Category Archives: Angry Robot

John Jarrold’s Corner & new Angry Robot Signings!

Hey guys and girls, some great news from John Jarrold! Here’s the contents of the press-release for you:


Nick Johnston of Quercus has paid a significant advance for a four-book series by UK novelist Rod Rees. The pre-emptive deal, with agent John Jarrold, is for World Rights.

The series is titled THE DEMI-MONDE, and is set in a wonderfully imagined virtual world – the Demi-Monde of the title. Originally conceived by the US military as a training ground for their troops in the twenty-first century facing street fighting and enemies who use guerrilla tactics, rather than modern technology-based armies, the Demi-Monde was created by the world’s first quantum computer. Young singer Ella Thomas is sent there to rescue a VIP (she ticks all the boxes to blend into the world, which has a late-Victorian technology base) and discovers the world and its thirty million inhabitants, or ‘avatars’, are all too real. Especially those who run the world’s city-states, based on famous human monsters such as Reinhard Heydrich, Shaka Zulu, Empress Wu, Godfrey de Bouillon, Selim the Grim and Lavrentii Beria, with whom the world was seeded to make it more of a test…and that is only the beginning. The first volume will be published in 2011. There is already a fascinating website at

“Rod’s imagination and invention are quite outstanding,” said John Jarrold. “His characters leap off the page and his storylines fascinated me. This went out to mainstream publishers, as well as SF editors, since it has huge crossover potential to people who don’t necessarily think of themselves as ‘SF readers’, fans of films like THE MATRIX and the novels of Michael Crichton. Nick and his colleagues obviously felt the same, because within seventy-two hours of this project being submitted to major publishers in London and New York, he rang me with a wonderful pre-emptive offer. After discussion we came to terms, and I’m delighted to do my first deal with him, and with Quercus. Congratulations to Nick – and to those, including David North, Jon Riley and Ron Beard, who backed him so positively and strongly.”

Nick Johnston added: “In THE DEMI-MONDE Rod Rees has created one of the most deliriously exciting worlds that I have encountered in fiction. It is an utterly believable place where anything goes and some of history’s most fascinating figures and cruellest tyrants rub shoulders with an almost extravagantly lifelike cast of characters. The fact that he uses this to explore some of life’s deepest dilemmas and suffuses it all with such a rich vein of humour is just the icing on the cake.”

Sounds like it’ll be a damn good and intriguing read! 🙂

Check out John’s site here!


Angry Robot has signed 2 more authors!! 🙂 World-domination indeed! 🙂 Congrats to the imprint, and congrats to the authors! 🙂


One last thing – this is just too damn awesome not to post! 🙂 The cover art of Tony Ballantyne’s sequel to Twisted Metal!


Can’t wait! 🙂



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Mark C Newton’s City of Ruin and New Angry Robot Author-Announcement!

Mark has unveiled the blurb and cover for his sequel (highly, highly anticipated!) to Nights of Villjamur – City of Ruin. 🙂

You can go ahead and read the blurb on his blog (just follow the link above), but I thought I’d go ahead and showcase the cover – not yet sure if I like it or not, but one thing is sure – what’s inside will be incredible! 🙂


Can’t wait!


Next up, Angry Robot has announced who the latest author to join the fold is: Ian Whates! Taken from the website – “He will be writing a series of novels set in one of the most extraordinary fantasy settings since Gormenghast – the vertical city of Thaiburley. From its towering palatial heights to the dregs who dwell in The City Below, it’s an incredible creation. When Tom, a teenage street thief from the depths, ventures into the uppermost levels to impress a girl, the last thing he expects to do is witness a murder. Accused of the crime, he must use all of his knowledge of the ancient city to flee certain death.” Sounds great to me, and, if I may go so far, sounds like Mark Newton might have some competition soon! 🙂

Ian is also a member of Wonderlands (just goes to show how long its been since I was there, feeling very guilty!). 🙂 Ian’s first novel for AR, City of Dreams and Nightmare, will be out in March 2010, with the sequel, City of Hope and Despair, to follow that. 🙂

AR has also unveiled the cover to Dan Abnett’s Triumff:


Lots of goodness coming from Angry Robot! 🙂


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Posted by on September 10, 2009 in Angry Robot, Announcements


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John Jarrold’s Corner, Dark Horse Comics and Angry Robot News!

