Latest Titles

ritesofpassage_ebookcoverHere are the covers of my next two books. Rites of Passage, due out from infinity plus books in a few weeks, is a collection of four long stories, one of which has never appeared anywhere before. “Beneath the Ancient Sun” is set on a far future Earth where giant crabs and a swollen sun threaten humanity’s existence. The three other tales are “Bartholomew Burns and the Brain Invaders”,  a Victorian steampunk romp wherein the eponymous hero saves the world from alien invasion;  “Guardians of the Phoenix” in which a band of humans cross a lifeless desert in search of water in a post-apocalyptic world, and “Sunworld” which charts the journey of a young man who makes a discovery about himself and his world that will change everything forever.

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Murder at the Chase 2Murder at the Chase is the second in the Langham and Dupré series of mystery stories set in the 1950s. This one follows the sleuthing couple – Donald Langham is a thriller writer, Maria Dupré his agent – as they investigate the disappearance of a fellow writer in a sleepy Suffolk village, an investigation which soon leads to murder. Murder at the Chase will be published in August.

 

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New Titles

volume8 frontHere are the covers for my next two books, Strange Visitors, a collection from NewCon Press, and the novella Famadihana on Fomalhaut IV, from PS Publishing. Strange Visitors collects ten short stories and contains an original “P.O.O.C.H.”, written especially for this volume – a semi-autobiographical (in the loosest sense) account of owning a dog. Last year we acquired Uther, a red and white setter, and our lives have never been the same. The fine cover by Jim Burns illustrates one of the stories, “Bukowski on Mars, with Beer”, and shows Buk on Mars… with beer. Famadihana… is the first in the Telemass Quartet, each novella following Matt Hendrick as he Telemasses to a different colony world in search of his ex-wife and daughter. The stunning cover, showing the Telemass Station against a fulminating red giant, is by Tomislav Tikulin.

 

Both titles are out next month, April, and will be launched at EasterCon in Glasgow. NewCon Press and PS Publishing will be hosting a joint launch party for a number of their titles on Friday the 18th. I plan to get over from Dunbar, so hopefully I’ll see you there.

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famadihana-on-fomalhaut-iv-signed-jhc-eric-brown-2075-pThe next novel, a steampunk adventure, Jani and the Greater Game – volume one in the Multiplicity series – is almost finished. I have a little fine tuning to do, then I’ll submit it later this month. This is one of those happy books which almost wrote itself, as if Jani herself were dictating the narrative. If all novels came as easily!

On the short story front, I’ve recently had tales appear in Daily SF and MoonShots. Forthcoming are stories in Gary Dalkin’s Improbable Botany, and a story written with Keith Brooke which will appear in Ian Whates’ anthology about the Fermi paradox, both later this year.

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Novel News

The pleasing news at this end is that Solaris have commissioned a second Jani steampunk novel. Here’s the press release from my agent John Jarrold.

PRESS RELEASE – SOLARIS COMMISSION SECOND ERIC BROWN STEAMPUNK NOVEL

Jonathan Oliver, commissioning editor of Solaris Books, has commissioned a sequel to JANI AND THE GREATER GAME, the first in a new steampunk series by Eric Brown, set in India with a teenage female protagonist.  The first novel will be published in autumn 2014, with the sequel following a year later. The agent was John Jarrold, and the deal was for UK/US rights.

Jonathan Oliver said: “Eric is one of those SF writers who constantly pushes the boundaries, and with this steampunk series, set mainly in India, he’s producing a fresh take on a genre that often revels too heavily in nostalgia. Eric continues to prove that he is one of the UK’s premier writers of entertaining and thought-provoking SF.”

It’s been a good couple of weeks. Before this commission came the news from Severn House that they’ve bought the follow-up to my first crime novel. Murder at the Chase will be published next year. It’s the second book in the series featuring the amateur detectives Donald Langham and Maria Dupré, set in 1955. I love writing these books, a change of gear from the SF and a chance to pay homage to all those Golden Age crime writers that started me reading back in the 70s.

And on the short story front, NewCon Press will be bringing out my collection, Strange Visitors, in their Imaginings series. The volume will comprise ten stories – one of which will be an original – and my introductions to each tale. It’s due out next Easter.

At the moment I’m steaming ahead on the first draft of Jani and the Greater Game. Our heroine is in great danger as I type – so I’d better get back and rescue her from her evil pursuers.

