Out today, my e-novella for Abaddon’s ‘Tomes of the Dead’ line, ‘Dead Stop’, with the amazing Pye Parr’s amazing cover art, as seen right here. You can buy it for the ridiculously low price of £2.99 NOW RIGHT HERE NOW BUY.
‘Dead Stop’ has the standard noir premise of a femme fatale hiring a hapless narrator to kill someone – although in this case our hero is a psychic, the femme is a ghost and the target she wants killed is her own zombie body.
I would be lying if I claimed to be anything other than smug about this premise, and I’m really pleased with the way the novella has turned out. It’s written in the first person, but I’ve given the protagonist a heightened version of my own voice, which as I’m from Harrogate rather than LA twists away from noir cliche in a way I think is really fun.
It’s also been a chance to pour years of thinking too much about zombies into a story, and the novella format allows for a really tight horror adventure – it’s hardly a scientific comparison but a prose novella feels to me about the same ‘amount’ of story as a movie, which allows for a cinematic momentum, if that doesn’t sound too ridiculously pretentious.
As you can probably tell I’m very proud of this one, and I think it’s the most accessible thing I’ve done. So please buy it, read it, review it, tell people about it. Then tell me, I’ll be very grateful.
Finally, ‘Tomes of the Dead’ is a thematic line rather than a shared world, so although there has been at least one sequel in the range authors have the freedom to pitch any story they want, providing it’s about zombies. What I’m saying is that you don’t need to read any other ‘Tome’* to understand ‘Dead Stop’, it’s a complete standalone.
No excuses, you can read it now with no preparation or homework, so please do.
* Although if you do want to I can highly recommend Al Ewing’s excellent ‘I, Zombie.’ (No relation to the old DC Comic of the same name.)
Oh look, I haven’t updated the blog in ages. Two updates in 2013! That’s competent. Never mind.
In my defence, I’ve been busy. Last year I wrote the longest book I’ve ever written, 150,000 words, and that’s just winding its way through the editorial process, so I have no idea when it’ll be out.
I also wrote a novella, Dead Stop, for Abaddon’s Tomes of the Dead zombie line, which will be coming out as an ebook soon? I think? You can keep an eye on that here.
There are a couple of things of mine you can go and read right now, both ebooks that came out in December and which I didn’t promote as much as I should have in the pre-Christmas carnage.
First up I contributed a new Doctor Who story to the charity anthology The Twelve Doctors of Christmas, a spin-off from the recently revived fanzine Cygnus Alpha. The collection was edited by John Davies with art by Simon Brett and others, and is a great collection of talent. My story is called Gaudi Night, a pun I’ve had back-pocketed for years, features the Fifth Doctor as played by Peter Davison, and sees the Doctor facing off against one of his oldest and greatest nemesises. You can pick up either the whole collection or just my story as an ebook via the donation page here.
Secondly, December also saw tw0 linked Warhammer 40,000 Imperial Guard stories by me appear as ebooks. The Siege of Fellguard and The Hour of Hell overlap, but not only can you read either of them individually without missing anything , but if you do read both together you’ll see certain events from different perspectives, with hopefully minimal repetition. As well as ensuring the stories could be read either apart or together, there was also the separate challenge of adapting both from background text provided by Games Workshop, so the Fellguard stories were an interesting project to work on. I’ve always wanted to try doing an adaptation, and I think this one went pretty well. They’re not microshorts - together they’re over 20,000 words, the length of a short novella – so should provide a pleasingly hefty read.
Aside from the technical side of things, I hope people enjoy the Fellguard stories, which feature colourful characters having terrible things happen to them in the grim, dark 41st century. There’s a lot of action, some repulsive Chaos baddies and quite a few horrible deaths. Something to lift the spirits in the post holiday lull, I hope.
OK, back to work on the next thing. Happy New Year!
With that in mind, here’s my charmingish daughter modelling The Best of Hammer and Bolter Volume 2, which she finds fascinating, mainly because it’s such a big book. True! At a rodent-killing 896 B-format pages its by far the biggest book I’ve been involved in.
My story in the book, In Hrondir’s Tomb, is a bit of a lead-in to my next 40k project, which I’ve just delivered a first draft of.
If you know every word of the timelines in the main Warhammer 40,000 rulebook then you might be able to guess which.
This coming Sunday, 7 April 2013 fellow ‘Doctor Who’ writer (and my wife) Mags L Halliday and I will be guests at Phonicon 2013 at the Exeter Phoenix.
