So this is very exciting news to report: Last night I signed a contract with Ragnarok Publications for the North American rights to the Alex Caine trilogy. Bound, Obsidian and Abduction will be published in the NA territories some time in the next 12 months. As far as I know, the plan is to release all three books simultaneously.
Ragnarok are a relatively new outfit, but they’re doing amazing work and putting out superb books, so I’m thrilled to be a part of their team. More details will follow as they come to hand, but the deal has been brokered and now it’s all official. I must once again thank the stellar work of my SuperAgent, Alex Adsett.
I can’t wait to see what Ragnarok do with the books – I’ll look forward to revealing their covers and all that stuff as it happens. Watch the blog and my other social media for more news. In the meantime, I’ll be over here drinking celebratory scotch and Snoopy dancing.
HarperVoyager, the publishers of my dark urban fantasy/horror books, The Alex Caine Series, are running a special Christmas and New Year promotion. This means that Bound, the first book in the series, is free everywhere in the world in ebook until January. Free. Nada. Nothing. Go to your favourite ebook retailer of choice and grab your copy now. Obsidian and Abduction, books 2 and 3, are less than a fiver each too, so you can get a pretty good deal on the whole trilogy right now.
So if you’ve been tempted to check out the series, but haven’t yet, you can grab book 1 now for nothing. If you do take up this offer, I hope you enjoy the read. Please help me out by sharing this post around as much as you are able. The more I can get the word out, the better. Thanks! Here’s the full blurb about the book:
Bound (Alex Caine #1)
Alex Caine, a fighter by trade, is drawn into a world he never knew existed — a world he wishes he’d never found.
Alex Caine is a martial artist fighting in illegal cage matches. His powerful secret weapon is an unnatural vision that allows him to see his opponents’ moves before they know their intentions themselves.
An enigmatic Englishman, Patrick Welby, approaches Alex after a fight and reveals, ‘I know your secret.’ Welby shows Alex how to unleash a breathtaking realm of magic and power, drawing him into a mind-bending adventure beyond his control. And control is something Alex values above all else.
A cursed grimoire binds Alex to Uthentia, a chaotic Fey godling, who leads him towards destruction and murder, an urge Alex finds harder and harder to resist. Befriended by Silhouette, a monstrous Kin beauty, Alex sets out to recover the only things that will free him – the shards of the Darak. But that powerful stone also has the potential to unleash a catastrophe which could mean the end of the world as we know it.
Giving books as presents is actually a kind of magic. You’re giving someone a deep, emotional experience. You’re giving them a world, a life, that they wouldn’t otherwise have. It was George R R Martin who wrote in A Dance With Dragons, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.” And I’m sure he wasn’t the first or will be the last to make that point. Also, whenever you give someone a book as a gift, a fairy gets laid.
That last bit may not be true, but do you want to risk the happiness of fairies? So with Xmas coming around again, it’s time to start thinking about buying gifts for people. You know the other great thing about buying people books? You’re actually giving two gifts at once. The obvious is the one mentioned above, where a person gets to live another life. The other gift you’re giving is to the author of whatever book you buy. It’s another little stitch in that person’s career, because only by selling books do they get to keep writing and publishing more books. You instantly become some kind of benevolent saint the moment you buy a book as a gift. Okay, maybe I’m overselling this, but it is fundamentally true.
And here’ my offer to you. If you want to buy someone a signed copy of Bound for Xmas, thereby giving both them and me a gift and becoming a saint in the process, it couldn’t be easier. Send me an email to alan[@]warriorscribe.com (without the square brackets, of course) and tell me who you want it dedicated to and their address. I’ll sign a copy, gift wrap it for you and send it off as soon as I get PayPal confirmation of your payment – I’ll give you PayPal details in a return email. All it will cost you is AU$25 anywhere in Australia (which is the same as the RRP should you go to a bookstore) or AU$35 to be sent anywhere else in the world.
I can’t say fairer than that! So hit me up via email and we’ll get it organised. But do it soon, because we’re running out of time for post to arrive before Xmas.
Today I have a guest post from author and editor extraordinaire, Keith Stevenson. His new novel, Horizon, is out now. Take it away Keith.
I’d like to thank Alan for giving over some space on his blog for the Horizon Blog Tour.
