Interview with BRYONY PEARCE

PearceB-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Bryony Pearce?

Bryony Pearce lives in the Forest of Dean and is a full time mum to her two children, husband and cat. She is vegetarian and loves chocolate, wine and writing. People are often surprised at how dark her writing is, as she is generally pretty nice.

When the children let her off taxi duty, she enjoys doing school visits, festivals and events. ‪

Your new novel, Phoenix Burning, is published by Stripes. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader?

The Phoenix series is set in a post-apocalyptic world, that is much changed from our own, the now poisonous seas are full of junk and our hero, Toby, lives on a pirate ship that is searching for an semi-mythical island where the crew can be safe from the governments that hunt them. Continue reading

Interview with GUY HALEY

HaleyG-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Guy Haley?

I am British, from Yorkshire to be precise. I have a kid, a big dog, a fierce wife and lots of brothers. I’m fine, how are you?

Your new novella, The Emperor’s Railroad, will be published by Tor.com in April 2016. It looks really cool: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

Global war devastated the environment, a plague of the living dead wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. That was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place. Conflict between city states is constant, the dead are an ever-present danger. Superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out. Until now…

That’s the blurb. It’s an SF/fantasy/horror/western hybrid, where advanced technology, primitive cities and strange creatures exist alongside knights in armour, and there are zombies. Did I mention the zombies? Sounds complicated? It’s not, actually. I have an underlying history for the whole thing, and it’s sweet as a nut, if I say so myself. The protagonist is a knight of the angels named Quinn, he’s got a gun, two swords, a quest, and a whole lot of secrets besides. Continue reading

Quick Review: THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNEW IT by Nick Cole

ColeN-EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnewItAn interesting post-zombie apocalypse novel

In the future, an artist specializing in historical records creates a piece of art based on three separate accounts of the Pandemic. What follows is a patchwork tale of survival and horror as two lovers struggle to survive the undying dead and the collapse of an America turned charnel house. Told as memos from Ground Zero, and later in the journal of a Dark Tower-like quest by train and foot across a nightmare landscape of ruined cities and raving corpses, the three accounts reveal more than just the grim realities of society’s collapse. The Notebook meets The Walking Dead in this stained glass depiction of the end of the world as we knew it.

After learning about this book via a Tweet from BoingBoing, I promptly headed over to Amazon and bought it. I started it that same day, and blitzed through it pretty quickly. It’s an interesting read, offering something new for a genre and threw out some surprises. It’s an engaging, ultimately uplifting post-apocalyptic tale. Continue reading

Quick Review: DEPTH by Lev A.C. Rosen (Titan/Regan Arts)

RosenLAC-DepthUSMurder and conspiracy in flooded future New York City

Depth combines hardboiled mystery and dystopian science fiction in a future where the rising ocean levels have left New York twenty-one stories under water and cut off from the rest of the United States. But the city survives, and Simone Pierce is one of its best private investigators. Her latest case, running surveillance on a potentially unfaithful husband, was supposed to be easy. Then her target is murdered, and the search for his killer points Simone towards a secret from the past that can’t possibly be real—but that won’t stop the city’s most powerful men and women from trying to acquire it for themselves, with Simone caught in the middle.

Without a doubt, my favourite thing about the novel is the setting — a partially submerged New York City, cut off from the (now-fundamentalist-Christian) mainland. The first 21 storeys are underwater, only tower blocks and sky-scrapers inhabitable — each stitched together by bridges of varying quality and safety. Rosen doesn’t give us too much about the city, but it is unquestionably a character in itself. Every scene offers a new description and development, letting readers know how the city has changed over the decades since the oceans rose, and the methods used by New Yorkers to adapt. The fundamentalist swing of the mainland was amusing to read, even though it’s mainly just offered in passing as a contrast to New York.

The story itself was pretty straight-forward, and I appreciated the fact that Rosen wove it into this world. It wasn’t the best PI/detective story I’ve ever read, and I’m sad to say I wasn’t fully gripped throughout — I ended up far more interested in visualizing the city, rather than following the case. There were moments of excellence (in particular, a handful of turns of phrase that were fantastic).

This was a pretty interesting novel and a quick read. While a bit slow, and not as gripping as I had hoped, it’s still a good introduction to this post-apocalyptic New York City. I would certainly read more novels in this setting.

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Depth is published in the UK by Titan Books and in the US by Regan Arts.

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Interview with RAJAN KHANNA

KhannaR-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Rajan Khanna?

What a difficult question. I suppose it’s redundant to say I’m a writer, so I’ll also say that I’m also a blogger, a reviewer and a narrator. I live in Brooklyn, New York. I have a passion for writing and books. Also for music and beer and airships and the creatures that live in the depths of the ocean.

Your next novel, Rising Tide, will be published by Pyr in October 2015. It’s the second in your dystopian series. How would you introduce the series to a new reader, and what can fans of Falling Sky expect from book two?

My simple explanation for the series is that it’s post-apocalyptic with airships. It’s a fast-paced series of adventures about an airship captain trying not just to survive in the post-apocalypse, but to find a greater purpose.

