short stories

Checking in with some Alastair Reynolds news

Beyond_the_Aquila_Rift_by_Alastair_Reynolds_tradeI’ll be quick, it’s late here and I’m tired. My new job is good, but it’s quite draining. Tonight I’m bringing you just a few pieces of info about some upcoming work by Alastair Reynolds:

  1. Subterranean Press has an alternate dust-jacket for Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds, for the trade hardcover edition. I personally like Reynolds’ own cover more, but that’s quite a bit pricier.
  2. Reynolds has put a very short excerpt of his upcoming novel Revenger on his blog. I haven’t read it because I want to go into the novel completely fresh! Although, I have noticed a new bit of description on the Amazon UK page that describes the novel like so: “A superb SF adventure set in the rubble of a ruined universe, this is a deep space heist story of kidnap, betrayal, alien artefacts and revenge.” A Reynolds space-opera heist? Yes please.
  3. He’s also revealed that he’s sold two new short works, both set in universes of earlier works: “Belladonna Nights”, set in the House of Suns universe, and the longer (maybe novella-length) “The Iron Tactician”, in the Merlin universe. Both settings are incredible, so these will be a treat.

I hope those tidbits have whetted your appetites. I’ll be back soon with a book review or two, and I have some interesting posts on both Reynolds and China Miéville planned!

An exclusive new China Miéville short story available right now in StoryBundle

bestiaryStoryBundle currently has a bundle of ebooks curated by weird fiction experts Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, and it includes a new China Miéville short story you can’t get anywhere else digitally!

One of the books in this month’s selection is The Bestiary, that anthology I talked about ages ago. Turns out I got it wrong back then, Miéville is just a contributor, not the book’s illustrator. The book is made up of stories about weird and wonderful creatures, arranged A-Z, with Miéville contributing at the end for an “invisible letter”.

I have no idea what his story is about, or how long it is. But you only need to pay $15 (USD) to unlock every book in that bundle, so you’ll definitely be getting value for money! I should note that the ebook of The Bestiary is, for now, exclusive to this bundle, and that the hardcover is rather pricey to say the least.

It looks like the bundle is available until the end of December (so if you stumble across this post in 2016, you’re out of luck), and as usual with this sort of thing, you can adjust how much money goes to the writers, how much to charity, and how much to StoryBundle themselves.

Check out the bundle page. Clicking out each book cover gives you the description and other info; and for The Bestiary, you can read the book’s introduction. Remember, if you decide to go for the bundle, to spend at least $15 to unlock every book!

If you snap up the bundle, please let me know in the comments here what you thought of the Miéville story! Me, I might have to wait a while, all my money is going towards Christmas presents at the moment.


A new China Miéville short story will appear in the anthology Dead Letters

stampNot huge news, this, but worth mentioning. As if 28 stories weren’t enough for us, there’s another one by China Miéville coming out next year in the anthology Dead Letters, edited by the horror writer Conrad Williams. It seems to be a collection of letter-themed (and probably mostly epistolary) speculative/horror fiction stories.

Miéville’s story is actually a collaboration with the American author Maria Dahvana Headley, and it’s called “Ledge Bants”. That’s probably a reference to UK slang (“ledge” = “legendary”, “bants” = “banter”), but I could be way off the mark there.

I’ll check out the anthology when it’s released and perhaps review the story. If you want to see the book’s whole table of contents, check it out here!

Dead Letters is out from Titan Books in April 2016.

Three Tidbits of an Explosion

threemomentsJust a few tidbits about the steadily approaching new collection from China Miéville, Three Moments of an Explosion:

  • Publisher’s Weekly has a good, short review! Check it out for some tantalising descriptions of some of the new stories. “In the Slopes” sounds absolutely fascinating.
  • The Scrying Orb has a longer review, which praises the book for its heftiness, variety, black humour, and writing style. However, they say that some of the stories feel a bit samey, and some lack resolution to their weird mysteries. Nonetheless, I remain as excited as always!
  • The always excellent Subterranean Press is doing a limited edition version of the collection with cover art by the one and only Dave McKean! Pre-order it here. I’d be doing so myself if money wasn’t so tight right now.

And now I’ll get back to reading Poseidon’s Wake by Alastair Reynolds, which I got the other day. I might put up a review of it in a couple of weeks, along with some of the other books I’ve read recently. Oh, and I suppose I should also be doing something about that money situation…

Contents and US cover art for Three Moments of an Explosion!

3-Moments-comps-31Barnes and Noble had the exclusive reveal today of the US cover art and the FULL CONTENTS LIST of the new China Miéville collection! Maybe my blog will get an exclusive like that one day… But let’s freak out over all the new info!

Okay, so it’s not the most inspiring of cover art. In fact it’s downright dull. But I’ve never liked the US covers of China’s books compared to the excellent UK work by Crush Creative. Their cover for the new book is exciting and evocative. So putting the crummy US cover art aside, here’s the full story list, with never-before-published stories bearing an asterisk:


New and upcoming work by Alastair Reynolds, including a collaboration with Stephen Baxter

STPSummer2014-425x561The last issue of Subterranean Press Magazine is out now, and it includes a real treat for Alastair Reynolds fans: a new Revelation Space short story titled “The Last Log of the Lachrimosa”, which you can read for free here!

