Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Resurrection Engines - Two Reviews

While I was away on a wee break last week two wonderful reviews for Resurrection Engines appeared, both online and in the national newspapers.

The first was in the Saturday edition of the Financial Times and, for those that missed it, is also available to read online HERE.

Reviewer James Lovegrove said of the anthology;

"Robots abound. Dr Jekyll’s monstrous alter-ego is a sentient military exoskeleton, Peter Pan creates his own scrap-metal Lost Boys, and Silas Marner, in a moving tale by Alison Littlewood, adopts an artificial Eppie..."


"...Juliet E McKenna’s feminist rewrite of She is cunning and funny, and Philip Palmer adds aliens to The Woman in White to great effect. Adam Roberts’s delirious The Crime of the Ancient Mariner replaces Coleridge’s sea voyage with time travel, and works a treat."

He went on to conclude;

"...this anthology is both varied and consistently entertaining."

The second review appeared in Issue 147 of Hub Magazine. This time reviewer Paul Simpson wrote;

"Scott Harrison’s very different account of Jekyll and Hyde, Kim Lakin-Smith’s The Island of Peter Pandora, and Cavan Scott’s Fairest Of Them All examine some of the same themes as their inspirations but add an even darker side to them..."


"The final story is my personal favourite: Jim Mortimore’s take on Robin Hood, which derives its cues from many different versions of the myth and then throws in some H.P. Lovecraft to salt the mixture. Mortimore can sometimes try to juggle too many concepts at once, but he’s been effectively reined in on this so there is a logic to what appears to be grand insanity."

The reviewer concludes with;

"A varied and very enjoyable collection."

Issue 147 is free and can be downloaded for pdf HERE.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Interviewed at SF Signal

Just before Christmas I was interviewed by the chaps over at SF Signal about the recent Steampunk anthology Resurrection Engines. The interview has now gone live and you can read it HERE. I also waffle on about the forthcoming Tales Of The Iron War novels and a few of my childhood influences.

Now that the Christmas period has officially ended and 2013 begins in earnest, I'm back at my desk and facing a very busy but satisfying twelve months ahead. Work continues on the first Tales novel - The Horus Engines - for a June publication, editing work has begun on the second anthology - a horror anthology called Twisted Histories - which will be published by Snowbooks in early Spring, and another two anthologies in the range will appear later in the year (one SF, the other featuring stories set within the H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu Mythos). And my second Tales Of The Iron War novel - a wintery horror-tinged story called Cold Earth - will round the year off nicely.

I'll also be fitting various other bits of writing in between those, of course, so I'll hope to have other announcements as and when during the course of the year!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Guest Post - Jonathan Green

Everyone remembers their first Fighting Fantasy book .

Mine was The Citadel of Chaos. It was 1983 and I was almost 10 years old. I was round my (then) best mate's house and we were rifling through his book collection (in the hope that I could run off home with an armful of his book again) and I stumbled across one with a brilliant cover - it had a creepy old castle, huge scary bats and a really cool monster. He let me borrow it and I was hooked!

After that we took it in turns to buy the whole range of Fighting Fantasy books - lending it to the other one when we'd finished with them; The Forest of Doom, Starship Traveller, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, City of Thieves...we saved up our pocket money and bought the lot.

So when I found out that my friend and fellow Steampunk writer Jonathan Green was wanting to write a book celebrating 30 years of the Fighting Fantasy books I was absolutely thrilled, and when he asked if he could write a guest post for my blog asking for help and support for this new project, of course I was more than happy to help in any way I could with such a fantastic project.

So, here's Jon to tell you more...


‘At last your two-day hike is over. You unsheathe your sword, lay it on the ground and sigh with relief as you lower yourself down on to the mossy rocks to sit for a moment’s rest. You stretch, rub your eyes and finally look up at Firetop Mountain.’

And so began my love affair with Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

Mention Fighting Fantasy, or The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, to people of a certain age and they will either go misty-eyed or get a little over-excited, as they recall battles with the Bloodbeast and such despicable villains as Balthus Dire and Zanbar Bone.

I was eleven years old when The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was published in the summer of 1982. I was also literate, male and an only child, making me the perfect target audience for what was effectively a role-playing game you played by yourself.

What made this a unique experience was that here was a book, written in the second person present tense (which is still something that sets gamebooks apart from almost all over works of fiction) in which the reader was the hero. Success or failure depended upon my decisions, my actions, and, of course, the fickle roll of a pair of dice.

Through the experience of reading the book I was transformed from a nerdy schoolboy into a mighty warrior, who thought nothing of battling a whole host of grotesque monsters – the sort of thing your granny really wouldn’t have approved of if she’d seen some of the illustrations – in the most fantastical environments, before coming up against the (usually magic-wielding) Big Bad at the climax of the story.

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain had such an impact on me that today I am a freelance writer, particularly well-known for my gamebooks, looking to raise funds to write the definitive history of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

If my experiences of discovered Fighting Fantasy sound similar to yours, perhaps you’d consider checking out YOU ARE THE HERO on Kickstarter and pledging your support today.

The YOU ARE THE HERO Kickstarter page –