Monthly Archives: June 2013

Fantastic Journeys

Rustblind and Silverbright is here! Every good book deserves a proper send-off, and I’m delighted to announce that Rustblind will be launched upon the world with all due ceremony – not to mention generous amounts of alcohol – at 7pm this coming Thursday, July 4th, from the excellent Review bookshop at 131 Bellenden Road SE15. That’s just 5 minutes’ walk from Peckham Rye station – head down Bellenden Road to the junction with Choumert Road. The bookshop is opposite The Victoria pub – you can’t miss it. Review is a wonderful independent and independently-minded bookshop, situated in a beautiful, tree-lined South London street (and any of you North Londoners out there about to protest that there is no such thing, just come along and see for yourselves!) with a designated events space and a selection of great cafes and pubs in the immediate vicinity. In short, it’s the perfect venue and we’re delighted that Review is hosting us.

Rustblind and Silverbright is David Rix of Eibonvale’s first solo editing project, and if this auspicious start is the way he means to go on, then the world of horror and slipstream is in for some fine treats in future, that’s for sure. I’ve had a sneak preview via the proof pdf, and I can tell you that the selection of stories on offer is really rather special. Clearly David is not the only one who keeps the subject of trains close to his heart, because the contributors to this railway-themed anthology flaunt their affection, fascination and obsession with the railways in every word they write. There have been railway anthologies before of course, but I seriously believe there’s never been anything quite like this one. Rix’s attention to detail in the original cover art, formatting and interior layout is the icing on the cake.

And that’s not all! This ‘evening of the uncanny’ will also see the official London launch of Quentin Crisp’s Defeated Dogs (Eibonvale Press), P. F Jeffery’s Jane (Chomu Press) together with two new titles from PS Publishing, Rosanne Rabinowitz‘s captivating Machen-themed novella Helen’s Story, and my own story cycle Stardust. In celebration of the launch, PS are currently offering a special deal on joint purchases of Helen’s Story and Stardust, so those who aren’t able to get to the event won’t miss out.

The evening will feature a series of readings by authors, who will be happy to answer your questions and of course sign your books! Please do come along and say hello, have a glass of wine with us and get involved in all things uncanny. We’ll look forward to seeing you on the night.

You can read more about the event at the Review’s events diary here.

 

 

Nod

“How did you know it was coming?”

That stumped me. Had I seen Nod coming? It was true that part of me had always remained outside the old world – a ghost with folded arms. I think I always suspected that some sort of fraud was being perpetuated as I watched ‘normal’ play out. Maybe I just expected more of life than it was ever realistically going to be able to deliver – maybe I was a romantic.

Real romantics are never the ones with the easy, winning ways about them; the real romantics are always the guarded ones, the paranoid and the worried, the ones with furrowed brows and coffee jitters. After all, anyone looking with open eyes at the world we’d made would have to have been very, very worried. (Nod, pp155-56)

 

Apocalypse seems to be in fashion at the moment. The end of the world is so much in vogue that writers and film directors are falling over themselves to come up with new and exciting ways to doom the planet. The end result is that we’ve been faced with some pretty silly scenarios recently, most of them zombie-related, many of them not worth our time. When I first read the synopsis of Adrian Barnes’s debut novel Nod – in which civilization is brought to a juddering halt when the global population becomes fatally psychotic through lack of sleep – I mentally rolled my eyes and breathed a silent ‘oh no.’ I couldn’t imagine how such a bizarre idea could be made to work, much less contribute anything substantial to the literature of universal destruction. I might not have read it at all, had it not been for the violently differing responses it began to elicit. Critics I admire and trust quickly aligned themselves more or less fifty-fifty either side of the love-it/hate-it axis. I became curious in the extreme, especially when the book scored valuable kudos for its publisher, Hebden Bridge-based indie Bluemoose Books, by graduating to the Clarke Award shortlist. How could I not want to read a novel that seemed to inspire devotion and dislike in equal measure?

I was eager to find out what I thought.

Let me announce my own allegiance straight away: I loved it. I was sold almost from the first page, because Nod turned out to be different in every respect from what I imagined it would be, and when it comes to new novels at least there’s nothing I enjoy more than being proved wrong.

