Yup, the last week or more has witnessed the appearance of a whole bunch of reviews of ma books. First up is a review of The Orphaned Worlds at Mark Chitty’s Walker of Worlds website:
Then there’s another review of TOW by Eric Brown at the Guardian Online:
Keith Brooke reviewed volume 1, Seeds Of Earth, also in the Guardian but for some reason they deigned to put it up online. However, courtesy of Mr B here is the text of his review:
“For an author who started publishing short fiction over twenty years ago, Michael Cobley has not been anywhere near as productive as his many admirers would have liked. The fact that his first three novels were buried away in the commercial fantasy shelves has made his work even easier to overlook for those outside the genre boundaries. With Seeds of Earth Cobley tackles more genre staples; this time there are merciless alien invaders, lost human colonies, mysterious secrets of the ancients… all the ingredients for a gripping science-fiction adventure that combines the traditions of the field with a deft contemporary touch. The novel opens with the invasion of the solar system by fearful alien invaders in what becomes known as the Swarm War; humankind’s response is to build three ships to send out to colonise the stars so that at least some will survive. A hundred and fifty years later, when contact is renewed between the colony world Darien and the rest of humankind, not to mention a host of well-drawn aliens, the scene is set for a tale of political scheming with just a hint of Indiana Jones. What’s not to like?”
And least but not least, a review in the British Fantasy Society’s Prism mag, by Ian Hunter. I only have a scan of the relevant page I’ll manually reproduce a couple of excerpts here for you;
“Not to be confused with Robert Silverberg’s The Seeds Of Earth, this is a totally different, and better book, so hold onto your jetpacks because here come the invaders. Yep, we are fleetingly in Starship Troopers/Aliens territory standing up against the alien invaders, and losing, so its off to the stars, as the only way to save humanity is to send three colony ships heading off in different directions. And is it me? But I was really interested in finding out more about how we got into this dire position: and more about the valiant stand against the invaders. And maybe even more about what happened in the 150 years that passed in the turning of a page or two…
“…in the meantime there is a distinct change of pace as we leisurely learn the fate of one of the ships, the Hyperion (get it?) as it has reached the planet Darien, and the colonists – a bunch of Scots and Scandinavians – I kid you not, have befriended the indigenous race, the Uvovo…Now is the time for revelations as a cruiser ship from Earth arrives to take the colonists back in the loving bosom of the old planet…Seeds Of Earth is a good, solid space opera with convincing world-building, multiple characters to drive the story along, a smattering of humour, info-dumping to skip over as quickly as possible, and intrigue, shenanigans and derring-do.”
Aw gee, thanks Ian, Mark, Eric and Keith. Youze are the guyz!
Slightly after the fact, having just picked up on it via my agents’ website, Zeno, this review at the NextRead site, saying some nice things -
Also, just to remind all of you good people that the competition to win a copy of the paperback of Seeds Of Earth will end tomorrow night at midnight. To get the hot poop on this dynamite giveaway (requiring only that you answer a straightforward question via the magic of Google!), scroll down this page, or click on this link -
Not only but also, I note that the sequel to one of the greatest vid games ever, Bioshock 2, will be released to a salivating public on February 9th, a Tuesday for some reason. Sadly, I will be unable to actually buy one for myself straight away since yours truly has a book to finish and a deadline to somehow meet. But I will be watching and waiting for the gamers of the world to make their judgement, well, that and waiting to see if the game needs patching once its out there in the wild. And even though Ken Levine (the man behind the original game) isn’t involved, the advance teasers etc look very intriguing. Of course, the premise and narrative thus far revealed bear no resemblance to the notions I came up with for the Bioshock sequel…which I might post here. In a few weeks. Maybe.
Oh yeah, and next time out I’m going to tell you a little about a personal, near-lifelong obsession with the band the Blue Oyster Cult.
Breathlessly, we head over to SFCrowsnest where one Eamonn Murphy – clearly a chap of considerable insight and taste – has given SOE a both-thumbs-up review. Which gives me the chance to do my humble-Mike, aw gee, just doing ma job is all!
Here’s the link -
Dave Brendon was actually one of the outwith-the-UK winners of the SOE compo a few weeks ago, and was the recipient of a poster and a bookmark, being the small baubles that my finances stretch to. I later learned that Dave has his own review blog, as titled above, and he was generous enough to run a review of Seeds Of Earth, as written by one of his buds, David Jooste. You can read his terrific review by going via the link -
Wow, prestigious or what! Yep, got the headsup from teacher extraordinaire Dave McGilvray that me book had been reviewd in Focus, a BBC magazine that gives a pop overview of science, technology and the future. The reviewer gave it 3/5 stars, but the review felt a bit more like 4. Unfortunately, the BBC Focus website only gives a few sample pages of the issue, but if you want to get it, look for the April 2009 issue.
I mentioned to WebDarren at Orbit that I was feeling…not overwhelmed but kinda astonished/pleased/eversoslightlyhumbled by the number of reviews and indeed good reviews I was getting for SOE, compared with the reception that the Shadowkings books got. And he pointed out to me that even in the last few years the online blogging and reviewing communities are much much bigger than they were 8/9 years ago and have become an important source of info and critical overviews.
Which bring us to the SFFWorld review, in which compliments are made and certain points actually get across! To see it, go here -
Those talented funsters over at Starshipsofa (producers of the finest handcrafted podcasts) have said some jolly terrific things about m’ book, don’t y’know! You can either use the site player to listen to it – http://www.starshipsofa.com/ - or download the mp3 of the podcast from the main site page; you`ll see a blue-lettered link with the words Aural Delights No 69, which should be right-clicked and saved-as, then listened to at round about the 1hr 28min point (altho as you’ll discover there is plenty of other reviews and views in the ‘cast as well)
Also, just a heads-up to remind you that the Win-A-Copy-Of-Me-Book competition ends tonight, at midnight GMT, so get the entries in to email@example.com (see the competition post somewhere south of this one) (and reminding you further that the 3 book prizes will go to British Isles winners only, while 3 bookmark+poster prizes go out to rest-of-the-world winners. Winners will be chosen by the tried and true percentile diceroll method, just a hangover from me dungeon hack days).
Rather spiffy review over at SF Crowsnest by the redoubtable Gareth D Jones. Head on over and take a butcher’s -
Also, a monger of rumours tells me that the East Kilbride branch of Waterstones actually sold out of its first order of me book! 3 cheers for the good citizens of EK!
For those not in the know, Scotland On Sunday is a large, broadsheet-style Sunday newspaper published for readers and buyers mostly in Scotland; its a bit like the Observer but without the bulk. So, the literary editor hisself, Stuart Kelly, has reviewed both my own book and another called Journey Into Space by Toby Litt, a chap who has been mainly a writer of mainstream/literary/contemporary novels (but who claimed in a recent interview that he was a long-time SF fan).
So, go forth my fellow travellers of the mind-galaxies, and read Mr Kelly’s appreciative appraisal, and always remember that to be thought mostly harmless confers something of a tactical advantage.
New issue of Sci Fi Now magazine (#25) is out on the shelves right this very instant, and their reviewer has given Seeds Of Earth it a spiffing 4 out of 5 star, thumbs up review. Splendid!
There’s no online version of the mag, so I’ll hand-craft a small quote for you:
“In this first installment of the Humanity’s Fire saga, Michael Cobley has really nailed his colours to the mast. The story is huge, complex and moves between its varied cast with assured purpose…a tightly plotted, action packed epic that leaves you wanting more.”
Aye, I know this is shameless trumpet autotootling, but moments like these don’t come round the pike every day, ye ken!
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