Category Archives: science fiction

Publication day for Tony Ballantyne and Eric Brown’s Microcosms

Published today in print and ebook formats:

Microcosms: Forty-Two stories by Tony Ballantyne and Eric Brown

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Microcosms

Forty-Two stories by Tony Ballantyne and Eric Brown

microcosmsPhilip K. Dick Award nominated writers Tony Ballantyne and Eric Brown bring together forty-two fantastical short-short stories, featuring new takes on every SF trope from alien invasion, robots, and time-travel, to stellar exploration, the future of computing, and the nature of the human soul.

Tony Ballantyne is the author of the acclaimed Penrose hard SF novels, Twisted Metal and Blood and Iron, as well as the groundbreaking and surreal fantasy novels Dream London and Dream Paris.

Eric Brown has written many SF and crime novels including The Kings of Eternity, Kethani, and The Serene Invasion.

Together they are a hundred years old.

“Eric Brown spins a terrific yarn” – SFX

“This is as strange and unclassifiable a novel as it’s possible to imagine, and a marvellous achievement.” – Financial Times on Tony Ballantyne’s Dream London

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

“A new British star has arrived to join the likes of Hamilton, Reynolds and Banks.” – Vector on Tony Ballantyne


Introduction to Micro…

This volume came about one summer a few years ago when Tony came up to Scotland with his family. We were wandering around the pretty seaside town of North Berwick and talking about recent short stories we’d written. Tony happened to mention that he was working on some short-shorts, which he hoped to place with Nature, and I mentioned a short-short market that I’d recently sold to, Daily SF. I then suggested that, when we had enough tales to form a volume, we should gather them all together and attempt to find a publisher.

Years passed; we wrote short-shorts between bigger projects, and Keith Brooke who runs Infinity Plus Books expressed an interest in publishing Microcosms.

Tony Ballantyne is not only a fine novelist – as equally gifted in the Hard SF sub-genre as in Fantasy – but he’s a skilled short-story writer, with several of his stories gracing the pages of Analog and other top markets, and appearing in Best of the Year anthologies. He also excels at the short-short story, where originality and incisive vision are requisite. In his intelligence, playful wit and economy of language, the writer he most reminds me of is the late, great Robert Sheckley. This volume contains such gems as “Dear Burglar”, “The Cleverest Man in the World”, and “The Scooped Out Man” – the latter an alien invasion tale to end them all. But my favourite is the irreverent, witty, self-referential story about a writer, Another (almost) True Story”, a tale which I would have given my right arm to have written.

And now, for fear of this introduction becoming longer than some of the short-shorts herein, I’ll sign off.

Eric Brown
Cockburnspath


Introduction to …Cosms

Eric and I met at the 2Kon SF convention in Glasgow in the year 2000. We both had a short story up for the BSFA award. Eric won, I lost, but by way of consolation I made a great friend.

Friendship aside, I remain a massive fan of Eric’s. He has written an impressive number of novels and short stories; his output includes what is possibly my favourite short story collection ever: Kethani (Solaris 2008). As well as being a prolific writer he is an eminent critic with a deep knowledge of the genre. He is a keen champion of the new, the forgotten and the underrated, and is a valuable source of advice to writers no matter where they are in their career (he taught me the trick of just listening to the subconscious, of getting things down as quickly as possible on the page).

In this collection you’ll find scintillating flashes of his talent. His writing is by turns witty, melancholic, horrifying and deceptively gentle, but always imbued with his trademark sense of humanity. Take a look at “In the Recovery Room”, “Meeting Myself on Planet Earth”, “Memorial” and “The History of Earth” to see what I mean.

What the heck. Read them all, they’re all good. He deserved that award. And the other ones…

Tony Ballantyne
Oldham

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All three volumes of Stephen Palmer’s Factory Girl trilogy now available

Published 6th December 2016, part three of The Factory Girl trilogy:

The Girl with No Soul by Stephen Palmer

Ebook: Amazon USAmazon UK
Paperback: Amazon USAmazon UK – CreateSpace

The Girl with No Soul by Stephen Palmer

It is 1911.

Returning to Britain from Africa, Erasmus and Roka find themselves thrown into a perilous sequence of chase, capture and escape. Yet they must return to Sheffield as fast as they can, and in secret, there to prepare for an inevitable confrontation inside Sir Tantalus Blackmore’s Factory.