Phonicon is a new event in its first year, and is aiming to try and have a little something for everyone – media guests from Star Wars and Doctor Who, as well as writers and comics people, film screenings and some events for kids. It’s for a good cause – community radio station Phonic FM – the Exeter Phoenix is a great venue, and we don’t have many events of this kind in the South West so it would be nice to make this ‘a thing’.
Please come along and say hello. It would be lovely to see people there, and Mags and I will be generally hanging around (presumably with large guest badges with our names on) for most of the day. There’ll also probably be some kind of mini-interview and/or reading going on too.
Now, due to some scheduling and guest changes, Mags and I have ended up with a table each. Yes, two whole tables. This is more space than we really need because we don’t have huge stacks of books we can sell (my latest is an ebook, for instance), so… well, we’re not sure what we do with the tables, other than sit behind them for a bit.
Our solution to the empty table problem has been to pick a couple of time slots where we’ll be available if anyone wants to come along and get something signed (Battered copies of our Who novels ‘Hope’ or ‘History 1o1′? Old issues of long dead fanzines ‘Matrix’ or ‘Skaro’? Napkins?), chat to us about our work, ask us for writing advice (in which case, God help you), or just ask where the toilets are (this we can do, they’re downstairs by the service lifts). Here’s when we’ll be there:
We’ll be at our tables in Zone 3 on the First Floor of the Phoenix at the following times:
11am – 12pm
3pm – 4pm
Please come along to say hello! If nothing else our tables will be a convenient flat surface to place your drinks on.
See you there,
I’m very, very excited to be able to say that my first Warhammer 40,000 novel is out today as an ebook premiere: Iron Guard. You can see the cover on the right, complete with my name in a delightfully big, bold font, and buy the book directly from Black Library here.
I approached Black Library about the possibility of writing a full length novel after finishing edits on my short story Sanctified, and was asked to pitch something for their Imperial Guard line, war stories about the human forces of the Imperium in the 41st century.
After knocking proposals and outlines back and forth between myself and the editors, we eventually settled on the Mordian Iron Guard as my protagonists. Although the Mordians are well established in the 40k universe, the specific regiment and individual characters are all original, and I was given great leeway to fill in any gaps in Mordian culture.
As the book only came out this morning I won’t talk about the plot beyond saying that it takes a relatively green Mordian recruit from the sunless world of Mordian to a deserted mining world, where he discovers first hand the full horrors waiting out in the 40k universe, ready to prey on unwary humans.
Having read through the book very recently while proofing, I’m very pleased with how Iron Guard turned out, and look forward to hearing from readers.
Iron Guard is available as an ebook for £6.50 from Black Library, right here.
Hammer and Bolter #20, the latest issue of Black Library’s monthly fiction e-magazine, is out now, and contains my story In Hrondir’s Tomb.You can buy it from the Black Library site here, for the wonderfully low price of £2.50.
Hrondir is my second published Warhammer 40,000 story, although the third written after [REDACTED], which will hopefully be coming to a release schedule near you at some point soonish. (OK, strictly speaking [REDACTED] is a [REDACTED] but you get what I mean. Or maybe not.)
I’ve previously played around the periphery of the 40K universe, with a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus in Sanctified (still available as an ebook here, folks) and the [REDACTED] in [REDACTED], but In Hrondir’s Tomb is my first go at writing for the big stars of the Imperium, the Space Marines.
Not just any Space Marines, either, but Space Wolves, one of the more popular and unique chapters who had already starred in a long-running novel series of their own, and recently been given a new spin by Dan Abnett in the New York Times bestselling Prospero Burns.
So, no pressure there, then.
The story introduces Anvindr Godrichsson and his pack, Grey Hunters of the Fourth Company. They’re on the world of Beltrasse to fight the Tau, but find something entirely different deep beneath the ground of Beltrasse, in the tomb of Hrondir.
I wrote the story at the end of last summer. The attic where I used to write was in the process of being redecorated to become my daughter’s bedroom, and I wrote a lot in the evenings, sat with the laptop on the bare wooden floor. Occasionally, Georgina would be around to ‘help’, as the accompanying photo shows.
In spite of such challenges, it was a fun story to research and write, and while being an entirely self-contained story it sets up characters who could be revisited later. Fans with an encyclopedic knowledge of the 40k timeline may spot a name that appears in the existing background, and have an inkling where this might be going… but that would involve a whole load more redactions, so let’s not think about it right now.
