lundberg (ebook) [Dec 2012]
Travel to Southeast Asia to meet pirates and shamans, wise fish and mystical storytellers, living monuments and paper animals, time travellers, stone taxi drivers, floating dental patients, and a sentient bird park. Once you enter the surreal worlds of Lundberg’s equatorial fantastika, a part of you will never leave. “A fine meal for the mind awaits you in Lundberg’s collection” (Jonathan Carroll)
In Springdale Town
by Robert Freeman Wexler (ebook) [Nov 2012]
Springdale appears to be a quiet village, unblemished by shopping mall or mega-store. But some say Springdale exists only on the contoured highways of our collective imagination. Others point to references dating back to Colonial Boston, to multiple versions of a ballad telling a story of remorse and disgrace. For two people, Springdale is where their lives will intersect with devastating force.
The Love Machine & other contraptions
by Nir Yaniv (ebook & print) [Nov 2012]
What happens when every wish you make is immediately granted by God? If you could use the power of music to travel through time? If your body was the battleground for a strange, alien invasion? In turns humorous, lyrical, profound – but always entertaining – these are the haunting tales of an author at the height of his power.