Friday, June 08, 2018

The Old Stuff on Kindle and in Paperback

I’ve mentioned elsewhere my steady climb up the writing ladder so I’ll not go into it here, suffice to say that before the big publisher took me on I’d put my hours in with the small presses. As a result of this I did have a number of small things published before Gridlinked hit the shelves.






Some years ago I heard about self-publishing on Kindle, so I put some of these items on there and they’ve been selling in increasing amounts ever since. The last thing I put on there was a collection called Runcible Tales and, while doing that, I saw that Amazon gave an option to publish it as a paperback too. This was interesting.






Runcible Tales sold nicely but there were always those asking about getting hold of the thing in paper which, for whatever reasons, I was reluctant to do (or too lazy).





Recently, after finishing editing Book III of Rise of the Jain (The Human), I decided to have a sort out of my short stories. I put those that were in collections into files of the same names, so I had Runcible Tales, The Engineer ReConditioned and The Gabble. This left many single stories that might have been published here and there in anthologies put out by others. I decided to put together a small collection of Polity and Owner stories and called it Owning the Future.





Also in there I found Mason’s Rats. This was a collection of just three short stories that many had enjoyed. They were first published in a small press magazine called Kimota, whose editor, Graeme Hurry, who then published as a small booklet he handed out at an SF convention. I published these on Kindle too.




Next it was time to bite the bullet so I started off by publishing Runcible Tales in paper form on Amazon. That went well enough so I did the same with the rest. There were some hiccups concerning pagination and the covers are quite plain (something I must look into in the future), but now all of the above are available on Kindle and in POD paper. The links below each will take you through to the Amazon UK, but these are also available in the US and elsewhere.   

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Owning The Future


I've just put this collection up on Kindle. It will also be appearing as an Amazon paperback sometime soon . . .


I have a varied collection of short stories in my files and, of course, the temptation is there to dump them on Kindle, take the money and run. However, though I think some of them are great, some aren’t, and some are profoundly dated. I am aware that there are those out there, who will just buy these without a second thought, so I have to edit, be selective, and I damned well have to show some respect for my readers. Kindle in this respect can be a danger for a known writer, because you can publish any old twaddle and someone will buy it. Time and again, I’ve had fans, upon hearing that I have this and that unpublished in my files, demanding that I publish it at once because surely they’ll love it. No they won’t. A reputation like trust: difficult to build and easy to destroy. 

I’ve therefore chosen stories other people have published here and there, and filled in with those I really think someone should have published. Here you’ll find some Polity tales, some that could have been set in the Polity (at a stretch) and some from the bleak Owner universe. Enjoy!

Neal Asher 04/06/18

  
Stories:

Memories of Earth
I believe I wrote this one as a publicity exercise for Tor Macmillan while they were publishing the Owner trilogy, but then it wasn’t used. I subsequently shunted it off to Asimov’s and they published it in their October/November 2013 issue. There’s also an audible version on Starship Sofa (No. 383).

Shell Game
This appeared in The New Space Opera 2 edited by Gardner Dozois and Johnathan Strahan published in July 2009.

The Rhine’s World Incident
First appeared in Subterfuge from Newcon Press in 2008, next appeared in In Space No One Can Hear You Scream from Baen Books in 2013. This is the story where the swarm AI the Brockle makes its first appearance.

Owner Space
Appeared in Galactic Empires published by Gardner Dozois in 2008

Strood
First appeared in Asimov’s in December 2004, next in Year’s Best SF 10 published by Hartwell and Kramer in 2005. StarShipSofa did an audible version: No. 463

The Other Gun
Cover picture story in Asimov’s April/May 2013. This is a backstory for the Rise of the Jain trilogy – it concerns the Client.

Bioship
This appeared in George Mann’s Solaris Book of New Science Fiction in 2007

Scar Tissue
Not appeared anywhere at all!

The Veteran
There’s an audible version of this on Escape Pod, episode 118, read by Steve Eley – went up there in 2007

Friday, June 01, 2018

Mythos - Stephen Fry


It was good to read stories I vaguely knew written out clearly. That Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection is enduring. Here I learned how the water nymph Echo related, and how the flower came to be. Prometheus’s unfortunate sojourn on the side of a mountain, with vultures eating his liver, was another story elucidated . . . in fact, there wasn’t a story here I did not know some part of, which shows just how ingrained Greek myth is in our culture.  


I particularly enjoyed the language connections that Fry elaborated on like, off the top of my head, that the ‘Ge’ in Geo words like Geology comes from Gaia, the Earth goddess. Having learned Greek (allegedly) and having spent many years on Crete, I also felt this mythology gave me further insight into the working of the Greek mind. It is a fact that your language informs your perspective on reality (and that learning another one gives you a deeper perspective), while Greek myth is firmly intertwined with their language (and ours, though not so firmly).

Do I recommend this book, what with most people reading this blog being SF readers? Well, it was a mostly easy undemanding read, except in some sections, where genealogical lists tended to the boring. But you know what, it’s nice to know, for example, the history of the names in John Varley’s Gaean Trilogy. SF writers have used Greek myths and names more than one might suppose, so go on, educate yourself.   

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Fun Police


I do a lot of walking along the sea walls around here – they are in fact some of the best places to ramble in agricultural Essex. A favoured walk is from St Peter’s Chapel out at the end of the Dengie peninsular, round past Bradwell power station to Bradwell Waterside, there to recuperate with a drink and a bag of nuts in the Green Man, then back to the starting point. In all it’s about 8 miles. While taking this route it’s nice to stray onto the beach for a while, or pause to take in the scenery. A good place for doing the latter is from the tops of pillboxes (WWII defences) incorporated in the sea wall. They provide a perfect platform. Or, at least, they did.


