Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cover story: World War One Tommies trapped on an alien world

No Man's World is, without doubt, this reporter's favourite thing we've published. The combo of British World War One soldiers trapped on an alien world is such a perfect blending of historical setting and sci-fi pulp madness that it's hard not to be entranced, and Pat Kelleher's eye for detail and character just bring the whole thing alive.

Black Hand Gang and Ironclad Prophecy each focus on a different part of the Tommies' fight to try and get back home to Blighty, with each new challenge this unfamiliar world throws at them greater and more heartbreaking than the last.

So it's with some sadness that we're fast approaching the third book in the trilogy, which will be a season finale to end them all...

The stunningly evocative covers by our lead designer, Simon 'Pye' Parr, have been the cream on the cake and Pye has put together a blog post about his work on the cover for the third book, The Alleyman, which will be out in October.

Pat Kelleher has also written quite a bit of background to the series on his No Man's World blog, which shows how much research has gone in to recreating the horror of the trenches ... and transplanting it to an even more horrific world.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Eric Brown returns to the Weird

Second title in thrilling space opera series announced

Abaddon Books is very proud to announce the second book in its exciting new shared world space opera series, Weird Space.

Satan’s Reach is due for release in the summer of 2013.

Written by the series’ creator, Eric Brown, Satan’s Reach returns to world of the human smugglers,  veterans and ne’erdowells who are part of the Expansion – and their uneasy neighbours, the Vetch Empire.

This second novel in the series is a rip-roaring space opera with the emphasis on starships, aliens, exotic worlds – and the perennial threat from the Weird.

“With Weird Space Eric has created a brilliant new space-opera for Abaddon Books,” said editor-in-chief Jonathan Oliver. “For years it had been my intention to do a solid SF series with the imprint and when Eric became available I knew that he was the man for the job. Up there with Iain M. Banks, Eric is one of the most exciting genre writers around.”

Den Harper is a telepath on the run from the Expansion authorities, and Sharl Janaker the bounty hunter chasing him across badlands of Satan’s Reach.

On a far-flung planet in the reach they must set aside their mutual enmity and face a foe that threatens not only the colonists of the Reach, but the entirety of the Expansion beyond.

With the launch of this new SF epic, Abaddon added to its series of shared worlds which already include the post-apocalyptic The Afterblight Chronicles, the new take on Arthurian legend Malory’s Knights of Albion, the World War One soldiers marooned on an alien world in No Man’s World, steampunk adventure in Pax Britannia, the zombie-infested Tomes of the Dead and the fantasy quests of the Twilight of Kerberos.

About the Series
Best-selling author Eric Brown has created a brand new shared world for Abaddon Books: Weird Space. This thrilling space-opera series begins in June 2012 with the release of The Devil's Nebula. In the first book in this epic new series, Brown will introduce readers to the human smugglers,  veterans and ne’erdowells who are part of the Expansion – and their uneasy neighbours, the Vetch Empire. When an evil race threatens not only the Expansion, but the Vetch too - an evil from another dimension which infests humans and Vetch alike and bends individuals to do their hideous bidding, only cooperation between them means the difference between a chance of survival and no chance at all. Brown has meticulously created a massive shared world of interstellar potential, which other writers will explore with each new book.

With the launch of this new SF epic, Abaddon is adding to its series of shared worlds which already include the post-apocalyptic The Afterblight Chronicles, the new take on Arthurian legend Malory’s Knights of Albion, the World War One soldiers marooned on an alien world in No Man’s World, steampunk adventure in Pax Britannia, the zombie-infested Tomes of the Dead and the fantasy quests of the Twilight of Kerberos.

About the author
Eric Brown sold his first book in 1990, the collection The Time-Lapsed Man and other Stories, and has since published over forty books – novels, collections, novellas and children's books. He has published more than a hundred short stories, and has won the BSFA story award twice, in 2000 and 2002. His latest book is The Devil's Nebula for Abaddon Books, and he writes a monthly SF review column for The Guardian. He lives in Dunbar, Scotland, with his wife and daughter.

His work for Solaris includes Helix, Kethani, Necropath, Cosmopath, Xenopath, Engineman, Guardians of the Phoenix, and The Kings of Eternity.

Weird Space: charting the unknown with Eric Brown

Best-selling author Eric Brown has created a brand new shared world for Abaddon Books, full of cosmic horror and intriguing characters. So we had a chat with him about Weird Space and the first book in the series, The Devil's Nebula.

