by Sandy Auden
At this time of year, we often find ourselves looking back at the year that was and looking
forward with hope and high expectations for the year to come. Authors and publishers are no
different to the rest of us so here is part one of a whole range of talented
people -- including Peter Hamilton, Mark Chadbourn, Jasper Kent, Ramsey Campbell,
Tim Lebbon, Juliet McKenna and James Barclay -- talking about what's out and what's coming in 2011.
Occupation: Author of The Raven novels, the Ascendants novels and now the Elves novels
"The first of the Elves novels came out in August this year, which everyone should be buying of course. It's called Elves: Once Walked With Gods Book One, published by Gollancz, as are all my books apart from my two novellas from PS Publishing.
"There are three Elves books in all and there's about 3,000 years worth of history spread over three novels and the books are set before The Raven novels start. They'll take the reader from the first time elves and humans met, all the way up to the time of the first war against the Wytch Lords which happens a couple of hundred years before Dawnthief. They're about faith and love and betrayal and treachery and heroism of course. It involves some old favourite characters, if you're a fan of The Raven then you'll recognise Auum and the TaiGethen warriors -- the really cool guys -- and it also goes into more detail about the TaiGethen, the elves and Al-Arynaar and how they developed magic. There's also their rather bloody and treacherous relationship with man. Men are very much the bad guys in these books.
"Then October 2010 was the premiere of my film. It's called The Estate and I play a policeman, a detective sergeant actually. But I'm not in uniform.
"What's coming up in 2011 is Elves Book Two and some collaborations with authors like Tim Lebbon and a mate of mine from the city who's called Julian. I'm also doing some work on a Facebook game -- can't say much about it but it's based on classic comedy and I'm doing the writing for it."
Name: Ramsey Campbell
"The Seven Days of Cain came out in September 2010 and its theme, I suppose, is the moral problem of creativity. It's also about the internet as the producer of the monsters we all are, that's the thing for some people, the monsters in us come out on the internet. It's the second book I've done about that theme -- I wrote The Grin of the Dark (2008) about that too -- but The Seven Days of Cain is also a book about loss. It starts out as a book about one thing and the internet theme but it's actually about loss. So I went into my Bradbury phase, seems to me.
"I have a short story in PS Publishing's Postscripts called "The Long Way" and Pete's doing another story of mine... I was incautious enough to say that I'd done a story set around Christmas and he immediately said, 'I'll buy it.' How unwary was he? Because it's a very, very bleak story set around Christmas. He bought it anyway and who am I to argue. And I have another story in Ellen Datlow's book of Haunted Legends called "Chucky Comes to Liverpool," about Chucky from the Child's Play movie which is believed to be a cursed film.
"Looking forward, I'm also writing a novel called Ghosts Know and PS Publishing will be doing the definitive version of The Inhabitant of the Lake. It'll have the original text but also the first drafts and complete letters and some other exciting stuff in there too."
2010 saw the release of Chadbourn's first Will Swyfte novel, The Sword of Albion: "I was putting together an idea for a movie and was thinking about doing a spy thriller, but set in Elizabethan times when England's spy network first became truly established. As I worked on the period and character, I decided there was a vast amount of material there so I junked the movie idea and went straight to a publisher.
"I also spent much of the early part of 2010 heavily researching the second book in the series, The Scar-Crow Men, which delves into the many mysteries surrounding Christopher Marlowe's murder in 1593. Marlowe was allegedly a spy of the time and he was a good friend of Will Swyfte. Will is devastated when his best friend is murdered and wants to find who did it and why. I like my fictions to have healthy doses of reality in them to counterpoint the fantasy and there's a real-life murder mystery thread running through this one and the story weaves in and out of the true history.
"The Scar-Crow Men will be published by Transworld/Bantam in the UK in April 2011, and Pyr in the US in February."
Name: Marc Gascoigne
Gascoigne went through some big changes in 2010: "Following our departure from HarperCollins somewhere around Easter time 2010, Angry Robot Books are now newly independent as part of the Osprey group. It's Osprey's first move into fiction, previously they were an award-winning publisher of non-fiction on military subjects. It's a strange move but the strategy is very much the same, they're about niche enthusiastic hobbyist people, and science fiction and fantasy people fulfil exactly that. So we've worked very hard in 2010 to get Angry Robot back on track.