Yep, some great news coming from all three! 🙂

But let’s start with John Jarrold’s Corner:


John Jarrold has sold an SF novella by Chaz Brenchley, ROTTEN ROW, to Peter Crowther at PS Publishing. ROTTEN ROW is set in the same universe as his short story “Terminal”, which was shortlisted for the BSFA award and will be reprinted together with the novella.

Chaz Brenchley has been a professional writer since the age of 18, and has written over 20 thrillers, supernatural thrillers and fantasy novels under his own name and pseudonyms.

‘Although Chaz is known for his fantasy and dark fantasy, this is a wonderful SF story, it feels as if he’s been writing in the genre for decades,’ said John Jarrold.

Great, great news for Chaz! 🙂

And some news-bits from dark Horse Comics:




JULY 29, MILWAUKIE, OR–It’s no secret that Dark Horse loves comics, but perhaps lesser known is the fact that Dark Horse loves baseball, too!

In celebration of the summer season and America’s greatest pastime, Dark Horse Comics and Challenge Online Games have teamed up to create the greatest sports franchise ever. In a move that will have agents talking for weeks, Baseball Boss will now feature Dark Horse players, including Concrete, Hellboy, Abe Sapien (B.P.R.D.), X, Rumor and Kraken (The Umbrella Academy), the Mask, Conan, King Kull, Cal McDonald (Criminal Macabre), SpyBoy, Ghost, the Goon, Grendel Prime, the Occultist, Go Boy 7, and Heath Huston (Fear Agent).

The free-to-play online electronic trading card game combines the collectibility and trading aspects of collectible cards with the competitive excitement of multiplayer games. Harnessing Web 2.0 applications and asynchronous, short-form design, Baseball Boss and Dark Horse will set the bar for this emerging entertainment sector.

Plus, players can win a full set of virtual cards of the Dark Horse All-Stars team!

* First, players need to complete their free registration for the online game Baseball Boss and finish a quick account setup.

* Then, each time their team beats the Dark Horse All-Stars in a best-of-five game series, they can randomly win a card of the Dark Horse All-Stars for their collection.

* Players get three free packs of virtual baseball cards when they register for free for Baseball Boss.

To play their first game against the Dark Horse All-Stars, players should visit

Baseball Boss has been described by GameZone as “iTunes meets baseball cards.” The addition of Dark Horse superstars will allow players to create the ultimate dream team to go head to head with other players in a way never before imagined.

Dark Horse President Mike Richardson has this to say about the new program: “Being a longtime baseball fan, it’s great to see so many Dark Horse characters taking part in an online version of our national pastime and playing alongside some of my favorite real-life players.”

Jeff Petry, vice president of sports and licensed properties at Challenge Games, said, “Adding key characters from the Dark Horse universe creates a fun activity for our players. We hope that both sports fans and comic fans alike enjoy these highly collectible virtual cards. We’re looking forward to a great partnership with Dark Horse and to creating many more fun activities for all our players.”



SAN DIEGO, CA, JULY 24, 2009—Dark Horse Comics and Felicia Day, star of Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, are teaming up in a quest to bring one of the funniest online shows onto the pages of what will soon be the funniest comic based on a webisode, ever. Srsly.

Winner of the 2008 Greenlight Award at SXSW, as well as the 2008 YouTube Best Series and Yahoo! Best Series awards, The Guild is an online sitcom of web shorts written by, and starring, Felicia Day (Dr. Horrible, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, House). Since its formation, the show has racked up over twenty million viewers at

The Guild follows six players, AKA “Guildies” (Bladezz, Codex, Vork, Tinkerballa, Zaboo, and Clara), who decide to finally meet in real life after spending months playing together in an online world. Their individual social dysfunctions lead to several problems in the real world, but together, as in the online game, they become greater than the sum of their collected baggage and start to become . . . well . . . kinda normal . . . er.

The online show now stands as one of YouTube’s most-subscribed series. It started as an independent project funded by fan donations via PayPal before being sponsored by Microsoft and Sprint in season 2. Season 3 will debut on Xbox/MSN/Zune on August 25.

The new comic, titled The Guild, was first conceived at San Diego Comic-Con 2008 when senior Dark Horse editor Scott Allie noticed that Day’s sharp wit and diverse talent would transfer well into sequential art. The series will be all-new material that expands on the actual in-game environment never seen on the show.

Allie stated, “Felicia’s amazing, and her writing will translate smoothly into comics. This’ll make a great companion to our line of comics. It’ll fit great alongside our webcomics and our Whedon books. And I’m really looking forward to working with her to get into some areas the show simply can’t because of budgetary reasons.”

