Jonathan Cape Graphic Novels – Publishing Jan-Jun 2016!

CPP - Jonathan Cape logo Here’s a look at the Graphic Novels Jonathan Cape have coming for you over the period January to June 2016! We’ll be bringing you our particular recommends of all publishers together by month of publication.
Note: Publication dates are accurate at time of writing but can change.

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Angry Robot Books – Publishing Jan-Jun 2016!

CPP - Angry Robot Here’s a look at what Angry Robot have coming for you over the period January to June 2016! We’ll be bringing you our particular recommends of all publishers together by month of publication. Note: Publication dates are liable to change and some jackets are still to come…
*** Publisher Page – link / profile ***
*** See Other Publishers Jan-Jun 16 ***

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Extract / Preview: Koko the Mighty by Kieran Shea

CB - Ti - Aug - Koko the Mighty updated jacket As she mashes down a bundle of white bar towels, Koko Martstellar’s mind redlines.
“Stay with me, sweetie.”
In what must be mindboggling agony, Jedidiah Flynn lasers her a look. The towels pressed against the wound in his leg quickly soak red on contact, and he throws open his jaw and bays like a stuck hound.
“You keep pushing on my leg like that, and I’ll stay with you. I’ll stay with you long enough to rip your damn head off! God, who trained you in field medicine, Koko? A butcher?”
Koko peeks under the bloody towels. Flecked with dark leg hair, the pulse round wound in Flynn’s leg is a warm trench of glistening pink gore. Damaged and cooked iliotibial band muscle for sure, but at twelve oozing centimeters the wound is totally survivable if measures are taken, and taken soon.

“Listen,” Koko says. “You need to keep compression on this until we get a chance to stitch it up, okay?”

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Mean Girls Club by Ryan Heshka: Preview!

CG - Sep - Mean Girls Club When we saw the title and cover of Mean Girls Club (coming in September) we wondered just how mean they would be, so Nobrow publishing beat us around the head with a proof copy and made us cry until we agreed to say that they’re exceptionally mean. Only we actually didn’t need to be told after reading it – because they really really are! Get a taste of just how mean from the extract Nobrow called us horrid names until we agreed to put up were kind enough to supply below…


Check page right – just like you’re reading a physical copy! 😉 Mean Girls Club preview 1

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In the darkness of a underground cave system, blind creatures hunt by sound. Then there is light, there are voices, and they feed…

CBP Titan - TheSilencesales.jpg.size-230
Ahead of the launch of his latest book THE SILENCE we Q’ed TIM LEBBON about writing a book where speech or noise of any kind could mean death, tie-ins and novelisations, dystopias and comics… Here’s the A’s touching on, amongst others, the Walking Dead, Dr Who, Aliens and Predator, and destroying the world!

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On London and Urban Fantasy by Foz Meadows (from LonCon3)

The fantastic LonCon3 is a while back now but we really enjoyed Aberdeen-based writer / blogger Foz Meadows’ thoughts on London as distributed by Pigeon Post on Sunday 17th. With her approval we reproduce them here…


Neverwhere As human habitations go London is not merely old, but ancient: a phoenix-city rising over and over from its own stubborn ashes. Small wonder, then, that Hidden London  has practically become an SFFnal subgenre in its own right. In our minds, the tricksy London’s of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, China Mieville’s Un Lun Dun, Ben Aaronovitch‘s Peter Grant series, Tom Pollock‘s Skyscraper Throne, Maureen’s Johnson’s The Name of the Star and countless other stories, both past and present, all inform its reality as a place both impossibly real and, really, impossible. London is clotted with ghosts and magic, her Spring-Heeled Jack’s and killer queens all dancing to the bonesaw song of the TARDIS. It is a place to love, to be drunk, to get lost in; it is a home and pilgrimage both, older than the Roman Empire, and if you treat it or its inhabitants without due consideration, it will open its glass and concrete jaws and snap. And then, quite possibly, offer to buy you a drink. The City's Son
un_lun_dun Broken-Homes

The last time I visited London, I spent the bus-ride down in the company of a former Uzbek spy whose public defection made the papers, then went to stay in a street where the houses looked so dystopian that they’ve appeared in multiple SF films. So wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, welcome to London. You’re part of her story now, and all she asks in return is that you tell it.


– Foz Meadows, 17/08/14


Wonderful stuff – cheers Foz.