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A Busy September

September was something of a busy month. In August we bought a red and white setter puppy and it proceeded to create havoc in the household. We had been warned that puppies were life-changing – much like having a child – but no amount of forewarning quite prepared us. As I work from home, the brunt of Uther’s care falls upon me. Perhaps in a bid to prove to myself that I could work in adverse conditions – and that the tiresome routine of dog-care would not blunt my creativity – I set out to write as many short stories in September as I could.

The result was that I wrote ten. I’ve never before managed that level of productivity. Okay, seven of them were short-shorts, between one thousand and fifteen hundred words long – but the others consisted of a 16k novella, an 8k story, and one at 4k. The novella was about a far future world where the seas have vanished and the remnants of humanity scrabble for existence in deep canyons that were once the ocean bottoms. The long story was more autobiographical: it’s about a dog, and its intrusion into the life of a computer hacker. It occurred to me that in future convicts might not be imprisoned but given robotic dogs instead. The 4k story was not SF but a detective tale about a man with a peculiar ability and how it helps him to solve the theft of a work of art from a London gallery. Among the seven short-shorts are the first ever zombie story I’ve written, my first outright fantasy (about a genie and the wishes he grants the President of the USA), and a science fiction tale about a near-future America where the gun lobby have even more power than they do now…

The novella, provisionally entitled “Beneath the Ancient Sun” will appear from Infinity Plus Books next year in a collection of four of my longer stories and novellas, Rites of Passage, and “P.O.O.C.H.” will appear in my collection Strange Visitors from NewCon Press next Easter. The remaining tales will be submitted to various magazines when I’ve knocked them into shape.

And Uther, who is sitting on the floor gnawing at my chair as I type, sat through this burst of productivity with only the occasional interruption.

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Jani and the Greater Game

JaniHere’s the cover of Jani and the Greater Game, the first volume of a steampunk series set in India in 1910. I think Dominic Harman’s done a fantastic job in capturing the feel and atmosphere of the novel. He did the cover of my last one, too (and many more of mine besides): The Serene Invasion, which just might be my all time favourite Harman.

Jani… marks a bit of a departure for me. I’ve never written a steampunk novel before, and never written an adult novel from the point of view of a woman… and certainly not an Indian woman. Should be interesting.

 

 

 

 

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On the short story front I have a few tales appearing in the following venues:

“Bartholomew Burns and the Brain Invaders” in Aethernet.

“Diamond Doubles” in Daily SF.

“The Ice Garden” in Improbable Botany.

“Emotion Mobiles and Sally” in Starship Seasons.

“Iris and the Caliphate” in Fifteen.

salvage-ebook-cover_600wInfinity Plus Books will be bringing out my episodic novel Salvage, which will feature the following original stories: “The Manexan Exodus”, “To All Appearances”, “Salvaging Pride”, and “End Game”, featuring Salvageman Ed, Ella and Karrie.

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Friend and fellow SF writer Chris Beckett has won the 2013 Clarke Award for his fabulous novel Dark Eden. I’m sorry I won’t be at the Pickerel in Cambridge to celebrate, Chris, but I’ll be raising a pint in spirit. Well done! The sequel to Dark Eden, Gela’s Ring, is being serialised in Aethernet, and will be published by Corvus.

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The 2013 Philip K Dick Award was won by Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery (Tor Books), and a special citation was given to Lovestar by Andri Snær Magnason (Seven Stories Press). Congratulations to both writers. My Helix Wars and Keith Brooke’s alt.human were short-listed.

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The new online serial SF magazine, Aethernet, edited by Tony and Barbara Ballantyne, was recently launched at Eastercon in Bradford. It’s full of excellent work by the likes of Chris Beckett, Ian Whates, Philip Palmer and others. A long tale by me will be running in later issues. For more information: www.aethernetmag.com

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Welcome to my revamped website – and a big thanks to Keith Brooke for setting it up and being patient with my IT ineptitude.

Speaking of Keith Brooke… While the website was down, I heard the happy news that my novel Helix Wars and Keith’s alt.human (Harmony in the US) have been short-listed for the Philip K. Dick award. So I have two shots at winning… or that’s how it feels, at any rate. Keith is a great friend, and I feel privileged to have been among the first readers of alt.human. The winner will be announced in Seattle on the 29th March.

It’s been a busy few months on the writing front, and the next few months will see a few books hot off the presses. Later this month my first foray into crime is due out. Murder by the Book (Severn House) breaks new territory: it’s a crime thriller set in London in 1955 and features thriller writer Donald Langham and his literary agent Marie Dupré, and their involvement in a series of murders in the London crime writing scene. It was fun to write – I could use simile and metaphor with much greater freedom than I have when writing SF, and it was nice to write in a ‘real’ world known to the reader. I’ll be writing the second book in the series later this year.

