Tag Archives: Keith Brooke

The Literary Fantasy Bundle

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Keith Brooke writes:

When I first started talking with the fine people at StoryBundle about the possibility of putting together a bundle of books from writers associated with infinity plus we ran through a number of possible themes, but the one we kept returning to was Literary Fantasy. An elusive concept, perhaps – what marks ‘literary’ fantasy out from, simply, good fantasy, for starters? – but one that seemed to encompass the kind of books we wanted to offer: fantastical fiction with a sense of the magical and spiritual, written with a literary sensibility, by which we mean fiction with a love of language and an awareness of its place in the literary canon. As you’ll see from the books we’ve gathered together, that definition is deliberately elastic, inclusive rather than exclusive, yet still clear enough to form a coherence to the set as a whole.

One of the first titles that came to mind for me was Stephen Palmer’s Hairy London, a quite extraordinary picaresque romp across an Edwardian London transformed by an overnight growth of… hair. In the streets, across the rooftops and bridges, submerging the parks. Everywhere. This is literary fantasy crammed full with alternate-historical and cultural references, but also one that never loses sight of the need to entertain.

About as unlike Hairy London as it’s possible to get and still feature here, Kit Reed’s Little Sisters of the Apocalypse is a novel that treads the indistinct boundaries between fantasy, science fiction and realism, as befits an author who describes her work as ‘transgenred’. A hard-hitting and impassioned story of a colony of women whose men have gone away to war and the role a gang of biker nuns plays in confronting the women’s deepest fears.

The appearance of Little Sisters of the Apocalypse in this bundle marks its first – and so far exclusive – appearance in ebook format. John Grant’s The Far-Enough Window is another title making its first ebook appearance, exclusive to this bundle: a classic fairytale that both delights the reader and cleverly challenges the form, from a Hugo- and World Fantasy Award-winning author. The Ragthorn, by Garry Kilworth and the late Robert Holdstock won the World Fantasy Award back in 1992 but, inexplicably, until now has never been published in standalone form – another exclusive first edition for this bundle.

It seems invidious to single out particular titles here from a bundle that manages to be so diverse in theme and approach, so all that remains is to urge you to explore what’s on offer before choosing the price you want to pay for either the core bundle or the entire set. From classic fairytale, ghosts and a deal with the Devil, through strange alternative pasts and presents to those biker nuns, there’s a bit of everything. Call it literary fantasy, or simply good fantasy, or give up labels altogether and simply read on.

Keith Brooke is author of fourteen novels, six collections and over 70 short stories; he has also edited several anthologies and an academic book on science fiction. His work has been shortlisted for the Philip K Dick and Seiun awards, among others, and optioned for film. For ten years from 1997 he ran the web-based genre fiction showcase infinity plus (www.infinityplus.co.uk), featuring the work of around 100 top genre authors, including Michael Moorcock, Stephen Baxter, Connie Willis, Gene Wolfe, Vonda McIntyre and Jack Vance. Infinity plus relaunched in 2010 as an independent publishing imprint producing print and ebooks.

As always, StoryBundle lets you name your own price to get a whole bunch of epic and excellent titles. A purchase of $3 gets you the basic set of five books:

Spotted Lily by Anna Tambour

A Writer’s Life by Eric Brown

Lord of Stone by Keith Brooke

The Far-Enough Window by John Grant

In Springdale Town by Robert Freeman Wexler

Even better, if you pay $12 or higher, you unlock four more titles, which incldue:

The Ragthorn by Garry Kilworth and Robert Holdstock

Facade by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Hairy London by Stephen Palmer

Little Sisters of the Apocalypse by Kit Reed

The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.

Pay what you want (minimum $3): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth to you. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.

Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.

Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity. We’re currently featuring Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now.

Receive extra books: If you beat our bonus price, you’re getting nine total books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.

For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, Tweet us at @storybundle, Like us on Facebook, and Plus us on Google Plus. For press inquiries, please email press@storybundle.com




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Recent Projects

I’ve been busy with various shorter projects this summer, fitting them around a holiday, my daughter’s being at home, and reviewing. In April/May I wrote a novella with Keith Brooke, a twenty thousand worder about clones, colonisation, parasitism and murder. Parasites is part of what I hope will be a bigger project, a series of linked novellas that will eventually form a novel – if we can find the time to write them. In late May, early June I wrote the first draft of the third Telemass novella, Reunion on Alpha Reticuli II, in which Matt Hendrick, searching for his ex-wife and their dead daughter, visits the world of Tourmaline and falls in with telepath Mercury Velasquez. I’ve recently completed the third draft.

In between these projects I wrote an eleven thousand word story entitled “Buying Time”. Years ago I came across the quote by Oscar Wilde: ‘No man is rich enough to buy back his past…’. The line intrigued me, and I knew that one day it would inspire a story. Then one morning in May I was working on something else when, in a flash, the story presented itself to me fully-formed: all I had to do was write it down, which I did over the course of the next three days. It doesn’t often happen like that, more’s the pity. Anyway, I completed a third draft of the tale earlier this week, and I’m delighted with it. All I have to do now is sell the thing.

I’ve also written three or four short-shorts – tales around a thousand words long –which I’ll try at Daily SF over the course of the next few months.

The next novel on the cards is the follow-up to Jani and the Greater Game: Jani and the Great Pursuit, which I hope to start in about a fortnight. With luck I should get a good second draft in the bag before Christmas.


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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…


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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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.


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


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:

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:



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