Readers who read Falling Sky will know that Ben ended that book in a precarious situation. Things only get worse in Rising Tide for both Ben and Miranda. It’s still a fast-paced book, but the stakes are higher in this one.

Continue reading

Guest Post: “Heroes & Villains” by Paul Kane

KaneP-AuthorPicThe relationship between heroes and villains has always fascinated me, even before I became a writer. I remember growing up watching the Doctor battling his mortal enemies, The Daleks on TV (in the Baker/Davidson era), watching Kirk repelling Klingons from the starboard bow, and Bond doing battle with Blofeld (so nice to see him back this year in Spectre!). Blake had Servalan, Obi Wan and co. had Darth Vader, Sherlock Holmes had Moriarty, Batman the Joker, Judge Dredd – Judge Death and Robin had his Sheriff of Nottingham in my favourite take on the mythos, Richard Carpenter’s Robin of Sherwood from the ‘80s… but more on those guys later.

There was just something about it all, the two sides of the same coin thing, but also the notion that one can’t exist without the other – in fact in certain cases one creates the other. It’s the age-old struggle of good vs evil, and these characters symbolise it perfectly. Sometimes one side wins, sometimes the other: but it’s always entertaining to watch how things pan out. Continue reading

Review: UNDER GROUND by S.L. Grey (Macmillan)

GreySL-UndergroundUK2A fast-paced, slow-burn thriller

They thought they were safe…

A global outbreak of a virus sends society spinning out of control. But a small group of people have been preparing for a day like this. Grabbing only the essentials, they head to The Sanctum, a luxury self-sustaining underground survival facility where they’ll shut themselves away and wait for the apocalypse to pass. 

All the residents have their own motivations for buying into the development. A mix of personalities, they are strangers separated by class and belief, all of them hiding secrets. They have only one thing in common: they will do anything to survive.

The doors close, locked and secured with a combination that only one man knows. It’s the safest place they could be. Nothing could go wrong. They’re ready for anything…

But when a body is discovered, they realize that the greatest threat to their survival may be trapped in The Sanctum with them.

“S.L. Grey” is the critically-acclaimed writing partnership between Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg. I haven’t read their previous novel, The Mall, which received rave reviews. This latest novel is a (perhaps oxymoronically) fast-paced slow-burn thriller. A relatively slim novel (under 300 pages), after the cast are gathered at the Sanctum, things quickly spiral out of control, and all hell breaks loose. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Under Ground, but I knew from past experience with Lotz’s writing that it would at least be very good. I wasn’t disappointed — this is a gripping, briskly-paced novel of psychological suspense and the fragility of social norms. Continue reading

Excerpt: WASTELANDS 2 (Titan)

Various-Wastelands2Today, Titan Books publish Wastelands 2, a new anthology of post-apocalyptic fiction edited by award-winning editor John Joseph Adams. Featuring such mega-sellers as George R.R. Martin, David Brin and Hugh Howey, not to mention Pulitzer-prize winner Junot Diaz, the stories contained within offer “an eclectic mix of tales that explores famine, death, war, pestilence, and harbingers of the biblical apocalypse.”

Today, I can share with you an extract, the introduction to Christie Yant‘s story “The Revelation of Morgan Stern”

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It is July 31, your birthday, and I can’t reach you. I’ve been trying all day, but the cell networks are down, the internet is down. I even tried a pay phone–there are two left in town that I know of, and I collected all of my change and walked to the 76 in the village. It was on fire. I watched it for a while from a distance as it painted a brown, toxic streak across the sky. It was a long walk back to the house, or what’s left of it. My feet hurt, and it was too quiet.

The back of the house fell in, but I managed to climb into the kitchen and recover a few things. Tonight we would have celebrated your birthday over video chat, the best we could do so far apart. I have no way to tell you that I salvaged a donut and lit a candle and sang to you. I don’t know if you’re alive or dead. Continue reading

Review: THE DEAD LANDS by Benjamin Percy (Grand Central/Hodder)

PercyB-TheDeadLandsUSAn interesting, excellent dystopian novel

A post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders.

Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon.

Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation, and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.

Red Moon was one of my favourite reads of 2013 – an epic commentary on politics, society and race of the post-9/11 America, it was gripping and superbly written. The Dead Lands is a great follow-up: a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis & Clark expedition, it is a story of hope, oppression, and fear. Anything written by Benjamin Percy really is a must-read. Continue reading

Review: THE WAKE (Vertigo)

TheWake-Complete

Writer: Scott Snyder | Artist: Sean Murphy | Colors: Matt Hollingsworth

When Marine Biologist Lee Archer is approached by the Department of Homeland Security for help with a new threat, she declines, but quickly realizes they won’t take no for an answer. Soon she is plunging to the depths of the Arctic Circle to a secret, underwater oilrig filled with roughnecks and scientists on the brink of an incredible discovery. But when things go horribly wrong, this scientific safe haven will turn into a house of horrors at the bottom of the ocean!

Collects: The Wake #1-10

This is a tricky one to review. This is the whole ten-issue run of the series, which means a lot happens. The multiple timelines, the expansive scope of the story… There’s a lot crammed into this book. It’s the most ambitious of Snyder’s stories that I’ve read, and while I found it excellent on a number of levels, the second half really let the book down. Continue reading