Tagged: science fiction

Ten Little Astronauts Has Arrived

Back when Ten Little Astronauts came out, I invited its supporters to send me photos of their books when they came in the post. I’ve been collecting those up as a Twitter Moment (whatever that is), but now that the novella has been around for a month I figure this would be a good time to share those photos here!

That’s a lot of books (and a couple of CDs)! If you’ve had a chance to read yours already, please, please, please do leave a review. It costs nothing, but it makes a world of difference when it comes to persuading other people to give the book a try.

Ten Little Astronauts has had a very positive response on Goodreads (and that’s been the case since quite a while before launch, thanks to The Pigeonhole), but so far doesn’t have a single rating on Amazon UK. I know [comprehensive list of reasons why Amazon sucks], but a lot of people buy books on there, so having a healthy selection of reviews is a real bonus and having none is a bit of a hurdle. Just an honest rating and a few words is all it takes to help get Ten Little Astronauts off to the best possible start!

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Blunderball Ebook Now Available!

I figured I’d get my 2018 flash fiction anthology out while it was still 2018. Blunderball is now available on Smashwords for $0.99 and should soon appear at other non-Amazon retailers. I’ll aim to get it on Amazon as well before too long, but until then Smashwords also has a Kindle version available so if that’s your device of choice then I recommend getting it there. It isn’t hard to do. A paperback version is in the works as well.

This is actually the fourth book in which my writing has appeared this month, after Unrealpolitik, The Ruminations of a Multiheaded Monster, and of course Ten Little Astronauts!

If you’ve read any of these (or a significant number of the individual stories that make up Blunderball), please do consider leaving a review at your retailer of choice (or Goodreads). It makes such a difference.

Ten Little Astronauts Out Today!

Ten Little Astronauts has now been published and is available for sale – no pledging, no pre-ordering – anywhere you might reasonably expect to buy books! Readers who supported Unbound’s crowdfunding campaign started getting their copies yesterday.

If you’ve got one yourself, please do share a photo – I’m putting together a Twitter moment featuring as many as I can find:

The book is available in a whole bunch of places I’ll be adding to its page on this site as I discover them, but for now your main options are:

Waterstones

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Alternatively you should be able to quite simply walk into a bookshop and ask for it. I’m not sure how many places will stock it right off the bat like this, but any of them should be able to get a copy if you request it. This is actually one of the things that will help persuade booksellers there’s a market for the book in the first place, so seriously do consider it instead of flinging money at Jeff Bezos.

That said, though the book has been collecting reviews on Goodreads ever since it was serialised by The Pigeonhole, it wasn’t possible to leave a review on Amazon until today. If you’re one of those lucky people who got an early look – either through the Pigeonhole serial or me sending you a review copy – please do rate it on either Amazon UK or Amazon US (or whatever Amazon is local to you). I know Amazon sucks and has a terrible habit of feeding what you write directly into a digital shredder for any number of poorly defined reasons, but reviews there are one of the things that really helps an author out.

Finally, because I just can’t say it enough, thanks to everyone who helped get Ten Little Astronauts to where it is today. Whether you supported the crowdfunding campaign directly or just shared it around, this is the moment it was all leading up to. I’m looking ahead to a launch event after Christmas, and I hope to see lots of you there!

Ten Little Astronauts One Week Away!

Ten Little Astronauts is now in print, just in time for its trade publication date: December 13th. The copies I’ll be taking to book fairs – including the Hampshire Writers’ Society Members’ Book Fair on the 11th – arrived just today!

This seems like as good a time as any to share the cover with everyone, especially because it’s already showing up on Amazon, where (among other places) you can now pre-order copies. Naturally supporters of the book got a look at the cover as soon as it went to print. Continue reading

Ten Little Astronauts Pigeonhole Serial

I promise that the title of this post isn’t pure gibberish: Ten Little Astronauts is being serialised by a company called The Pigeonhole. The story will be sent out as ten “staves” at a rate of one a day, meaning that if you subscribe before Thursday October 11th you should be able to read the whole thing along with everyone else who’s signed up: it’s a bit like a book club. And it’s free!

There is one catch, though: there are only a limited number of slots available and they’ve been going quickly. I’ll be following the serial myself to respond to readers, and I’m working on a Q&A sent by The Pigeonhole right now. That won’t be available anywhere else, so by all means grab a slot even if you’re due to get a copy of the book!

Setting up an account involves only an email and password, and once you’ve done that it’s not just my book that’s on there. You can also read titles by lesser-known authors such as Jodi Picoult and Jeffrey Archer (whoever they are). So that’s something.

Supporter List for Ten Little Astronauts Closing Imminently!