The artist of the initial three-issue miniseries is undetermined, but the story will be penned by Felicia Day. Day, a self-proclaimed gaming aficionado, stated, “I’m really excited to work in a new medium and expand the Guild universe. The comics will be a great way for fans to become more involved with the characters, and see the characters interact in environments that we can’t afford to show in the web series. I can’t imagine working with a better company than Dark Horse. It seems like a perfect match for the show. Indie cred to the max!”

And in case you missed this in San Diego –


JULY 21, SAN DIEGO, CA–Dark Horse is proud to again deliver a loaded catalog of new projects that exemplify the evolution of the comics medium. Here are just a few of the highlights from this year’s Comic-Con International:

365 Samurai and a Few Bowls of Rice—Swiss artist J. P. Kalonji’s graphic novel comes to America. A young swordfighter must kill 365 samurai on a quest to avenge his master—in a fun, humorous, cartoony style.

Age of Reptiles—Film designer Ricardo Delgado returns with the third installment of his epic (silent) dinosaur comics series. Carnivores hunt herbivores on a migration south.

Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War—The 2009 relaunch of the Aliens and Predator series comes together with a creative team of John Arcudi and Rick Leonardi.

Archie Archives—The classic Archie comic books get the deluxe treatment in a series of hardcovers as the newest editions to the Dark Horse Archives series.

Blacksad—Collecting all three of the international award-winning European volumes, the third of which has not been published in English before. This crime noir about a cat detective, PI John Blacksad, is a phenomenal anthropomorphic story with fully painted artwork. By Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido.

Casper Anniversary Special—A 64-page hardcover celebrating Casper’s sixtieth anniversary and featuring his first appearance in comics.

Conan: The Weight of the Crown—Darick Robertson writes and draws our first Conan one-shot since the Conan the Cimmerian relaunch. This comic is part of Dark Horse’s all-new One-Shot Wonders program.

Dark Horse GelaSkins—Decorative coverings for phones and laptops featuring some of Dark Horse’s most popular properties, including The Umbrella Academy, Yoshitaka Amano, Tim Burton, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hellboy, and many more. A select few will be available at the Dark Horse booth during the convention as supplies last. The whole program is set to launch in September 2009.

Devil—Devil is an original Japanese manga being created for Dark Horse by Torajiro Kishi and animation powerhouse Madhouse Studios, featuring genetically designed vampires in a sci-fi police drama set in Tokyo.

Electropolis—Electropolis: The Infernal Machine is the perfect companion to Mister X: Condemned. Visionary artist Dean Motter revisits his unique brand of “antique futurism” in a story full of familiar faces, including a memorable cameo by Mister X himself.

Final Fantasy Boxed Set—A luxurious edition that stays true to the original Japanese collection of the complete Final Fantasy artwork by Yoshitaka Amano.

Furry Water and Mesmo Delivery—Eisner winner Rafael Grampá comes to Dark Horse with two books: Mesmo Delivery, a reprint of his psychedelic small-press debut; and Furry Water, cowritten with Daniel Pellizzari, a six-issue postapocalyptic action comic.

One-Shot Wonders—A new program running from October to December, highlighting some of Dark Horse’s biggest characters and properties in standalone comics retailing at $3.50 each. The program includes “Sugarshock,” Conan, Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Star Wars (two titles), “Dr. Horrible,” and The Goon.

The Art of Blade of the Immortal—Hardcover edition of the original Japanese book with 32 new bonus pages not previously available. This book will be in the style of the Dark Horse The Art of . . . and Library Edition series.

and last but not least –



JULY 23, SAN DIEGO, CA–Following the release of the highly anticipated Dethklok vs. The Goon, Dark Horse Comics and Adult Swim announce a brand-new comics series based on the immensely popular animated show Metalocalypse. The band’s five members—Nathan Explosion, William “Murderface,” Skwisgaar Skwigelf, Toki Wartooth, and Pickles—will be featured in a full publishing program created by series co-creator Brendon Small and a collaborative team of Metalocalypse and Dark Horse artists and writers.

Co-created by Tommy Blacha and Brendon Small, the Metalocalypse television series follows the on- and off-stage adventures of the world’s most brutal band as they create a wave of mayhem, death, and destruction wherever they go. Since debuting on Adult Swim in 2006, the series has become one of the network’s highest-rated original series, and the second season was watched by more than five million 18 to 34-year-old viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. This animated band has also had a lot of very real success, as the band’s debut CD, Dethklok: The Dethalbum, is the fastest-selling death-metal album of all time since debuting at #21 on Billboard’s Top 100 list, and a real-live version of the animated band has completed nearly sold-out tours. The follow up album, Dethklok: The Dethalbum II, will be released on September 8th from Williams Street Records.

