Category Archives: science fiction

New: Midway by Tony Ballantyne

Midway by Tony Ballantyne

Stories about stories and storytelling.

Written on the road between the past and the future, a writer explores his relationship with his dying father.

Literature, fantasy and science fiction come together in this unique and very personal piece.

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.

‘Sharp, touching, and very original, this collection uses stories of different genres to explore aspects of the same emotional landscape, creating a very personal and very satisfying whole.’ Chris Beckett, winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Apple – Smashwords

Buy this book in print (ISBN: 9798670868549): Amazon US – Amazon UK – and other booksellers


Fictions: All I Asked For by Anne Charnock

Published today, over at the Future Care Capital website: All I Asked For by Anne Charnock – a powerful and moving story about the impact of technological intervention in pregnancy.

This is the second story in our year-long Fictions project: short stories exploring near-future issues in health and social care. The first, published last month, was Stephen Palmer’s Goodbye; next month it’s my turn, and in October we have a story by Liz Williams. All the stories are illustrated by Vincent Chong.

Fictions:
Disease tourism, uses of virtual reality in care, widening adoption of self-diagnosis apps… Four authors and one artist, working with the Future Care Capital charity, explore the near-future. Running July 2020 to June 2021, one story a month takes a key issue in health and social care and examines its implications for people on the ground: patients, carers, practitioners and all those close to them. Thought-provoking and challenging, Fictions presents world-class fiction intended to inspire debate and new thinking among practitioners and policy-makers.

Fictions:
Four writers, one artist, twelve futures.

Fictions

Find out more about the project, and read the first two stories, on the Future Care Capital website.


Fictions: Health and Care Re-Imagined

Four SF authors, one artist, twelve stories – exploring near-future issues in health and social care.

Fictions

Launching today, Fictions is a monthly series of short SF stories produced in collaboration between four authors, one artist, and a UK charity working with practitioners and policy-makers in the health and social care sector.

The brief was simple, and so obvious it really should have been done lots of times before: a charity looking for innovative ways to encourage its audience to move away from conventional patterns of thinking in order to consider how the near future might really be, brainstorming and developing ideas with a group of creatives whose job it is to do exactly that.

As writers, we spend our time looking for the surprises and twists, the gotcha moments; we identify moments in a sequence of events that pull you up in your tracks and make you rethink. That’s one of the key elements in a good story: the building of a scenario and then what I call the rug-pull moment, when the rug is yanked from beneath the reader’s feet and they’re forced to reassess all that has gone before.

And this is what Future Care Capital asked us to do. Surprise them, and the people they work with. Make them stop in their tracks and see things from other perspectives.

It’s been a fascinating project to work on, from the early discussions with FCC about the topics and challenges they see in the next decade or two of health and social care, to working with the writers – Anne Charnock, Stephen Palmer and Liz Williams – and artist, Vincent Chong, to discuss these topics, and look for stories that would meet the brief of being challenging and surprising… writing fictions that provoke.

And above all, turning what might start out as dry, academic discussions into believable realities. Because once you have compelling and surprising stories with characters you care about and challenges that are real you can go anywhere… which is exactly what we were asked to do.

Fictions opens today with Stephen Palmer’s ‘Goodbye’, a story about technological innovations in supporting those at the end of life. In August, Anne Charnock takes us back to the beginning of life, with a look at uses of technology in conception and birth. And from there, who knows? Four authors, one artist, and twelve stories, exploring beginnings and ends, and all that lies in between.

Find out more about the project, and read the first story, on the Future Care Capital website.


Published today: The Conscientious Objector by Stephen Palmer

The Conscientious Objector by Stephen Palmer

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Apple –  Smashwords

Buy this book in print (ISBN: 1795806745): Amazon US – Amazon UK – and other booksellers

1914.

With the outbreak of war on the Continent, Erasmus Darwin finds himself caught up in a jingoistic fervour for which he feels no sympathy. Yet soon he is on the Western Front: frightened, appalled, and alone apart from a few pals who don’t understand his pacifism.

Soon however he finds himself entangled in a secret mission the like of which has never been attempted, one which stretches his pacifism to the limit…

A unique and thought-provoking alternative history of the First World War from the author of Beautiful Intelligence and the Factory Girl trilogy.

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The Factory Girl trilogy:

“I would highly recommend this to any steampunk lover…” SFF World
“It’s a fascinating book and I very much enjoyed it.” Nimue Brown
“As the first in a series this novel is pretty special… a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting read.” Goodreads
“Provides an exciting ride trhough a clockwork version of Edwardian England, leading to a conclusion that brings together the various themes in a satisfying way.” Amazon
“This is all good thought provoking stuff, that I thoroughly enjoyed…” Goodreads


Also published in December 2019:

2nd editions of the entire Factory Girl trilogy, with stunning new covers by Tom Brown:

The Girl with Two Souls (The Factory Girl Trilogy #1) by Stephen Palmer The Girl with One Friend (The Factory Girl Trilogy #2) by Stephen Palmer The Girl with No Soul (The Factory Girl Trilogy #3) by Stephen Palmer

The Girl with Two Souls (The Factory Girl Trilogy #1) by Stephen Palmer is available from: Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon Canada – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Apple – Smashwords

The Girl with One Friend (The Factory Girl Trilogy #2) by Stephen Palmer is available from: Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon Canada – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Apple – Smashwords

The Girl with No Soul (The Factory Girl Trilogy #3) by Stephen Palmer is available from: Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon Canada – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Apple – Smashwords


Published today: The Autist by Stephen Palmer

The Autist by Stephen Palmer

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Apple –  Smashwords

Buy this book in print (ISBN: 1795806745): Amazon US – Amazon UK – and other booksellers

‘This is first class SF.’ — Tony Ballantyne

Data detective Mary Vine is visiting relatives when she uncovers a Chinese programme of AI development active within her own family.

