Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics

 

 

 
 
 
 

Blogpost at the Scottish Book Trust website on the Moniack Mhor SF/Fantasy Writing Course

Posted on April 30th 2015 | Leave a comment
 

(An introductory essay about the writing course being tutored by Ken MacLeod and myself.)

The question ‘what is science fiction?’ has remained constant ever since the cultural mainstream started taking notice of the genre back in the mid-1960s, with the arrival of the New Wave writers (like Robert Silverberg, JG Ballard, Ursula LeGuin, Mike Moorcock, John Brunner, Harlan Ellison and others). To the cultural arbiters, though, what was different to the preceding decades was the appearance of two TV series, one in the US, one in the UK, which spread the popularity of science fiction into the mainstream and the wider culture, and in a sense decoded the peculiar tropes and furniture and props for the ordinary citizen. Those series were Doctor Who and Star Trek. There had been science fiction on TV before then but these set out to raise the dramatic level above their pulpy predecessors, and there’s no doubt that they succeeded. Doctor Who and Star Trek set out to raise the dramatic level above their pulpy predecessors

Of course, the world itself has changed almost out of recognition since the days of black and white television, such that we are truly living in a science fictional world. Yet still the anchors and journos of mainstream news and comment programs continue to reveal a certain clodhopping ignorance of the nature and spirit of Science Fiction (while all the time using email, mobile phones, tablets and conference video calls, which were the very stuff of far-fetched SF to their 1950s forebears!).

As writers, living in the mixed up, clashing gaudiness and wildness of the world today (which gets newer and stranger by the day, yet remains hamstrung by a range of very old problems, aka, bad habits that our society seems unable to shake off), we need to take a long, considering look at all of it – All Of It! – then take a pondering look at ourselves and figure out what it is that we want to say. If we want to write widescreen action-adventure that captivates readers with daring and unexpected plot twists and gripping characters, that’s a fine and admirable aim. If we want to imagine what happens at the personal interface of character and an authentically weird imagining of future technology or a fantasy setting, that too is entirely commendable. Or if we want to assess the broad sweep of our development as a species and look ahead to spy out potholes in the road ahead, this is also a worthwhile avenue to pursue – and some might say it is the most worthwhile of all, perhaps even the social function that Science Fiction performs in service to humanity.

I mention all the above as a broad background to the short course which Ken MacLeod and myself will be conducting at Moniack Mhor. It is our intention to help writers understand key points of character, worldbuilding, history, myth and society in the context of both science fiction and fantasy, a brief grounding in the technical aspects of writing prose narrative. But in addition we hope to highlight the essential spirit of both fantasy and science fiction, that indelible storyteller’s thread which runs through a tale and makes it unmistakeably a fantasy story or a science fiction story. That is our task, and we look forward to passing on what we know.

http://scottishbooktrust.com/blog/writing/2015/04/science-fiction-a-storytellers-thread

 
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Residential SF/F Writing Course near Inverness: tutors Mike Cobley and Ken MacLeod

Posted on April 30th 2015 | 1 Comment so far
 

Here’s our page in the Moniack Mhor brochure.

This will be taking place in Kiltarlity, near Inverness, from May 14th to May 17th. And there are still places available!

For further information try the writing centre’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/moniackmhor/photos/a.252229554830895.68664.246729445380906/799625610091284/?type=1&fref=nf

Or their actual website:

http://www.moniackmhor.org.uk/

 

 
Posted in Buddies, Fantasy, on writing, science fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged ,
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The Return of the Shadowkings – Now Out In Ebook & Audiobook

Posted on May 8th 2014 | Leave a comment
 

Its been a long time coming, but at last my Shadowkings Trilogy have reemerged into the light, as ebooks and audiobooks. The new covers for the ebooks were done by Dirk Berger, a most excellent graphic artist from Germany, while the audiobook publisher, Amazon’s Audible, had separate covers done for their release (and they’re pretty good). Here are some links:

EBOOKS

Shadowkings – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadowkings-The-Trilogy-Michael-Cobley-ebook/dp/B00JENOEU6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1399545526&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+cobley+shadowkings

Shadowgod – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadowgod-Shadowkings-Trilogy-Michael-Cobley-ebook/dp/B00JENOFG4/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1399545526&sr=1-3&keywords=michael+cobley+shadowkings

Shadowmasque – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadowmasque-Shadowkings-Trilogy-Michael-Cobley-ebook/dp/B00JENOLKO/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1399545526&sr=1-1-fkmr1&keywords=michael+cobley+shadowkings

AUDIOBOOKS

Shadowkings – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadowkings-Book-1-Unabridged/dp/B00J9O4UW2/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399545814&sr=1-3

Shadowgod – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadowgod-Shadowkings-Book-2-Unabridged/dp/B00JKA1IWA/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399545814&sr=1-2

Shadowmasque – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadowmasque-Shadowkings-Book-3-Unabridged/dp/B00JVHGGEM/ref=tmm_aud_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1399545526&sr=1-1-fkmr1

At some point I`ll be running a wee competition for some baublesque prizes like posters, bookmarks, keyfobs etc. Just as soon as I finish the new Humanitys Fire book!

 
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The Shadowkings – they’re baaaaack!

Posted on March 9th 2014 | Leave a comment
 

Waaay back at the start of the century, ho ho, my first novel, Shadowkings, was published by Simon & Schuster’s SFF imprint, Earthlight, itself a labour of love by its editor, John Jarrold, who was the one who decided to take me on as a new author. Sadly, various corporate shenanigans led to John bowing out to be replaced by Darren Nash, himself a staunch fan and champion of all things SF and Fantasy. He shepherded the second book, Shadowgod, into print, but then later more corporate musical chairs led to Darren likewise departing while Earthlight the imprint was dissolved. The third book, Shadowmasque, was published, garnered a number of positive reviews yet overall the sales could not make sufficient headway, for various reason.

