Tuesday, 31 January 2012

See London as Dickens did

Dickens's Victorian London is a collection of 19th-century photographs which has been published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the author's birth.

You can read more about this story here.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The SFX Weekender - The Schedule!

It's been some time coming but yes, the schedule for the SFX Weekender 3 is finally here!

I'm getting quite excited/nervous about this now, partly because of how much work I still need to finish between now and then but mainly because I'm going to be hosting the 'How do you put the punk into steampunk?' panel on the Friday.

It's the first time the SFX Weekender has had a dedicated steampunk panel (last year the steampunk element was amalgamated into the 'Duel Britannia' panel) and I feel a certain responsibility now rests upon my shoulders not to let the side down, an onus to... basically, to not cock it up!

So although you'll see that the bar opens at midday on Friday, I'm going to be taking it easy before 5.00pm and letting my hair down (which may or may not be coloured green for the occasion) at the Kitschies Awards ceremony later the same evening.

I won't be going too mad there either though, because come 10.00am the next morning I'll be signing in Bartertown alongside Guy Haley (he of SFX/White Dwarf/Angry Robot/Solaris fame). I promised I'd catch up with Guy at some point over the weekend, but at the time didn't realise I would be sharing a table with him, so job done!

I should also give a shout out to the Abaddon/Solaris Fun Hour which is taking place at 2.00pm on the Friday... in the bar! Last year it was the Abaddon Pub Hour, which probably tells you all you really need to know. But to truly experience its wonders you have to be there, so do come along. It'll be a lot of fun and, failing that, it's in the bar.

There's loads going on all weekend, with panels, Q&As, signings, competitions and screening from dawn (well 10.00am) until dusk (actually, well past midnight), so if you are coming along, check out the schedule and maybe I'll see you there.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Anno Frankenstein - another review

This time from SFRevu. It's short and sweet, and to the point...

Anno Frankenstein by Jonathan Green... is the new title in Abaddon's likable and popular dark steampunk series Pax Britannia, created and admirably maintained by Jonathan Green.

Green's latest addition to the series is Anno Frankenstein and is similar to Newman's [Anno Dracula] in that it's an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink type book - there's time travel, evil Nazis, characters 'borrowed' from various other works all bound together with lashings of swash-buckle and high-jinx. Much dark fun.

You can pick up your copy of Anno Frankenstein (if you don't own it already) here.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Jonathan Green at the SFX Weekender 3

In less than two weeks time 4,000 science-fiction and fantasy fans will descend on Pontin's Prestatyn Sands to meet the likes of Sylvester McCoy, Alex Kingston, Brian Blessed and Eve Myles. And I'll be one of them.

But I'm not only going as a fan, I'm also going as a guest. And if all goes according to plan, I'm going to be hosting the 'How do you put the punk into steampunk?' panel on Friday 3 February at 5.00pm, featuring the likes of Robert Rankin, Stephen Hunt and Lavie Tidhar.

Later the same evening, from 7.00 - 8.00pm to be precise, the Kitschies awards ceremony will be taking place, when the year's most intelligent, progressive and entertaining genre literature - a.k.a. the 2011 Red, Inky, Golden and Black Tentacles - will all be revealed.

Then, on the Saturday morning, at the semi-respectable time of 11.00am, I shall be signing at the Rebellion stand, so if you're coming along, drop by and say "Hi" and thrust copies of your favourite Pax Britannia novels or Fighting Fantasy gamebooks in front of me - or even my newest Doctor Who adventure* - and I'll happily deface them for you with a permanent marker. Now I can't say fairer than that, can I?

Now if I can just shift this cold and sore throat before then...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Leviathan Rising - a new review

Not read my Pax Britannia mash-up of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and James Cameron's The Abyss, Leviathan Rising yet?

Still need persuading?

Then check out this new review by David Kenyon:

I've always loved those old Jules Verne stories and this story in it's underwater setting provided plenty of references to those undersea escapades, this time accompanied by the dashing Quicksilver and his faithful manservant Nimrod as they piece together a murder mystery at the bottom of the sea. There were enough red herrings not to mention some rather gory murders as one by one they are killed off. Coupled with the threat of being eaten by giant sharks and bio-mechanical giant squids and you have yet more exciting set pieces that Green excelled at in Unnatural History...

The writing is imaginative and witty without being dogged down by too much exposition and detail, but the world is very vivid in my mind and I had no trouble immersing myself in the inky brine of the Kraken's embrace... take the dive into the world of Pax Britannia. You will be 'suckered' into it's embrace.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Friday the 13th... Unlucky for some

Yes, I know it's not Friday the 13th today, but last Friday (which was the 13th) the shortlists for The Kitschies 2011 were announced*.

Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein was put forward for consideration by my publishers but it wasn't to be this time, although fellow steampunk author** Lavie Tidhar did make the shortlist for Best Novel - the coveted Red Tentacle - for Osama: A Novel.

The winners of the Red Tentacle, the Golden Tentacle (for best newcomer) and Inky Tentacle (for best cover artist) will be announced on Friday 3 February at the SFX Weekender***.

However, all is not lost as far as Anno Frankenstein is concerned! Oh no!

You see the Tor.com 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards are now taking votes, until until 11:59 PM Friday, 20 January.

Notice the word 'Readers' in the title? That's right, it means that you the book buying (and presumably reading) public get to choose. Basically it's a popularity contest but one that Anno Frankenstein, with the right backing, might just have a shot at.

So whaddya say? Simply click this link and in the comments section after the blog post about the awards, type the title of the novel (Anno Frankenstein), the author's name (Jonathan Green), and if you want to the name of the publisher (Abaddon Books) as well.