You can find and follow Foz Meadows online on her website: Shattersnipe: Malcontents & Rainbows


LonCon3 – The whole Con, miscellanea therein and the final curtain thereof…

Note to self – try not to have a big birthday next time World Con comes to London! But what a weekend…

Fantastic four / five days wandering between the ‘fan village’, the Exhibits Hall, and then the panels I could make (see previous posts) – and also sitting in the boulevard and writing bits up. Didn’t have time to finish in the exhibits unfortunately but had an absolute blast. Here’s a bit of a run down of particular bits around the Con over the whole weekend, and also the unfortunately inevitable end of the LonCon3 – a wonderful place and time for the duration.

Here’s Hugh Norwood’s Angst-Lesspork, a tribute to a certain city of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Hm, is that (bottom-right) a certain librarian of the Unseen University?

From the guide: Angst-Lesspork is a small model railway that draws its inspiration from and is a tribute to the Discworld books of Terry Pratchett and in particular the greatest city on the Circle Sea, Ankh-Morpork. The scene is urban with a tidal river to the front. Buildings are predominately timber-framed. Although superficially a Victorian/Edwardian townscape, many characters and architectural features give clues to the layout’s true identity. Angst-Lesspork appears with the kind permission of Sir Terry Pratchett – and pre-dates Raising Steam by a couple of years…

Other bits around was the art exhibition, other displays, dealers, and fan tables including the bids for future World Cons. Absolutely smashing stuff…

Had a fab time at the Titan Books party on Friday – hadn’t even realised there was a Tor and Jo Fletcher birthday party happening just around the corner!There’s revellers behind and aside the displays but a fine sample of science fictional works from their growing book list. Mind Kim Newman is the star of the show and gets a display to himself (bottom-right)…

Fantastic time throughout but all good things and all that… I attended the closing ceremony on Sunday which was packed.

After a review of the video that won London World Con this year, showing a montage of alien invasion and the science fictional destruction of our capital, the Chairs of LonCon3 – Alice Lawson and Steve Cooper – emerge to deliver the closing speeches. There were presentations to the guests of honour including, sadly in absentia, the dear departed Iain M Banks, to whom the Chair’s had pledged that he’d be guest of honour regardless of anything in his final days. It was a very touching moment with those who knew him well being deeply moved.

Iain M Banks 1954 - 2013

Iain M Banks
1954 – 2013

On a brighter note there was a song to sing given someone in the audience had their birthday that day, someone who’d been present at the first LonCon: Brian Aldiss.

Finally the Chairs performed the formal duty of closing the 72nd World Science Fiction convention with the pronouncement and banging of the wooden hammer, then passing it to Sally Hall, the Chair of Sasquan, the next host of World Con.

And from there, well the bar was still open and the remainder of us – of which there were many – gathered in the fan village for drinks and chat and last celebrations. The photos below are very much of that, the first three being of kids who’d acquired bubble wrap and were joined by more and adults besides to make sure that if LonCon3 hadn’t ended with the sort of big bang that would guarantee an apocalypse for London, there were certainly many little ones happening at the same time.

Which was just how we ended it.

Fantastic long weekend of celebrating the fantastical and the science fictional and massive thanks and kudos to all the organisers and volunteers who made it such an amazing convention.



Destroying London! From LonCon3 and beyond…

Capital cities tend to get destroyed in Science Fiction – they represent the country and it’s civilization as a whole. So they’re natural targets of aliens [substitute fantastical antagonist as applicable] and the evil genius authors who guide their attack.

The University of Liverpool had the simplest of exhibits up at LonCon3, A4 printouts with pictures on a display board, but if you’re talking destroying London, our capital, and my home city, then you’ve got me at ‘The Destruction of London’.

From the guide: Drawing upon the prophecies of medieval astrologers and soothsayers to modern science fiction and fantasy (Richard Jefferies, George Griffiths, H G Wells, John Wyndham, Doctor Who), this display will look at some of the imaginative and sinister ways the destruction of London has been imagined. 

We start off around 1524 when there was a Europe-wide panic due to astrologers forecasting downpours and floods on the 1st February. The Thames was meant to have burst its banks and drowned the whole city. 20,000 Londoners fled – but not a drop fell. The embarrassed astrologers (like any good apocalyptic doomsayers thwarted by reality) issued a statement saying that they really meant 1624. Then comes a poem by Horace Smith, a friend of Percy Bysshe Shelley (who helped to manage his finances). The two agreed to submit poems (sonnets) to the Examiner having been inspired by Diodorus Siculus (Book 1, Chapter 47) which is on Ozymandias – Shelley’s of course became better known but I was very pleased to discover Mr Smith’s contribution of the same name, printed February 1, 1818 a week later in the Examiner.

