A Coffee with Abaddon & Solaris at the London Book Fair…

CPP - Rebellion Publishing Jonathan Oliver was brought into Rebellion to help found the Abaddon Book imprint and also work on 2000 AD’s range of graphic novels. When Rebellion purchased Solaris from BL Publishing he became Editor-in-Chief of both, running them with editors David Moore and Jenni Hill (now of Orbit Books). Jonathan and David, along with Rob Power (Marketing / PR) were good enough to spare some time for a coffee at the London Book Fair so I could dig a little more into what they’re about and what’s in the pipeline…

So they’re both genre imprints – but what makes them different from one another? Actually they’re very different indeed.

Abaddon very much follows a work-for-hire model, quite the approach of 2000 AD and other comic publishers; it’s not one that everyone would think of, but that’s because it’s a franchise model and this is one of two strands editor David Moore sees as Abaddon’s publishing identity.

CBP - JG - UH It’s not a franchise in what tends to be the industry norm, taking and adapting film, TV or game properties. It’s about creating and curating shared worlds. I’m certainly aware of some of these, having already profiled co-creators and contributing authors Jonathan Green (Pax Britannica for Abaddon), Si Spurrier (The Afterblight Chronicles) and Rebecca Levene (Afterblight and The Infernal Game). But Abaddon is also a talent seeker – the second strand of their identity – bringing new authors to light by commissioning works from them in these shared worlds: It’s where and why the work-for-hire model is relevant. SS Afterblight Chronicles

There’s an expressed satisfaction in helping launch an authors career: Franchise model or not, David is quietly emphatic about how keen they are to put the authors name out there. It’s creator as star in other words, before the property.

CB - Re - May - The Best SFF 10 Solaris then is the more traditional imprint at Rebellion, publishing midlist to bestselling authors with a mass market reach via international distribution channels. I can’t help but smile inwardly when Jonathan describes it as a ‘punky little independent’; while Abaddon & Solaris are quite independent of the also Rebellion-owned 2000 AD it evokes the all too recent pleasure of watching Future Shocks, in which 2000 AD is described as ‘a plucky comic’. There’s plenty in Solaris’s backlist, having now been around about a decade and but a year less than Abaddon. Alongside their individual and series fiction they have a wealth of short story anthologies, compiled and edited by Jonathans Oliver and (prolific anthologist) Strahan.
I just have to bring up Al Ewing’s fantastic The Fictional Man, which perhaps illustrates the internal story of Rebellion across its publishers-slash-imprints as Jonathan O explains. Al’s best known for his comic work on Rebellion owned 2000 AD and Jonathan explains that he brought Al on board as a new (prose) writer to Abaddon where he wrote El Sombra, Gods of Manhattan, and Pax Omega for the Pax Britannia franchise, with one each for Afterblight and Tomes of the Dead in-between. It was after this that Jonathan published The Fictional Man under Solaris – and if I can just say again it really is a blinding satirical read and with big mainstream appeal as well as a treat for genre fans (click here for more info on Waterstones) CA - LBF - The Fictional Man
CB - Re - Mar - Monstrous Little Voices Editors attend the London Book Fair for all different reasons. It seems more of a relaxed – but no less purposeful – factfinding mission for these guys: ‘testing the temperature’ while meeting agents and keeping an eye out for new talent. But what’s big with Jonathan and David right now?
Well it’s the year of Shakespeare and they’ve got their own offering, an anthology published under Abaddon though edited by them both: Monstrous Little Voices (more on our March Recommends page and our Rebellion Jan-Jun 2016 page). It’s a collection of stories rooted in Shakespeare’s world (real or imagined) and extending from it in fantastical ways, commissioned from writers Adrian Tchaikovsky, Jonathan Barnes, Emma Newman, Foz Meadows and Kate Heartfield.
I know most of those names but I remark on Foz Meadows who’s been on my radar since a lovely little piece she wrote on LonCon a few years back, and it sounds like Jonathan really expects her career to take off over the next few years. CB - Re - Jun - The Shadowed Path CB - Re - Jun - Ninefox Gambit
Well I don’t doubt Rob’s got his hands full with MLV: then, not that there aren’t other great books for your consideration in the meantime, there’s two big June titles they’re clearly looking forward to: Gail Z Martin’s The Shadowed Path and Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit.

But I’m really after what we can look forward to a bit more down the line. And, while some may well have been aware of this for a while, I’m pleased to hear about a certain anthology coming about Djinn by Karachi-based Mahvesh Murad and a certain Jared Shurin who I know from one of my own events and his and wife Anne Perry’s Pornokitsch website (see our profile on Carabas here). It’s bringing together stories from all over the world and from diverse backgrounds; I gather that’s still coming in early 2017. One to look forward to.


And on that note the Women in Comics panel is calling and the guys from Rebellion have temperatures to take and talent to find so time to finish the coffee and get on our respective ways.

A big thanks to Jonathan, David and Rob for taking the time to chat at the LBF!


Check out great titles from Solaris and Abaddon by period on Carabas:

Jan-Jun 2015

Jul-Dec 2015

Jan-Jun 2016


More from the LBF:

General coverage with links to feature articles – The London Book Fair 2016 [To be released]

A Coffee with Abaddon & Solaris at the London Book Fair…

Women in Comics: Is the Graphic Novel Industry Failing to Recognise Female Creators? Panel at LBF 2016

A Coffee with… Deborah Install at the London Book Fair!

A Coffee with… Pat Mills at the London Book Fair! Part 1

A Coffee with… Pat Mills at the London Book Fair! Part 2 [Imminent]

A Coffee with… Pat Mills at the London Book Fair! Part 3 [Imminent]

The Graphic Galaxy: Science Fiction in Comics – A Panel at LBF 2016 [To be released]

A Coffee with Hodder Editor Anne Perry at The London Book Fair!