One of the things the ‘hate-it’ critics seemed to dislike most about the novel was the voice of its narrator, Paul. While his wife Tanya works the corporate hamster wheel to bring in the money, Paul sits at home obsessing over obscure texts on etymology, writing books that he is finding increasingly difficult to get published. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are readers who have judged Paul to be a heartless bastard: disaffected, cynical, grudging and selfishly malcontent. But I’m bound to admit that I found Paul’s excoriating brand of honesty brave and refreshing. He cuts to the chase, that’s all – and doesn’t give much of a damn what anyone around him has to say about that. What some have seen as Paul’s smug isolationism I read as barely contained fury at what he perceives as his own failures, his objectifying of Tanya as the desperate, staring-eyed consternation of a man who knows beyond all doubt that the person he loves is going to die, and there isn’t a single damned thing he can do to save her. Paul’s social commentary – devastating and ruthless though it is – is braver and more accurately aimed than most of anything you’ll find in the more poetically moderated mainstream. And cynical be damned. To my mind at least, Paul – see the quote above – is actually one of the romantics.

More often than not, I found myself being won over to Paul’s side. But the most surprising discovery I made about Nod was that it’s not really a future catastrophe novel at all – it’s a book about now.

Yes, there’s a story – quite a powerful one, actually – about the world ending. In the tradition of many great end-of-the-world narratives, a big thing begins with a small thing that rapidly snowballs. People can’t sleep, and without sleep people die, ergo the world is heading for total meltdown in just thirty days. There’s no known cause for this curious pandemic, no hope of finding a cure either, because only a tiny minority seem to be exempt from the condition and everyone else is spiralling downhill at the same ultra-rapid rate. In a remarkably short space of time, what passes for normality becomes a nonsense and finally a charnel house. A freaked-out navy man nukes Seattle. The lunatics have taken over the asylum, and the asylum is the world. But it seems clear from early on in the book that Barnes is not writing a zombie apocalypse at all, but an indictment of our soiled and congested present:

The television’s caffeinated universe kept unfolding. The flesh-draped skulls of the anchormen and women yammered, and their joke shop teeth chattered. And their eyes! You’d have to handle those twitching eyes carefully if you ever found them in the palms of your hot little hands; you’d have to fight the urge to squeeze their jelly till it squished between your fingers. The men and women on TV were brazen heads. Of Irish derivation, a brazen head was omniscient and told those who consulted it whatever they needed to know, past, present or future: ‘let there be a brazen head set in the middle of things… out of which cast flames of fire.’ Isn’t that television, exactly? In the middle of things, burning away? (Nod, pp13-14)

What Nod portrays, more than the hypothetical bizarre, is the everyday commonplace: the compulsive pursuit of needless information, the desperate rush to acquire superfluous things, the violent cycle of exploitation that is end-of-the-road capitalism. The novel’s narrative is a thread to hang this on, a deliberate hyperbole, an ironical rant. What Barnes seems to be saying, put most simply, is: ‘wake up!’ The best science fiction of Nod lies not in its depiction of an implausible catastrophe, but in its usage of the story tropes of apocalypse as metaphorical construct. Indeed, I found the best way of reading and understanding Nod was to see the entire narrative as one extended metaphor, one of Paul’s ‘lost’ words, or a new word even, struggling for expression.

The novel’s final paragraph acts as a rewind to now. More than showing us what has happened or warning us of what might happen in the future, it’s reminding us of all the things – through greed, through waste, through iniquity, through political ignorance, through sheer habitual passivity – we stand to lose in a present that is already unravelling.

And of course for Paul, for Barnes, for all of us what remains in the end are our stories, our ways of telling our lives that in their variousness maintain our integrity in the face of impossible opposition. If words cannot in the end save us from what must come, they can at least insist that we were here:

In these final hours, I meditate on the passing of Nod and – of course – on words. There’s more power in words than people think. How does the Bible begin? ‘In the beginning was the Word.’ Nod was the miracle of the undergraduate poet, the sensitive young person who discovers that he or she can combine adjectives and nouns higgledy piggledy and come up with all sorts of fantastic monsters: cowering towers, fierce slumber, panicky taxis, shy murderers, and the like. (Nod, p198)

The rashness, the impetuosity, the unevenness, the anger of Nod is what made this novel, for me at least, unexpectedly moving. Nod reads like a book that had to be written. To my mind, there are few better recommendations for reading anything.

Paris in the Spring

We’ve just returned from Paris, where I’ve spent the last couple of days meeting the press and having my photo taken as part of the run-up to the publication of the French edition of The Silver Wind at the end of August. I’ve just this morning received my author copies of the book – entitled Complications in French – and I for one think it looks fantastic. The cover design couldn’t be more beautiful or more appropriate!

