Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




Next Weekend Is Ytterbium AKA Eastercon – Here’s What I’m Up To

Posted on April 14th 2019 | Leave a comment

Ytterbium Eastercon - my reading slot on Friday 19th


I will be at the Ytterbium Eastercon, held next weekend at the Park Inn hotel, Heathrow. As show above, I`m doing a reading on the Friday evening, 7pm, alongside two other authors – I`ll be reading from my most recent novel, Splintered Suns, then an excerpt from a short story due to appear in an anthology from Newcon Press, and an excerpt from something completely new. And as usual, I’ll be bringing along some bookmarks and posters freebies for eager followers



Posted in humanitys fire, Michael Cobley Posts, my publications, orbit books, science fiction, space, Uncategorized |
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My Eastercon Schedule – Manucunicon 2016

Posted on March 17th 2016 | Leave a comment

So come the end of next week I shall be hying myself hence to fabled Manchester, in search of enlightenment and shantih in the company of wise souls and skilled sensei of the SF Way….which probably will come down sharing drinks with Jim Burns, John Jarrold, Lavie Tidhar, Ian Sales, amongst many, luminaries each and every one! But otherwise I shall be engaged in panel moderating, once on the Saturday and once on the Sunday:

The Stars Are Your Canvas

Saturday 16:00 – 17:00, Room 7 (Hilton Deansgate)

Space opera is arguably the most unconstrained of SF subgenres, encompassing everything from the realism of McAuley’s Quiet War to the exuberance of Leckie’s Ancillary trilogy. How do writers find their own personal sweet spot between spectacle and science, and develop their own language for describing the biggest storytelling canvas of all?

Michael Cobley (M) Ian Sales, Alison Sinclair, Gavin Smith, Tom Toner, Jo Zebedee

Third Rock and Roll from the Sun

Sunday 20:30 – 21:30, Room 7 (Hilton Deansgate)

From Sun Ra and Bowie to Janelle Monae and even Coldplay, SF has cropped up across the spectrum of popular music. What – and who – makes good SF music, at the level of the lyric, the song, the album, or the opera? What do we get from SF music that we can’t get from other forms of SF?

Michael Cobley (M), Gary Couzens, Ruth EJ Booth, Phil Nanson, Dave Tamlyn

Should be a blast!

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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:


Or their actual website:



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Just Got Back From The Windy City….

Posted on April 1st 2013 | Leave a comment

Well, from Bradford, host to this years Eastercon, and in fact outside the con hotel Bradford was indeed beset by icy winds, in drastic contrast to the near-saharan temperatures with which hotels bombard their guests these days. This is just a quick HOORAH for Ian Sales who won the BSFA Award for best short fiction for his story, ‘Adrift On The Sea Of Rains’. Huzzah, say I!

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The Ascendant Stars, book 3 of the Humanity’s Fire trilogy, is out now! Says so on my publisher’s website…

Posted on November 8th 2011 | 1 Comment so far
Humanity's Fire Book 3

Humanity's Fire Book 3


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In The Offing

Posted on October 17th 2011 | 9 Comments so far

Just a little update on my summer and a gander at the weeks that lie ahead. Must admit that finishing The Ascendant Stars (and working on the outline for the next book, more on that anon) really sapped my gumption and other inner resources. Luckily, I did have to hand a couple of games by which I was able to relax those vital backbrain engines and build up the fuel that will be required. The games? – Deus Ex: Human Revolution (which was a wonderful reestablishment of the original game’s mechanics, narrative and pace, updated and augmented with excellent graphics – and a satisfyingly long play-time), and Dead Island (the zombie-apocalypse shooter to end em all! – great combat mechanics and a great melee weapon modification system, and another long game with plenty to interest and intrigue).

Of course, as you`d expect, there are other games on the horizon which will be mine (bwah hah hah), Bioshock Infinity and Skyrim spring to mind, but I may have to put them on hold for a year or so. Because, y`see, I am about dive brain-first into the first draft of a new book! – yes indeedy, another space opera set in the Humanity’s Fire universe and featuring a macro-engineered object that readers wont have seen before (unless I get scooped by some bright spark). Its a biggie, and should be an attention-grabber.

In the short-term, though, y`all can look forward to the publication of The Ascendant Stars in trade paperback edition on November 3rd, and it may well be that I shall be in London signing stock at a couple of book stores – this is not the same as a public signing, I should point out, rather I get to sign the bookstore’s stock of the new book (and possibly of the other ones as well), and a little sticker gets put on the cover of them.

