Wendig’s MIRIAM BLACK Gets New Covers


I was rather fond of the original cover for Chuck Wendig‘s third Miriam Black novel, The Cormorant. The first two covers were pretty interesting, too, if a tad on the busier side (above) – all three were done by Joey Hi-Fi. Today, the author unveiled the new covers for the soon-to-be-published Simon & Schuster editions of the series (below), by Adam S. Doyle. They are also very nice (and may well appeal to a wider audience), but I think I still prefer that third Joey Hi-Fi cover…


I never got around to reading these novels when they were originally published by Angry Robot Books. These re-issues do give me a good excuse to finally read them. I don’t know anything about the television series mentioned in the top right corner of each of the new covers, though.

Here’s the synopsis for Blackbirds:

Miriam Black knows when you will die.

She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.

But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.

No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.

Simon & Schuster are re-issuing the first three novels, and have also commissioned three more. The release schedules are: first three eBooks on April 21st, Blackbirds (September 28th), Mockingbird (October 6th), The Cormorant (yet to be confirmed), Thunderbird (2016).

Hot Damn: Joey Hi-Fi Covers KILL BAXTER by Charlie Human (South Africa Edition)

How awesome is this cover for Charlie Human’s second novel, Kill Baxter?


It’s by Joey Hi-Fi, who has now done four covers for Charlie’s novels – one for each novel for the UK and South African markets. Here’s the synopsis:


The world has been massively unappreciative of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko. His bloodline may be a combination of ancient Boer mystic and giant shape-shifting crow, and he may have won an inter-dimensional battle and saved the world, but does anyone care? No.

Instead he’s packed off to Hexpoort, a magical training school that’s part reformatory, part military school, and just like Hogwarts (except with sex, drugs, and better internet access). The problem is that Baxter sucks at magic. He’s also desperately attempting to control his new ability to dreamwalk, all the while being singled out by the school’s resident bully, who just so happens to be the Chosen One.

But when the school comes under attack, Baxter needs to forget all that and step into action. The only way is joining forces with his favourite recovering alcoholic of a supernatural bounty hunter, Ronin, to try and save the world from the apocalypse. Again.

Here are the other three covers:


Quite like the way the two Apocalypse Now Now cover have close-ups of Baxter and what’s going on inside his head, while the Kill Baxter covers have pulled back a bit.

Kill Baxter is published this week in the UK by Century, and will be published in South Africa by Umuzi/Random Struik and the US by Titan Books. I’m not actually sure when Apocalypse Now Now and Kill Baxter will be officially released in the US.

For more on Charlie’s novels and writing, be sure to follow him on Twitter. Also, check out my review of Apocalypse Now Now.

An Interview with TONY BALLANTYNE


I’ve been aware of Tony Ballantyne’s novels for quite some time, now. I read some of his Penrose novels when they first came out, and have been eagerly awaiting something new. Next month, Solaris will be publishing Dream London, which I will be reading very soon. Graced with a stunning cover by the ever-excellent Joey Hi-Fi, the novel promises to be rather excellent. I had the opportunity to interview Ballantyne, about his work past and present…

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Tony Ballantyne?

Tony Ballantyne is an SFF writer. His short stories have been published around the world and translated into many languages. The first three were the Recursion Series, the next two part of the robopunk Penrose series. Dream London is his sixth novel.

Your latest novel, Dream London, is published by Solaris in October. How would you introduce the novel to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Dream London is a standalone novel, although I do have plans for Dream Paris, a loose sequel. Dream London is rooted in our London, but a London which has been sold to someone or something who is slowly changing the city to suit themselves. Streets change course overnight, buildings grow and shrink and personalities gradually change over time. Captain Jim Wedderburn, the anti hero, is trying to find out who caused these changes.   


What inspired you to write the novel? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?

The novel was inspired by ten years living in London. I had notebooks filled with scenes and ideas, but I had no overall story until a chance conversation provided the spark that pulled the whole thing together. That conversation is basically the opening page of the book – something that happened to my friend whilst on holiday in India. The longer I’ve been writing, the more I’m coming to realise just how much I am inspired by random conversations.

How do you enjoy being a writer and working within the publishing industry?

Being a writer is something that I am: I think most writers would say the same. My wife says that I get naggy when I don’t get to write. I have a very tangential relationship with the publishing industry. I send them stories, they send me rejection slips or cheques. Occasionally we meet in a pub and chat about beer, TV shows and computer games.

When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?

I think I wanted to be an author about the same time as I started to read. My first foray into writing was writing jokes for Private Eye and romantic fiction for women’s magazines. I still recommend trying romantic fiction to all aspiring writers. It teaches you everything you need to now about the structure of a good story.


Penrose 1 & 2 (Published by Tor)

What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?

