Here’s a little bit o’ devil may care speculation on which actors I like in the movie of my book. And, yknow, who can tell what’s gonna happen?
Here we are, from left to right – Lt Samantha Brock (Zoe Saldana), Captain Brannan Pyke (Colin O’Donoghue) and Dervla (Mallory Jansen)
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Yes, indeedy, yr humble scribe shall be hosting an AMA (ask me anything) on the all-encompassing Reddit website/hub/core/fountofallcomment – at 5pm GMT! The actual url for this happening is -
Although you`ll probably need to have a reddit account in order to post questions to me. I`m looking forward to it, and to the legions flocking to pore over my every word with eagle eyes….possibly.
(NB note updated URL for the AMA)
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I was asked by Marshal Zeringue if I`d like to contribute to his ‘The Page 69 Test’ with regard to Ancestral Machines, where the idea is to open the book at page 69 and see how it relates to the rest of the book, whether its a reliable guide to the rest of the story. That particular page was part of a brief chapter involving a couple of characters who play something of an observer role in the early part of the story, thus this was one of those exposition moments in drag, so to speak.
Here’s the link -
And as you might know, Ancestral Machines is due for publication as ebook on January 12th and as hard and paperback on January 14th. And I`ll be hosting a Reddit AMA on the Monday evening, GMT-time, yes, yer actual Ask Me Anything, so my life in an open book. Apart from the bits that aren’t
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Been off the radar for a while, and under the weather. 2014 started with a teeth-gritting bladderstone problem, and ended with a tooth extraction and then a vicious viral ambush that left a hackingly horrible cough in its wake. Still coping with the vestigial aftermath of that one with an array of throat pastilles and cough mixtures, as well as hot drinks up the yingyang.
But let’s put these ailment tales behind us and move ahead. The new book, Ancestral Machines (revised version 2.0), is currently in the hands of my editor, the redoubtable Jenni Hill and may be slated for publication in hardback and ebook in June…or July. Firm up details on that soon as I know. In any case, you can go to Amazon and pre-order this standalone Humanity’s Fire novel, an fastmoving epic, crammed with astonishing vistas and a plethora, perhaps even a torrent, of derring-do!
Also, my short story, The Maker’s Mark, a HFire story written for the Newcon Press anthology, Conflicts, will be appearing at the end of this month in a reselection called Total Conflicts, from Newcon Press. I shall be appearing alongside such megatastic talent as Eric Brown, Neal Asher, Philip Palmer, Keith Brooke, and Lauren Beukes, amongst others. There is already an entry on Amazon you can check out.
What else? Did I mention that I shall be conducting a brief residential writing course, along with Ken Macleod, come mid-May, at a writers retreat not far from Inverness? Well, yes, that is going to be happening! More details soon.
Then there is, of course, the next big project. After much consideration and cogitation I’ve decided that it will be another Humanity’s Fire standalone nov, very probably involving some of the characters from Ancestral Machines in a truly mind-bending adventure, which will of course require me to bend my own mind in order to get my writing brain right on track. Some psyche-trance music should do the trick.
And Eastercon, too, is on the horizon, taking place, oh joy, at Heathrow again. But this time its at the Park Inn, which I’ve stayed in before. Anyway, I have applied for membership, and managed to actually get a room….in the con hotel! Which really makes for a more relaxed experience. See you there if you’re going.
Finally, a general election is looming. Looks like its going to be a raucous carnival, if early reports – like Al Murray running against Nigel Farage in Thanet! – are anything to go by. Should be a blast.
Was at Loncon3, the 2014 World SF Convention, held in London at the Excel Centre, a vast megahangar of such staggering proportions it felt like it had dropped off the end of one of Banksie’s GSVs!
I think its about half a mile long and, astonishingly, amongst all the fooderies and eateries there was not one newsagent or anywhere selling what one might generally think of as groceries.
The con itself was a massive effort, chock full of tremendous programming over innumerable programme streams. I was on the first panel of the con, on Lord of the Rings and how its seen by children and young adults, in both book and film media. Later, on the Saturday, I was on a panel about Iain Banks’ works, trying to find out what the descriptor ‘Banksian’ really entails. I came up with the notion that the Iain M Banks books are all about Solving The Puzzle Of The Past, and the Culture/SF books are about Solving The Puzzle Of The Present (thought I`m sure there are exceptions to both)
I also did a signing in the exhibit hall, to which about 7-8 attendees came, then a reading which was late on, about 8.30pm, resulting predictably in less than a handful of curious fans who were on hand to hear me read a section from the new book, Ancestral Machines (you lucky people!)
Generally, though, I felt it was too large and exhausting to get around really – although the daily trek to and from Islington might have been a contributory factor. If I do another Worldcon, it would have to be with a hotel room.
Anyway, got back home to Irvine on the evening of Monday 18th, up the next day and straight back into the writing of the last chapter of Ancestral Machines! – not long to go now.
Yes, here it is, my very own schedule of event and happenings:
Tolkien Society Presents: Hobbits! Rabbits!