Horizon is my debut science fiction novel published by Voyager Impulse. It’s an SF thriller centred on a deep space exploration mission that goes very wrong, with repercussions for the future of all life on Earth.
One of the most interesting themes in science fiction, and one of the most exciting advances happening in medical research today, is how humans will become augmented through interfacing with technology.
In the real world, there are amazing advances that enable paraplegics to control the environment around them. In 2012 in the UK, a woman had an aspirin-sized array of electrodes implanted in her brain which picked up signals from neurons in her motor cortex enabling her to control a robotic arm. In sci-fi movies, humans interfacing with technology has brought about a variety of dystopian scenarios from (the now somewhat laughable) Saturn 3, to (the now very laughable) Lawnmower Man, as well as the Matrix movies and the more recent Transcendance.
One of the best books about the future development of humanity is Damien Broderick’s The Last Mortal Generation. It explores not only how the life of our physical body can be extended, but also how technology might free the mind from its time-limited physical form. The mind is the key to so much — our emotions and sense of self. What would it be like to transplant your mind outside of its fleshy architecture into the elegant symmetry of a computer? Would you feel any different if your brain was replaced neuron by neuron by ‘silicon brain cells’? Would you lose your humanity? What about extending the reach of your mind resting within its physical confines by hooking it up to a wider cognitive network that’s faster, richer, and electronic?
In Horizon, Systems Specialist Bren Thurgood is among the first couple of generations of transhumans: people who accept an implant that allows them to interface with computerised and artificial intelligence systems. It makes her very good at what she does, and she’s an indispensable member of the crew. However even though I’m an optimist, I find it hard to imagine a future where humanity doesn’t attack what’s different in society. And given the current controversy about metadata and government snooping, I think the reasons behind a widespread mistrust of transhumans are compounded. They are ‘creatures of the internet’, able to breach firewalls and hack sensitive systems as easily as breathing. As a result, ‘chipheads’ are the target of racist — or maybe that should be ‘specist’ — intolerance from the ‘norms’.
I think the most interesting aspect of interfacing directly with the electronic world, the world of data and numbers, is how our minds would interpret and present that augmented reality to us. We’re not digital, we’re analogue, which means — perhaps — we’ll take a figurative rather than literal approach to the datastream. Bren explains it best:
Lex pressed the patches to her temples and flicked the monitor into life. He picked up a metallic wand. ‘You shouldn’t feel any discomfort. I’m just going to send a range of harmonics through the soft tissue and see what the sensors pick up.’ He touched her chin and turned her head to the left. The wand hummed in his hand. ‘What’s it like anyway, the link?’
Bren snorted and a smile spread across her face. ‘You don’t know how many times I’ve been asked that.’
‘Then you should have a good answer.’
She turned towards him and he gently turned her head back into position. ‘A lot of people can’t get used to it. There’s the increased cognitive capacity, of course. You’re totally aware — of everything. When you’re linked, you can instantly understand concepts, complex equations, programming, the works. You access information, formulate solutions, in the blink of an eye. But the perception change can really get to you. Some things you encounter are actual representations, like when I saw Phillips in the ring. Some things you can template and construct yourself. But every now and then something will come at you that’s totally figurative. Like the interface has tapped into your subconscious imagery and selected something that embodies completely what you’re experiencing intellectually, emotionally, and even spiritually. It can freak you out if you’re not used to it.’
‘Like that package ticking?’
‘Yeah, but that’s a simple example.’
‘Look to the right, please,’ Lex said and swapped the wand to his other hand.
‘Anyway, it’s helped me become more than I ever could be. But Harris and people like him will never understand. And they’ll never trust what they don’t understand.’
No matter how augmented they become, I believe transhumans will retain their own human and individual ways of looking at the world. It may have to work that way to prevent their brains from overloading. It’s a fascinating concept to think about, and it almost makes me wish all this was a reality right now.
Here’s a good Halloween treat. I know, it’s more like Xmas than Halloween, but who cares. Halloween is far better than Xmas anyway. Out now is an ebook bundle called Dark Trinity. It contains the books Prophecy by J.F.Penn, Burnt Offerings by Michael Lister and Dark Rite by David Wood and myself. All for just $4.99. That’s a whole lot of reading for a fiver.