And the initial response to the book has been overwhelming. I gave four in-depth interviews to four highly competent journalists – Christine Marcandier of Mediapart, Macha Sery of Le Monde, Frederique Roussel of Liberation, and Clementine Godszal of Les Inrockuptibles – all of whom had not only read the book very closely, but had interesting and insightful things to say and ask about it, too. I was blown away by their natural enthusiasm for speculative fiction in general and for Complications in particular. The experience of meeting and talking to them was deeply energizing.

Complications is being published by Editions Tristram, an independent imprint founded in 1988 by Jean-Hubert Gailliot under the slogan: ‘What changes literature is literature itself’. The people who run Tristram are in love with books and with ideas. They quite clearly see it as their mission to seek out and promote the work of writers who come at things from a different angle, who work at the boundaries of genre, who produce work that is an individual expression of an original or contrary worldview. To say that I am thrilled to be associated with them is an understatement, and when you look at their catalogue – which includes work by J. G. Ballard, Joyce Carol Oates, Arno Schmidt, Pierre Bourgeade and Patti Smith – you will very quickly understand why.

In the Cafe Les Editeurs, with Sylvie Martigny and Jean-Hubert Gailliot of Editions Tristram

While in Paris, Chris and I had the additional thrill of staying in the hotel La Louisiane on the Rue de Seine. Situated just a minute’s walk from the Boulevard Saint-Germain, this historic building has played host to many artists, musicians and writers – John Coltrane and Miles Davis, de Beauvoir and Sartre, Ernest Hemingway and Henry Miller to name just a few. (How amazing is that?? I’m still having difficulty taking it all in, to be honest. I was particularly thrilled to discover that in more recent times the hotel has also been the preferred Parisian overnight resting place of Quentin Tarantino… )

Finally though, I really must say a few words about my amazing translator, Bernard Sigaud. With translations of works by J. G. Ballard, M. John Harrison and Paul McAuley (among many others) in his portfolio, Bernard is no stranger to the world of British science fiction. His first encounter with my work came through reading my story ‘Microcosmos’ in Interzone, and it was Bernard who brought The Silver Wind to the attention of Editions Tristram in the first place. Without Bernard and his tireless enthusiasm for speculative fiction, this project would not be happening, and I owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. French readers might notice also that Complications has more pages than The Silver Wind, and this is because it contains an extra story. Here again it was Bernard who became interested in the peculiar sideways connections between my story ‘Darkroom’, first published in Elastic Press’s Subtle Edens anthology, and the stories that make up the original English edition of The Silver Wind.  When he emailed and asked me if ‘Darkroom’ might be included in the French edition I was happy enough to agree, but also surprised. It is true that I wrote ‘Darkroom’ while I was working on the other ‘Martin stories’, so I knew some material was likely to have seeped across. But it was only this last week, when I reread all the stories in preparation for the Paris trip, that I fully appreciated the wisdom and happy insight of Bernard’s idea. The connections between the stories are tight, and strange, and illuminating. I’m delighted to see ‘Chambre Noire’ lead off this wonderful venture, and pleased with the thought that future French readers of my work will be getting something a little different, something new.

With Clementine Godszal, Cafe de Flore

'Say cheese..!' Having my photo taken in Cafe de Flore

How time flies at Cafe Les Editeurs - all photos by Chris Priest

Faraway, so close

At just over four hundred pages, The Adjacent is Christopher Priest’s longest book to date. It would have to be, to contain as much as it does – depending on how you count them, there are up to eight different narrative strands in The Adjacent – but at its most basic level, the novel is a simple love story. The story of Tibor Tarent, a freelance photographer searching for the truth about what really happened to his wife Melanie, is the driving engine of this marvellous narrative from the first page until the last. As Tarent travels through a near-future Britain devastated by climate change and by other, still more sinister forces, further stories reveal themselves, offering us glimpses of the past and of other realities that may themselves somehow – mysteriously – also be a part of Tarent’s personal odyssey.

For me, one of the most remarkable aspects of Christopher Priest’s fiction has always been its way of combining complicated, elusive truths with addictive readability. There are very few writers I know of who can do this. There are writers who tell amazing stories – but their novels do not always hold enough in the way of philosophical or formal complexity to survive much in the way of critical analysis. And there are those writers who can not only survive critical analysis, they’re gifted and erudite enough to chew up the critics for a snack and still get part of a new chapter written before bedtime – but they are not always the writers you turn to for sheer visceral excitement and page-turning pleasure.