Thursday 10:00 – 11:00, Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)
How do children, young adults and adults experience The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as books and as movies? Do people of different age groups experience them in different ways, especially given the range of other fantasy novels and films that younger generations have grown up with? How do readers engage with various decisions about the adaptation from book to screen? Are the rabbits welcome, or were they a mistake?
Chris M Barkley (M), Michael Cobley, Constance G.J. Wagner, Jessica Yates
Autographing 2 – Michael Cobley
Friday 15:00 – 16:30, Autographing Space (ExCeL)
Saturday 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL)
‘Banksian’ has become a commonplace descriptor in SF reviews, but what do we mean by it? What are the characteristics we associate with Iain M Banks’ work? How far has his influence travelled? Who is writing Banksian SF today?
Chad Orzel (M), Michael Cobley, Jaine Fenn, Paul Kincaid, Ruth O’Reilly
Reading: Michael Cobley
Saturday 20:30 – 21:00, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)
Sunday 17:00 – 18:00, London Suite 4 (ExCeL)
Danie Ware, Michael Cobley
Nice, very nice, keeps me busy and off the streets
See you there!
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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:
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
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!
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…
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Would have posted comments on this years Eastercon (main GOH Walter Jon Williams) before now but have been somewhat under the weather (trans – poleaxed by another bout of recurring viral loathsomeness). But here at last is my take on it.
Travelled down by train, with just the one change at Preston, arriving mid-afternoon at Bradford Interchange station. After some clueless wandering, I got a cab to the Jurys Inn hotel (which turned out to be a short walk away, ho ho), and thence further on to the Cedar Court Hotel, where the con was being held.
All my panels were on the Saturday so I spent a good bit of Friday just catching up with old writer buddies and other friends, supping the odd pint and swooping into the dealers room for a looksee. Saturday kicked off with a panel on Walter Jon Williams’ book ‘This Is Not A Game’, and not long after the start who should come to sit at the back of the room but Walter Jon hisself! Still, we managed to acquit ourselves without sounding overly-fannish.
Next was the panel titled, ‘A Constitution For A Mars Colony’, moderated by myself in conjunction with Ian Sales…sorry, that should be BSFA-award-winning Ian Sales (seeing as how he won just such a trophy for his story Adrift On The Sea Of Rains). My original intent was for me to kick off with a short speech on politics and the fundamental concepts of democracy and democratic institutions, then Ian would come in with the hard science aspect and the strigent exigencies that running such a colony would entail. But interaction with the audience started to blur the lines a bit after Ian got started, turning into a kind of ongoing to and fro between us and the audience and amongst the audience itself. And it turned out to be very interesting, much more so than I thought it might! so, result.
Later I was on a panel on motherhood in SF, to which I`d doubted I could make a worthwhile contribution, but then I did pitch in with a showstopper narrative concept near the end which rendered the room deathly quiet (in essence, the plot form in which a parent has to kill a child)(I know, grim). Oh, and before that I was on a panel to do with steampunk morality, which seemed to touched on the stark reality of the impoverished existence of the majority of the population during the age of steam and Victoria – but prevailing sentiments favoured a less miserable approach to steampunk.
Sunday was a day for yacking one’s gob off with chums and colleagues, along with a signing event in the morning, then more chinwaggery followed by dealer room visits, more chat, drink, chat, and then the BSFA awards – and Mr Sales’ surprising and gratifying award for short fiction. Some may imply that I got slightly squiffy later on, and mention the involvement of a bottle of counterfeit Baileys, but….I couldn’t possibly comment.
Come Monday I had not enough time to use the convention bus to get to the Cedar Court for a last gander at the dealer room and be sure of getting a bus back in time for my train, so I relaxed at the hotel until checking out and took that not so long walk over to the station. The journey back went without a hitch until I got to Preston – then there was an obstruction on the line to Warrington, and after that the lights at Warrington ceased functioning properly,. Anyway, in the event I got into Glasgow over a hour late and just seconds too late to get a connection to Irvine. But hey, another left 15 mins later, so home in time for Easter dinner!
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Aye, well, another bit of a long hiatus, there. Here we are on the first day of March, and I can honestly say that I`m looking forward to the chance of an illness-free 2013 – I mean, there’s always a chance, isn’t there? I make this plea to the cosmos in the wake of 4 months of almost unbroken suffering from a variety of unpleasant coughs and colds, almost as if all the lurgies got together in late October and decided that I was Human Test Target Numero Uno.
Anyway, pushing on with the new book, Ancestral Machines, at full throttle now. Its turning out to have a somewhat different flavour from the Seeds trilogy – instead of a huge cast the main viewpoints are restricted to 2, with another couple supporting. It means letting the characters breathe and expand a bit so that they can carry the story, well, more of the story than the individual characters did in the trilogy. More on this as and when. Oh, just to let you know – I will be attending Eastercon at the end of March, in Bradford, and I will be moderating a panel dealing with the matter of a constitution for a Mars colony, assisted by the one, the only, Ian Sales. Should be interesting. We might even mention Mars in it.
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