Category Archives: keith brooke

New editions of Keepers of the Peace and more

Keepers of the Peace

Written thirty years ago, and first published by Gollancz in 1990, my first novel has new editions in print and ebook:

Keepers of the Peace
Ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Apple – Smashwords
Print (ISBN: 172280291X): Amazon US – Amazon UK – and other booksellers

Jed Brindle is an alien. At least, that’s what they call him on Earth. He’s really a colony-bred soldier – augmented with cyborg implants – with the Extraterran Peacekeeping Force, fighting for control of what used to be the United States.

When he and his squad are sent behind enemy lines on a kidnap operation, it isn’t long before things start to go wrong. Marooned in the desert with two wounded comrades and his quarry, Jed’s mission becomes not just a struggle for survival but also a journey to rediscover the quiet, reliable farm boy he was before he became a machine for killing.

“It has been several years since a first novel has grabbed me the way Keith Brooke’s Keepers of the Peace did. It’s a well-crafted, very personal look at the way war changes (and doesn’t change) a kid from the sticks … It is smooth, clean and elegant; a very straightforward book whose writing recalls the 1950s Heinlein, telling the tale without getting in the way.” (Tom Whitmore, Locus)


Also just out: new paperback editions of my 2nd, 3rd and 4th novels

ExpatriaAmazon US – Amazon UK

Expatria IncorporatedAmazon US – Amazon UK

Lord of StoneAmazon US – Amazon UK

   

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Dislocations launched at Eastercon

Lovely to make an albeit brief appearance at the UK’s national science fiction convention on March 30th to mark the publication of Dislocations, the first in a four-part novella series written with long-time collaborator Eric Brown. Many copies were signed at the convention, and afterwards Eric and I spent a few hours in Bradford discussing life, publishing, and plans for the third and fourth novellas in the series (the second having been recently completed, and due to be published later this year).

Copies are available direct from the publisher, as well as the usual places:

signing_dislocations

The book:

Project Kon-tiki, the world’s first extra-solar colony expedition, is just weeks away from departure, and tension is mounting at Lakenheath Base.

Psychologist Kat Manning is one of the eighteen specialist whose clone will be sent to the stars, and her job is to work with the original specialists, the ‘left behind’, to monitor and support them through their dislocation… But when Kat is kidnapped by the Allianz, a faction opposed to the colonisation program, more than just her safety is at stake. The entire mission is in jeopardy.

In Dislocations, the first volume of the Kon-tiki Quartet, Brown and Brooke tell the story of humankind’s last-gasp efforts to reach the stars, set against the backdrop of an Earth torn apart by looming environmental disaster.


The Kon-tiki Quartet: new from Eric Brown and Keith Brooke in 2018/2019

I’m very pleased to announce that Eric Brown and I have just signed up to write The Kon-tiki Quartet, a set of four novellas to be published by the fabulous PS Publishing. The first, Dislocations, is due out in winter 2018, with the remaining three appearing at six-month intervals.

The Quartet charts humankind’s first extra-solar colony mission to a planet orbiting the star 19 Draconis – a series of high-tech stories rooted in humankind’s struggles to deal with a rapidly changing world, and featuring cloning, travel to the stars, alien encounters, telepathy, and much more.

Eric and I are currently putting the finishing touches to the first two novellas, and will pick up on writing the third and fourth during 2018. It’s great to be working together again!


infinity plus at Radish Fiction

Radish Fiction: serial fiction, delivered to your mobile device one episode at a time. 

I’ve heard some very good things about this one, a new online fiction platform that seems to be doing things a little differently – and doing them very well.

Definitely worth exploring, so to test the waters we’ve put up three titles, a collection of short fiction, a novelette, and a big fat fantasy novel.