* Tell us a bit about The Devil’s Nebula and why people should buy it.

The Devil’s Nebula features a small starship and its crew of ne’er-do-wells in a future fascistic human empire. They sail close to the judicial wind, keeping just to this side of the law – until they land on a world within the out-of-bounds territory of the alien Vetch, commissioned by a rich art collector to obtain a precious alien artefact from a derelict museum. As they leave they’re apprehended by the Terran authorities and are given a choice: face the death penalty, or take their ship beyond Vetch territory to the Devil’s Nebula in search of a rogue colony ship that left human-space a century earlier.

It’s out-and-out space adventure, of the type I love to read, set in a universe where an evil alien life-force, the Weird, is bent on invading our universe from another dimension. It’s a space opera with Lovecraftian overtones.

It should appeal to fans of Vance, Asher, and space opera in general.

* What was it like creating a whole new world for others to play in?

That’s the great delight of the Weird Space project. I never normally, with my own novels, create a ‘world’ or universe from the ground up. I usually have an initial idea, and then a cast of characters, and the characters often dictate the nature of the setting. With WS it was different: I started with the background and built that up. I had a meeting or two with Jon Oliver and he told me the type of thing, very roughly, Abaddon were looking for: fast action space opera, strange cults, maybe telepaths, and – importantly – Lovecraftian aliens from another dimension. I took these and imported them into a far-future human-based expansion, ruled by a dictatorial government which kept a strict, militaristic control on the many planets within their domain. Neighbouring human space is Vetch territory. The Vetch are bellicose aliens who, before the series opens, cleared – ethnically-cleansed – a stretch of human-occupied planets in their margin of space. But beyond Vetch space is the Devil’s Nebula, where the Weird – the aliens from another dimension – first manifest themselves.

* What are the elements that make a fictional world work well?

It’s all in the mix. With space opera you’re working with a set of… you could say well-worn… tropes. There have been hundreds of novels about starships and aliens and space battles and telepaths – but to make it work you need to get the mix right; the right degree of threat, from within and without; an engaging set of characters which rub up against both the authorities on one side and the threat of the Weird on the other. What I especially liked about writing Weird Space was describing this fascistic regime and having the central characters coming, over the course of the novel, to the realisation that to defeat the Weird they must work together – and the same will be true of the humans and the Vetch: in following novels they must put their hostilities to one side and co-operate. This necessity will prove the engine for further story-lines.

* Were there any influences on Weird Space, and what are your hopes for the world?

Influences were legion. Every space opera I’ve read, to start off. Vance: I liked his baroque, wide-open far-future scenarios, his lone-wolf characters. To a certain extent Neal Asher’s excellent depiction of aliens… Peter Hamilton’s complex, intricately detailed futures… And, of course, Lovecraft: his tentacled creatures from beyond… I think the mix will work well.

My hopes for the world? Well, one of the interesting aspects of doing Weird Space is seeing where other hands take the series, seeing in which direction it will go, and what ideas are shared, cross-pollinated, and developed. I’m looking forward to reading books further along in the series and seeing what they inspire me to do next.

* Tell us a bit about your writing routine.

Once I’ve begun a project, I have a very rigorous work routine. I work from nine till twelve, then from twelve thirty to three five days a week, and I’m very unhappy and curmudgeonly if I don’t produce four thousand words a day in this way. (That’s with novels; with stories, it’s probably two or three thousand a day). I finish a novel in a month or two, then lay it aside and come back to it in a month, if possible. (I work on shorts, or children’s books, in the interim.) Then I come back to the novel and go through it minutely, rewriting every line, cutting, cutting, and cutting again. Then I send it out to two or three trusted and brilliant readers, and when it comes back I go through it again with the red pen. I can’t stress the importance of cutting, making the finished novel as lean and readable as possible.

* What are your five favourite novels?

That’s a difficult one! Can I cheat, and list five SF novels, and five mainstream novels?

Okay, the SF would be: The Girl with a Symphony in Her Fingers by the great and sadly
neglected Michael G. Coney; Brontomek! by Coney again; (and his Hello Summer, Goodbye is excellent too); Silverbergs’s Thorns; Bob Shaw Orbitsville (or perhaps his Wreath of Stars); The Time-Machine by Wells (though technically that’s a novella… So I’m allowed another. Very well: Inner Eclipse by another excellent but neglected writer, Richard Paul Russo.