The writer who can provide both intellectual sustenance and a true sense of narrative wonderment is a very special writer indeed, and Christopher Priest is one of them. No matter how big and how complex Priest’s story arcs – and the story arc of The Adjacent might be his biggest and most complex yet – they are guaranteed to provide the kind of reading pleasure that has you flying through the pages, desperate to discover what is going on and what will happen.

Tibor Tarent had been travelling so long, from so far, hustled by officials through borders and zones, treated with deference but nonetheless made to move quickly from one place to the next. And the mix of vehicles: a helicopter, a train with covered windows, a fast-moving boat of some kind, an aircraft, then a Mebsher personnel carrier. Finally he was taken on board another ship, a passenger ferry, where a cabin was made ready for him and he slept fitfully through most of the voyage. One of the officials, a woman, travelled with him, but she remained discreetly unapproachable. They were heading up the English Channel under a dark grey sky, the land distantly in view – when he went up to the boat deck the wind was stiff and laced with sleet and he did not stay there for long.

This is the first paragraph of The Adjacent – and by the time we reach the end of it we are already in the midst of story. The prose is descriptive but economical, as Priest’s prose always is – there’s enough detail here to fascinate, but not so much as to make us feel bogged down in extraneous words. And we want to read on – indeed, it would be difficult not to. Who is Tarent and where is he going? Why is he in the company of these officials? What is a Mebsher?

More to the point, when are we?

All these questions get answered relatively swiftly, but others arise with equal rapidity to take their place. We travel with Tarent, we lose track of him for a while and then we find him again. The cast of characters shifts, then changes, then realigns itself. The more we read, the more we learn – or at least we think we do. And we are committed to this journey, constantly exhilarated by it, because no matter how far-flung or how strange the events we witness, there is always at the back and in the heart of them the hot pulse of story.

Chris first began writing what would eventually become The Adjacent in 2008. The difficulties that attended the first publication of The Separation some six years earlier had a paralysing effect (ask him and he’ll tell you about it) and so when The Adjacent finally got going, it was clear from the start that it would necessarily be a big book, a novel that would be both a continuation of some of the themes explored in The Separation, and a radical formal departure from the kind of book The Separation was. A gap-bridger and a bridge-burner, in one.

Such a book demanded perseverance and endurance. Soon after beginning to write it, Chris also embarked on what started as a personal entertainment, something to play with in the evenings as a break from the more protracted, intense concentration needed for work on The Adjacent: a list of the islands of the Dream Archipelago and their various social and geographical idiosyncracies. For a while he continued working on these two projects in tandem, but then gradually his interest in what would be The Islanders took over to such an extent that it became impossible for him not to write it. The Adjacent remained in stasis, frozen at the end of Part 2 (Tibor Tarent in the military compound at Long Sutton, Tommy Trent getting out of the train at Charing Cross) and with the future-ghost of forward momentum almost painfully palpable. Chris resumed work on the novel almost immediately after delivering The Islanders to Simon Spanton at Gollancz in the autumn of 2010, but as a novelist you can never go back, and the very act of writing another book in between had worked seismic changes upon what this next book was about to become.

The Adjacent, like The Separation, is a novel about war and the folly of war. Somewhere towards the end of The Separation, one of its twin protagonists, Joe Sawyer, describes war as a set of vested interests, and one of the central thrusts of that novel lies in demonstrating how even so-called just wars have a tendency towards unpredictable and often undesirable outcomes. This theme is broadened and deepened in The Adjacent, which plays heady games with narrative form and risky subject matter, even as it obliquely warns of the stupidity that is always inherent in deploying super-weapons. That this warning comes giftwrapped in further uncertainties will not come as a surprise to seasoned Priestophiles. Priest’s unreliable narrators and narratives backlight the subjectivity of human experience. More than anything, they remind us of how no two accounts of a thing or an event – a war, an argument, a transformative journey, the reading of a novel – can ever fully coincide, because such experiences are renewed and transformed by each individual who undergoes them.

