Books here, there and everywhere

A very quick round-up of things going on in places real & virtual:

If you've ever wanted to know what "mess" looks like... I got to take part in Savidge Reads' "Other People's Bookcases" series, which involves answering (at ridiculous length) stories about book-hoarding and providing some slightly silly pictures of our crazy home. One of our cats also makes a guest appearance, and I give some really 'insightful' tips about fire safety for book collectors... This was a lot of fun.

home sweet home

Those are books in captivity. Don't they look glum?

I suppose those are the books 'here'. The 'there' relates to a new series on - I'm in a rotation with Justin Landon and Stefan Raets to do a series of columns called "Under the Radar".

The goal is to highlight recent-ish new-ish releases that haven't received the attention that (we each think) they deserve. Justin's started us off with a doozy - Zachary Jernigan's No Return. It is a nifty, positive project and I'm glad to be part of it.

Meanwhile, in case I haven't mentioned it, like, eight billion times, there are a couple of new Jurassic books out at the end of the month. What? You want more details? Well, if you insist...

Continue reading "Books here, there and everywhere" »

Competition - The Book of the Dead - Win a Signed Story!

It occurs to me that we didn't do one of our fiendishly hard competitions before launching The Lowest Heaven, and I wanted to make sure we properly tortured everyone before The Book of the Dead comes out. 

Here's how it works - I've got a series of 10 questions. The winner (the person who gets the most right) wins a the grand prize. If there's a tie at the top, I'll choose randomly.

The prize? I've got a copy of Maria Dahvana Headley's never-before-read "Bit-U-Men". This is an unbound copy of the story, signed by the author herself. And it is pretty. I'll also chuck in a nice A4 print of the accompanying illustration by Garen Ewing. Which I am not revealing here (yet), 'cause I'm mean like that.

I also reserve the right to hand out prizes of books, ebooks and other fun stuff to people that do well and answers that make me laugh.

The competition is open to people all over the world. It ends on 28 October, noon, UK time.

Click here to get started! - and good luck!

(Oh, and this might help!)

Competition: Win exclusive JOYLAND art!

JoylandSo... Stephen King's carny-pulp noir, Joyland, is coming out this week. You may have heard. I, for one, haven't been talking about it at all. Nosiree.

Still, being a shameless fan has its perks, and here's today's: we're hosting a cool (and very easy) competition with an exclusive Joyland prize.

Unlike most carnival games, this one really is easy. Here's how it goes:

To be entered into today's drawing to win a canvas print of Glen Orbik's gorgeous cover art for Joyland, all you need to do is copy and paste the correct statement in a tweet to the nice people at @titanbooks.

  • Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine…I think. #JOYLAND @TitanBooks
  • Stephen King was born in Orlando, Florida…I think. #JOYLAND @TitanBooks

Not tricky. So go forth and tweetify, and if you're the lucky winner, think of me. For I have nobly chosen to host today's drawing, rather than compete. Sniffle. #woez #bloggermartyrcomplex

There are other chances to win stuff - copies of the book and other neat prizes. Check out Titan Books for details of the carnival tour. 

While you're here, why not check out our very own review of Joyland - and the ongoing project to review every Hard Case Crime?

The Kitschies: Winners, Playlists & 2013

AngelmakerLast night was The Kitschies' awards ceremony. This was only our second year of making a "thing" out of the presentation, and the first year of it being a stand-alone event, so we were a little nervous how it might go.

Thanks to a lot of rum, wonderfully enthusiastic guests and a lot of hard work from the Free Word Centre, we think it came together pretty well. As always, please send us suggestions on how we could improve the evening ([email protected]).