“This collaboration with Dark Horse Comics is a great opportunity for us to partner with a company that has a shared sensibility and fan base with one of Adult Swim’s most popular brands,” said Christina Miller, vice president of Cartoon Network Enterprises. “Combining the pool of artistic talent of both companies, we have created a great publishing program that will both deliver the quality, entertaining content that our fans look for and will expose the hilarious antics of Dethklok to a new group of potential fans.”

“I am a huge fan of Eric and of The Goon,” says Dark Horse President Mike Richardson. “Eric, it turns out, is a huge fan of Metalocalypse. Once Eric suggested this team up, we began discussing the project and it seemed like a natural fit. We couldn’t be more excited about introducing these characters to the comics world.”


And now over to the folks of Angry Robot!


Press Release
4th August 2009 • For Immediate Release

For French writer Aliette de Bodard, it was just another of those
annoying airport delays that plague us all from time to time. But it
turned out to be just the break she needed.

Forced to spend an extra day in Canada at Calgary airport on her
way back from the World Fantasy Convention last November, she
fell in with a couple of cheery Brits. They got talking, and the pair
mentioned they were setting up a new publishing imprint, and a
new literary agency respectively. After no little persuasion, Aliette
revealed that she, too, was in the writing game, and following a
few well-received short stories had been working on her debut
novel. A few months later, like the plot of a Hollywood movie,
she’s proud to announce she has a deal with both of them – with
the novels represented by new literary agency Zeno, and to be
published by new HarperCollins-funded imprint Angry Robot.

SERVANT OF THE UNDERWORLD is a wild mix of fantasy and crime novel, set in Aztec times. In this alternate world, though, the gods are real and stalk the temples, demanding sacrifices from the people. Amidst the bloodletting, a serial killer appears to be getting away with murder – but how do you find a murderer in a world where the streets themselves are awash with blood?

Angry Robot publishing director Marc Gascoigne, who was there that day along with Zeno’s John Berlyne, said: “It was a bit cheeky of us to cajole her into pitching there and then, but I’m very glad she did. We’re always looking for interesting new books to publish, but that day it was like the ancient gods themselves had all conspired to bring us to that spot! These are wonderful books, full of wild fantasy and cunning detection, and I’m so proud and pleased we’ll be publishing them.”
The deal with Angry Robot, made with publishing director Marc Gascoigne, is for three novels in this setting, to be published by the HarperCollins imprint from Spring 2010 onwards.

Angry Robot –
Zeno Literary Agency –
Aliette de Bodard –

and two more signings!! 🙂

Press Release
29th July 2009 • For Immediate Release
Publisher possibly “out of his mind”

Last month Angry Robot supremo Marc Gascoigne announced the signing of not one, not two, but three new authors to our list who … well, OK, who all had names beginning with M. Yes, it was all just a spooky coincidence but a bit of fun, so yeah, we ran with it.

Today, he now claims, he’s signed two authors whose names begin with G. Surely Mr G is just messing with our minds now. What is this, some kind of cryptic Da Vinci Code homage? Has he buried some extraordinary Golden Robot at a secret location and wants us all to run around the countryside with spades? Or is it just one of those coincidences that actually happen all the time and are quite mathematically plausible, only we never really understand them because higher levels of probability analysis are frankly beyond us? Even top scientists are baffled, it says here.

So to sum up: all we can say for certain is that Angry Robot has signed up two more top talents for novels to appear in 2010 and beyond. And here they are:

In one, it’s GUY ADAMS. In a varied career, Guy trained and
worked as an actor for twelve years before becoming a fulltime
writer. He mugged someone on Emmerdale, performed a
dance routine as Hitler and spent eighteen months touring his
own comedy material around clubs and theatres. He is the
author of the best-selling Rules of Modern Policing: 1973
Edition, a spoof police manual “written by” DCI Gene Hunt of
Life On Mars. He’s has also written a two-volume series
companion to that; a Torchwood novel, The House That Jack
Built; and The Case Notes of Sherlock Holmes, a fictional
facsimile of a scrapbook kept by Doctor John Watson. He’s
also the current chairman of the British Fantasy Society. Enter his world at

Now he’s moving into original fiction, with a pair of novels starting with The World House. Frankly, we were sold by the summary: “In a room is a box. In that box is a door. Beyond that door is a house. And in that house is a whole world.” The story comes to life when characters from different parts of the real world, and from different times, find themselves trapped within the World House – and not all will escape its secrets. We’ll bring you this extraordinary modern fantasy in February 2010, with its sequel, RESTORATION, towards the end of the year.