I am very excited by the genre today. I believe SFF has a wider scope than ever before. I also think that the most exciting and cutting edge work in writing is being produced here. If you look at mainstream literature, it’s about twenty years behind what we’re doing now.

What other projects are you working on, and what do you have currently in the pipeline?

I’m currently working on Cosmopolitan Predators! for Aethernet Magazine. Cosmopolitan Predators! is being written as a piece of serial fiction, as have all the stories in Aethernet. It’s been a fascinating experience, exploring a way of writing that had practically died out. It’s definitely changed me as a writer: you can read more about that here.

After that, it’s back to the long-delayed Penrose 3 novel, some short stories set in the Recursion Universe and, just maybe, Dream Paris.

What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?

Fiction: I’ve just finished the excellent Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Non-Fiction: The fascinating Perfect Rigour by Masha Gessen – the story of Grigori Perelman’s contribution to the solution of the Poincaré conjecture.


What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?

I’m rather good at Ballroom and Latin dancing.

What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months? 

Worldcon. It’ll be great seeing old friends again.


To find out more about Tony Ballantyne’s writing and novels, be sure to visit his website, and be sure to follow him on Twitter. Dream London is published by Solaris Books in the UK and US on October 10th, 2013.

Upcoming: “The Cormorant” by Chuck Wendig (Angry Robot)


This is the third book in Chuck Wendig’s critically-acclaimed Urban Fantasy series. One I have yet to read… (Oh, how many series are there now for which I can say that?) I’ve enjoyed some of Wendig’s vampire fiction for Abaddon Books, so I have no idea why I haven’t read this series, yet… I shall have to get that fixed A.S.A.P. Anyway, I spotted the cover for this novel over on Angry Robot’s website, and had to share it. Once again, the piece has been done by the ever-excellent Joey Hi-Fi, and it’s superb. Here’s the synopsis:

Miriam is on the road again, having transitioned from “thief” to “killer”.

Hired by a wealthy businessman, she heads down to Florida to practice the one thing she’s good at, but in her vision she sees him die by another’s hand and on the wall written in blood is a message just for Miriam.

She’s expected…

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Plying Her Trade | Inevitable | Touch of Death | No More! ]

The Cormorant is due to be published in at the end of December 2013 (eBook and in US), and the beginning of January (UK).

Joey Hi-Fi brings Tony Ballantyne’s “DREAM LONDON” to life… (Solaris)


Hot on the heels of Joey Hi-Fi’s two awesome covers for Charlie Human’s Apocalypse Now Now (Century), Solaris has unveiled the artist’s superb cover for Tony Ballantyne’s next novel, Dream London. The novel will be published in October 2013. In the meantime, here’s the synopsis:

Captain Jim Wedderburn has looks, style and courage by the bucketful. He’s adored by women, respected by men and feared by his enemies. He’s the man to find out who has twisted London into this strange new world, and he knows it.

But in Dream London the city changes a little every night and the people change a little every day. The towers are growing taller, the parks have hidden themselves away and the streets form themselves into strange new patterns. There are people sailing in from new lands down the river, new criminals emerging in the East End and a path spiraling down to another world.

Everyone is changing, no one is who they seem to be.

Upcoming: “Apocalypse Now Now” by Charlie Human (Century)

Feast your eyes on this twisted, visual delight…


This is, as I’m sure you can gather, the cover for South African author Charlie Human’s debut novel, Apocalypse Now Now. The cover was first unveiled on the always awesome Pornokitsch (whose post also has an interview with Charlie Joey Hi-Fi – go check it out).

I’ve been hearing about this book a lot recently (from one person in particular…), and he has done a sufficiently excellent job of making me ridiculously excited to get my grubby mitts on a copy.

Baxter Zevcenko is your average sixteen-year-old-boy — if by average you mean kingpin of a schoolyard porn syndicate and possible serial killer who suffers from surreal  nightmares. Which may very well be what counts as average these days. Baxter is the first to admit that he’s not a nice guy. After all, if the guy below you falls, dragging you down into an icy abyss you have to cut him loose — even in high school. That is until his girlfriend, Esmé, is kidnapped and Baxter is forced to confront a disturbing fact about himself — that he has a heart, and the damn thing is forcing him to abandon high-school politics and set out on a quest to find her. The clues point to supernatural forces at work and Baxter is must admit that he can’t do it alone. Enter Jackie Ronin, supernatural bounty hunter, Border War veteran, and all-round lunatic, who takes him on a chaotic tour of Cape Town’s sweaty, occult underbelly.

What do glowing men, transsexual African valkyries, and zombie-creating arachnids have to do with Esmé’s disappearance? That’s what Baxter really, really needs to find out.

The cover at the top, by Joey Hi-Fi, is the UK edition (to be published by Century in August 2013), but Apocalypse Now Now will also be graced with an equally sinister and moody cover (also by Joey Hi-Fi) in the author’s native South Africa: