Annotated Excerpt: THE BONE SHIPS by RJ Barker (Orbit)

BarkerRJ-TC1-BoneShipsUSToday, we have the honour of sharing an annotated excerpt from RJ Barker‘s highly-anticipated novel, The Bone Ships! The novel is due to be published by Orbit Books this week in both the UK and North America. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

A brilliantly imagined saga of honour, glory, and warfare…

Two nations at war. A prize beyond compare.

For generations, the fleets of the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.

Then the dragons disappeared. But the battle for supremacy on the high seas persisted.

When the first dragon in centuries is spotted in far-off waters, both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour. Because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war.

Now, I’ll turn it over to RJ…

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Interview with REESE HOGAN

HoganR-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Reese Hogan?

I’m a sci fi writer who loves to write books with a blend of high action and broken relationships. I’m also the mother of two very cool children. I love working out, and I’m obsessed with music, especially alt and punk rock.

Your latest novel, Shrouded Loyalties, is published this month by Angry Robot Books. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s a dieselpunk spy fi about a submarine that can travel vast distances across the planet through an alternate realm inhabited by monsters. When Chief Sea Officer Blackwood receives strange powers during a mission through this realm, she is put in the hands of ruthless scientists to be studied, along with her partner, Holland. But she doesn’t know that Holland is an enemy spy… or that Holland’s partner has seduced her teenage brother Andrew and drawn him into enemy collaboration. Continue reading

Interview with TROY CARROL BUCHER

BucherTC-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Troy Carrol Bucher?

Former marathon runner. Former resident of Arizona. Soon to be former Lieutenant Colonel. Served in the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Your debut novel, Lies of Descent, is due to be published by DAW in August. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s the first of three books in the coming-of-age story of two characters, Riam and Nola. While it begins along the lines of the typical hero’s journey, things soon spiral in very different directions for the protagonists. It’s an otherworld fantasy, in a place where the gods fell from the heavens and fought long ago. It has a bit of military flavour, since it is loosely centered around the regiments that remain from the Fallen Gods’ War. So that’s were the story begins, with Riam and Nola plucked from their homes to serve in the regiments that remain. Whether or not they ever get to serve, or if they even should… well, those are for the reader to find out. Continue reading

Interview with SUYI DAVIES OKUNGBOWA

OkungbowaSD-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Suyi Davies Okungbowa?

I was born and raised in Benin City, Nigeria to parents in academia, so reading and stories have always been a big part of my life. Benin’s an ancient city, see, dates back to the 11th century, so there isn’t much going on there. I experienced most of the world through books (and cable TV, haha). I had my primary, secondary and tertiary education within the same walls of the University of Benin. Since then, I’ve moved around a bit, working in engineering, professional services, marketing and communications and digital learning. Currently, I’m an MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where I also teach writing to freshmen and sophomores.

Your debut novel, David Mogo, Godhunter, is due to be published in July by Abaddon. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

Well, I initially pitched the book to David [Moore] as American Gods-meets-The Dresden Files, set in Lagos. Since then, I’ve heard it called everything from Constantine-meets-Black Panther to a godpocalyptic thriller. To a potential reader, I’d say if you took a demigod’s identity crisis, mixed it with a failing, overcrowded city’s god infestation, and set a wizard’s fire under it, what you get is David Mogo, Godhunter. It features Yoruba orisha mythology, but also draws on myths and legends from other Nigerian ethnicities like the Edo pantheon (where I’m from) as well as the Urhobo and Igbo. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Worldbuilding PIMP MY AIRSHIP” by Maurice Broaddus

BroaddusM-AuthorPicI’ve often told the story of how the short story “Pimp My Airship” started as a joke gone awry on Twitter. When the story was actually requested, I had to build a world. The main criticism the story received was that there seemed to be a lot of world that the reader barely gets to see in the five-thousand-word story. When I fleshed out the origins of the Star Child, it led to the novelette “Steppin’ Razor”; and a throwaway line about “the Five Civilized Nations of the northwest territories and the Tejas Free Republic” led to the novella Buffalo Soldier. I won’t lie, the criticism still followed me. Perhaps they had a point about how much world I can compact into a story. That’s because my favorite part of the writing process is worldbuilding since that’s when I really get to play. For Pimp My Airship, I allow myself plenty of room to build out my world. Its creation centers around three areas: Continue reading

Interview with WAYNE HOLLOWAY

hollowayw-authorpicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Wayne Holloway?

I am a writer/director working in commercials, content and film/TV, based in London. I have spent a lot of time working in LA over the years. Have been writing fiction for the past five years, inspired in some ways by a job that has taken me around the world and back. To try and write beyond what I know biographically, but starting there, with things I have seen and heard and the people I have met, whether in life, other fiction or history…

Your new novel, Bindlestiff, was recently published by Influx Press. It looks really intriguing: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

Bindlestiff is inspired in part by a screenplay I wrote for Forest Whittaker about 8 years ago, which never got made. So it is in part a satire on Hollywood, but no easy send up, a more tragic take on how we are all, to a larger or lesser degree (from viewer, to producer, to writer, to director, to actor, etc.), complicit in the system and the products it makes. I would say this frames the story, which, to put it simply, focuses on the escape act made by the characters in an unmade screenplay into prose. To be more precise the novel is about the relationship between these characters and the system of cultural production as it pertains to Hollywood and probably elsewhere, but here quintessentially. Continue reading

Interview with GAVIN G. SMITH

SmithGG-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Gavin Smith?

Just some guy. (He’s a science fiction and fantasy writer with a track record for action oriented stories.)

Your third Bastard Legion novel, War Criminals, is due to be published in July. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader? And what can fans of the series expect from this instalment?

So the high concept pitch for Bastard Legion is the Dirty Dozen/Suicide Squad (depending on your age) meets Aliens. It’s about a mercenary penal legion recruited from the 6,000-strong convict population the Hangman’s Daughter (an interstellar prison barge). They are led by the cheerful, if possibly psychopathic, ex-black ops soldier Miska Corbin and the VR ghost of her dead dad.

War Criminals will see the Legion engaged in a full scale war for the first time! (Previously it’s been smaller-scale black ops.) Continue reading