The stars of the evening were the winners:

  • Nick Harkaway for Angelmaker (William Heinemann) for the Red Tentacle 
  • Karen Lord for Redemption in Indigo (Jo Fletcher Books) for the Golden Tentacle
  • Dave Shelton for A Boy and a Bear in a Boat (David Fickling Books) for the Inky Tentacle
  • The World SF Blog for the Black Tentacle

One of the benefits of this year's set-up was that there were fewer acceptances by proxy, with Nick Harkaway, Jo Fletcher (Karen Lord is on a plane to Australia), Dave Shelton and Lavie Tidhar all there to pick up their prizes. Lavie wore his Tentacle as a scarf for the rest of evening. Nick has since blogged his thoughts about what "progressive speculative fiction" might be... it is a long and brilliant read, so make a cup of tea and settle in for it.

The Free Word Centre did an amazing job of hosting the evening. It wound up being a perfect squeeze, with exactly two more people than we had seats (and that counts Plarchie hogging an extra chair) - next year we'll have to find more chairs (or fewer finalists?).

Rob Sharp's Storify provides an excellent recap of the shenanigans. Plus loads of photos via Sarah McIntyre and the Tor team. Even the Guardian ran a wonderfully tentacular picture of the evening...

The playlist for the evening was provided by finalists past and present. It is insane.

UPDATE: [There's now a Spotify version, courtesy of @inCatastrophe!]

Continue reading "The Kitschies: Winners, Playlists & 2013" »

The Kitschies: The Method, Redemption in Indigo & Competitions!

One last round-up before this evening's fun!

The Kitschies 2012 by Sarah Anne LangtonCharles Human reviews Karen Lord's Redemption in Indigo for The World SF Blog and talks a lot about food. He also notes that it is a book about destiny: "not the not the orphan-born- under- a- special- star kinda destiny but the our-choices-shape-who-we-are kinda destiny that Lord is most concerned with, [and] it serves make the story very real and human."

Maureen Kincaid Speller takes a long look at Juli Zeh's The Method, and declares that "If you’re looking for a utopian happy-ever-after, this is almost certainly not the novel for you. However, if you like novels that are intensely argued and which step beyond the conventional rhetoric of the dystopia, The Method is undoubtedly worth considering."

You can find all the reviews - Red & Golden - on The Kitschies site.

There are also a few opportunities to win books going around: The World SF Blog is giving away sets of both Karen Lord's books (Redemption and The Best of All Possible Worlds) and Macmillan are currently offering a signed proof copy of Frances Hardinge's A Face Like Glass on Twitter. Move quickly, as the competition ends today.

Plus, of course, if you're keen on winning a squashy-wonderful Tentacle of your very own, don't forget to enter the prediction contest. It ends at 7.30 pm, when the festivities start. So get guessin'!

Predict The Kitschies, Win a Tentacle!

Tumblr_midnvl9Uu21s063ugo1_400Here goes... if you can predict all three Kitschies winners (Red, Golden & Inky), you win a cuddly, handmade mini-Tentacle of your very own!

(There's only one mini-Tentacle, so, in case there's a mad influx of oracular genius, don't forget to guess the size of this year's Black Tentacle.)

Poll here.

(Obvious T&C's - we'll ship anywhere in the world. Competition ends on 7.29 pm [UK] time, Tuesda, 26th February. Kitschies judges, board members and finalists aren't eligible.)

Continue reading "Predict The Kitschies, Win a Tentacle!" »

Competition: A Pub Called Pandemonium

The Café de Paris edition of A Town Called Pandemonium is coming out finally soon. Foxy hardcover. 75 copies. New story. Extra content. Super swanky. Etc. We'll start taking orders later this week.

But first, some fun.

A Town Called Pandemonium features a local saloon with a few, um, issues (it burns down a lot). This made us think of the many other bars and pubs that have appeared across our titles. Pandemonium authors seem worryingly fixated on alcohol - we hope that's not a result of writing for us.

For the competition - and, be warned, this is pretty hard - we've picked five boozeries that have all appeared in a Pandemonium title. 

If you can tell us the stories in which these places appeared, we'll send you an electronic copy of the Pandemonium book of your choice. Plus, you'll be entered into a drawing for a copy of the 75-copy limited edition of A Town Called Pandemonium.