All three titles are by me: I’m trying it out, after all – if it works out, with the cooperation of our authors we’ll be publishing selected infinity plus titles there, too. The first three titles are:

Liberty Spin: tales of scientifiction by Keith Brooke The People of the Sea by Keith Brooke Riding the Serpent's Back by Keith Brooke

Liberty Spin
Multiple personalities fighting for control of a single body; a single personality constantly splitting and reinventing itself and its past; a Mars that never was; an interstellar war that has always been. Radish recommend a length of around 2000 words per episode, so while the shorter stories in this collection each appear as an entire episode, the longer ones have been broken down into two or three instalments.
https://radish.app.link/YrvRbdTWvG

The People of the Sea
Until he found the mermaid it had been a normal day for Joseph Wheatley… An alternate history SF novelette told in six episodes, from the writer of the Philp K Dick Award-shortlisted Harmony, an author “in the recognized front ranks of SF writers” (Locus).
https://radish.app.link/PTaCo86TvG

Riding the Serpent’s Back
An old era is drawing to a close, a new era about to begin, and the great mage Donn has passed on his Talents to a new generation. When a rogue church leader threatens to set loose wild powers, Donn’s children must oppose him but, also, they must contend with Donn himself: the old mage has not finished with his children yet. A fantasy epic of revolution, jealousy and earth-shattering magic. This one’s really going to test Radish (and their readers!): a 200,000 word novel, split into an as-yet-to-be-determined number of episodes. I’ve no idea if the Radish model will work for such a big novel, but it seemed like a good idea to try!
https://radish.app.link/SYMsGx5crG


Mementoes by Keith Brooke – due late 2016 from Newcon Press

Back in 2012 the fabulous Newcon Press launched a series of twelve single-author short fiction collections called ‘Imaginings’, each available in limited edition hardback and ebook versions. Each book contained a mix of reprints and original fiction, often with accompanying notes by the author, and the line-up of constributors was impressive:

  1. Tanith Lee: Cold Grey Stones
  2. Stephen Baxter: Last and First Contacts
  3. Tony Ballantyne: Stories from the Northern Road
  4. Lisa Tuttle: Objects in Dreams
  5. Nina Allan: Microcosmos
  6. Adrian Tchaikovsky: Feast and Famine
  7. Steve Rasnic Tem: Twember
  8. Eric Brown: Strange Visitors
  9. Adam Roberts: Saint Rebor
  10. Dave Hutchinson: Sleeps with Angels
  11. Liz Williams: The Light Warden

You might have noticed that the 12th volume is missing from the list…

On Saturday I attended a lovely gathering to mark Newcon’s tenth anniversary, and among other things Newcon supremo Ian Whates announced that the final ‘Imaginings’ volume, due later this year, is… Mementoes by me.

This is a special book for me, marking various anniversaries in the field, including almost 30 years to the day since I first sat down to try to write for professional publication, and 25 years since the publication of my first novel.

The collection includes the four-part serial Memento, first published in Aethernet and now compiled as a novella to form the first part of the collection; the second half of the book comprises six short stories, and a novelette. Two of the stories are original to the collection, one a big SF story the revisits the Fermi Paradox (as many of my recent stories have done), and the other a quiet and nasty little horror story (returning to the kind of writing I did when I was starting out). Others included a novelette about alien languages and mind-sets (a rare exploration for me, as up until recently I’ve shied away from aliens in fiction, for reasons explained in the story notes), and a near-future story that was shortlisted for last year’s Seiun Award.

It was fun to put the book together, revisiting the stories and thinking about what was behind them, and it’s a genuine honour to be part of such a series. And it’s the perfect landmark to celebrate all those anniversaries for how long I’ve been knocking around in science fiction and fantasy!


in the bundle: Little Sisters of the Apocalypse by Kit Reed

In July 2015 infinity plus and Storybundle offered a special deal for a set of nine literary fantasy books, including Kit Reed’s Little Sisters of the Apocalypse. The deal is no longer available but Little Sisters of the Apocalypse will be available in September as a standalone book. 

