Cannot believe that I somehow forgot to post the link here to the movie-trailer for The Ascendant Stars – it was on the list of posts and reachouts to fulfill but….ach, must have had a senior moment of some kind. Darn, another coupla million braincells gone west. But anyway, now, here it is!
The animator is a Yorkshire guy called Ingram Blakelock, who has done various other pieces including the video for the band, A Forest Of Stars, for their track Gatherer Of The Pure. Here’s a link to it -
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Yes, those keen as mustard American readers will finally be able to lay hands on the official Orbit US edition of TAS on November 20th. After which there shall be that readers’ afterglow, followed by the hope, nay, the need for more, MORE, I tell you!…ahem, well, I can always hope. And indeed write, that is, write the new Humanity’s Fire book, a standalone novel entitled Ancestral Machines, currently being slaved over by yr hmble scribe, every paragraph being lovingly handtooled and buffed to a finish…
Just an addendum to the previous, tipping the wink to those who take notice of what I actually scribble on this here blog, that I shall have a handful or two of exclusive Humanity’s Fire-associated items to dispose of, limited edition trinkets to be presented to those who do bring me books to sign.
That is, copies of my own books to sign, sonny jim!
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Well, here we are at the uttermost final hours of 2011, in some ways a pretty awful year (taking a political perspective) yet for yr hmble scribe it has been a bit of a watershed year what with the publication of The Ascendant Stars, the final volume of the Humanity’s Fire trilogy, which rounds off five years or so of dedicated hard work. The trilogy has also been published in Germany and France, and next autumn will appear in the USofA, from Orbit US, which is of course beyond splendid.
Curiously, however, here in the UK one almost gets the feeling that the book has appeared (as Harry Harrison used to say) under conditions of extreme secrecy. Well, okay, I exaggerate, what with the excellent review by Eric Brown in the Guardian back at the start of November, coinciding with its publication on November 3rd. Yet thus far, from the two main pop-SF magazine outlets, SFX and Scifi Now, not so much as a sniff of a review. Odd that.
On the other hand, Scifi Now Online did highlight the cover art for Ascendant Stars (by the very talented Steve Stone), and here is the link for your delectation:
All that remains is to wish all my readers and all visitors to this here blog a very happy and survivable New Year. Have a good un, and see y`all on the other side!
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Well, book 3, The Ascendant Stars, has been out for about 2 1/2 weeks now, during which its had a sparkling review in the Guardian, and….hmm, a few downgrading consumer review/comments on Amazon. Those of you who follow these things might have spotted my ripostes to a couple of these, specifically the 1 and 2 star reviews. Aye, well, perhaps its an ego thing (heh, perhaps…) but I`m pretty sure that there are in existence on this planet books which actually do thoroughly deserve 1 or 2 star reviews and, yep, I don’t think they include mine.
Which is why I took time out to defend my work, contrary to the received wisdom that writers should be aloof from the fray. Then just in the last couple of days a friend or two pointed out one basic flaw in this approach, namely that responding to criticism of a work of fiction can potentially open a can of worms of idiocy. Yes, the can of Idiot Worms! Or, in other words, getting dragged down into tit for tat exchanges that could all too easily degenerate into all-out flame wars. Such an undignified and public word-ruck could have negative consequences (in all kinds of ways) so after some reflection I’ve decided to hang up my Amazon comment pencil and let the readers, however they are motivated, have their say.
In the end I’m pretty sure that I did the best job I was capable of when the books appeared, and the broad spread of responses, including Amazons, seem to show that I am writing stuff that readers enjoy. Immortality exists for writers, on a shelf somewhere in the future, and I hope, aspire to create something that will find its place there.
Well, yes, a jollyl jaunt it was too. Friday morn, hied myself up to Glasgow to catch an intercity train to the Smoke, arrived Euston just after 3pm and was whisked, whisked I say!, by cab to the offices of my publisher and from there to a hostelry for a drink and a gab. Staying over at a friend’s gaff in the north of the city, I rose on Saturday and headed into town for a stock signing at Forbidden Planet, in which I signed a heap of The Ascendant Stars only slightly smaller than Ben Nevis. After that, it was along the road to Caffe Milan to meet up with Phil Palmer, fellow Orbit author – we nattered, signed bookplates, and just generally set the world to rights.