It’s his first work in that universe since 2009, and it’s a great return to the creepiness and existential terror of what I think is one of the best science fiction series ever. One comment I saw online said that it read like Prometheus if it had been done right, and I agree. Here’s hoping there’s much more to come in the future.

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tumblr_inline_n8gc9oZ9fk1s0669xTalking of the future, Reynolds also has a new novella coming out next year called “Slow Bullets”, to be published by Tachyon Publications. It’s interesting that the cover art matches the unified look that Gollancz has given all of Reynolds’ main works. According to Reynolds, the novella is around 40,000 words — which should give a page count of roughly 100 pages. Other than that, there’s next to no info about the story at this point. 

ADDENDUM: Tachyon’s website now has further info about the novella! Here is the description:

From the author of the Revelation Space series comes an interstellar adventure of war, identity, betrayal, and the preservation of civilization itself.

A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur—and for humanity—peace is not to be.

On the brink of the ceasefire, Scur is captured by a renegade war criminal, and left for dead in the ruins of a bunker. She revives aboard a prisoner transport vessel. Something has gone terribly wrong with the ship.

Passengers—combatants from both sides of the war—are waking up from hibernation far too soon. Their memories, embedded in bullets, are the only links to a world which is no longer recognizable. And Scur will be reacquainted with her old enemy, but with much higher stakes than just her own life.

Hopefully, of course, both of these works will make it into Alastair Reynolds’ next collection, whenever that will be arriving.

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And finally, here’s something really exciting: Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter are collaborating on a sequel to a classic Arthur C. Clarke novella, A Meeting with Medusa. The new book is called The Medusa Chronicles, and is coming out in May 2016 according to Amazon. Here’s the synopsis on Amazon as of right now:

Following an accident that almost cost him his life, Howard Falcon was not so much saved as he was converted, through the use of prosthetics, into something faster, stronger and smarter . . . but also slightly less human and more machine than he was. And with this change came an opportunity – that of piloting a mission into Jupiter’s atmosphere, and ultimately of making first contact with the life forms he discovers there.

Picking up the threads of humanity versus artificial intelligences and machines, and of encounters with the alien, this collaborative novel between two superb writers is a sequel to Howard Falcon’s adventures. A proper science fiction adventure, this is perfect for fans of Golden Age SF as well as the modern SF reader.

There’s so much to look forward to!

China Miéville’s flash fiction index (including a new piece!)

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 8.48.17 amIf you aren’t already aware, China Miéville has a blog called rejectamentalist manifesto on which he posts all manner of essays, thoughts, photos, drawings and ephemera; including, from time-to-time, ultra-short fiction (also known as flash fiction).

Yesterday he posted a new piece: “Trailer – ‘The Crawl’“, a kind of terrifying script for the trailer of an imaginary movie. It’s pretty great! That’s not all you can find on his blog though. Below I’ve compiled (and will update in future) an index of the flash fiction pieces available on his blog. Hopefully at least a few of these pieces will make it into his upcoming collection.


If I’ve left anything out please let me know!

Polynia: a new short story by China Miéville!

iceberg2After a pretty damn long drought, there’s finally word of what China Miéville’s been up to lately! Tor UK has just posted a new 25-page short story by China Miéville called “Polynia”, as well as confirmation that there’s a new short story collection coming — the date having finally been settled as June 2015!

That’s over three years since Railsea‘s publication. It’s been a long wait but Miéville fans can rejoice! If you want to hear my thoughts about what might be in the new collection, check out this post.

I haven’t even read the story yet, I’ll be doing that as soon as this blog post is up. I might then come back and edit this post with some quick thoughts about the story. EDIT: Okay, I’ve read it, and it was good! Very weird, and a bit similar to the earlier story “Covehithe”, which deals with people’s reactions to inexplicable phenomena.

Here’s the link. Enjoy!

The Miéville Rarities — The Apology Chapbook (featuring “The 9th Technique”)

imageChina Miéville has ten fiction books currently in print (by his main publishers in the UK and US), as well as two paperback collections of the complete run of Dial H comics. Aside from these though, there are quite a few lesser known Miéville works floating around, waiting to be sought out by his devoted fans. Some of these works are relatively easy to come by in one anthology or another, while other pieces are much rarer. I’ll be writing a series of posts about the uncollected works of Miéville — small review-like pieces detailing the content of these short works, where they can be found, and whether they’re worth tracking down.

First up is The Apology Chapbook, a small and slim paperback released to attendees of the World Fantasy Convention in 2013, where Miéville was scheduled to appear as MC, but had to pull out. This chapbook is his apology and consolation gift for his absence. I didn’t personally attend the convention, but Jared from the geek blog Pornokitsch very kindly contacted me on Twitter and offered to send me a copy. I’m very grateful to Jared for this!

The chapbook contains a quick note of acknowledgements from Miéville, a short story, seven pieces of microfiction, and two illustrations. Read on for info about all of this content!