Interview with SAM PETERS

PetersS-FromDarkestSkiesUKLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Sam Peters?

Sam Peters is a writer and a… something else that is kind of hard to pin down exactly but right now is somewhere on the boundaries of a mathematician or a physicist (except not the sort who actually pushes the boundaries of anything new) and an engineer (except not the sort who actually makes anything). The sort of technology middleman who might have ended up on the Golgafrincham second ship if real physicists and real engineers ever actually got together. Right now Sam is something of an expert on Fast Fourier Transforms, which should have everyone zoning out right about now so unless you want to discuss the Cooley-Tukey algorithm and optimization of the Split Radix method let’s talk about something else, quick!

Your debut novel, From Darkest Skies, will be published by Gollancz in April. It looks rather fabulous: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

I’d call it a Science Fiction thriller wrapped around a love story. It’s partly Keon’s search for the truth about what happened to his missing wife Alysha and partly about him coming to terms with her loss and the consequences of where his grief has taken him – the recreation of Alysha as a simulacrum wrapped around an Artificial Intelligence. Keon and Alysha were basically spooks so the truth he’s looking for turns out to be a lot more complicated than he first thinks. A lot more complicated and a lot more dangerous. Continue reading

Excerpt: BLOOD UPON THE SAND by Bradley Beaulieu (Gollancz)

beaulieub-3-blooduponthesandukToday, we have an excerpt from Brad Beaulieu‘s highly-anticipated Blood Upon the Sand, the next novel in his Song of the Shattered Sands epic fantasy series. First, the synopsis:

Second in epic new fantasy series of mystery, prophecy and death within the ancient walled city of Sharakhai, home to the Twelve Kings…

Çeda, an elite warrior in service to the kings of Sharakhai, is learning their secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further their rule. She has already uncovered the dark history of the asirim, but it’s only when she bonds with them, chaining them to her will, that she feels their pain as her own. They hunger for release, they demand it, but their chains were forged by the gods themselves and are proving unbreakable.

Çeda could become the champion the enslaved asirim have been waiting for, but the need to tread carefully has never been greater. The kings are hungry for blood, scouring the city in a ruthless quest for revenge, while Çeda’s friend Emre and his new allies in the Moonless Host are laying plans to take advantage of the unrest in Sharakhai, and strike a major blow against the kings and their god-given powers.

The shifting tides of power are fickle and dangerous, though. The Kings and the Moonless Host have their own agendas, as does the dangerous blood mage Hamzakiir, whose plotting uncovers a devastating secret that could shatter the power of the hated kings. But it may all be undone if Çeda cannot learn to control the growing anger of the asirim that threatens to overwhelm her…

Blood Upon the Sand is due to be published next week by Gollancz in the UK, and DAW Books in North America. Now, on with the excerpt!

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Upcoming in 2017… Gollancz & Orion

upcoming2017-orion

A selection of anticipated novels from Orion Books (and imprints).

Featuring: Joe Abercrombie, Dan Abnett, Mark Alder, Brad Beaulieu, Ezekiel Boone, C. Robert Cargill, Steve Cavanagh, Mason Cross, Aliette de Bodard, R.J. Ellory, Emily Fridlund, John Hornor Jacobs, Ursula K. le Guin, Ian McDonald, Andrew Pyper, Alastair Reynolds, Simon Wroe

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Guest Post: “On Worldbuilding” by Simon Morden

mordens-authorpicOne of the joys of writing novels over writing for the screen is that your budget is infinite and your imagination is unfettered. You don’t have to worry about the cost of the number of suns your planet orbits around, nor about the practical effort required to have half a dozen alien races, none of whom conform to a basic upright and bipedal morphology, appear repeatedly and interact with your human characters.

In Down Station, when I blew up London – which in and of itself is a somewhat technical task, involving setting fire to the Underground and melting the streets around Mayfair – I needed somewhere for my survivors to run to. That somewhere was Down, which has more in common with Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Julian May’s Pliocene Earth than it does C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. I wanted Down to be both eerily familiar and surprisingly different: you can, of course, read the Books of Down and not worry about what happens under the bonnet, but as the author, that’s exactly what I had to do – open it up and tinker with the engine until I was happy with how it all worked. Continue reading

Guest Post: “How I Do Research” by Miles Cameron

cameronc-authorpicBook four of the Traitor Son series, A Plague of Swords is out this week. Instead of talking to you about the book, I thought I’d discuss how I write, or more particularly, how I do research. To me, research is the very sinew of writing; learning things, and learning skills, is what fires my passion to write and also what allows me to fill pages not just with character, motivation, and plot, but with detail and incident that feel ‘real.’ (Or, gosh, I really hope you think it feels real…) Continue reading

Guest Post: “The Ties That Bind” by Brad Beaulieu

BeaulieuB-AuthorPicCropWhen I first started writing Of Sand and Malice Made, I didn’t have a small novel in mind, or even a set of interconnected novellas. It began only with a single story, “Irindai”, which eventually sold to Ragnarok Publications for their Blackguards anthology. But as I developed that first story I knew it wouldn’t be the last in the series. I started having more and more thoughts about where I could take the story’s primary mover, a djinni-like creature name Rümayesh. I thought more about the sons of the trickster god that were working against her. I thought more about the new character, Brama, a two-bit thief who got pulled into something much larger and more dangerous than he ever expected. And I thought about what it could all mean for the heroine of the series, Çeda. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN by Gene Wolfe (Gollancz)

WolfeG-BookOfTheNewSunUK2016

On November 10th, 2016, Gollancz are publishing new editions of Gene Wolfe‘s classic Book of the New Sun series. The series has completely new covers, and is collected into two volumes — Shadow and Claw and Sword and Citadel. Here’s the synopsis for the first book:

An extraordinary epic, set a million years in the future, in the time of a dying sun, when our present culture is no longer even a memory.

Severian, a torturer’s apprentice, is exiled from his guild after falling in love with one of his prisoners. Ordered to the distant city of Thrax, armed with his ancient executioner’s sword, Terminus Est, Severian must make his way across the perilous, ruined landscape of this far-future Urth. But is his finding of the mystical gem, the Claw of the Conciliator, merely an accident, or does Fate have a grander plans for Severian the torturer…?

Shadow & Claw collects The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator. Sword and Citadel collects The Sword of the Lictor and The Citadel of the Autarch. Each of the four novels that makes up the series is available as an individual eBook, too (click on the titles).

I’ve never read the series, despite it being recommend to me on multiple occasions. Maybe these new editions will be a nice way for me and a number of other new readers to try the series.