Now it seems the nanny state and the fun police have struck again. Can’t be having us plebs walking out on these things. No safety rails you see. Someone might fall off and instead of this sensibly being seen as a valuable contribution to the Darwin Award, it’s to be frowned on. Of course, the council, or whoever put these fences here, is not entirely to blame. In my childhood, should I have fallen from something like this, my father would have added to my injuries with a clip round the ear for being such a dozy prat. In today’s litigious society, that’s not what happens, and woe betide any council that allows the children of generation snowflake to stray near potential harm.




More and more I see the future Britain full of strictly controlled and managed parks, where blobby people can motor along the neat paths on their invalid scooters, and where children bounce along looking like the Marshmallow Man in their safetywear, perhaps pausing to inspect the patches of stinging nettles and thistles growing behind Perspex screens.        

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Red Sister and Sharp Ends

I haven’t been reading many books over the last few years. I put this down to events of over four years ago when I ceased to take pleasure in anything. By and by my enjoyment of most things has returned but with the reading, not so much. Too often in the last few years I’ve picked up books and then lost interest in them – the whole idea of continuing to read them seeming a chore. I therefore began to think that maybe this was a pleasure that would never return and that, after years of reading books and years of writing the buggers, I’ve become jaded with them.

To a certain extent, this may be the case. I’ve found that books I used to love quite often annoy me, especially when I hit continuity errors and other mistakes, and slip into a dispassionate editing mode. Or when I read others and find myself baffled by my earlier enjoyment of them, or when I read a writer whose language I loved and now find just irritating.

However, I do still come across books, and writers, who do the job. David Gemmell is one such writer, while Peter Hamilton is another. Recently, while in a bookshop, my girlfriend waved a book at me that for some time I’d been talking about buying and reading. This was Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. I took that and, while there, noted Joe Abercrombie’s short story collection Sharp Ends, and picked that up too.


Incidentally, both of these writers were introduced to me by way of their publishers hawking them around for nice comments to put on the covers. In each case, I had no problem with this. I have ARCs of The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie and of Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, and then went on to buy the ensuing books of, respectively, the First Law and the Broken Empire trilogies.


Anyway, these two books . . . I polished them both off in under a week. I guess this is the point where I should wax lyrical about the hard gritty fantasy of these two writers with its lack of fluffy elves, and its excellent memorable characters. Perhaps I should mention how unputdownable was Red Sister, or how just a small bit of dialogue between characters in one of the Abercrombie short stories had me snorting tea out of my nose? No, I will not. All I will say is that for this jaded old misery these two books are the good stuff.

Recommended.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Reddit AMA

The author AMA is now open:
https://www.reddit.com/r/sciencefiction/comments/8jn3kw/im_neal_asher_science_fiction_writer_ama/

Reddit AMA

I'll be doing a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) at 6PM UK time.

https://www.reddit.com/r/sciencefiction/comments/8igmgj/upcoming_amas/

You should be able to find it somewhere here at that time:

https://www.reddit.com/r/sciencefiction/

Hello people, Neal Asher here.

Here are the nuts-and-bolts of who I am, or maybe more correctly, what I do: I once was a hungry aggressive SFF writer struggling to get the odd thing published and writing new stuff on the back of rejection letters. I spent years running at that particular brick wall with my head, until something finally broke . . . I then spent years of getting short stories, novellas and the like published in the small presses (and earning some way below zero for them). A big publisher, Pan Macmillan, finally took me on and brought out my first full-length SF novel, Gridlinked, in 2001. A year or so later I took the risk of giving up my day job and now I’m about 25 books in. Most of my stuff is set in the ‘Polity’ – a far future human/AI society that is pretty utopian, except for the hostile aliens at the border, the occasional psychotic AI, a war that burned up a few hundred worlds and a civilization-destroying alien technology . . . you get the picture. If this is your kind of thing (described as post-cyberpunk space opera, apparently) then search engines will turn up all you need to know. You can find my website at nealasher.co.uk. The blog there is copied across from http://theskinner.blogspot.com while I can also be found on Twitter @nealasher, on Facebook at neal.asher and of course here on Reddit.    

My latest book, The Soldier, is the first in a new trilogy with the overall title Rise of the Jain. Jain technology is the one mentioned above. You might like to ask me why I named a hostile alien technology after a peace-loving religion and my answer will be suitably glib!

Here’s the blurb:

Her mission is vital. Her failure is unthinkable.
A hidden corner of space is swarming with lethal alien technology, a danger to all sentient life. It’s guarded by Orlandine, who must keep it contained at any cost – as it has the power to destroy entire civilizations. She schemes from her state-of-the-art weapons station, with only an alien intelligence to share her vigil. But she doesn’t share everything with Dragon . . .
Orlandine is hatching a plan to obliterate this technology, removing its threat forever. For some will do anything to exploit this ancient weaponry, created by a long-dead race called the Jain. This includes activating a Jain super-soldier, which may breach even Orlandine’s defences.
Meanwhile, humanity and the alien prador empire keep a careful watch over this sector of space, as neither can allow the other to claim its power. However, things are about to change. The Jain might not be as dead as they seemed – and interstellar war is just a heartbeat away.
The Soldier is the first novel in the Rise of the Jain series, by bestselling science fiction author Neal Asher.


This is an AMA so go ahead and ask me anything. I can’t guarantee I’ll answer, or maybe be any more than flippant, but I’ll give it a shot.