For every reader of The Adjacent there will come an ‘ah-HA’ moment, a moment when the novel expands to become something else, something greater than the reader thought it might be, offering insights and themes and panoramas they did not see coming. That no two readers will experience this moment the same way, or even at the same point in the book, is something that as The Adjacent‘s first reader I guarantee.

Chris and I first met in 2004. Prior to that I experienced his novels as any other reader would experience them: as fully formed artefacts, as completed works. I had little idea of what to expect in advance beyond the cover blurb, and I came to them with the excitement of discovery that always accompanies the purchase of a new or previously unread novel by a favourite author. My experience of both The Islanders and The Adjacent has been very different. Because I am now so close to Chris’s novels as he is writing them, I can never again have that first delirious Priestian reading experience that many people will be anticipating today as The Adjacent is published, and in some ways there’s no denying that I envy them! I can barely imagine what it might feel like to come upon The Adjacent unprepared, to discover it page by page, with only the smallest clue of where its story might eventually lead me.

But then as Chris’s first reader, one of the things I have in exchange is the immense privilege of being present at all those ‘ah-HA!’ moments, when some completely new and unanticipated element of story or narrative comes into play. A sudden insight, or a character that has remained in the shadows up till now, and whose appearance casts the evolving novel in a whole new light.

The Adjacent is an incredible novel. Intricate and robust, dynamic and contemplative, angry and tender, it demands to be read, and talked about, and argued over. Above all though, it demands to be enjoyed.

The Folded Man

The Folded Man is the debut novel of Matt Hill, a writer currently based in London but born in Manchester, and it’s clearly Manchester his heart is closest to, because it is Manchester that provides the backbone, the ambience, the gritty alternate reality of this extraordinary story.

It’s 2018, and things in near-future Britain are not looking good. The action of the novel takes place against a backdrop of racist vigilante violence, terrorist insurgence and police brutality. Mass outbreaks of rioting have laid waste to the urban environment. The civilian population is under curfew, and both petty and not-so-petty crime runs more or less unchecked.

Our unlikely hero is Brian Meredith, an unemployed drug addict and wheelchair user who believes he is a mermaid. Brian suffers from the rare genetic condition sirenomelia – his legs are fused together, giving them the appearance of a fish’s tail. As most people born with sirenomelia seldom live more than a couple of days, Brian is something of a miracle. He should not be alive – and yet he is. Hill’s vital and unflinching portrayal of this extraordinary character is very nearly as rare a miracle as Brian himself.

Brian begins the novel in a state of numb passivity. His main protector, his mother, is dead. His city is being smashed to ruins before his eyes. It is as much as Brian can do to keep himself alive and in coke. Then, half bullied and half persuaded by his friend Noah, he finds himself caught up in a series of events that make even the fact of his extraordinary existence pale to ordinariness by comparison. What follows is part thriller, part chiller, part X Files conspiracy. Brian is deceived, used, abused, confused – but doggedly refuses to take on the role of victim.  That he is able to survive at all in such a hostile environment is noteworthy. That he is able to finally be master of his destiny is – that word again – miraculous.

This is a science fiction novel that manages – just – to keep its science fictional rationale where lesser novels of the urban slipstream have crashed and burned. I spent the final thirty pages of this book on the edge of my seat – not so much in suspense over the outcome (much as I loved it) but on tenterhooks as to whether Hill would be able to hold the story together. He does, and I cheered inwardly at his achievement. It would be impossible to write many words about The Folded Man without also passing comment on the narrative style, a kind of broken stream of consciousness, a window into Brian-world, an unblinking, unshrinking grasping-of-the-nettle from Brian’s perspective. I loved this too – all the more so in retrospect, because of the way it grew on me. I have to confess I didn’t warm to Brian all that much at first – he kind of pissed me off – but by the end of the book I was wholly with him, protective of him but inspired by him too: rejoicing in his tenacity, his fuck-you attitude to the indignities that constantly threaten to overwhelm him, mesmerised by his very particular, very nearly insane brand of personal courage.

If there is hope in this novel – and I think there is – it lies in the resilience of Manchester and its people – people like Brian – in their refusal to have others run their lives for them. The one thing Brian will not let go of is his love for Manchester, and from time to time, through his eyes, we glimpse moments of a future in which the broken city he calls his home will rise from its ashes.

I understand that Matt Hill is currently working on a second novel. I truly hope that it will be a speculative one. The British fantastic needs him. An outstanding debut.

Byzantium

There’s only so much you can do with the vampire subgenre, and you can bet that most everything you can do has already been done before. But at least in Neil Jordan’s new film Byzantium there is the satisfaction of seeing those things done beautifully, and very well.

Byzantium tells the story of two vampires on the run from their past, seeking sanctuary in an obscure town and knocking ordinary lives off kilter as they play out the latest round in a personal vendetta that has already been going on for a couple of centuries. It’s a familiar set-up – horror fans will have no trouble in catching echoes of Interview With the Vampire, Let the Right One In, The Hunger, even. What’s less familiar is the sheer haunting intensity of this film, the atmosphere it creates through its striking combination of opulence and understatement, the curious and (for me) utterly compelling interaction between the blandly prosaic and high gothic.

The cinematography is scintillating. The way the script grounds itself in the commonplace and moves in a stately progression towards the more grandiose abstractions of poetry is an act of daring that the screenwriter, Moira Buffini, pulls off rather marvellously.

Everyone in this movie plays their part with commitment and appropriate intensity. Saoirse Ronan is outstanding.

Horror cinema has never been more popular, it seems, than it is today. Barely a week goes by without a new horror movie being released – but with the predominance of the over-produced, shoddily conceived and lamely scripted kind of Hollywood product still in the ascendant, there are precious few genuinely decent ones around. It’s all the more satisfying, then, when a film as gorgeous and thoughtful and lovingly crafted as Byzantium arrives on our screens. I came away from it excited and moved – it has a killer ending – and all the more so because Byzantium was filmed in Hastings. Our town looks perfect in her role – mysterious and end-of-summer and faintly spooky – and the familiar locations have been utilized with the same appropriate and effective understatement as everything else in the film. It was lovely to see local people turning out in force to see it – there was a real sense of anticipation and the excited chatter as the audience left the cinema told its own success story. This movie is good for Hastings, and good for horror.

Byzantium is vamptastic. Go and see it.

‘…running wildly into Woking.’

Yesterday we went to Woking. Not the most adventurous of day trips on the face of it, but exciting to us, nonetheless. There’s H. G. Wells, for a start. Wells moved to Woking in 1895, the same year The Time Machine was published. He went on to write the three further ‘scientific romances’ that make up the core of his science fiction output in the house he shared with his wife Amy at 143 Maybury Road.

The most famous of these is of course The War of the Worlds, published in 1898 and set in and around Woking, with particular reference to nearby Horsell Common, which is where Wells had his Martians make their landing. I always enjoy visiting sites of special literary interest, and wandering around in the sandpits of Horsell Common was a genuine thrill. Surrey is hopelessly changed now from when Wells lived there, of course – but the peace and beauty of Horsell Common remain. Standing in the dappled sunlight between the trees, it’s still possible to get a sense of the shock and wonder Wells surely aimed to generate by setting his novel of alien invasion here, and our visit to the Common has made this landmark work come newly alive for me. I also greatly enjoyed seeing the ‘Woking Martian’ sculpture by Michael Condron in Woking town centre. It’s a work of great beauty and elegance, and for me it seemed to capture the spirit and the imaginative world of Well’s novel perfectly.

Our main reason for visiting Woking yesterday though was this little chap:

Django, son of Duke

But more of him later this summer.

(You can see Chris’s amazing photo of the Woking Martian and read his thoughts on our Wellsian pilgrimage here.)

 

Homes run

I’m delighted that the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction has been awarded to AM Homes for her novel May We Be Forgiven. Homes is a fantastic writer and arguably the most outspokenly experimental on that shortlist. This is wonderful news for women’s writing and for writing full stop.

I was interested and curious to notice the statistic that has been quoted though, about this being the fifth time in a row that the prize has been awarded to an American writer. The last British writer to win was Rose Tremain in 2008, with The Road Home.

Does this mean that it’s time for British writers to get more adventurous, to show their teeth and claws a little more?

It certainly wouldn’t do any harm if they did!

FFS…

“I remember being in a history lesson and saying to my teacher, ‘How come you never talk about black scientists and inventors and pioneers?’ And she looked at me and said, ‘Because there aren’t any.'”

Congratulations to the wonderful Malorie Blackman, our new children’s laureate. Please, please read more about her here in this fantastic interview.

New arrivals

I shall be saying a lot more about The Adjacent as we approach publication date (June 20th), but for now I just wanted to share these photos of Chris, taken this morning as he unpacked his author copies. I think everyone will agree the book looks stunning.