Mainstream: Wilkie and Seven Thunders by Rupert Croft-Cooke (my all-time favourite writer); Endless Love by Scott Spencer (a harrowing, brilliant depiction of obsessive love); Portrait of Jeanie by Robert Nathan; Hunters and Gatherers by Geoff Nicholson.
 But ask me again tomorrow and the above will probably have changed.

* What advice would you give to new writers hoping to break into the field?

Write a lot, obsessively, and write what you enjoy reading; read a lot. Copy other writers to begin with; work out what they’re doing right and wrong. Set aside at least a couple of hours a day, if possible, and write. Don’t let yourself believe that there’s such a thing as writer’s block: if you’re stuck, and you don’t have ideas, and the words aren’t forming, just plough on and write – gibberish, if need be, and trust in the subconscious and, eventually, the good words will come. Remember that fiction is modular. You can go back and lift out the sections that don’t work and slot into place things that do. Research your market. And, lastly and most importantly, don’t be downhearted by rejections. We all get them. I had hundreds before I made my first sale. Just keep at it, keep at it, and you’ll get there.

Weird Space: The Devil's Nebula is available in the UK as paperback and on ebook, and in North America in paperback and ebook.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Abaddon Books round-up: "makes The Hunger Games look like a middle-schooler’s writing assignment"

Those lovely chaps over at Pornokitsch have been bigging up the Abaddon Massive, citing two of our writers as Excellent Types Who Deserve Some Readin'.

In their piece, “For a small island, we’ve got some big books…”, Jared Shurin and Anne Perry pick out Scott Andrew's post-apocalyptic trio of books for our Afterblight Chronicles: the St. Mark’s Trilogy, including School’s Out, Operation: Motherland and Children’s Crusade.

The three books are being collected as School's Out Forever within a stunning new cover for release later this year and, according to Pornokitsch, are well worth the read: "This is a hard-hitting series that mixes the cinematic with the introspective, and makes The Hunger Games look like a middle-schooler’s writing assignment."

They also single out the insane genius that is Mr Al Ewing for particular praise. The man behind I, Zombie and the gleefully violent Death Got No Mercy (which according to Pornokitsch has the "Greatest Cover Art Ever") has written a trilogy of novels for our Pax Britannia series and it's one of these that garners the greatest praise thinkable: "Mr. Ewing’s greatest contribution to date ... is undoubtedly Gods of Manhattan (2011) which we’ll boldly declare the best deconstruction of superheroes since Alan Moore’s Watchmen."

Also by Mr Ewing is the latest book in our Steampunk series Pax Britannia, Pax Omega, of which Sci Fi Bulletin has just said: "Pax Omega is a major step away from the normal Steampunk Pax Britannia books, but once you realise what Ewing is attempting, it’s a case of going with the flow and seeing if he can pull off something this audacious."

 And speaking of Pax Britannia, there's still time to have your say in the novel where readers get to decide what happens!

Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow is our unique experiment in reader interaction - you get the chance to vote on where the plot goes next. After each ebook episode, there's a vote and the option with the most votes is written by author Jonathan Green!) The completed book will be released as a paperback in November.

Geek Syndicate has reviewed the latest installment, Black Swan: "The story rattles on at a fair pace with little time to draw your breath between the action. Rampaging gorillas, mechanical parrots, steam-powered flying bicycles and damsels firmly in command all play their part with a sinister villain plotting worldwide destruction all in the heart of Paris. Gaston Leroux, Conan Doyle and Poe are all paid homage to, amongst others, as we are drawn excitedly towards the cliffhanger ending in readiness for part three."

To cast your vote, read about the options, e-mail your choice to Abaddon Books at abaddonsolaris@rebellion.co.uk now and you could win a copy of the finished paperback!

The first installment, Red-Handed, is available to buy now as an ebook and you can pre-order the finished book!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Happy UK publication day to Eric Brown's Weirdspace: The Devil's Nebula!

io9.com called it one of the 'Books you can't afford to miss in May' and now the first novel in Eric Brown's new series for Abaddon Books is hitting UK shelves.

Renowned SF author Brown has created Weirdspace for us - a brand new shared universe full of looming threat, intergalactic politics, intriguing characters, sinister worlds, and taut action. 

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-022-1
$7.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-023-8

And it's also available as a DRM-free ebook in the UK and North America.