IN Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desart knows:—
“I am great OZYMANDIAS,” saith the stone,
“The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
“The wonders of my hand.”— The City’s gone,—
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.

We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

Battle of Dorking Hartmann the Anarchist The Sleeper Awakes
 Next we’re off to 1871 and Chesney’s ‘The Battle of Dorking’ (kicking off the invasion genre and an important precursor to science fiction) and other fictional invasions of London including Hartmann the Anarchist, before we move on to HG Wells’ and his dystopian future-London setting of The Sleeper Awakes.
Then there’s the sidestep into gaseous fog threats across the decades, in William DeLisle Hay’s The Doom of the Great City 1880 and Conan-Doyle’s The Poison Belt (1913), before we start to see familiar images from screens small and large and we’re up to date and looking forward to seeing what the next destruction of London will look like. daleks-london
  And on that subject, just across the way is this fantastic diorama by Nick Cobb of a post-apocalyptic Peckham, circa it’s car park and cinema; you can see more of this epic work on Nick’s Flickr page

London is an awesome place. London will still be awesome post-apocalypse – just rather more… apocalyptic.

Again big cities tend to get destroyed in science fiction. Their remnants show scale. The scale of disaster and the scale of what has been lost.

Great stuff.


Tall Technical Tales from LonCon3…

From the event programme: What kind of stories emerge from the lab when scientists gather round the campfire and have too much to drink? Will they involve exploding particle accelerators, the escape of dangerous diseases, or explain why you should never operate a centrifuge while drunk?

Having got in late (and after rather a few birthday drinks the day before) I thought I’d check out this humorous science panel, moderated by astrophysicist and observational astronomer David L Clements (Imperial College), PhD student of Molecular Biology Helen Pennington (Imperial also), Henry Spencer (astrophysicist and various other disciplines), and NASA’s Geoff Landis, a physicist and writer of SF.
Henry Spencer moves in swiftly after Landis establishes his sci-fi authorship claiming that he too has been known for such work: that his project proposals have certainly been of science in proposal though his budgets are similarly well known for being works of fiction; the result being something closer to the genre of horror.

David Clements kicks off the anecdotes, noting that observatories are at rather high altitudes which means there is less oxygen and a concurrent loss of points of IQ. On one occasion, having settled in to observatory and the tasks therein, he became aware there was something he’d forgotten. No, the data was coming in okay. Yes he’d checked the weather conditions. So what had he forgotten? Oh yes:

See it turns out the breathing reflex kicks in not because of a lack of oxygen but an excess of carbon dioxide. Humorous and informative.

He goes on to relate the time he was up the mountain cutting a part to size in order to fit it, and phoned down to sea level to have the following approximate exchange:

“Sea Level – I’ve cut this part three times and it’s still too short.”

“Come down now!”

We’re then treated to stories of up and coming scientists attempting to freeze dry a litre and a half of chloroform in a corridor (you can tell the science buffs in the room here and throughout by the collective intakes of breath and early laughter before it’s explained to the rest of us). But yes, this rather destroyed the freeze dryer and nearly filled the immediate environs with gaseous chloroform; this courtesy of Helen Pennington.
I did enjoy the image built by Geoff Landis when he’d bunged the wrong end of a tube with something particularly hazardous inside. He was found wandering around the lab sans labcoat and trousers with a load of tissues attempting to clear up. (His explanation anyway).

We’re back with Helen Pennington. Another student, she tells us, was repeatedly noticed (and thank goodness she was noticed) approaching the autoclave with something inappropriate. Are ethanol, chloroform or bleach inappropriate to put in an autoclave? (YES, according to the rest of the room!) Someone else was attempting to win the Darwin Awards on her own behalf and that of her colleagues besides by opening a centrifuge into which she’d put – and then heard break – a sample of Legionnaires Disease. Everyone in the lab required three months of heavy antibiotics. I wonder if they saw the funny side as we did. Regrettably, as Henry Spencer comes in with, Darwinian processes are statistical in nature. (You might imagine that her unwilling colleagues in the Award attempt might likewise feel such regrets.)

Oh there’s plenty more from the panel. Someone actually did manage to destroy an entire chemistry building though, I confess, the science passed me by. We hear of an explosives course in Semtin, a place which gives its name to a little substance ending with ‘ex’ rather than ‘in’, and the rather cavalier (if not inquisitive) attitude to safety of one of the instructors. (Think Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka’s attitude to being teleported by television). Also there was the Muslim lady on the course dressed in the traditional hijab attempting to re-enter the country covered in explosives residue. I got that one at least straight off.

