New Releases: The Skybound Sea by Sam Sykes
The Lowest Heaven - Launch Party - 13 June

The Lowest Heaven, The Readers, Knives and a Rocket

No new stuff here today, but a quick round-up of some other adventures:

Cover - the lowest heavenThe first reviews of The Lowest Heaven are out! Anne and I have been bouncing around like ferrets, we're really delighted that people seem to like the astounding stories. We do (hell, we love them), but the authors have done amazing work and it is great to see how people respond to it.

Starburst says:

Overall it is a well-crafted ensemble and the solar system theme never seems like a constraint.... Starburst has no hesitation in recommending it to any serious reader of science fiction. (8/10)

And says:

There can be no questioning the value of this artful anthology: it’s as inspiring as it is inspired. But The Lowest Heaven is also a timely and ultimately touching reminder of what we stand to lose by turning inwards as opposed to venturing again into the unknown. [This is a long and wonderful review that talks about many of the stories, their art and their themes - check it out!]

Plus Joey Hi-Fi talks about his celestial inspirations over on the Collections Blog of the National Maritime Museum

With The Lowest Heaven being an anthology, the brief was to create a piece of artwork that would tie all the stories together. Since the book features stories based on various celestial bodies in our Solar System – creating a bespoke solar system map seemed like an interesting way to do that. Plus, having a fascination with all things cosmic (bordering on Kosmikophilia), I couldn’t resist. I used to draw maps of alien solar systems as a kid – peppered with space battles of course. So this is a childhood dream come true.

If you're interested in how he made his (gorgeous) cover, he also shares a few of his working secrets. There are also some close-ups over at A Dribble of Ink.

The limited edition of The Lowest Heaven is on sale exclusively through the Royal Observatory's shop. This means that, no matter what Amazon or any other bookseller says, you can't order it through them! The paperback and ebook editions will be coming in early July.

The launch party will be on 13 June at the National Maritime Museum as part of the Visions of the Universe late night. We'll have a separate blog post about this, but you can book (for free!) here and tell us you're coming on Facebook here.

In other news, you can hear me rambling with Gav as a guest host of The Readers. We talk about small press publishing (the Jurassic strategy is revealed as "a series of fortuitious accidents"), the difference in "quality" between literary and genre fiction ("yes and no") and other meaty topics. It was a lot of fun.

Plus, the reread of The Folding Knife continues over at We're now over halfway through (booo!), including the break to discuss one of Parker's shorts, "One Little Room an Everywhere".

Finally, after launches in London and Bristol (fancy!), Adventure Rocketship has now blasted off into the wild. It has cool new stuff from China Miéville, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Liz William, Michael Moorcock, Lavie Tidhar, Tim Maughan and many others. Plus, as previously noted, Anne tackles the the soundtrack to Ladyhawke and I wibble on about magic in Phonogram. (Basically, buy it for the real authors, get two bonus wibbles for absolutely free!You can get signed copies through Forbidden Planet.