And it's not just Anno Frankenstein that's eligible. In the Best Short Fiction category, I have a couple of stories published by Black Library that were both published last year, the 40K story But Dust in the Wind and the Warhammer tale Sir Dagobert's Last Battle.

So, what are you waiting for? If you vote for me I'll be eternally grateful. ;-)

* Provoking no end of Internet interest such as here, here and on the Guardian website here.

** He'll hate me for saying that.

*** Good luck, Lavie!

Inspiration - Fruiting Bodies

Back in April 2007 I wrote my first Ulysses Quicksilver novella, entitled Fruiting Bodies. As anyone who has already read it will be able to tell you, the climax of the story takes place at Kew Gardens in London.

The inspiration for the story came from several stories, not least of all eco-disaster TV dramas from the 70s and 80s - namely the BBC's adaptation of The Day of the Triffids and the classic Doctor Who adventure The Seeds of Doom.

I recently discovered that the writer of The Seeds of Doom, Robert Banks Stewart, as well as being inspired in part by John Wyndham's tale of vegetable vengeance, lived with his family close to Kew Gardens which directly inspired billionaire Harrison Chase's estate. Banks Stewart is even supposed to be descended from Joseph Banks, the botanist who took part in Captain Cook's first great voyage and was almost single-handedly responsible for stocking Kew Gardens in the first place.

I think, subconsciously at least, another of the inspirations for my story Fruiting Bodies was this illustration by Martin McKenna of a plant golem, that appears in the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Legend of Zagor.

As any fan of the Fourth Doctor's adventures will be able to tell you, McKenna himself was inspired by the humanoid form of the Krynoid, the alien intra-galactic weed that threatens Earth in - you guessed it - The Seeds of Doom.

(You can pick up Fruiting Bodies now as part of The Ulysses Quicksilver Short Story Collection for the Kindle, or your preferred eReader of chocie, here.)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Calling all Hugos!

Exciting news!

It's that time of year again when the World Science Fiction Society decides on the nominations for the Hugo Awards. You are eligible to nominate if you attended WorldCon last year, or are to attend WorldCon this year, or have signed up for 2013's WorldCon. Instructions for nomination can be found here and the deadline is 31 January.

The reason I mention this here (and why the news is exciting) is because two of my works are eligible for nomination. They are Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein (novel) and The Doll's House (short story) from House of Fear.

Also eligible for nomination is Al Ewing's Pax Britannia: Pax Omega, the third in his El Sombra trilogy, as are cover artists/designers Mark Harrison (Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein), Simon Parr (Pax Britannia: The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus) and Luke Preece (House of Fear).

So, if you'll eligible to nominate, please feel free (and drop me a line to let me know here).

And while we're on the subject of nominations, if anyone would like to nominate Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein for the Steampunk Awards, feel free!

Special thanks to Drew Northcott (whose DeviantArt page you can find here) for the 'Pax Britannia Needs YOU' poster and to Major Willoughby Chase of the 1st Tea Company.

Anno Frankenstein - It's alive! (Again.)

As my Steampunk/Weird War 2 novel Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein is potentially up for about three awards (at the last count, at least), I thought it wouldn't hurt to draw your attention to another glowing review of the book that was posted online today by Ginger Nuts of Horror:

Ulysses Quicksilver Agent of Magna Britannia, has jumped into a time vortex in pursuit of madman Daniel Dashwood, who is hell bent on sharing modern technology with Hitler and his Nazi army.

Welcome to Pax Britannia's version of World War Two, where steampunk armies battle the reanimated soldiers of The Frankenstein Corps, Dr Jekyll is a hero and The Ladies of The Monstrous Regiment strike fear into the hearts of the enemy.

This is a fun read, littered characters with names like Dashwood, Ulysses, Hercules, the swash and the buckling have ramped up to the extreme. There is a danger with novels of this type that the nods to, and insertions of popular characters can lead to a novel that is too sly for its own good. Not the case here, this is my type of novel, the sort of story that has me grinning from ear to ear from the sheer enjoyment and thrill of the ride.


Friday, 6 January 2012

Time's Arrow - Black Swan

Ace artist and daring designer Pye Parr has revealed a work-in-progress image of the cover of Time's Arrow Part 2, a.k.a. Black Swan (coming soon-ish from Abaddon Books).

Visitors to the steampunk stand at the MCM Expo in October got an early sneak preview of this picture but now I can share it with the rest of the world. And very nice it is too...

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A new year, a new review of Unnatural History

My thanks go to David Kenyon for this one:

Just finished reading Unnatural History and it was a rip-roaring read with gushings of hot steampunk action. I had been meaning to read this series for years ever since I first saw it on the shelf at the local Waterstones where I worked. Finally I bit the bullet and gave it a go... I must say it delivered exactly what I expected... which isn't a bad thing. When I was reading it I recalled certain movies over the last few years like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Van Helsing coupled with a slice of Weng Chiang and a bit of Sherlock Holmes...

The names of the characters he uses are witty and obvious but I appreciate it the more of Jonathan's unabashed love of this stuff and I got it... anyway it worked for me because I had all this stuff and visuals in my mind that made Unnatural History lush and visually dramatic. The set pieces were amazing and the equal of any movie blockbuster especially the dinosaur escape and the finale...

I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars because I enjoyed it immensely and will devour his other books with gentlemen's relish and a nice warm cup of earl grey... I enjoyed it and recommend it to those who like a quick fun read, with a fun plot and lovely witty language...

You can read David's full review here. Alternatively, if you've been inspired by his review and you've not read Unnatural History yourself yet, you can purchase the book here, or here as part of The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus.