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Monday, 26 January 2015

Thought for the Day

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
~ Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Short Story Saturday: 2015 - The Year of the Shark

As we're almost a month into the new year, I thought it was timely to pass on some Sharkpunk news and to ask a couple of favours of you, the future fans and evangelists of the phenomenon that is SHARKPUNK.

First off, all the stories for this selachian-inspired short story anthology are in and I am delighted to be able to tell you that we have secured the services of a totally awesome cover artist, the identity of whom we will be announcing soon, alongside the first reveal of his frankly fantastic Sharkpunk cover art.

It you're on Twitter, please follow @Sharkpunked and share the handle on #ff Follow Friday. Also, if you ever happen to Tweet about Sharkpunk, please use the hashtag #Sharkpunk.

Sharkpunk also has its own Facebook page, which you can access here. Please 'Like' this and ask all of your friends and followers to 'Like' it too. The more buzz we can create about the book before it's released the better. (It would be brilliant if we could hit 1,000 Facebook 'Likes' before the book cruises into warmer waters this coming May.)

Please spread the word about Sharkpunk however you see fit, and I'll see you again soon. (Just so long as I remember to stay out of the water.)

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Tie-in Tuesday: Public Lending Right loans - 2013/2014

I'm now in my eighth year of doing this, so here's the list of my top ten most library-loaned books for July 2013 - June 2014 (with last year's placings in brackets):

1. (3) The Night Before Twistmas (Sep 12)
2. (1) Monstrous Missions (Feb 12)
3. (7) Zack Binspin (Mar 13)
4. (2) The Horror of Howling Hill (Mar 08)
5. (-) The Great Moshling Egg (Dec 13)
6. (5) Moshi Music Stars (Jan 13)
7. (4) Crisis on Coruscant (Jan 10)
8. (6) Stormslayer (Sep 09)
9. (-) Moshi Monsters: Moshipedia (Nov 13)
10. (9) Night of the Necromancer (Apr 10)

This last year has been my most successful year Public Lending Rights-wise. Thank the Lord for tie-in titles, that's what I say. (Only one of my tie-in books didn't appear in my top ten this year, and that was the 2010 Official Doctor Who Annual which I ended up writing most of.)

My Fighting Fantasy titles continue to prove popular, even though some of them were written years ago. Once again, Stormslayer is my most borrowed FF gamebook. (There are nine titles on the following list, because several of the books appear in more than one edition.)

1. (1) Stormslayer (Sep 09)
2. (2) Night of the Necromancer (Apr 10)
3. (6) Bloodbones (Sep 06)
4. (4) Curse of the Mummy (Oct 95)
5. (3) Howl of the Werewolf (Sep 07)
6. (5) Spellbreaker (Jun 93)
7. (6) Bloodbones (Sep 06)
8. (4) Curse of the Mummy (Oct 95)
9. (3) Howl of the Werewolf (Sep 07)

My Pax Britannia books are also good loaners, with the newest title Time's Arrow moving into pole position this year.

1. (2) Time's Arrow (Nov 12)
2. (1) Human Nature (Dec 08)
3. (7) Blood Royal (Jun 10)
4. (4) Leviathan Rising (Mar 08)
5. (8) Unnatural History (Feb 07)
6. (5) Anno Frankenstein (May 11)
7. (3) Evolution Expects (May 09)
8. (9) The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus (Nov 10)
9. (6) Dark Side (Oct 10)

Monday, 19 January 2015

Thought for the Day

"Talent is extremely common. What is rare is the willingness to endure the life of the writer."

~ Kurt Vonnegut, American writer

Friday, 16 January 2015

Gamebook Friday: YOU ARE THE HERO - 'A cultural roadmap of an '80s childhood'

That's what Jes Bickham, current editor of White Dwarf magazine and the man who commissioned my original History of Fighting Fantasy piece for an SFX Fantasy special back in 2012 says, more or less. Here's Jes in his own words:

"I read You Are The Hero over Christmas and what a treat it was... Not only was the book an absorbing account of a phenomenon, it also acted as a strange cultural roadmap for my childhood/adolescence - like you, I grew up with GW and now I find myself editing my favourite magazine from when I was 13! Lovely stuff, and very well done sir."

If you haven't got hold of a copy yourself yet, you can acquire a strictly limited edition signed hardback here.

* * * * *

In other gamebook-related news, Bloodbones the App appears to be going down a storm and has certainly created some buzz online, such as here, and here (even if Pocket Gamer don't actually know who wrote it).

The Tin Man himself has this to say about his company's latest release:

"Jonathan Green has become the modern standard bearer for Fighting Fantasy, having recently written You Are The Hero, a history of the series. I’m really thrilled to have one of Jon’s titles as part of our FF library and Bloodbones is truly an epic adventure – one of our biggest yet!"

Illustrator Tony Hough gets a mention too:

"Veteran fantasy and science-fiction artist, Tony Hough, has also returned to add some colour to his original black and white artwork, which can still be viewed by playing in an added retro mode."

Reviews have already appeared on 148apps and Playboard, with the latter saying:

"This one is from Tin Man Games. Almost all of their gamebooks were awesome and this one is even better - fantastic story and just so much fun!"

Don't forget you can download Bloodbones for the smartphone of your choice via the portal here.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Steampunk Thursday: Redemption 15

In case this hasn't come onto your radar yet... just over a month, I shall be one of the guests attending Redemption '15, the Multimedia Science Fiction Convention that's taking place on 20-22 February at the Britannia Hotel in Coventry*.

Among the panels that may possibly be taking place during the course of the weekend is 'Is Steampunk History?' So if you'd like to see me make a total fool of myself trying to defend the sub-genre of good manners, top hats, corsets, cog-laden goggles, steam-powered ray guns, and tea duelling, why not pop along?

You can find out more about the con here, and regular news updates are posted on the Red 15 Facebook page.

* I spent four years at the University of Warwick on the borders of Coventry, and it's been a while since I've been back there.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Warhammer Wednesday: Rise of the Skaven

Black Library have been making much of their Skaven stories of late, what with the Rise of the Horned Rat in the Old World with the coming of the End Times. The chittering denizens of the Under-Empire have appeared in various of my Black Library stories including Sir Dagobert's Last Battle, the Badenov's Band story The Nagenhof Bell, and quite extensively in my Path to Victory gamebook Shadows Over Sylvania.

All of the above are available direct from Black Library, Sir Dagobert's Last Battle as part of Hammer and Bolter Issue #9, The Nagenhof Bell as part of Swords of the Empire, and Shadows Over Sylvania as its own print on demand title. Just follow the links to find out more and purchase them.