 

 

Little Sisters of the Apocalypse

“Reed has a prose style that’s pure dry ice, displayed in dystopian stories that specialize in bitterness and dislocation.” – The New York Times Book Review

Kit Reed: Little Sisters of the ApocalypseA motorcycle gang of nuns rides out on a mysterious rescue mission in this dazzling work of metaphysical fiction by Kit Reed. This scarifying trip into the near future provides an extraordinary look at women in the contemporary world. Marooned on Schell Isle in a pre-apocalyptic near future, the women are waiting. The men have all gone to war – the ultimate sexist act. When he comes back will he be welcomed? It’s an open question. But today is the day everything begins to change. What unknown force is rushing towards the island? What do the women have to fear? Is it the murderous Outlaw family, riding their way and bent on revenge, or the men, or an enemy within? But the bikers are coming: sixteen in all, in black helmets emblazoned with a silver cross, metaphysical infonauts who run computer programs in a ceaseless search for the name of God. They pray for the dead and when they have to, they ride out on their bikes to defend the living. Until they lift the face plates you will not know who they are. Watch out for them. The Little Sisters of the Apocalypse.

“A touching tribute to the author’s mother, a bittersweet space-age tale on the nature of women and loss.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Her stories are sharp, transgressive and full of the unexpected, with enough keen social observations to launch a thousand dissertations. ” – Chelsea Cain in The New York Times Book Review

“The Story Until Now unleashes new and classic stories fired by a radiant imagination.” – Elissa Schappell in Vanity Fair

A personal note from bundle curator Keith Brooke

Of all the notes I’ve written on books in this bundle, this has been the hardest, with far too many false starts followed by deleting everything and starting again. As befits her ‘transgenred’ label, Kit Reed’s work defies categorisation and tags. Little Sisters of the Apocalypse raises all kinds of questions about society, women’s roles, and the political of the everyday, but above all, for me, it’s one of the most moving stories I’ve read in a long time. And there are biker nuns. This is its first ebook publication, exclusive to this bundle.

Extract

And in a ruined city so remote from Schell Isle that Chag has never heard its name, sixteen bikers roll out of an underground garage and into the cold morning. Their black helmets are bisected by sleek crosses in silver. Warm breath mists the smoked face plates. The leader raises her gloved hand.

Ready?

The sixteen dip their heads briefly and cross themselves. In ordinary times the bikers dazzle with new software at the top of the Pearson Tower in the blasted city, but today they have business elsewhere. In ordinary times the women are brilliant hackers, who market technology to support their mission to the homeless. They pray together four times a day and when circumstances permit, they meditate. In gentler times they would have been contemplatives.

But in this continuum the savage world demands more. When people are starving you can’t just turn your backs and pray for them. Right now life is uncertain and time is short. There’s too much to be done here.

The women pursue their God at lightspeed. Brilliant, driven, the bikers devise computer programs in an attempt to address the Almighty. Like divers they are poised for the ultimate leap. Let the computer vault everything that’s gone before, leapfrogging millennia of prayer and effort; let the analog mind pursue possibilities at speeds it’s impossible to comprehend; let it take them to the new jumping-off point. Then let it begin. For the gifted ones, who come closest to pure contemplation, time spent any other way is a necessary sacrifice. Love-struck and drawn, the women yearn only for the Presence, but even among themselves these bikers will not acknowledge which of them has come close, for fear God may hear them trying to describe what has been given and take it away.

They raise their own vegetables in the city park behind their office block. They celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist with the occasional transient priest; they try to do God’s will and they try not to resent the male hierarchy that tells them they are only women, and therefore not fit to be His priests.

They pray for the dead and when they have to, they ride out on their bikes to defend the living.

Their legend precedes them: crimes interrupted by the mysterious riders; lives saved at the last minute by bikers roaring to the rescue, robberies thwarted, murderers stopped; children rescued from floods or snatched from under the wheels of runaway cars at the last possible minute; householders saved from foreclosure by an astonishing gift of money; evildoers foiled and the helpless— helped. Picked up from the gutter and handed new lives, the blessed run to the door—too late—in an attempt to say thank you.

Before they can be identified, the mystery riders are on their bikes and gone, whisked away with a roar, disappearing in a cloud of oily exhaust.

Householders stand in the doorway, baffled. Who was that … What do we have to reckon with?

Riding with black scarves streaming, the bikers do not advertise. Surprise gives them the advantage. Mystery makes them powerful; they give their lives to it. Pressed to name the source of their strength, they can only partially explain, although they’ve spent a lifetime trying to comprehend it.

They are riding out for a reason, and if only the leader knows what it is and she only imperfectly, no matter.

It’s enough to know something needs doing.