"We launched in America and we've put lots of books out there. All of those books went out to all the major retailers both online and in stores. The books are available in every digital format including iBook, Kindle and as regular ebooks. We even have our own little ebook store on our own website at angryrobotsbooks.com.
"Among the title for 2010 were Slights by Kaaron Warren which won the Australian Ditmar Award for Best Novel 2010. That's a very dark horror about near death experiences and what it's like to kill your mother. And we had the amazing Lauren Beukes -- William Gibson's favourite writer -- and her second novel, Zoo City released in the UK with a limited edition hard cover and a tentative movie deal in the offing. Zoo City is a near future magical realist book about a girl in South Africa who finds she can do magic but we've got plenty of regular SF and regular fantasy in all shades, hues and colours and many more besides.
"We always say Angry Robot is the best in new SF, Fantasy and What-the-Fuck and that's exactly where we are aiming ourselves for 2011."
"In October 2010, Pendragon Press released my new novella called Kingston to Cable. It's a spaghetti fantasy, a weird western. It starts in a town called Kingston, ends in a town called Cable, in between our, I wouldn't say hero, but our protagonist has to face various trials. At the same time each of the individual chapters are individual stories which have separate viewpoints, some of them in the first person, some in the third, and it spans about ten years all told. I don't want to say too much or it'll give it all away."
Greenwood is already working on some new connected short stories which will carry him into 2011...
Name: Peter F. Hamilton
"2010's novel was The Evolutionary Void which ties up The Void trilogy. All the threads are tied up, as promised and there's nothing left -- there's no 'what happened after that' it's all done -- which I was really chuffed about because that was the plan from the very start.
"The book that's coming out in 2011 is a short story collection entitled Manhattan In Reverse. That's all the short stories I've written in the last twelve years since my last collection came out and that was eight of them, which just shows how low my short story output is. Three of them feature the character Paula Myo from The Evolutionary Void and the Commonwealth series; the rest are fairly individual stories.
"Another one I've started writing is provisionally titled Great North Road, although that title's looking quite firm. That's a one off stand-alone biggish novel. I've spent nine years writing in the Commonwealth series and it really is time for a change. Although it's been good to be in the Commonwealth, it was kind of nice to finish it and it was really nice to be doing something else, something completely different, completely fresh.
"Both new books will be published by Pan Macmillan in the UK, as Del Rey in the US, although Subterranean Press are going to do the collection in hardback in the US before coming out as an eBook by Del Rey.
Name: Andrew Hook
"My 2010 release is a bit of a surreal alternate media history of the BBC, Ponthe Oldenguine. Ponthe Oldenguine is the main character who tells his story to a journalist he meets on the street and over a course of seven or eight nights he spins these tales of television programs that he believes got made of which the narrator can't find any trace of. Ponthe Oldenguine basically states that he's been written out of television history. As the narrator does these interviews, he starts by being incredibly sceptical about the things like Captain Crowface where there's a superhero who's completely paralysed and can only blink, and Radio Cardboard Fox and stuff like this, but during the course of the book, the narrator starts to believe some of these tales are true. So you've got the original story, you've got the story being told to you, the narrator's story interspersed in there and somewhere or other may or may not lie the truth. It's a comic satire on the BBC, but there is an alternate reality slipstream element to it too. It'll probably appeal to nutters mostly, which is why I've been wearing a rubber penguin mask around various events to promote the book.
"I've also had ten or twelve short stories accepted throughout 2010 and they are starting to come out and will continue to do so into 2011. I've got one in 2010's Catastrophia, the PS Publishing anthology edited by Allen Ashley. I've got one in Postscripts in 2011, I've got one in the Morpheus Tales magazine, and one in the Never Again anthology edited by Allyson Bird. They're all kind of slipstream but lean towards science fiction here and there."