Aaaand in two, it’s GAV THORPE, popular author of bloodsoaked fantasy sagas under the Warhammer banner, now moving into original fiction with a truly epic historically tinged fantasy trilogy, THE CROWN OF THE BLOOD. Tipping a helmet to the decline of the Roman empire and the conquests of Alexander the Great, this sweeping tale looks at what happens when a great general realizes that he’s conquered all there is to conquer, and sets his sights on returning home – only to discover that the empire he has helped found is rotten to its very core. Massed battles, political mayhem and some truly startling priests, it’s a genuinely original retooling of what makes fantasy great. Volume one, itself called THE CROWN OF THE BLOOD, will be published by Angry Robot at the start of Summer 2010.

Gav Thorpe works from Nottingham, England and has written more than a dozen novels and even more short stories. Growing up in tedious town just north of London, he originally intended to be an illustrator but after acknowledging an inability to draw or paint he turned his hand to writing. Gav spent 14 years as a developer for Games Workshop on the worlds of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 before going freelance in 2008. It is claimed (albeit solely by our Gav, frankly) that he is merely a puppet of a mechanical hamster called Dennis that intends to take over the world via the global communications network. When not writing, Gav enjoys playing games, cooking, pro-wrestling and smiling wryly. His website is


That’s it for now – check back tomorrow for David’s review of Kit Whitfield’s latest! 🙂


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Angry Robot Review: Moxyland by Lauren Beukes



Last night (this being Thursday evening through till Friday morning) I plowed through a hectic sinus-headache to finish Moxyland. That’s how good this book is.

Let me try and set the scene for you: Cape Town, South Africa, some time in the future. We follow four pre-thirties characters as they go about their lives and swirl around each other in a world that seems to have gone a bit nuts – corporations run everything, the South African Police Services (SAPS, as we know them) plays pre-recorded messages to disperse unlawful gatherings before using nano-fueled dogs, and your online identity is more important that your physical life, because if you aren’t connected, you can’t do anything; well, you could, but then you wouldn’t be much better off than the homeless kids or the Rurals (more on that later)…

And then all of the above doesn’t even touch on all the subjects that Moxyland deals with. 🙂

Reading Moxyland is like being electrocuted with a blend of Philip K Dick’s A Scanner Darkly, George Orwell’s 1984 and Ian McDonald’s Necroville, with a dash of A Clockwork Orange, while enjoying the kind of great characters that writers like Stephen King and George RR Martin come up with.

As a South African reading it, I was struck by how well Lauren had captured our blend of cultures, and then taken those cultures a decade or two into the future; I haven’t ever been to Cape Town, but Lauren wrote Cape Town so well that I got the same feeling about the city after being submerged in the London of A Madness of Angels – you walk the streets, drive on the roads and smell the myriad scents, and even the people, the bergies and the internet-café employees and the shack-dwellers (most of the Rurals; as in, they come from outside SA and aren’t really a part of the country since most of them are too poor to be connected) come alive, lending the tale one of its many aspects of credibility. These aren’t stereotypes at all; they’re all normal people, struggling, as we do every day, to make sense of a world gone weird (or wired, should I say), and the way Lauren handles the integration of technology into everyday life begs the question: “How much place is there for a people’s culture, for their identity, in a world where everyone is connected to everyone else? Are we really better off when people know about the latest trends, products, games, movies and celebrities and are forgetting about who they are, as people?”

This is just one of the many questions this tale seeded in me, and that’s also one of the joys of this book: it’s the kind of book that makes you pick up your head, look around and ask, “Just what the fuck, exactly, is going on?” You may look at the world a bit differently; you may just realize that you had a life, once, without a cellphone or connection to the internet, and that, Oh my Goodness, nothing much has changed – except for the fact that we’re all learning how to be good little marketing drones for the money-makers. 🙂

Another aspect of Moxyland that I really enjoyed was the tech – none of it is outrageous or unbelievable, and everything has a proper use. Think your cellphone is cool now? Wait until you read where it may be headed! (Be afraid, I say, be very afraid!) The whole world changes with technology, even if we don’t admit it, and this is definitely reflected in Moxyland – from art galleries to how you clean your house / apartment to the clothes you wear. Not even ol’ Tom Cruise had it this fast and furious in Minority Report!