Also later this month comes the sumptuous Drugstore Indian Press edition of the collected Starship novellas, Starship Seasons, with a great… laid back, let’s say… cover from Tomislav Tikulin. Later this year will appear the hardback edition containing an original long short story, wrapping up events at Magenta Bay…

In May is the big one, The Serene Invasion, from Solaris, about aliens who invade, peaceably, and change things on Earth for ever. It’s about non-violence and hope, and was the hardest thing I’ve had to write for years. It’ll be graced by a wonderfully atmospheric cover by Dominic Harman.

And later this year the second book in the Weird Space series, Satan’s Reach, is released from Abaddon Books. This one was great fun to write and whistled out, and tells the story of telepath Den Harper and the bounty hunter he’s running from across the expanse of the Satan’s Reach.

Later this year Infinity Plus Books will bring out the collected Salvageman Ed stories, fixed up to read as a novel. I’ve yet to settle on a suitable title for this; so it’s simply Salvaging at the moment.

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And this has just come in from my agent, John Jarrold…

PRESS RELEASE – SOLARIS COMMISSION ERIC BROWN STEAMPUNK NOVEL

Jonathan Oliver, commissioning editor of Solaris Books, has commissioned JANI AND THE GREATER GAME, the first in a new steampunk series by Eric Brown, set in India with a teenage female protagonist.  The novel will be delivered in spring 2014, for an autumn publication. The agent was John Jarrold, and the deal was for UK/US rights.

Eric Brown said: “I’m delighted and excited to be doing a ideatively different novel set at the end of the nineteenth century. It’ll be my first novel-length venture into the exotic territory of steampunk, and I’m already pulling on my plus-fours and brass-studded thinking cap. I love writing about India, and in Janisha Chaterjee I have a strong female lead who subverts all the norms – this will be steampunk done with spice!”

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Introduction to Ghostwriting, a collection of horror stories:

I write very few short stories that can be termed horror, ghost, supernatural, occult, or fantasy. In fact, in a career spanning twenty-five years I’ve written just eight (nine, if you include the novella A Writer’s Life) out of a total of around a hundred and twenty published stories. Most of those have been science fiction, a genre with which I feel more comfortable. The ideas I have just happen to be about the future, concerning the staple tropes of the genre: other worlds, space-flight, aliens, fantastical technologies, time-travel… I rarely get ideas that fit neatly into the horror genre or related sub-genres.

Now, why is this?

Perhaps it’s because my preferred reading, along with mainstream novels, is SF. I’ve been reading it since I was about fifteen and I know it inside out. I do occasionally read horror (or ghost or supernatural), and enjoy the likes of Robert Aickman, R. Chetwynd-Hayes, M.R.James, and more modern practitioners like Joe Hill, T.E.D. Klein, Adam Nevill. And while I can appreciate the literary merits of the genre, I always have to work hard at suspending my disbelief. Fundamentally, I don’t believe in the occult, ghosts, ghouls, vampires, etc… Therefore when I come to write about them, I find it that much more difficult to do so.

Now I can hear you crying, “Why! That’s ridiculous! What makes ghosts, ghouls, vampires etc any less credible than little blue aliens, FTL travel and all the other fantastical trappings of SF?” And I admit that there is, perhaps, nothing more credible about the furniture of SF… other than a sneaking suspicion I have that the things I write about in SF might, just might, possibly, in some way, at some point in the future, come to pass. At any rate, the characters I write about in my science fiction tales believe implicitly in the scientific process and believe that the fantastical things in their world have a credible, rational, scientific basis.

When I do get ideas for horror tales, I find that they’re about the exploration of character. They’re gentle horror tales, often metaphorical, with little or no blood and guts, precious few ghosts, ghouls, and certainly no werewolves or vampires. I prefer to call them psychological horror stories.

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Helix Wars

At the moment I’m working on a follow up to my 2007 novel HelixHelix Wars will be set two hundred years after the events described in Helix – the arrival of the human colonists on the vast, helical construct made up of ten thousand worlds. In the new novel, the human race have the job of keeping the peace among the six thousand inhabited worlds of the Helix. However, when the humanoid Sporelli invade the neighbouring world of Phandra, the humans are drawn into a conflict that will have far-reaching consequences for all those involved.

Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

The Helix: a vast spiral of ten thousand worlds turning around its sun.

