Friday, 23 March 2012

Unnatural History - 5 years old but still going strong!

The first Pax Britannia novel Unnatural History was published more than five years ago but I'm still finding new reviews being written about it online.

I'm not sure when the following first appeared, but I'd not read it myself until the other day. It's by one Jacob Malewitz:

One day a dead man, the next a crime solver and a drinker of cognac, Ulysses Quicksilver has to be one of the more interesting fantasy characters in some time. The story of “Unnatural History” isn’t always consuming, not always fun, but it sure is nice to see a character come alive within the pages of a novel. And Ulysses isn’t clich├ęd; he has his vices, as the story tells. And the story …

A lawyer with a unique name, Screwtape, consults with Ulysses’s brother in the opening pages of “Unnatural History.” Screwtape is there to tell the brother that all of Ulysses’ assets are his. A problem arise: Ulysses, as one would expect, is far from dead, and shows up at the door during this meeting.

Ulysses quickly becomes involved in society again. After disappearing for over a year after an expedition into a mountain, he finds himself involved in a mystery. It seems minor, but the scope is big. A night watchmen at a major museum is murdered. He wasn’t just killed; he was killed brutally. The police think a thief did it, but Ulysses thinks something else is afoot—and has many questions. The second mystery comes when a professor at the museum is found to have disappeared as well. “The more he thought about it, the more convinced he became that he had been sent two different crimes committed by two different culprits.”

The world of Pax Britannia is different. The queen is in her 160th year of reigning over the still strong British empire, space travel is common, and the sciences have sped ahead at an alarming rate. But, the destitute are more numerous, and the slums darker than ever. The factories have turned much of the empire into wastelands. The history of this world is described in detail early. Jonathan Green holds nothing back in detailing it.

In Europe Britannia is powerful, even with many enemies like Socialist Germany. However, the true villains of Unnatural History come from within the empire. What follows is more than mystery. Unnatural History has plenty of futuristic views, plenty of action, and just the right amount of characterization. It stands as another classic from publisher Abaddon books.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Anno Frankenstein - A Swash and a Buckle

Here's yet another review in praise of my Weird War 2 Pax Britannia novel Anno Frankenstein, this time from 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 it's 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.

You can pick up your copy of Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein here. And remember Part 2 of Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow is coming to an eReader near you soon!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Pax Omega - Coming Soon!

It's only about a month now before Al Ewing's third Pax Britannia title Pax Omega is unleashed upon an unsuspecting world.

Just to get you in the mood, here's the publisher's blurb for the book:

Doc Thunder's last stand against a deadly foe whose true identity will shock you to your core! El Sombra's final battle against the forces of the Ultimate Reich! The Locomotive Man in a showdown with cosmic science on the prairies of the Old West! Jackson Steele defends the 25th Century against the massed armies of the Space Satan! A duel of minds in the mystery palaces of One Million AD! Blazing steam-pulp sci-fi the way you crave it! From the Big Bang to the End Of Time - eleven tales from Pax Britannia's past, present and distant future combine into one star-spanning saga set to shake the universe to its foundations or destroy it!

And here's an early review of the book:

Now before I begin this review I have to admit that I was one of the two guys who won the Genre for Japan auction to feature as a character within these pages. So I was already pre-disposed to liking the novel. That being said, even I wasn't prepared for how amazing this book was.

The story begins at the dawn of time and travels forward touching on the time of the Dinosaurs, the Eighteen Hundreds, the old West, Modern Day, the 25th Century and One Million AD.

It goes without saying that if you loved El Sombra, and went crazy for Gods of Manhattan; then this book is required reading. Unsurprisingly Pax Omega is a direct sequel to the two previous books, but it all serves as a prequel and a preview of what's to come in the main Pax Britannia series. As well as being so much more. I won't spoil it for you.

I don't want to give too much away but I wasn't expecting the revelations that Al Ewing gives in the novel, but they blew my mind.

With a book where there are such massive jumps in time, you could almost expect a disjointed series of vignettes. Ewing though manages to craft an engaging tale that has a different style of prose for each section. I'm not really doing Pax Omega justice; suffice to say the pacing and storytelling are woven so expertly that you'll not be able to put it down.

I hate to draw comparisons between authors but Al Ewing is without doubt the next Alan Moore or Grant Morrison. He has incredible ideas that while being completely bat sh*t aren't too dense to get your head around.

Pax Omega for sheer content is value for money and is a loving pastiche of Superhero story and Space-Opera. Al Ewing's love for genre fiction shines through and I without reservation recommend this book and its predecessors.

Remember, you can pre-order your copy of Pax Britannia: Pax Omega here.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Stories of the Smoke - the launch!

Pandemonium: Stories of the Smoke brings you London as you've never seen it before - science fiction and fantasy in the great tradition of Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens lived and breathed London in a way few authors ever have, so much so, in fact, that his name has become synonymous with a certain image of London. A London of terrible social inequality and matchless belief in the human potential; a London filled with the comic and the repulsive, the industrious and the feckless, the faithful and the faithless, the selfish and the selfless. This London is at once an historical artifact and a living, breathing creature: the steaming, heaving, weeping, stinking, everlasting Smoke.

And you could be at the launch of Pandemonium: Stories of the Smoke, which is taking place at the Betsey Trotwood pub (56 Farringdon Road, EC1) from 6.30 pm on Wednesday, 4 April.

I will be reading an extract from my story Necropolis during the course of the evening, as will several of the other authors. You can find the full table of contents here.

There is a limited amount of space so, although the tickets are free, you'll need to have one - and you can pick up your ticket here.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Kitschies' Gothic Evening

If you were reading this blog yesterday, you'll know that last night Blackwell's Charing Cross Road hosted the Kitschies' Gothic Evening. It followed a similar format to the Steampunk Evening that took place back in December only this time focusing on Gothic in art and literature. John Courtenay Grimwood read an extract from his new book and Christopher Fowler and Marcus Hearn then chatted about Hammer Horror's legacy and recent revival (or should that be resurrection?) of the gothic genre on celluloid.

There were also sorts of writers and creators there - including artist-author John Kaiine and photographer Joel Meadows - and the usual friends, enthusiasts and literary literati. I wasn't there as a guest this time but that didn't stop Den Patrick making sure I earned my Kraken Rum for the night!

Den's Pen was put to good use on the night.

Amongst those in a attendance (and who I spent all too little time talking to) were Tom Pollock, Will Hill, Jenni Hill (no relation), Sarah Pinborough (who I actually managed to say more than two words to), Philip Reeve (who I failed to speak to at all), Jon Oliver, David Moore, Bex Levene, James Wallis, Magnus Anderson, Lou Morgan, Scott Andrews, James Long, Emily Banyard, Celeste Sharp, Tom Hunter and a whole host of others... apologies to anyone I've left off the list.

I was excited to meet author Tanith Lee. (Can you tell?)

Once the bookshop shut, proceedings moved across the road to the pub where Lavie Tidhar very sweetly tried to be my agent, brightly coloured drinks were drunk and generous offers of free editing expertise were made. Not to me, but a friend of mine. (I can't think why.)

Esther getting better acquainted with Abaddon Dave.

Thanks of course, must go to Jared and Anne of Pornokitsch who (along with Den) organised the evening, and Kraken Rum for keeping the conversations well oiled. Jared flattered me by saying that the twist ending of the story I have in the forthcoming Stories of the Smoke surprised even him - and that's saying something!

Anne in suitably Gothic bat earrings.

Should grown-up drinks really be this colour?

The Usual Suspects.