The drinkin' establishments:

  1. The Silver Dollar
  2. The Black Dove
  3. The Mad Hatter
  4. The Starving Stag
  5. The Golden Eagle

Rules & hints:

We've only selected from books that have already been published (e.g. there no trick questions regarding The Lowest Heaven).

There may be multiple correct answers, in which case, any one will do.

We'll ship anywhere in the world. 

Answers due by Friday, 4pm (British time).

Email your answers to editor at

Post-Apocalyse & Competition Winner!

A huge stack of thanks - to everyone who contributed, supported, bought, read, talked about, retweeted, browsed or even looked at Stories of the Apocalypse. The limited edition has now, sadly, hit its limit and is no longer on sale.

Cover - Coming SoonWe're delighted that this world ended with a bang, as Apocalypse sat as the #1 SF anthology on Amazon for the whole weekend. 

If you're still looking for reading material (and who isn't?), you can get a suitably apocalyptic fix with the upcoming Thy Kingdom Come. Or travel to the Weird and Wild West with A Town Called Pandemonium. If you're lookinng for a new spin on some classic literature, Stories of Smoke contains original stories of London, as inspired by Charles Dickens - from the steampunk to the cyberpunk to the very, very strange. Or if you like your classics unspun, Lost Souls contains macabre tales - carefully resurrected from their original publications.

Too much? You can always pick up one of our chapbooks - the bonkers Fire, haunting Crossroads or darkly comedic Stocking Stuffer. They're each 80p and contain at least three completely original short stories. (Plus, 1853 on its way...) 

Of course, one person gets one of these for free - our competition for a copy of Thy Kingdom Come is now over and we've chosen a winner. It was surprisingly easy - only one person got the right answer. Which means our challenge was either too difficult, or just difficult enough.

The question: Joey Hi-Fi is in three Jurassic London books. Which are they?

The answer, as expressed by our winner:

I think these are Joey's appearances in Jurassic London books:

1. Illustrator for Thy Kingdom Come
2. Illustrator for Pandemonium: The Lowest Heaven
3. He's mentioned as one of the players in Osgood Vance's story "The Closer" in Stories of the Apocalypse under his real name Dale Halverson.

Congratulations, Mieneke!

Competition: Win a copy of Thy Kingdom Come [Deadline Extended!]

Cover - thy kingdom comeOur foxy edition of Simon Morden's Thy Kingdom Come is going quickly (huzzah!), and, at the rate we're going, it'll be sold out after the launch on 28 November

Here's a chance to get your paws on a copy of one of the 75 copies of this (extremely) limited edtion...

The cover and interior art for Thy Kingdom Come is by the astounding (nay - legendary) Joey Hi-Fi. (Fun fact: Mr. Hi-Fi is also signing bookplates for all 75 copies.)

But this isn't Joey Hi-Fi's only Jurassic London book. In fact, he's in three of them.

Email us at editor at with the details of all three Hi-Fi appearances, and we'll enter you in a drawing for a (signed, limited, numbered, super-sexy) copy of Thy Kingdom Come.

Here are some hints: one of the three is Thy Kingdom Come. Another is easily solved by flipping through the Pandemonium website (or one of our catalogues). The third, however, might take a bit more effort.

Competition ends at 6 pm, London-time, on Monday, 5 November. We'll even spring for shipping, anywhere in the world. [Deadline extended to Monday!]

Competition: Bye bye Babelfish

Our animal companion / Babelfish / Tor library giveaway is done and the winners have all been notified. Our thematically-appropriate randomisation device (see below) drew Vicky to receive the Babelfish of DRM-free joy. Congratulations!

Ombusdcat is rollingOmbudscat has always found percentile systems problematic, prefers her lucky d20.

We also emailed a half dozen folks with spot prizes - answers that made us laugh and/or made us jealous for not thinking of them first. Congrats to everyone! 

Thank you all for taking part and to Tor UK for letting us play at Babelfishmonger for a few days. By far our biggest competition yet - always nice to give away someone else's stuff. (160 volumes of it, at that!)