Going back to the characters, you’ll find yourself either loving or hating them. 🙂 You’ll meet Tendeka, Toby, Kendra and Lerato – they are our POV-people, and the tale unfolds as we take a ride behind their eyes.

Tendeka wants change, Toby wants fame, fortune and sugar, Kendra is finding herself, and Lerato is poised at the precipice; each character is unique, with their own lives, dramas, voices, hates, dislikes and loves. Sometimes the perspectives overlap, giving us an event from two angles, and it’s through these characters that we really connect with the world Lauren has created (and, some of you may agree, foreseen). You see all the angles, hear all the arguments, and this is particularly great because of the kind of book Moxyland is – like I said, you will question, you will ponder, you will agree and disagree, and I guarantee that at least one of the characters will resonate with you. 🙂

Lauren also kicks it into high gear from around the last 120 pages of the book, tension-wise (that’s one of the reasons that I plowed through the headache), and you’ll find yourself flipping the pages faster and faster. All of the character-arcs are resolved and there are more surprises than you can shake a stick at – one of them at least that should knock you into stunned silence. The preceding portions of the book are well-balanced with some laugh-out-loud moments, some moments that’ll have leave your eyes widened in shock, and all through it, you’ll feel amazed by Lauren’s Cape Town and the characters that inhabit it.

It is my opinion that this book will end up being one of the greats of contemporary future-fiction, and it can stand proud among the legends that authors such as Philip K Kick and George Orwell have given us – and also, coming from a South African writer, this is definitely a book that should force the rest of the publishing world to sit up and take notice. We can write here. 🙂

8.5 / 10


Check out the official Moxyland website here, check out Moxyland’s spiffy new home here, and order your copies here (for SA), here (for the UK), and here (for the US).

Now that Angry Robot has officially launched (congrats to the guys and to all the authors who’s work will be published by Angry Robot!), expect to see much more from them, on this Blog and elsewhere! 🙂 My next Angry Robot review will be up soon! 🙂



Posted by on July 7, 2009 in Angry Robot, Reviews


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Robot Army Website of the Month!

Angry Robot

I’m just so stoked at the moment! 🙂 Lee Harris from Angry Robot Books let me know earlier to check out the main base of the Robot Army and when I did, I saw this! 🙂

Thanks to Angry Robot and all their staff – this really is an honour! 🙂 Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! 🙂

Although, the focus must remain on Angry Robot! 🙂 Not only have they got a batch of wonderful authors -who’s books will soon begin gracing our shelves- but they’re also one of the most promising imprints in publishing at the moment, and that’s no puffing up of the facts! To launch a new imprint when the market is as crowded as it is and to still be able to catch the authors they have (and continue to do) speaks very highly of the kind of imprint Angry Robot is and the kind of people who are behind it. 🙂

Thanks again, Angry Robot! 🙂 You guys rock! 🙂


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Posted by on June 17, 2009 in Angry Robot


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Angry Robot: The Day of the 3-Author Madness!

Some great news from Angry Robot! 🙂 Not one new-author announcement, but 3! 🙂

Press Release
15th June 2009
For Immediate Release
Angry Robot is presented today by the letter “M”s

Maurice Broaddus is one of the real good guys, so why the hell his fiction is so terrifying is beyond our understanding. The three books of the KNIGHTS OF BRETON COURT series is a modern retelling of the King Arthur cycle, set among the drug gangs of inner city America. Told through the eyes of King, as he tries to unite the crack dealers and do the right thing, it’s a stunning, edgy work, genuinely unlike anything we’ve ever read. Cheap movie analogy for you: Gilliam’s Fisher King meets The Wire. The first volume will be published by Angry Robot in summer 2010, with the remaining parts at six month intervals. Extraordinary. Check out more about Maurice here.
(Sounds awesome!)

Matt Forbeck… well, where do you start? Multiple award-winning fantasy game designer, computer game creative, writer of so many novels and comicbooks across all the major genre properties… So it’s about damn time someone allowed him free reign with his own novels, no? And we have a pair of stunners. AMORTALS, to be published November 2009, is set just a few years in the future. After a cop is killed, his reincarnated clone must find out who did the deed. Double Indemnity meets Altered Carbon? Roxor!
That’ll be followed late spring 2010 by the equally fabulous VEGAS KNIGHTS. It’s Oceans Eleven meets Harry Potter as three student wizards use Spring Break in an attempt to break a Vegas casino using magic. Only… the casino has its own sorcerers, and they’re not going to hand over all the moolah to a bunch of twenty year-old wandwavers. Check out more info on Matt here.
(Another sure-fire winner!)