But I suppose if anyone catches me on the way in or out and requests an autograph, how could I in all honesty refuse?

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Son Of Heaven by David Wingrove – Review

Posted on February 18th 2011 | Leave a comment

Okay, first off, I’ve known Dave Wingrove for over 25 years, from back in ’86 when I was manically assembling my 1-page Shark Tactics fanzine and mailing it free to anyone in the SF field whose address I could get hold of. So I was there when vol 1 of the original Chung Kuo saga, The Middle Kingdom, hit the shelves in 1989. Well, here we are, 22 years later, and Dave’s mighty epic – now substantially revised, renewed and reloaded! – is being republished by Corvus Books. The 1st volume (being the 1st of two prequel books) is Son Of Heaven, due for publication on March 1st. The publishers were kind enough to send me a reader copy which I at last got down to reading earlier this week.

Chung Kuo 1 - Son of Heaven

In terms of the timeline, Son Of Heaven and the next, Daybreak On Iron Mountain, are intended to reveal how the world in 2065 (a harsh Bladerunner-esque near future) changed and became the ice-city world of tiers of The Middle Kingdom.

Most of the book centres on Jake Reed, a futures broker who works in the global VR moneyscape – he witnesses the collapse of the entire financial system and barely escapes London with his life, although everyone else he knows perishes in the ensuing chaos. His escape route takes him out to Corfe where he spends the next 22 years making a new life. The book actually begins at that point, 22 years after the Fall, and delineates a subdued world without phones or connectivity, small communities reduced to a near pre-industrial stage. However the relics and antiques of that dead Western civ are omnipresent, which gives that section of the novel an aura of sadness, like the dying notes of an immense symphony, still lingering on.

The second section is a long flashback, showing Jake’s experiences 22 years ago during the Fall, a global collapse whose instigators meticulously concealed their hand in it. The final section returns to the present, those last weeks before China arrives, building its great cities, covering the British landmass in whiteness. It is seen again from Jake Reed’s viewpoint, and from that of a Chinese general, Jiang Lei, a cultured man in charge of a brutal process designed to winnow down the native British population, to exclude undesirables from those who will allowed inside the massive city. The undesirables are executed.

Other reviews, and the Wikipedia entry, have pointed that the central theme is the clash between unchanging balance and the forward motion and consequences of change – the War of Two Directions. Son Of Heaven’s characters also reveal the division between cultured civility (Jiang Lei) and the authoritarian love of raw, naked power (Wang Yu-Lai) which is a strong component of Chinese establishments ancient and modern. A similar division, between the elite enclaves and the ‘unprotected’ underclass, is also visible in the Britain of 2065, almost as if the West was already moving towards a severely stratified society.

In summary, a terrific, highly readable book with standout characters, a steady build towards an awful, inexorable fate, and an excellent introduction to the Chung Kuo saga.

Posted in Michael Cobley Posts, on writing, philosophy, Politics, science fiction, Uncategorized |
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Author Appearance: An Evening With SFX at Waterstone’s Piccadilly

Posted on April 28th 2010 | 2 Comments so far

So the story goes thus – glossy bigpro mag SFX is launching its Summer of SF Reading, in association with booksellers Waterstones, and this glittering evening event is due to take place at Waterstone’s Picadilly branch in London on May 10th, commencing 5.30pm with a bit of multi-celeb signage involving the likes of China Mieville, Adam Roberts, Dan Abnett, myself and others. For some official and more comprehensive info on this event, click on the link below:


And if you’re in town that day, why not pop in and say Slainte!

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The Orphaned Worlds – review at Waterstones Book Quarterly

Posted on April 25th 2010 | Leave a comment

Always a pleasure, never a chore, got a review in Waterstones’ Book Quarterly mag, and its also in the online version, here -


Not only but also, Waterstones is offering The Orphaned Worlds as part of their 3-for-2 offer. Be the first on your block!

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Guardian Gadget-Fiend Recommendation for Seeds Of Earth!

Posted on December 12th 2009 | 3 Comments so far

Super-Wow! – just found out that Seeds Of Earth earned a recommendation by the Guardian newspaper here in the UK, in the Guardian Weekend section of November 28th, on a page titled Gadget Fiends! My book came in at – cough – no 5, baby! Orbit have archived a piccy of it – go hence to gaze and wonder:


Just wish someone had, er, told me about this. See, I get most of my news from online sources these days, rather than buying papers. How cybertastic of me! ;-)

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