If you’d like to support Ten Little Astronauts but haven’t already, this is your absolute last chance. The supporter list will close at midnight on September 17th, UK time. If you’ve never even heard of this book before, here’s a video – filmed on board a submarine – to tell you what it’s all about:

Everybody who supports a book at Unbound gets their name listed in the back to record their contribution. But with Ten Little Astronauts set to launch next month, the thing has to be typeset and printed which means – inevitably – they have to call time on adding new supporters.

If you’re reading this before the deadline, please do consider spreading the news however you can. Post it on Facebook. Send out a tweet. Print out this blog post, fold it into a dainty origami swan and foist it on somebody while shouting “HONK! HONK!” I promise I won’t judge you (though can’t speak for anyone else).

Remember: if your name’s not on the list by midnight on the 17th, it won’t be in the book!

The Three Commandments

Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 28

Challenge #13*: Write a story that involves an original fictional religion, a moral quandary, a language the protagonist can’t understand and a crisis of faith. The story must be either 555, 666, or 777 words in length.

“Thank you for coming, Father 73.”

The priest gave a dismissive wave of his nylon-gloved manipulator. “What sort of example would I set if I didn’t? ‘Render help to thy neighbour, except where such help would violate the first or second of my commandments.’ But also, I am curious to see what you have found.”

Surveyor 6359 lifted the tarpaulin from the object in the trench. Until it was understood and documented, the excavation could not continue and no more magtrack could be laid.

“A precursor relic,” she explained. “I think a container of some sort. We thought it best to send for someone to decipher the ancient script upon its surface before any attempt to move it.”

“This is wise.” Father 73 nodded. “The precursors set forth many trials and tests of faith: some of their devices will detonate rather than yield up their mysteries.” Continue reading

The Damocles Protocol

Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 24

Challenge #11: Write a story that takes place within either a utopian or dystopian setting. It must make use of dramatic irony and a key scene must revolve around a musical instrument.

At 2:47am Michael Johnson died of a heroin overdose on the third floor of a multi-storey car park just outside Hull.

At 9:18am his body was discovered by an Ikea employee, who subsequently called an ambulance.

At 9:44am the death was reported and a unique identification number sent to a server at the Ministry of Justice.

At 9:45am the code was broadcast, detonating one specific half-gram charge of plastic explosive.

***

Julia Walker’s phone was broken. She got out of bed, pulled on her clothes and turned on the TV.

“…collapsed in Parliament shortly before 10am and was pronounced dead on the scene. When approached for comment—”

The time in the breaking news banner read ten fifteen. Julia switched over to some ancient sitcom and stuck two slices of bread in the toaster. Then she boiled the kettle. The noise drowned out the voices on TV, but it was one she’d seen before: Ross had left a sandwich in the fridge and somebody else ate it. The camera cut to progressively more distant scenes as he shouted about it, prompting a flock of birds to take flight on a street somewhere. The effect was only slightly hampered by the weird square aspect ratio and grainy image. Continue reading

This Would Have Worked Better Yesterday

Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 5

Challenge #3: Write story including a conveniently interrupted document and an anti-villain. One of these tropes must be lampshaded.

“Mr. President!” Special Planetary UFO Defence agent Brock Stone burst through the doors, waving a slightly singed journal. “Hold the nuclear strike! We’ve recovered Professor Nerdlinger’s research notes on the anti-alien ray!”

“Oh, thank God.” The President took the journal and began to read:

I’ve done it! At long last I’ve done it! In all my years studying the approaching alien fleet, I never imagined that such a force, such a terrible foe, could have such an enormous weakness. And such an obvious weakness! I simply can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner. I have run the numbers over and over in my head, and I am convinced the the machine I have devised will cause the aliens’ brains to explode instantly. It promises to be as simple as it is effective. All that remains is to outline the means of constructing this wonderous device, which I shall do post haste within the pages of this very— Continue reading

Are You There Captain Redundancy? It’s Me, Captain Redundancy

Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 4

“Haven’t we already done time travel before?” asked Captain Redundancy, inquisitively.

“Only once,” answered Tautology Boy. “Three years go, in 2015.”

“Good, good.” Captain Redundancy nodded. “Nice and redundant. So what year is it now?”

“67,000,000 BC,” said Private Paradox, swinging his machete through the thick Cretaceous foliage. “We appear to have…what’s the word?”

“Overshot?” suggested Tautology Boy. “Jumped? Skipped? Missed?” The vengeful masked avenger’s sidekick was rather good with synonyms.

“Overshot?” suggested Captain Redundancy himself, since it seemed the most likely option.

“No,” said Private Paradox. “What I was going to say was ‘…deliberately travelled millions of years into the past because my promise of a redundant expedition through time was in fact a ruse devised to ensure you would furnish me with the enriched phlebotinum necessary to make this journey through time and step on a butterfly.’” Continue reading