But it is not only Sir Tantalus whom they must face. As the British Army, automaton horrors, and a band of desperate Marxist engineers converge around the Factory, Erasmus and Roka must decide who to trust and who to work with…

Can they overcome the fiendishly complex defences of the Factory? Will the diabolical agents of the Clockwork Garden stop them, or will Sir Tantalus himself step in? Who, in the end, will reach the heart of the Factory to learn its terrible secrets?

The final part of a breathtaking adventure through an alternative Edwardian Britain and beyond, where clockwork automata and their makers threaten to change the world forever.

“A gonzo homage to the late Victorian/Edwardian British adventure yarn… imagine Michael Palin and Terry Jones’ Ripping Yarns doing a Steampunk episode with a large helping of early 70s British prog-rock psychedelia, some very peculiar flying machinora, and a chocolate train… Stephen Palmer is a writer you should read. His work is unique, original, sometimes challenging, always fresh and sometimes barking… Hairy London is strange, mad, subversive and possibly just a little bit dangerous. You won’t have encountered a vision of London like it.” Amazing Stories

“Stephen Palmer is a find.” Time Out

“Stephen Palmer’s imagination is fecund…” Interzone

“…a thrilling chase across a ravaged Europe, a burgeoning North Africa and balkanised US, interleaving excellent action set-pieces with fascinating philosophising on the nature of consciousness. A gripping read to the poignant last line.” The Guardian, on Beautiful Intelligence

Ebook: Amazon USAmazon UK
Paperback: Amazon USAmazon UK – CreateSpace

The Factory Girl trilogy by Stephen Palmer


Stephen Palmer’s Factory Girl trilogy: the first reviews

The Girl with Two Souls by Stephen Palmer

The first reviews for Stephen Palmer’s fabulous alt-Edwardian steampunk romp, the Factory Girl trilogy, are starting to appear and it’s looking good! Great to see books like these getting such a positive response.

“I would highly recommend this to any steampunk lovers” SFF World

The Girl with Two Souls captures the feel of the Edwardian era whilst also introducing the fantasy and steampunk elements in a very natural manner… a very well written and enjoyable book” SFF Chronicles

 

The Girl with Two Souls ebook: Amazon USAmazon UK
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The Girl with One Friend ebook: Amazon USAmazon UK 
Paperback: Amazon USAmazon UKCreateSpace 

The Girl with No Soul: published 6th December 2016

The Factory Girl trilogy by Stephen Palmer


Publication day for Garry Kilworth’s Best Short Stories, and a novel with an exceedingly long name

Published today in print and ebook formats:
The Best Short Stories of Garry Kilworth
and
The Sometimes Spurious Travels Through Time and Space of James Ovit by 
Garry Kilworth

 

We’re delighted to announce publication today of two major new titles from Garry Kilworth, a retrospective Best Of… and a high-energy science-fiction romp of a novel with an exceedingly long title.

The Best Short Stories of Garry Kilworth

The Best Short Stories of Garry Kilworth

Stories from the back of the brain.

These short stories span a period of 40 years. They are as eclectic as the insect world, ranging from the bizzare to the quixotic and back again. Plucked from an oeuvre of 145 stories, they are beautifully crafted tales, several of which have snatched awards from the jaws of oblivion or shouldered their way into short lists.

Though he writes longer fiction Garry Kilworth considers himself primarily a short story writer, which is his first and last love. There is science fiction, fantasy, horror, folk lore and legend within these pages. What does not fall into any of those categories is simply unclassifiable weird fish.

The first tale is a parallel world story in which we, the people who inhabit this planet, can walk on water. The last story involves the kind of madness which is brought on by too much discipline and good order. These two sandwich a vast array of brilliant and sometimes puzzling pieces of prose.

Cover by Dominic Harman; foreword by Claude Lalumière.

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The Sometimes Spurious Travels Through Time and Space of James Ovit by Garry Kilworth

The Sometimes Spurious Travels Through Time and Space of James Ovit

A science fiction novel in three parts.

In which unstoppable time meets immoveable space…

James Ovit is a naive and slightly-lost maverick son of an elderly serial monogamist mother, whose mundane life is suddenly kick-started into headlong travel through time and space by a group of ruthless and callous scientists.