I wasn’t quite so sure what the cause of the underground explosion was in the next story (something nuclear I think) but it blew a manhole cover straight up a considerable distance. How considerable? Well it wasn’t found – they’re pretty sure it reached escape velocity.

Then we’re on to fridges. People leaving food in fridges (next to the exciting chemicals). People leaving notes on containers in fridges saying ‘Whoever stole the sample of nitrous oxide this is not nitrous oxide.’

On a similar chilly subject we hear of a Group Safety Officer whose party trick was gargling liquid nitrogen; yes apparently it’s fine as long as you keep it moving. (It’s explained that the Group Safety Officer is usually the most dangerous person in the department because if they tell you not to do something…) But then someone else fancied trying the same but forgot that you are meant to ‘spit, not swallow’. Fortunately (!) it didn’t freeze-burn his insides. Instead, feeling the pressure building and thinking he was going to be sick, he made it to the stairwell which was essentially a twelve-storey echo chamber, whereupon he produced the loudest and longest belch anyone had ever heard.

And that’s according to scientist so they should know.

Great stuff – cheers to all who came along and contributed!

LonCon3 Friday – The Urban Fantasy: London panel…

Having read Hellblazer in my late teens it never occurred to me that the adventures of, for example, a modern day wizard would be something considered fresh and innovative; enter Jim Butcher and his Chicago-based wizard Harry Dresden, now around a decade on and a Sunday Times – as well as a New York Times – bestseller. And he’s not the only one to have success on the urban fantasy scene, a genre very much alive and ever more so in modern day London.

So what is UF and what’s going down behind the scenes in the big city? With Gollancz’s Gillian Redfearn moderating five authors discuss: Tony Ballantyne (author of Dream London and others), MaryAnn Johanson (critic and author, who came over to London from NYC three years ago and has yet to leave), Suzanne McLeod (author of, Tom Pollock (author of the Skyscraper Throne trilogy), and Russell Smith (Author of the Grenshall Manor chronicles).The moderator opens by asking them ‘What is urban fantasy to you?’

It must have at least something of our world, Susan McLeod shares and Mary-Ann Johanson agrees: it’s about the use of the real city, and the author making it ‘alive and haunting’. Tom Pollock continues the thread talking of how cities have their own personality and, given that London is both London and all the old towns and villages that grew together to form it, there’s a great deal of personality to explore in our big city.

So what is it about cities? Russell Smith expresses a sense of authorial spirituality here and later, saying that there are more stories than there are authors to tell them. But, of all cities, what is so special about London? It’s the juxtaposition of the historic and the modern, says Mary-Ann Johanson – that and all the places in which things could be hidden. We move on to its multicultural aspect, London being a melting pot of people from all over but who, collectively, bring a flavour to the area in which they live. It’s noted that its multicultural nature has been the case since the city was called Londinium.

Dream London
Sweet Smell of Blood
The City's Son Could the authors write an urban fantasy elsewhere and where would they like to? Berlin, says Tom Pollock without hesitation, to do so being an ambition of his (it’s an apt choice, the city having been infused with years of turmoil, of the Second World War and then the Cold War, division and being united and is still a city very much in the process of becoming). For Suzanne McLeod it’s Edinburgh, a selection met with the vocal approval of the panel. Russell Smith likewise has his answer ready: ‘Unquestionably Barcelona’.Then we’re into the discussion of whether you could write an urban fantasy in a city or place without the depth of history common to such cities. Perhaps this sort of question is a red rag to a writer, and maybe any creative: can something be written if…? Yes, yes and thrice yes. (In fact Jim Butcher’s non-urban fantasy series, the Codex Alera, seems rather too random compared to the well developed Dresden Files until you realise that he wrote them as a ‘bet’ with just that in mind. A good writer can turn anything into a good book, was along the lines of what he’s supposed to have said and, when his friend challenged him on this: give me two elements. All right – Pokemon and the Roman Empire.)
Oblivion Storm

But yes, you can write an urban fantasy in a city without history, the panel agrees: the apparent conflict of such a lack will bring its own solution – and doubtless something new to the genre.



Check out more Urban Fantasy including Tom Pollock’s concluding volume of The Skyscraper Throne on our Jan-Jun 15 Urban Fantasy Page here!