Having marked the 10th anniversary of the Pax Britannia series on this blog yesterday, today I am delighted to announce that Ulysses Quicksilver returns for a one-off short story in Matthew Bright's Clockwork Cairo- an anthology of steampunk stories with an Egyptian connection - later this year.
One of the great things about the anthology is that each story comes with its own piece of artwork, and here's the title page illustration for my own story Worthless Remains.
I first pitched the idea for what would become Abaddon Books' Steampunk science fantasy series, when Jonathan Oliver - now Editor-in-Chief of Abaddon, Solaris and Ravenstone Books - put out the call for authors, but the kernel of the idea had been knocking around in my mind for years before that.
The oldest notes I can find that would be recognisable as the basic outline of what would become Unnatural History are dated 1990. (I wouldn't be published for the first time until 1993.) The dinosaurs in the Challenger Enclosure at Regent's Park Zoo get a mention, as does Queen Victoria being in a life support throne. There's even a line about bases on the Moon and Mars, but the protagonist is one Mandeville Sachs, Gentleman Adventurer, rather than Ulysses Quicksilver.
So although later today, I'll be raising a glass to Ulysses Quicksilver and toasting the Pax Britannia series as a whole, the idea is actually at least 27 years old, making it older than my writing career (which is 25 years old this July)!
And what's lovely is that people are still discovering the series for the first time and, I'm pleased to say, enjoying it. And who knows, maybe one day I'll get to bring Ulysses Quicksilver's story to a conclusion.
Even though the first Pax Britannia novel was published almost ten years ago, some people are still coming to the series for the first time. And when it's someone who enjoys the stories they devour the lot pretty quickly, thanks to the wonder of eBooks.
One such reader is Bob Marlowe who has recently posted reviews of all the Pax Britannia books - Al Ewing's as well as mine - and here's what he has to say about them. Unnatural History "A readable style which flows along nicely with enjoyable characters... Very enjoyable evocation of a pulp style and there are plenty more to come. A recommended read." Leviathan Rising "Here we have a cocktail of Agatha Christie, Titanic, The Poseidon Adventure, the X-Files and dear old Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and with Green's enjoyable pulpy style, it's a good read." Human Nature "The story itself is quite simple but well structured (things in the prologue that seem irrelevant are revisited later) and the good pulpy style of Green makes for a well paced roller coaster." Evolution Expects "As ever, a cocktail of monsters, steam punk and nods to well know characters & stories etc. including this time a Bond like board meeting scene, a character named Brundle after the 1987 version of The Fly and a bit of Talons of Weng Chiang amongst others... This series shows no signs of letting up, both novel and novella are a well-paced read, guaranteed to liven up any journey to work." Blood Royal "The writing is of the usual high standard with a monster infested St Paul's Cathedral especially well described... I love this series -and am sad I've less than halfway to go to the end." Dark Side "I had the feeling Jonathan Green had as much fun writing this as I had reading it. There's the usual tributes to films, book et al that he's enjoyed , the First men in the Moon and Voyage dans la Lune and every chapter takes its name from a film e.g. The First Men in the Moon, Sphere... These stories will never be on the Booker Prize shortlist but the Booker winners I've read were never this much fun!" Anno Frankenstein "Naturally this is a blockbuster mix that we have come to expect of monsters and set pieces and does not disappoint, Green handling all the ingredients with his usual skill." Time's Arrow "The influences here are Edgar Allen Poe's Murder in the Rue Morgue, The Island of Dr Moreau and The Phantom of the Opera, characters names including Moreau and Leroux.
The new characters work well and the story races along at Green's usual pace."
Will it fund? Who knows. What I do know is that currently over £200 needs to be pledged every day until the end of the Kickstarter's run otherwise it most definitely won't happen.
So if you think a grimdark gamebook inspired by L. Frank Baum's children's classic could be your thing, or if you know of someone else you would enjoy it, then check out the Kickstarter project page and spread the word!
Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of the British Father of Science Fiction, Herbert George Wells. Wells is, of course, most well known, in the modern era, for his novels The Time Machine (1895) and The War of the Worlds (1898).
Wells' original stories have been adapted time and time again, and have inspired countless other tales, including my own. I have an idea for a spin-off from The War of the Worlds that I would like to start work on in the next year or two, but The Time Machine has already massively influenced an already published work of mine - or should I say works?
What started off as a fun idea for a one-off short story expanding the world of Pax Britannia, back in 2008, ended up becoming the core element of trio of Ulysses Quicksilver novels - Dark Side(2010), Anno Frankenstein (2011) and Time's Arrow (2012). I hadn't realised just how much The Time Machine had influenced Anno Frakenstein in particular until I re-watched the 2002 movie version recently, as I introduced it to my children for the first time.
My Wellsian celebrations will continue today with Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War of the Worlds on today's playlist, and possibly a viewing of the 2005 movie adaptation later this evening.
If you happen to be the Woking area today, watch the skies!
If you know of anyone who might enjoy a choose your path-style adventure gamebook inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with dieselpunk stylings, let them know about it, because Kickstarters only succeed when people help to spread the word.