Aeons ago, the enigmatic Builders constructed the Helix as a refuge for alien races on the verge of extinction. Two hundred years ago, humankind came to the Helix aboard a great colony ship, and the Builders conferred on them the mantle of peacekeepers. For that long, peace has reigned on the Helix. But when shuttle pilot Jeff Ellis crash-lands on the world of Phandra, he interrupts a barbarous invasion from the neighbouring Sporelli – who scheme to track down and exterminate Ellis before  he can return to New Earth and inform the peacekeepers.

Helix Wars, sequel to the best-selling Helix, is a fast-paced adventure
novel about the ultimate threat to the Helix itself.

I’m sixty thousand words into the story, and it’s going well. I should have a first draft in the bag by the end of January – with a break for Christmas and the move north to Dunbar, East Lothian. Delivery date is mid-May, and publication is slated for October 2012.

How I work on longer, multi-viewpoint novels – and Helix Wars will probably have four POV characters – is to write each individual’s story in one linear block, taking him or her through the story until near the end. I then slice up the sections and interleave, rewriting to create cliff-hangers, tension etc. Then I write the finale. It’s not how every author goes about writing multi-viewpoint novels, but, as they say, it works for me.

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E-Books

Several of my titles are now available as e-books.

My first novel Meridian Days, the novellas A Writer’s LifeApproaching Omega, the short stories “The Time-Lapsed Man” and “The Death of Cassandra Quebec”, along with my new collection The Angels of Life and Death, are all at Keith Brooke’s infinity plus imprint. Due out soon is my novel Penumbra.

www.infinityplus.co.uk/books

The first volume of the Virex trilogy, New York Nights, is now at Anarchy Books run by Andy Remic:

www.anarchy-books.com

My PS Publishing titles should be available soon from PS Publishing E-Books.

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On the short story front, I have tales due out from Postscripts, Albedo One, The Hub, Andy Remic’s E-anthology Vivesepulture, and Daily SF.

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My next book out, from Abaddon, will be The Devil’s Nebula, summer next year…

Starship Captain Ed Carew and his crew of two – ex-marine Lania Takiomar and ex-convict Gord Neffard – lead a carefree life of smuggling, gun-running and other illicit pursuits in a far future ruled by the fascistic Expansion Authority. But when an Expansion judiciary ship captures Carew and his crew leaving the planet of Hesperides, an out-of-bounds world governed now by the fearsome Vetch extraterrestrials, Carew, Takiomar and Neffard are sentenced to death…

Unless the agree to travel through Vetch territory in pursuit of an human colony vessel which set off for the Devil’s Nebula one hundred years ago.

But why are the Expansion authorities so eager to track down the ship, will Carew and co. survive the journey through Vetch territory – and what might they find when they arrive at the Devil’s Nebula?

The Devil’s Nebula is the first book in a thrilling space opera series, The Weird.

An evil race is threatening not only the human Expansion, but the Vetch Empire, too – an evil from another dimension which infests humans and Vetch alike and bends individuals to do their hideous bidding.

And only if humans and Vetch cooperate to fight of the fearsome Weird do they stand a chance of ensuring their survival…

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My story “The House” was published in the anthology House of Fear, edited by Jonathan Oliver. It a rare (for me) excursion into horror territory, though the story is more psychological horror than out and out gore. Anyway, I think it’s the best tale I’ve written for some time.

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The infinity plus and friends sampler/anthology, infinities, is now
available – free –  from:
www.infinityplus.co.uk/infinities

containing work by Linda Nagata, Scott Nicholson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Steven Savile and others.

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The Kings of Eternity:

1999, on the threshold of a new millennium, the novelist Daniel Langham lives a reclusive life on an idyllic Greek island, hiding away from humanity and the events of the past. All that changes, however, when he meets artist Caroline Platt and finds himself falling in love. But what is his secret, and what are the horrors that haunt him?

1935. Writers Jonathon Langham and Edward Vaughan are summoned from London by their editor friend Jasper Carnegie to help investigate strange goings on in Hopton Wood. What they discover there – no less than a strange creature from another world – will change their lives forever. What they become, and their link to the novelist of the future, is the subject of my most ambitious novel to date. Almost ten years in the writing, The Kings of Eternity is full of the staple tropes of the genre and yet imbued with humanity and characters I hope you’ll come to love.

It’s already garnered a lot of great reviews, among which:

http://scotspec.blogspot.com/2011/03/book-review-kings-of-eternity-by-eric.html

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