Ulu Okere has only one goal: to help her profoundly disabled brother, whose unique feats of memory inspire her yet perturb the community they live in.

And in a transmuted Thailand, Somchai Chokdee is fleeing his Buddhist temple as an AI-inspired political revolution makes living there too dangerous.

In 2100 life is dominated by vast, unknowable AIs that run most of the world and transform every society they touch. When suspicions of a Chinese conspiracy seem substantiated, Mary, Ulu and Somchai decide they must oppose it. Yet in doing so they find themselves facing something the world has never seen before…

‘This pretty much hits my sweet spot for intelligent science fiction: a deft twisting together of warring AIs, rogue androids, and the evolution of machine intelligence against a global backdrop that’s as thoughtful as it is entertaining.’ — Gary Gibson

‘A gripping read to the poignant last line.’ — Eric Brown on Beautiful Intelligence, The Guardian

‘His work is unique, original, sometimes challenging, always fresh.’ — Amazing Stories

‘One of the most inventive and imaginative Fantasy writers I know of.’ — Teresa Egerton


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

   


New: The Spacetime Pit Plus Two by Stephen Baxter and Eric Brown

The Spacetime Pit Plus Two by Stephen Baxter and Eric Brown

The Spacetime Pit Plus Two by Stephen Baxter and Eric BrownThe Spacetime Pit Plus Two collects three collaborative stories by two of science fiction’s finest writers. Never before published in one volume, the triptych showcases the authors’ ability to create narratives on a vast scale, and yet never to lose sight of the all-important human element.

In the award-winning ‘The Spacetime Pit’, spacer Katerina Wake crash-lands on a primitive alien world and faces certain death unless she can harness her ingenuity, and technical know-how, to bend the destiny of an entire race to her will…

‘Green-Eyed Monster’ follows Richard as he wakes up after a night on the tiles to find himself inhabiting the body of a toad – and that’s just the start of his troubles…

In ‘Sunfly’, Onara and her people live on a world very different from our own – a vast ribbon encircling a sun. But a change is coming to the land, a mysterious narrowing that threatens not only the stability of her world, but the very order of everything she has taken for granted.

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Apple– Smashwords

Buy this book in print (ISBN: 0995752257): Amazon US – Amazon UK – and other booksellers
*Please note that due to a glitch at Amazon the UK print edition was not available at the time of publishing this post; Amazon are investigating and we’re hoping it will go live very soon!

“With every passing year, the oft-made remark that Baxter is Arthur C Clarke’s heir seems more and more apt” – SFX

“Eric Brown spins a terrific yarn” – SFX 

“There’s real beauty and excitement to Baxter’s writing” – Starburst

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


Two new paperbacks from Garry Kilworth

Published today: the first ever paperback editions of two landmark collections from Garry Kilworth (described by New Scientist as “arguably the finest writer of short fiction today, in any genre” and by Fear as “one of the most significant writers in the English language”).

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Moby Jack and Other Tall Tales by Garry Kilworth

Moby Jack and Other Tall TalesMoby Jack and Other Tall Tales is a collection of stories that span some 20 years. They cover a variety of themes and are more different, in style as well as content, than they are similar. As the author himself says, “Some writers follow a path of sameness in order to satisfy their readers’ desire for familiarity. To me that’s like going to same country for your holiday every year. It’s not me. I like going somewhere different every time.”

The tales range from Chinese fantasy (‘Death of the Mocking Man’) to science fiction (‘Moby Jack’), to fantasy (‘The Sculptor’) to horror (‘The Megowl’) to ghost stories (‘Hunter’s Hall’) – but for the most part they’re just plain odd and refuse to slot into any set category.

This edition of Moby Jack also includes the previously uncollected ‘When the Music Stopped’ by Christian Lehmann and Garry Kilworth.

So, if you like weird stories, dark comedy and tales where characters get into impossible situations and only occasionally extract themselves, then you’ll probably enjoy this volume.

Buy this book (ISBN: 0995752230): Amazon US – Amazon UK – and other booksellers

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Tales from the Fragrant Harbour by Garry Kilworth

gkfhThese short stories were all penned in and around Garry Kilworth’s time in Hong Kong.

The collection is split half-and-half into general fiction stories and supernatural tales. They were all inspired by the people and places of that magical effervescent city, not forgetting its surrounding mountains and countryside, and the myriad islands that come within its sphere. There are tales from Chinese viewpoints and stories about the lives of expatriates.

If you read no other general fiction stories, then you must try ‘Typhoon’ with its fearless heroine the indomitable Elizabeth, or the imperturbable reptile catcher from ‘The Snake-Man Cometh’. If your taste is not for the fantastic, you would be poorer in spirit for not experiencing the poignancy of ‘The Hungry Ghosts’ and ‘Memories of the Flying Ball Bike Shop.’

If you have never been to Hong Kong, enter it page by page. If you have, retrace its familiar corners.

There’s plenty of variation to satisfy most readers’ literary appetites. Fans of elegant short fiction and Far Eastern culture will find this very worthwhile reading.

Buy this book (ISBN: 0995752249): Amazon US – Amazon UK – and other booksellers

“Garry Kilworth is arguably the finest writer of short fiction today, in any genre.” (New Scientist)

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

“Kilworth is a master of his trade.” (Punch)

“Kilworth is one of the most significant writers in the English language.” (Fear)


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!


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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Buy the ebook from: Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes and NobleKoboAppleSmashwords

Buy this book in print (ISBN: 0995752206): Amazon USAmazon UKCreateSpace – and other booksellers

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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