Mike Shevdon is the Brit in our pile, and our debut novelist. The immense SIXTY-ONE NAILS and its sequel THE ROAD TO BEDLAM follow Niall Petersen, everyday guy, from a suspected heart attack on the London Underground, into the hidden world of the Feyre, an uncanny place of legend that lurks just beyond the surface of everyday life. The Untainted, the darkest of the Seven Courts, have made their play for power, and unless Niall can recreate the ritual of the Sixty-One Nails, their dark dominion will enslave all of the Feyre, and all of humankind too. A massive rollercoaster ride from a stunning new talent, the first volume will be in stores worldwide from November 2009. Check out more info on Mike here.
(Gimme more books like A Madness of Angels and I’m a happy man!)

Also in (older) Angry Robot news, here’s the cover for J. Robert King’s Angel of Death! 🙂


All in all, great news from Angry Robot! 🙂


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Posted by on June 15, 2009 in Angry Robot


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Angry Robot Books: Free Fiction Extract No 2: Slights by Kaaron Warren

As promised, here’s the second extract, this time from the forthcoming and very-creepy-looking Slights! 🙂 Haven’t given it a read yet myself, but have already got it on my Blackberry in the Mobipocket application. 🙂




What should have happened was this:We got a taxi home.

This is what did happen: We went out for lunch to spend Mum’s lottery win – she won just enough for a slap up meal. Food rich and creamy, chicken breast with camembert, salad with blue cheese dressing, a bottle of sweet wine, champagne, port. We laughed and joked; talked loudly. Mum was in a good mood, not a nagging one. The waiter pretended we were sisters, and that made her giggle. We just babbled on. We had no idea this was our last meal together.

“What do you think of my haircut?” I asked her.
“I wouldn’t go back to that hairdresser, if I were you, Stephanie,” Mum said. She had a fleck of parsley on her lip and when she talked it wobbled.
“I know. Stupid bitch. I said I wanted a change and she does this to me.”
I had splurged and asked the hairdresser to give me a new style. She wanted to cut inches off, saying, “Once you pass eighteen, you have to be more careful.”
I said, “Fine.” How old did she think I was? She snip snipped. Dark, wet entrails of my hair fell onto her thighs, criss-crossed the diamonds of
her fishnet stockings. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
The hairdresser said, “You know, you’ve got the sort of face which would suit a good red colour. You need a bit of a lift at the moment. Everything looks a bit flat. And maybe we should have a go at
your eyebrows.”
She was a very slim girl. Her hair was black, cut like a metal helmet. She wore a tight silver T-shirt, a thick corduroy skirt, the fishnet stockings. She sat in a rolling chair, travelling around my body like I
was an island, snip snip. She spoke incessantly, complained of slight after slight.
She sighed. “Anyway, I’m sure you’re not interested.”
I looked up from her thigh and she wasn’t happy with me. She dried my hair without speaking, then held the mirror up for me to see. I said nothing.

“Are you happy with that?” she said.
“You are kidding me,” I said.
It shocked her. I suppose you’re meant to lie. I paid her even though she made me look like a fucking bimbo. All this from a woman who told me, confidentially, that she thought reading novels wasn’t smart because it’s all just made up.
“What do you read?” I asked her.
“Oh, I love my magazines,” she said. “I can read them over and over, there’s always something different.”
Mum laughed and called me a fibber.
“Oh, Stephanie. You’re just trying to take attention
away from your hair,” she said. “This is how the girl talks. I swear.” I took a sip of wine and grimaced. Mum always chose sweet stuff. “We might as well drink lemonade,” I said.
“Well, your hair is fine, really. You’re just not used to looking pretty.”
“Thanks a lot. I’ll book you in, if you like.”
That’s what we talked about. I joshed Mum about, paying her attention, making jokes about the waiter, who had terrible acne, and telling stories about other diners in the restaurant.

