Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Upcoming Event

Where?
Waterstones Piccadilly
203/206 Piccadilly
London
W1J 9HD

When?
Thursday, 25 July 2013, 6:30PM

Who?
Ben Aaronovitch and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

Why?
 It's WRITER versus ACTOR in a no holds barred knock out conversation death match! Plus exclusive reading of extracts of the upcoming BROKEN HOMES by a man who can actually do all the accent (ie: Kobna)!

How?
For the low low price of £5 (or £3 if you're a Waterstones Card Holder) - tickets available in store or via 02078512400/ 02078512419 or events@piccadilly.waterstones.com.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Once More Into The Breach!

I swore I'd never go back to television!
But let's face it I was lying through my teeth.

Ben Aaronovitch(tm) is proud to announce that the Rivers of London series has been optioned by Feel Films.

Feel Films is run by Nick Hirschkorn and is currently producing Joanathan Strange & Mr Norrell for the BBC. Our aim is to produce a TV series that will blow the audiances's socks off and out via their earholes.

This is of course just the beginning of the process and there will be many many...many meetings and proposal documents and ideas being run up flagpoles etc but I'm hopeful we can not just get it done but get it done well.

Zeno Press Release here

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Currently Reading: The Living Landscape

The Living Landscape
How to Read and Understand It
by Patrick Whitefield

Being able to read the landscape whilst on a walk makes a huge difference. It is like suddenly seeing the world in colour after being used to a lifetime of black and white. The Living Landscape looks in detail at landscape formation: from rocks, through soil to vegetation and the intricate web of interactions between plants, animals, climate and the people that makes the landscape around us. Each chapter is interspersed with diagrams, sketches and notes that Patrick has taken over two decades of living and working in the countryside. Patrick will inspire you to reconnect with the land as a living entity, not a collection of different scenery, and develop an active relationship with nature and the countryside. This book invites you to actively engage with nature and experience it first hand. Understanding how landscapes evolve is a useful skill for landscape designers, farmers, gardeners and smallholders but it is also a life-enhancing skill all of us can enjoy. Patrick offers us the enduring pleasure that costs nothing and yet offers everything.

I bought this totally by impulse while in browsing through Stanfords, London's most famous map shop, and took it with me to Herefordshire. By just the end of the first chapter I felt a much better understanding of the landscape around me(1).

(1) admittedly I was starting from a very low base here.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith


REVIEW

I don't do full reviews of books. Partly this is because I don't believe that one's subjective and emotional response to a work of fiction can be explained through a misguided and futile process of deconstruction but mostly it's because I'm too lazy.

So here is my review of Orleans by Sherri L. Smith --- It's bloody brilliant and you should read it. Smith has created a world of terrifying beauty and populated it with characters and stories of such intensity that they will drag you screaming through the landscape until they deposit you breathless and emotional on the final page.

WORLD BUILDING

Now, as a writer, I have a craftsperson's appreciation for a skilful piece of work and one of the many outstanding aspects of Orleans is it's world building.

All storytellers create worlds regardless of their setting, the 87th Precinct is as much an act of secondary creation as Middle Earth or Westeros, the London of Bridget Jones is just as imaginary as New Crobuzon. Any author claiming that they don't concern themselves with worldbuilding is either talking bollocks or trying to distract from a lack of craft. That's not to say every writer needs to create their own languages and six thousand years of history in order to write a good book but it does mean that the so-called dichotomy between worldbuilding and story is every bit as false as the canard(1) of plot versus character.

It is not a zero sum game, all stories take place in a world created by the story teller and character and plot are the same thing seen from different angles.

So what is it that Sherri L. Smith does so well that impressed you - I hear you cry(2).

For a start Smith conveys her world in vivid prose, there's no point creating a world if you're too inarticulate to describe it or, worse, bury your reader under a metric ton of exposition to do so.

For the thing-after-the-start she's obviously done lots of research and then, and this is the really crucial bit, considered how every bit might interact with every other bit. What happens when industrial contaminants leach into the roots of the trees that have started to repopulate an urban area? What groups will be best placed to exploit the dangerous ground created when houses are covered over with silt?

And thing-the-last Smith has made the societies that populate her drowned city realistically complex. Often in a post-apocalyptic setting the author slips into the fallacy that low technology cultures lack both moral and structural complexity. Smith, with her blood group tribes, her vestiges of ‘civilisation’ – the nuns, the scientists, Mr Go, the churches – her freesteaders and bloodhunters has thought about the complex ways groups within a larger society interact. This is not simplistic end of the world wish fulfilment it is a fully realised complex society.

(1) as in an untruth not as in a duck or a pair of small control surfaces placed ahead of the main wings on an aeroplane.
(2) Or words to that effect

Friday, 14 June 2013

Upcoming Events

Here are some upcoming events - although judging by the gleam in tthe Orion publicist's eye there will be more.

Winchester - 22nd of June 2013
Newbooks Magazine's Readers Conference
Details are here.

The UK - 25th July 2013
Release Day - Broken Homes (Hardback)
+ the audio version.


London - 27th July 2013 - 2:00 PM

BFI 'Doctor Who at 50' Screening of Remembrance of the Daleks
Details can be found here but I think they may be sold out.,

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Currently Reading: Afro SF

Afro SF
Science Fiction by African Writers
Edited by Ivor W. Haartmann

Stories from...
Nnedi Okorafor
Sarah Lotz
Tendai Huchu
Cristy Zinn
Ashley Jacobs
Nick Wood
Tade Thompson
S.A. Partridge
Chinelo Onwualu
Uko Bendi Udo
Dave de Burgh
Biram Mboob
Sally-Ann Murray
Mandisi Nkomo
Liam Kruger
Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu
De La Haye
Mia Aderne
Rafeeat Aliyu
Martin Stokes
Clifton Gachagua
Efe Okogu

Thursday, 6 June 2013

AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

CITIZENS OF NORTH AMERICA!
REJOICE!

I bring tidings of great joy!
And also tidings of slightly less great joy!

First the good news!
From henceforth the Peter Grant series, from BROKEN HOMES onwards, will be published by DAW. That’s right our intrepid police constable is joining the ranks of the yellow sided mass market paperback.

DAW also publish many of my heroes and intend to take advantage of that by blagging as many free copies as I can get my hands on(1).

DAW and I have decided to go with modified versions of the UK covers so at the very least they will be easy to spot.

And now for the news that is not so good.

Unfortunately the first slot open for publication in North America is Febuary 14th 2014 – sorry.

This is actually my fault for delivering late(2) but Betsy Wolfheim, an editor so legendary that even her emails are carved into the walls of lost temples, has said that if I can finish the next book on time she’ll be able to synchronise the release dates for five and six.

However to assuage your anger here is a picture of a humorous cat.



News that is pretty neutral!
An audio version of Broken Homes will be available in North America – ideally around the same time as the book release.

(1) I admit that that this particular aspect is much better news for me than it is for you.
(2) Although on the up side this will give new readers a chance to catch up with the first three books – just saying.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Currently Reading: Orleans

Orleans
By Sherri L. Smith

(Blurb) After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct…but in reality, a new primitive society has been born. Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen soon meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Navigating the Orleans wilderness, they form an unlikely bond and, in the end, may be each other’s last hope for survival.