Name: David Howe
"This year we've had a fabulous Doctor Who book released called End of Ten which looks at the Doctor Who specials and the end of David Tennant as the Doctor. We've done a guide called Wiped which is all about the missing episodes of Doctor Who, lost by the BBC and recovered again. We've had two novels by Graham Masterton -- one a reprint of The Djinn and one an original novel called Rules of Duel written with William S. Burroughs before he died. This latter is a crime, horror thriller, kind of noir intersection piece of writing which is very, very freaky and very well written, very rewarding and very challenging for the reader.
"2011 will see the release of an updated Howe's Transcendental Toybox: The Complete Guide to 2006-2009 Doctor Who Merchandise and a fantastic book called Timelink which is a guide to Doctor Who continuity which is very vast and we've been preparing it for donkey's years."
Name: Jasper Kent
"I'm currently in the middle of the five novels of the Danilov Quintet. The first one, Twelve, came out in 2009 and is set during Napoleon's invasion of Moscow. It's about the Russians and Napoleon and about the vampires who come along to help the Russians but then help themselves.
"The second book, Thirteen Years Later, came out in 2010. It's set in Russia again, in 1825 this time, mostly with the same characters but a bit older. 1825 is the year of the Decemberist Uprising when Tsar Alexander the First died. And the vampires are back. Are they the same vampires? Only one of the vampires actually makes it that far.
"Coming out from Bantam in March 2011 is the book I've recently finished editing called The Third Section. It's set in 1855/56 and its title is actually short for 'The Third Section of his Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery,' which is basically the secret police under Tsar Nicholas the First. The book is kind of 'Twelve: The Next Generation.' Time has gone on far enough that the main characters from Twelve are now very old and the new characters are the two human children.
"Twelve as I wrote it was largely a stand alone story but it turned out the vampires had more long term reasons for coming to Russia which are explored in Thirteen. The Third Section vampires continue that idea but the vampires tend to act around the time when a Tsar dies so that's why Thirteen Years Later was set in 1825 when Alexander the First died. Tsar Nicholas died in 1855 and I think the next book will be set in 1880 when Alexander the Second died. And the final book will be in 1917 where everybody dies."
Name: Tim Lebbon
"In May 2010, my collection Last Exit for the Lost came out through Cemetery Dance in the US; and in July The Chamber of Ten was released by Spectra. It's another book I've co-written with Christopher Golden."
Lebbon's recap of 2010 is extremely brief as he launches into the details of his 2011 titles: "Next year there's another novel with Christopher Golden called The Shadow Men coming out and there's a collection for PS Publishing next year as well. I've still got to write a couple of stories for the PS collection. It's not themed, just my best fiction from 2006 to now. And I'm also doing another novella for PS which is the third in the Naming of Parts/Changing of Faces series, so I'm going to finish that one off at last.
"I've got a new novel from Orbit UK next year coming out in June that's called Echo City. Bantam released that novel in the US in October 2010. Echo City is a steampunky fantasy really. It's dark fantasy but it's not connected to Noreela the novel but it's similar in tone and theme and there's lots of dark science in it.
"2011 also sees a novel called Coldbrook coming out in the UK from Corsair. Coldbrook is big sci fi, zombie, apocalyptic novel but it's not only this world experiencing the zombie apocalypse, it's other worlds as well. My characters are jumping back and forth and experiencing weird stuff. These are alternate Earths, so I'm doing lots of multi-verse theory and quantum mechanics research, which is a bit mind blowing actually. There's not many people who understand it and I certainly don't so I 'm obviously one of many but it's all good fun!
"Then Christopher Golden and I are also retelling the three famous Jack London books, featuring Jack London as the main protagonist encountering supernatural beings on his journeys but his experiences were so terrible that he couldn't actually write about them. So we are telling The Secret Journeys of Jack London, starting with Book One: The Wild. HarperCollins are publishing in March 2011 and 20th Century Fox has already acquired the film rights to the series."
Name: Juliet McKenna
"The third volume in the Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution trilogy came out in June 2010. That's called Banners in the Wind and it wraps up the storyline for a group of people who discover that magic will not help them solve their problems -- or the problems wished on them by the noble kings and princes -- so they end up doing things for themselves from the ground up.