I enjoyed putting a pack of Space Wolves in a situation different to the battlefields and savage wildernesses they’re most comfortable with. I hope people enjoy the results.
Update: Thanks to the efforts of everyone who forwarded and retweeted this post, I’ve now found a new artist for Squad Commander Rocket. Once again, thanks to everyone.
Get Dracula is still on the table if anyone is interested in drawing that…
Long term readers might know that I’ve been trying to get a webcomic off the ground for the last couple of years, but sadly it hasn’t worked out with the artist previously attached.
So, I’m putting out a request for an artist (or artists) who might want to collaborate on a short form (20-30 pages) comic book story to be published online first (in weekly installments) and hopefully in print later.
Since last time around, I have now got a second idea for a comic, so if you’re interested in either of the following please get in touch:
Squad Commander Rocket: a mix of contemporary drama and pulp SF intercutting between 21st century London and a retro science fiction future. Big rockets, weird aliens and modernist architecture. There’s a bit more detail on this project here, although my publishing plans have shifted a bit since then (see below).
Get Dracula: 1970s vampire gangster story set in the North of England. Nasty people and nasty things kicking nasty bits off each other.
Format for either of these is negotiable. The intent would be to share ownership once a certain number of pages had been completed, and to hopefully pull a print version together after the online version is complete.
If you’re interested in being involved with either of these projects, please contact me at scrcomic [at] googlemail [dot] com so we can discuss.
Thanks for reading, and please feel free to spread the word to anyone you feel may be interested.
Resident Evil 6 has been announced, and I have a lot of thoughts. Guess it’s time to remember I have a blog, then.
I have to admit that when the teaser posters showing a 20/11/12 release date leaked earlier tonight, I instantly doubted them. Capcom, going from first announcement of a core Resi title to release in less than a year? Surely not – remember that first Resi 5 trailer that came out in September 2006, two and a half sodding years before the game’s release?
But no, at 10pm GMT this went live confirming the date and showing a lot more than early gameplay footage or proof-of-concept FMV:
Now, in terms of scheduling Capcom have only shaved six months off the four year wait between Resis 4 and 5, but in terms of announcing and marketing 6 they’re taking a far tighter, more aggressive approach, sitting tight through the first two years of development then hitting us with a barrage of visuals and a date.
That November date is a statement in itself. Resis 4 and 5 launched between January and Spring, relatively lean times for game releases when a major franchise title can make a big splash. Resident Evil 6 will be thrown straight into the competitive pre-Xmas market, when major franchises battle it out in the most lucrative period of the year, albeit one where smaller name games can easily get lost.
It doesn’t look like Resident Evil 6 is in any danger of getting lost amongst the big names, or being two low-octane to make a splash compared to this year’s Call of Duties and so forth. The launch trailer lays out a globe-spanning blockbuster that abandons the tight geographic progression of the last two installments in favour of something much bigger, more varied and dynamic.
There’s a lot going on in there as well: old favourites Leon and Chris, both playable; an American town overrun by zombies (replicating the series most popular setting, the Raccoon City outbreak without having to timewarp back to 1998 again); head-splitting mutants from the last two games in a neon-lit Chinese city; a big Nemesis type baddy with very sharp hands pursuing a couple of other characters in a bleak urban landscape; oh, and the whole thing opens with a fantastic, dramatic set-piece where Leon has to shoot the zombified President of the United States through the face.
In short, it looks epic, mixing and matching elements from across the entire series in a way that looks both atmospheric and action-packed, and which looks likely to enthrall both loyal series fans of myself – of whom there are many – and a general audience.
It looks entirely capable of going toe-to-toe with the big beast franchises of the current videogame landscape, and to be honest it should be: Resident Evil is one of the biggest, most recognisable names in games, one with wider pop culture impact (as much as we may bitch about the quality of those movies), and it’s only right that the next major game in the series should be a blockbuster to match the Modern Warfares and Assassin’s Creeds that dominate the pre-Xmas charts.
It looks fantastic, and frankly I can’t wait.
For more of my ramblings on the Resident Evil series, have a look at the Storygamer archive.
I have found a youtube video of the high score entry music from Impossamole:
Now, to my ears this TurboGrafix version doesn’t sound as good as the Atari ST one did back in the day, but its melancholic tones still take me back.
Twenty years? Fuck.
We’d like to go after anyone threatening to continue production of Torchwood. Do you know who we mean?