So it is over the lakebed that the motorcycles will come, pulverizing the cracked earth and raising a terrible dust. They will come in a roar of souped-up engines and a cloud like an approaching sandstorm. Until they thud to a halt in a tight half-circle and the whirlwind stills, you will not be able to see the riders clearly, and this is the way they want it. Until they lift the face plates you will not know who they are. Even then the riders’ features will be obscured, frosted with desert sand, so that until their leader speaks you will not know her, and the lettering on the helmets? Not yet clear.

Bikes start: HUDN-HUDN. RMMM RMMM RMMMM. The leader raises a gauntleted hand: everybody here? Fifteen other bikers raise their hands for the count. Ready.

RMMM RMMMM RMMMMMMM. Watch out for them. The Little Sisters of the Apocalypse.

(end of extract)


in the bundle: Hairy London by Stephen Palmer

In July 2015 infinity plus and Storybundle offered a special deal for a set of nine literary fantasy books, including Stephen Palmer’s Hairy London. The deal is no longer available but Hairy London can still be bought separately:

 

 

Hairy London

“Stephen Palmer is a find.”—Time Out

Hairy London by Stephen PalmerWhat is love?

One evening at the Suicide Club three gentlemen discuss this age-old problem, and thus a wager is made. Dissolute fop Sheremy Pantomile, veteran philosopher Kornukope Wetherbee and down-on-his-luck Velvene Orchardtide all bet their fortunes on finding the answer amidst the dark alleys of a phantasmagorical Edwardian London.

But then, overnight, London Town is covered in hair. How the trio of adventurers cope with this unusual plague, and what conclusions they come to regarding love is the subject of this surreal and fast-paced novel.

And always the East End threatens revolution…

“Stephen Palmer’s imagination is fecund…”—Interzone

“… (a) supremely odd yet deeply rewarding experience.”—CCLaP

“…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 Muezzinland

Buy this ebook from: Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CanadaBarnes and NobleKoboApple – SmashwordsGumroad

A personal note from bundle curator Keith Brooke

Although not an out-and-out comedy, I actually laughed out loud at some of the puns and witty observations in this satirical and incisive romp when I edited it for its first publication at infinity plus. Hairy London takes the known and twists it into odd shapes, an alternate-London fantasy that paints an extraordinary backdrop to an adventure story that puts love and society under the microscope in a novel quite unlike anything else you will have read before.

Extract

There were so many horseless carriages outside the Suicide Club that Sheremy Pantomile found himself pushing between lampblack-stained running boards, so that to his horror his trousers became blemished below the knee. He clicked his fingers at the doorman and shouted, “Gentleman! Find me a passage between these smoking wrecks, or I’ll have you cashiered.”

Gentleman Smyth adjusted his turban, glanced this way and that, then descended to street level. “My apologies, sir. There is talk of one of our explorers returning from furthest Oriental reaches. It seems news has spr––”

“Just find me away in, fellow. Then find me new trousers. I take a thirty four inch waist.”

Gentleman used his rear to nudge aside one of the horseless carriages, allowing Sheremy to squeeze through, then led him up the steps and inside the great marble edifice that was the hall of Bedwards House, Chancery Lane. Sheremy hurried into an ante-chamber, not wanting any of his peers to see his embarrassment. Gentleman followed. “I will go at once to the Trousery,” the doorman said, “then return with a fresh garment. What colour, sir?”

“Same as these. And don’t go, run.

Gentleman bowed. Sheremy waited, his annoyance fading as the sounds and smells of the Suicide Club calmed his mind. This was home. Here, he could be at peace, be free of the noise and stink of London; and here he could exercise his talents in the service of his fellow men. Damn, that Sikhish fellow was taking his time…

At last, as the Belladonna Clock struck nine, and then a few seconds later the great Tibetan dinner gong, Gentleman returned. Sheremy whipped off his trousers, adjusted his leather undergarment, then pulled on the clean trousers. “Excellent,” he said, “though they smell of lavender.”

“We use it to drive away moon moths,” Gentleman explained.

“What’s on the menu tonight?”

“A deviled tartar of yak, sir.”