His journeys first take him spuriously into the near past and thence into the far future where, expecting to enhance his career, instead he finds other-worldly love. Finally, after tragedy causes him to cast off his loyalty to his superiors, he rejects the diplomatic corps for work as an assassin and is sent into the past to eliminate an illegal time traveller and a monster. However, things never do work out the way James believes they will and, when he finds himself researching the strangest biography of all time, he knows the authorities who gave him another chance will once again shake their heads in disbelief at his ability to ignore their orders.

Cover by piolka.

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“One is left in no doubt about the quality of the writing or of Kilworth’s talent…” Times Educational Supplement

“The tales are haunting, often almost poetic, but still chilling.” Fantasy Zone on In The Country Of Tattooed Men

“His characters are strong and the sense of place he creates is immediate and strong.” Sunday Times

“Kilworth is a master of his trade.” Punch

“Arguably the finest writer of short fiction today, in any genre.” New Scientist


New from Stephen Palmer: The Girl with Two Souls

Published 22nd November 2016, part one of The Factory Girl trilogy:

The Girl with Two Souls by Stephen Palmer

Ebook: Amazon USAmazon UK
Paperback: Amazon USAmazon UKCreateSpace

Part two to be published 29th November; part three to be published 6th December.

The Girl with Two Souls by Stephen PalmerEdwardian Britain: 1910.

Kora Blackmore, thrown into Bedlam mental hospital by her father – Britain’s leading industrialist Sir Tantalus Blackmore – is one day visited by a mysterious gentleman, who gains her trust then makes off with her to his family home in Sheffield. But Kora is afflicted with a bizarre condition, that the hospital believes is a second soul – the girl Roka – somehow living inside her.

Roka however is much more feisty than Kora, and far less obliging. Soon she is caught up in street politics, disorder and protest – and all without Kora’s knowledge.

With the agents of Sir Tantalus closing in, Kora and Roka must survive in their new circumstances and with their friends uncover the sequence of events leading to the incarceration in Bedlam; for although Kora is an illegitimate nobody, it seems her upbringing was devised to meet an enigmatic and ghastly end…

“A gonzo homage to the late Victorian/Edwardian British adventure yarn… imagine Michael Palin and Terry Jones’ Ripping Yarns doing a Steampunk episode with a large helping of early 70s British prog-rock psychedelia, some very peculiar flying machinora, and a chocolate train… Stephen Palmer is a writer you should read. His work is unique, original, sometimes challenging, always fresh and sometimes barking… Hairy London is strange, mad, subversive and possibly just a little bit dangerous. You won’t have encountered a vision of London like it.” Amazing Stories

“Stephen Palmer is a find.” Time Out

“Stephen Palmer’s imagination is fecund…” Interzone

“…a thrilling chase across a ravaged Europe, a burgeoning North Africa and balkanised US, interleaving excellent action set-pieces with fascinating philosophising on the nature of consciousness. A gripping read to the poignant last line.” The Guardian, on Beautiful Intelligence

Ebook: Amazon USAmazon UK
Paperback: Amazon USAmazon UKCreateSpace

The Factory Girl trilogy by Stephen Palmer


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!


New from Eric Brown: The Fall of Tartarus (first ebook edition)

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ebtfotIn myth Tartarus was the lowest region of hell. In reality it is a world about to die…

I’d heard many a tale about Tartarus Major, how certain continents were technological backwaters five hundred years behind the times; how the Church governed half the planet with a fist of iron, and yet how, across scattered islands and sequestered lands, a thousand bizarre and heretic cults prospered too.

I’d heard how a lone traveller was hardly safe upon the planet’s surface, prey to wild animals and cut-throats. Most of all I’d heard that Tartarus was a dying world, one that would be annihilated when its sun exploded in the magnificent stellar suicide of a supernova.

These are the stories of the people who are leaving Tartarus, those have decided to stay and those who are arriving on the planet for the apocalypse.

This ebook edition also features an afterword by the author.

“Eric Brown spins a terrific yarn” SFX

“This is the rediscovery of wonder” Stephen Baxter on Helix

“SF suffused with a cosmopolitan and literary sensibility” Paul McAuley

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

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