 

Anyhow, the situation is that the Shadowkings trilogy shall once more be making its grimdark presence felt, in ebook and audiobook formats. More information (and cover art) shall be forthcoming nearer publication, but as a foretaste here a link to the Bandcamp page of Peri Urban, Edinburgh electronic musician of the first water, and the music that he originally composed back in 2001 – with yr humble scribe providing gruffly intoned lyrics. Take it away…

 

http://periurban.bandcamp.com/album/michael-cobleys-shadowkings

 
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from Glasgow to Stockholm and back again

Posted on October 24th 2013 | Leave a comment
 

Yes, tis now the week after my significant trip to Sweden, to be one of the guests at Swecon-Fantastika 2013. I had a tremendous time, and was absolutely knocked out by the courtesy and kindness of Swedish fans (and those who came from Finland, Norway and surrounding regions). I shall blog some more about this at the weekend, when I have a little more strength – am suffering from a resurgence of the sinusitis that was bedevilling  me before I went so its back to the hot drinks and throat medicine again!

 
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Welcome To The Machine

Posted on March 1st 2013 | Leave a comment
 

Steampunk, eh? It’s a funny old subgenre – although the roots of its modern iteration seem to take in Blaylock and Powers (by long, diversionary way of Verne and Wells), its proliferation across internet cultures is producing some unforseen irruptions, like bizarre hothouse hybrids unfurling in humid shadowy corners.

Most obvious is the whole cosplay thing, which I really kinda like. Unlike some of my SF/fantasy compadres (and fellow travellers), I’ve never experienced any contempt or irritation for costuming and masquerades – I’ve been going to conventions since back in 1979, and just love all the gaudy aspects of them, and since steampunk textures have begun to mingle with that overall gallimaufry its made it all feel that much more enjoyable for me.

Other aspects are cropping up on TV, for example – Bruce Boxleitners Lantern City, for example – http://lanterncitytv.com/ – sounds utterly fascinating. Really hope it gets off the ground. Then there’s video games, most recently Dishonoured, which had more of a dieselpunk feel to it, and the upcoming and anticipated Bioshock Infinite, set on a floating balloon city in 1912! – if you’ve not seen any of the promotional vids for this, you really need to go to youtube and give yr eyes a treat.

There is one aspect of steampunk, and the political context of a steampowered culture, at least as far as we can reckon it from our own history – which is that life for the great mass of people throughout most of the 1800s, the Victoria era, was miserable, grinding poverty. Its okay, it really is, to writer a fun, light-in-tone caper story in that kind of setting, but writers should also be aware of political realities, and try not to mislead the reader about the nature of power under such regimes.

 
Posted in Berzerkergang, Fantasy, history, on writing, Politics, science fiction, steampunk | Tagged , ,
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My Short Story Collection, Iron Mosaic, Now Out As An Ebook

Posted on February 15th 2012 | Leave a comment
 

And here you see the cover, as created by Gary Gibson, for my collection, Iron Mosaic, now appearing under the Brain In A Jar imprimatur, available from AmazonUK. And LO! for here is the link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Iron-Mosaic-ebook/dp/B006UMLPGA/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1#_

 

 
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Wonderfully Weirdly Wonderful – Fiction By Peri Urban

Posted on September 5th 2011 | Leave a comment
 

Well, I ask you, what use is this immensely powerful, people-swaying soapbox of mine if I can’t from time to time use it to point out the splendiferous artworks produced by colleagues and buddies, eh, eh? To that end, I bring you Edinburgh writer, composer, musician, artist, beans-on-toast-with-melted-cheese maestro, the one, the only ….. Peri Urban! (whose link can be found on the links page)

Mr Urban is a close friend of long standing, an individual so multitalented that I have to sometimes remind myself that a normal human being resides within that outwardly normal appearance. And he has written, as well as songs, stories and a book or two, some of which have made their way onto the Interweb, specifically Amazon, where they are now available in ebook guise. Here’s a coupla links -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Keepers-Gift-Flock-ebook/dp/B005EMAVYY/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315221256&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Touch-The-Page-ebook/dp/B005EMZYVO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315221256&sr=1-1

I urge you to buy, read and enjoy. A review and a click on the Like button would be dead marvellous too!

 
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‘Death’s Angels’ by William King, Out For Kindle

Posted on July 14th 2011 | Leave a comment
 

Even though Bill King’s most excellent book, Death’s Angels, being the first part of the Terrarch Chronicles, is appearing in several European countries, it has been unable to find a home here in Britain, the country of his birth. Until now. You can buy the book in all its english-language glory at Amazon’s kindle store at a price which one can only describe as mind-stompingly reasonable. Here be the link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deaths-Angels-Terrarch-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B005BGBTZ8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310656760&sr=1-1

 
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Alt.Fiction: One-Day SF,Fantasy & Horror Festival In Derby

Posted on May 31st 2010 | Leave a comment
 

And I’m going! Yes, for it came to pass that yours truly was asked if I’d like to attend, and having only been to Derby once (for the first EMMA Electronic Music festival back in ’94), I thought the only answer could be ‘Aye, no problem!’

Alt.Fiction will take place on Saturday, June 12th, at the Derby Quad in the centre of the town, with its program starting about 10am I think. I have thus far got 3 events scheduled, being

1pm – a signing session for myself and Kate Griffin, both of us being Orbit authors

2pm – podcast on new writers and breaking in to the biz

3pm – podcast on writing SF: the future of the Future

Take a look at the link below, which leads to the Alt.Fiction website – you will notice that my name is not in the sidebar list, but not to worry about that – where you’ll find out lots more detail, events and ticket prices etc.

http://altfiction.co.uk/

 
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