Sheremy departed, hurrying up the stairs that led to the dining room. Before entering it he checked his appearance in the mirror held upright by the statue of Turkman Hi retrieved from the ruins of Constantinople by Pharaday Lemmington. Aha… tall, dark eyed, black hair slicked down, a subtle moustache on his upper lip. No wonder the girls loved him.

He walked into the dining room and at once saw several of his associates seated at a pentagonal table; one chair free. He strode forward.

“Friends!” he said, allowing a servant to pull back the vacant seat.

“You are a minute late,” said Velvene Orchardtide, examining a gold chronospiel that hung from his waistcoat spigot.

“An unpleasantness outside the building,” Sheremy explained, “caused by news of some import – or so I believe.”

Sheremy glanced at the other two diners: Sir Hoseley Fain, white-bearded Treasurer of the Suicide Club, and Lord Blackanore of Highgate, the Secretary. He enjoyed exalted company tonight. “Frankly,” he said, lighting a cigaroon, “I’m getting rather tired of dear Lemmington’s comings and goings. Can’t we find a higher calling than shooting exotic animals and returning them to London?”

A few embarrassed titters rose from the table. Sir Hoseley sniffed, then said, “What did you have in mind, mon ami?”

“Oh… just something better, I suppose.”

“Then you must think of something,” said Velvene, glancing again at his chronospiel. “Where is that soup, eh? It is Arctic onion, and if they do not bring it in soon it will go warm.”

“This place goes to hell if Pharaday’s around,” Sheremy muttered. “It’s just not good enough.”

Sir Hoseley shrugged, the ghost of a smirk on his face. “Complain to Juinefere,” he said.

Sheremy scowled. All here knew of his feelings for Lady Bedwards, though he had done his utmost over the years to conceal them. Sir Hoseley was an impudent weasel. “Very good,” he said. “Meanwhile, perhaps you should comb your beard before the birds start nesting in it.”

“Now, now,” said Lord Blackanore. “The soup arrives.”

As he cracked the surface of the soup and began cutting it up, Sheremy’s mind turned to the situation he found himself in, which some might call unfortunate, though he termed it unjust. “You see,” he explained, “I didn’t know she was married. I swear I didn’t know. How could I? She was just a freed slave, little more than a maid. Who’d have thought her husband would be so… well connected?”

“It seems you protest too much,” Sir Hoseley observed.

Yes, they all knew the tales here. He hated that. When people discovered his failings, he hated it. He loathed being talked about. Pushing aside his empty bowl he said, “You all think you know me, don’t you? You don’t. Only a lover truly knows their lover.”

There came laughs from the other four. “Well, we certainly all know you, Pantomile,” said Velvene.

“Alas rather too well,” Sir Hoseley added. ”Tu me décois.”

Sheremy felt his face flush. He had gone too far; spoken out of turn. “You are buffoons,” he said.

“Rather a buffoon than a lovestruck bumpkin,” said Sir Hoseley.

Sheremy felt his embarrassment turn to anger. “You’ve never married, have you?” he said, staring across the table. “Perhaps that is because you prefer the monocled post–”–”

“Enough!” Lord Blackanore cried. “Enough, please, all of you. We diminish ourselves with this horse banter.”

Sheremy nodded at his associate. “Thank you,” he said. “But you will admit it’s true. Nobody here knows love. Mankind does not know love, it doesn’t even have an explanation yet. We live in pandemonium because of that lack.”

“Then you have your higher calling,” Velvene said.

“What do you mean?”

“Explaining the inexplicable.”

“My dear fellow,” Sheremy said, “those long mornings you spend bathing have done something to your mind.”

Velvene shrugged. “Explain it for us and you will both solve the inequities of your life and do mankind a service.”

Sheremy felt he was being mocked by the urbane Orchardtide, whose family were well known eccentrics. “I won’t humour you,” he said.

“I mean it.”

Sheremy sat back. The deviled yak supper was approaching. “Then we’ll have a wager,” he declared, “all of us sitting here at this table. If, one season from today, one of us returns to the Suicide Club with an explanation of human love that mankind – from East to West – can accept, they will take the pot.”

(end of extract)

Buy this ebook from: Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CanadaBarnes and NobleKoboAppleSmashwordsGumroad


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