"Which lead me to think: what would happen if someone found a way to get magic involved in solving all these things? As the Arch Mage has always said, wizards don't do warfare, but what if they did? So I'm now working on the first volume of the Hadrumal Crisis trilogy which is called Dangerous Waters, and I'm having tremendous fun. The first volume will be out in 2011.
"And I also have a short story, "The Grand Tour," coming out in March 2011 in an American anthology called After Hours: Tales from the Ur'bar, edited by Joshua Palmatier & Patricia Bray and published by DAW. When you're invited to contribute to an anthology about beer you really can't say No."
Name: David Moore
"One of our recent releases from Solaris in 2010 was End of the Line, an anthology of horror stories set on the underground and underground networks around the world. Most are set on the London underground cause that's what the authors knew but it wasn't a requirement. We did a couple of successful launch events for that one including a Fantasycon mass signing in Nottingham.
"Also in the last quarter of 2010, I copy edited Age of Odin by James Lovegrove and it's brilliant. I even get my own little dedication in the back. James is a darling. That one's due out in January 2011.
"I also copy edited Jonathan Strahan's Engineering Infinity, a hard SF anthology which is very cool. It's less about the twist in the story and more about the interesting ideas so I really got my teeth stuck into that. That's also due in January 2011.
"For Abaddon Books, we've had omnibus editions coming out in late 2010, so that's The Best of Tomes of the Dead and the first three Ulysses Quicksilver books from Pax Britannia. And we have my personal baby The Black Chalice, by Steven Saville, the first in the Mallory's Knights of Albion series, a new series we're launching in March 2011. It supposes that Mallory wrote a second manuscript that never got published so there's a sort of conceit that this manuscript has been found in Salisbury cathedral and given to Abaddon to publish. The Black Chalice is the story of a knight of the round table who goes on a quest to find the anti-grail to prove his worth and becomes corrupted but redeemed in the end. So it's proper story of chivalry and redemption."
Name: Mark Charon Newton
"City of Ruin, which is the second book in my Legends of the Red Sun series, came out in June 2010 and I hope each of the novels stands alone as best they can. I've been working on the third volume, The Book of Transformations, during 2010 and it's all looking ok. My editor has looked at it and hasn't told me to go away and hide myself in shame for what I've done.
"It's been an really interesting book because writing a Fantasy series is a horrible marathon and I don't want to get trapped into writing a similar thing again so I wanted to each book quite different. I'm quite proud of the second book, but I'm quite competitive and I wanted to better it but I didn't know how, so I thought just try something different. So one of things I've tried is a transgender lead, because transgender characters don't get a fair treatment in fiction very often and if they are they're done in a very artistic, dramatic way.
"Anyway, for this third one, I just wanted to take a transgender character who is in a lead role and in control of the plot and have some fun with that. It's been tough to write cause there are a huge number of pitfalls with writing that kind of character. When you write a series you're going to think, well I'm half way through, I've got another two books to write and it's tough to drag yourself to the desk and do that every day. But this one's been fun to write. The Book of Transformations is released in June 2011."
Name: Andy Remic
"My second clockwork vampire novel, Soul Stealers, was published in October 2010. My first clockwork vampire novel, Kell's Legend, has been published in America and I've finished my third vampire novel, Vampire Warlords, which is out March 2011.
"The premise for the clockwork vampires is that it's a society that has not evolved via digital technology but via watch making technology. There was a race of people dying and the leader implanted inside them clockwork mechanisms that then meant that they needed lubricant to keep the mechanisms working so they became vampiric, using a distillation of blood oil to facilitate this process. Then they got up to all kinds of violent adventures. Kell's Legend is about an old retired warrior called Kell. The main city is invaded by an army of warriors sent by the clockwork vampires who want to harvest people to distil into blood oil and Kell goes on a mission to bring down this upstart empire.
"In the latest one, Soul Stealers, the society of the vampires are tired of Kell's interference and despatch two female vampire assassins to exterminate him.
"For 2011, along with Vampire Warlords, are CloneWorld (a Combat K novel), ThemePlanet (The Anarchy) and Tox. These three latter novels for Solaris books and I'm currently working on a feature film called Gehenna.