After that, I met up with Chung Kuo writer/man of letters, Dave Wingrove, and we went for a scout around Chinatown and that bit of the west end, before subwaying back to base.
I got back into Glasgow by 5pm on the Sunday, and was back in Irvine by about 6.45, feeling undeniably cream crackered. It was a good break, a neat trip, although it would be have been rather more pleasant if I had not still been in the grip of an irritating cough. C’est la vie.
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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?
…which is another way of saying that the proofread is nearly done, mi amigos! Yes, the 5th (or maybe 6th) round of revising is almost over – I went through the full page stack of the galley proofs with eagle eyes, picking up minor glitches and typos and curious dropouts and strange letter rearrangements (as well as catching the occasional duff sentence construction which I really should have nailed earlier…). And once Orbit’s own proofreader reports back, the last batch of corrections will be applied to create – tadaa! – the final, glittering version of the story which will be pinging off your eyeballs from November 3rd onwards (and with any luck the audiobook version will be available from around then as well).
Next on the drawing board is the growing assemblage of story ideas for the next big project, which will hopefully be another novel, standalone this time, set in the Humanity’s Fire universe. Can’t reveal any details at this stage, save to say that it will knock yer socks off!
Also, I’ll be preparing some unique and tasty giveaways for a wee competition in advance of TAS’ publication date, which will come to the fore round about early October.
Realise that I have been negligent of late, so here’s a little bundle of updates. The Ascendant Stars continues on its trajectory towards the supreme paperyness of transcendant bookhood! – ie, I just completed my side of the copy-edit stage, after which comes the reading of the proofs, which will come in the form of a stack of pages which I have to examine with my eagle eye. Then the book in its final form takes its place in the queue, with the publication still slated for early November. I am informed that Audible want to bring out the audiobook at the same time, and if all is right and sane with the cosmos the narrator shall once again be David Thorpe.
And earlier this week I received a copy of The Orphaned Worlds paperback and a note letting me know that TOW had gone into reprint. Brilliant! And while all this is going on I am working on the outline for the next BIG project, which is all a bit hush hush, just for now….shhh…
Music listened to recently includes Capricorn by Orchid, Call Of Avernus by Alunha, Rites At Dawn by Wobbler, Journey Through The Hidden Gardens by Disperse, The Final Frontier by Iron Maiden (I got my ticket, never fear!), and Lightning On The Strings, Thunder On The Mic by Gangstagrass. And as far as live gigs go, was off with buddy Graeme to see Rush at the SECC, and Devin Townsend at the Glasgow Garage. I’ve also satisfied my games craving in the last few weeks, with The Witcher 2 (great story, but the combat mechanics had been changed to what one commentator called a frantic twitch-a-thon, further distracted by the aggravating inclusion of on-screen button prompts, the kind of thing that ruined Jericho for me). Also played Bioshock 2, enjoyed it immensely (and the Minervas Den addon), Dead Space 2 (really great apart from the inclusion of an unkillable monster – what da hell?) and Singularity which was enjoyable to play with a good story and possibly the best multiple ending I have ever seen in a game.
Upcoming events include (ahem) the Maiden gig at the SECC, Hawklords in October, and Dweezil Zappa in Edinburgh in November, not long after the triumphant appearance of – The Ascendant Stars…of course.
Oh, and I’ll be down in London on June 21st for the New Worlds event at the British Library, along with me old mucker, Dave Wingrove. Should be a blast.
And as for politics – well, I wasn’t exactly a fan of Nick Clegg before; now I stand in awe of the sheer ruin that he’s visited upon the Libdems. How much longer can he stay as leader?
Thought I would share the sheer viridian excellence of the cover for The Ascendant Stars, as created by the ever-megatalented Steve Stone. Oh, those ships!
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