Gehenna is a place for tortured souls and the film involves an old soldier who is a leftover from the first world war and is the self-appointed dark angel who wants to mop up the morally corrupt and purify them. It stars Frazer Hines (Doctor Who), Gordon Astly (who used to present TISWAS), Karen Cooper (who was in Hyperdrive with Nick Frost) and a few people who are technically unknown actors because the whole thing was supposed to be a group of friends having a laugh, then some serious actors expressed an interest and got involved. Ian Graham, author of Monument, plays a corpse and the only part of him he shows is his feet which are truly grotesque and worthy of any horror film. And the rest of him is wrapped in bin bags because he's been murdered.
"Which is quite right for Ian Graham, I've often thought of murdering him myself."
"The Road to Bedlam was released by Angry Robot Books in September 2010 in the UK and October in the US. It's the second book in The Courts of the Feyre series and is the story of what happens when Niall's daughter Alex comes unexpectedly into her power. But it's also about Niall beginning to train as a warder to take on responsibility for the courts of the feyre and about Blackbird who's heavily pregnant. It's been an interesting book. It's a little bit different from the first book, Sixty-One Nails but it's been great to write and I'm very pleased with the results.
"I'm bursting with ideas for book three. I'm putting the research for that together at the moment, because obviously that's a big part of the book: to keep all the history and the research in the background and consistent. Book three hasn't sold to anyone yet but obviously we're talking to Angry Robot about that."
Name: Rio Youers
"September 2010 saw the launch of End Times by PS Publishing. It's a book I'm very attached to. It's been a part of my life for nine years so now to see it published with such a reputable press as PS Publishing was a wonderful, wonderful thing. It feels like it's been the longest ever gestation period and I've given birth to a beautiful baby and it's a wonderful thing.
"End Times is about a former drug addict heroin. His names Scott Hennesey and he's a guy with a very dark, mysterious past. But he's trying to put his life together, he's on the straight and narrow, he's a good guy now. Then he meets a beautiful girl and she totally reawakens his dark past and he realises soon into the story that he has to confront his past rather than run away from it if he ever hopes to really truly find salvation. There's a hell of a lot more to it than that of course. This guys been in a cult, he's cut his own fingers off, he's a former heroin addict. He can't inject heroin anymore so he has to chase the dragon by inhaling the fumes -- there's a lot of really weird imagery. The book starts off in England and follows his journey as he goes to a Native American reserve in South Dakota. So we go from the cold hard streets of England to this almost fantasy land of the American reserve where he ultimately has to face all the terrible things he's done.
"I also had a short story called "Alice Bleeding" in The Company He Keeps: Postscripts #22/#23 anthology in September, and a zombie story called "Bury Me Not" in Best New Zombie Tales, Vol 2 edited by James Roy Daly. There's some really great authors in that collection and it's definitely worth tracking down.
"I've written a story for IDW publishing it's a genre mash up story, the whole collection is called Classics Mutilated and it's IDW's first foray into prose fiction as opposed to comic books. They've got some great authors in that -- Joe R. Lansdale, Mike Resnick, Mark Morris, and I have a story called "Quoth the Rockstar" and I basically had this idea that I thought would be great if I could make it work where Jim Morrison somehow meets Edgar Allen Poe, because I love Jim Morrison, I love The Doors and I love Edgar Allen Poe. So if I could bring these two guys together you've got the lizard king and the raven. I thought, you know what, there's a story there. I started to write it and it was so easy because these two guys mesh so well: they're both dark American poets, both really in love with the written word and rightfully so. So it was a very easy and I'm very satisfied with it and I'm very honoured to be in this collection."
"For 2011, I have a story in the January's Postscripts called the "Ghost of Lillian Bliss." It's a Victorian ghost story. But next year will be exciting again for me because my first ever collection comes out from PS Publishing called Dark Dreams, Pale Voices. So lots going on!"
Sandy Auden is currently working as an enthusiastic interviewer/reviewer for SFX magazine; a tireless news hound for Starburst magazine; and a diligent interviewer/reviewer for Interzone magazine and SF Site. She spends her spare time lying down with a cold flannel on her forehead. For background information, visit www.sandyauden.co.uk.
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