She said, “You sound just like your Dad. He used to whisper into my ear, telling the most outrageous tales. Should have heard what he told me about my father.”
“What?” I didn’t like to talk about my maternal grandfather, Joshua. He died when I was five, and I have a feeling he used to touch me; sometimes I get a glimpse of his face in my memory. It’s shiny, a sucked lollipop, and very close to me. He was a grouch most of the time, generous and soft when you were alone with him.
“Come on, Mum, what did Dad say?” I passed her the plate of chocolates the waiter had laid on our table. They were dark, rich, and we planned to eat every one.
“He said that your granddad Joshua had affairs with everyone willing in town. Everyone.” She covered her mouth. We didn’t often talk about
things like that.
“What, the men too?” I said, and she coughed in horror.
“You’re a storyteller, just like your Dad was,” she said. I knew that was true; Dad was a detective long before he joined the police force. I wondered if Dad’s stories were ridiculous, or if they were true.
I dropped the keys on the way to the car. I’ve never been good with alcohol; a couple of glasses, still under the limit, and I’m screaming. Mum was giggling and muttering away, feeling no pain.
Feeling no pain.

I suddenly grew tired of it; being with her, pretending to be friends, enjoying her company. I drove quickly, wanting to drop her at home and go somewhere alone, somewhere I didn’t feel like a fake. I should have called her a taxi and sent her home; that way, she would have been resentful, but alive.
“The car smells nice,” she said.
“New leather in a can,” I said. One of the best smells. I drove quickly. I thought I saw a child in the road and I swerved, my wheels span and I lost it. I remember very clearly, though I said I didn’t. I
said I had no recollection; my head ached trying to remember.
But I remember my mother’s arm coming across to protect me, hold me in my seat as if I were a child. My arms went over my face and head
but I still cracked my skull.

I remember looking at her; she looked at me. She was terrified of death; more terrified of my death. “Careful,” she said, then we hit the wall.
This wall was only there to keep the sound of the highway from reaching the wealthy residents in the suburbs behind it. If the wall wasn’t there, my mother may not have died. The papers loved it.
“Wall of Death – the quiet life versus the long life,” all that.
I told people, especially Peter, that she died straight away, without a word. I told no one about where I’d been, that I’d smashed my skull and found myself in a cold, dark room full of people, faces familiar but beyond my tongue; I couldn’t voice their names. The board I lay on was ridged with razors, sharp lines of pain down my back.
The faces came into focus. Some I knew; people I knew were there. Their eyes watered. They weren’t blinking; that was it. They stared like
zombies. I could smell them. They were so close now I could see the blood bang bang in their veins.

I touched my wrist to feel my pulse. Bang bang.
Bang bang.
“Peter?” I said.
He was there. He stepped forward when I saw him. His hands rested by his side; he carried a potato peeler. I laughed. They all shrunk back. These were weak creatures, scared of the light and the sound of my voice.
“Where’s Mum?” I said, to keep them away.
They shuffled forward and I recognised some of them. The lady from the lolly shop at the end of the road, her fat arms spilling out of her tight, flowery sleeves.
“I’ll have a red traffic light,” I said. She grabbed my tongue but I slipped it out. Her fingers tasted of piss and dirt.
A middle-aged man with spiky blond hair, his eyes bulging and red, began to pile books onto my chest. One, another, then another.
A handsome boy with dark brown eyes and one tiny scar on his chin
held me down by the shoulders. Another book and another, I couldn’t breathe, the weight crushed my chest. A little girl with greasy hair breathed into my mouth.
“You need to get off the anchovies,” I said.
She bared her teeth at me.

And all these strangers surrounded me; people with car keys, shopping bags, bus tickets. All surrounding, leaning in to sniff me.
Kids I remembered from school clung to Peter like he was their father. I knew their names, could remember their weaknesses: Darren, Cry Bobby, Belinda Green, Neil. I tried to say milk fight but milk was in my mouth, sour milk, and I couldn’t turn to spit it out. I dribbled some out of the corner of my mouth but the rest sat there, waiting for my epiglottis to give in and allow the swallow to continue.
I felt a nibble at my ear; now I could turn my head. My neighbour, Gary, a gross sleazebag who thought he ran the street, thought he could manipulate me.
I spat milk into his face; he grinned, let it drip to the floor. I sat up, causing a ripple through the room. There was the waiter from the restaurant Mum and I had eaten in, his face full of acne. The food he had served me was still in my belly.

“Acker Face,” I said. Miaow. He wrinkled his nose, lifted his arms, pushed the sharpened tines of a fork into the meat of my thigh. I could feel the idea of pain but not pain itself. A thin clear liquid ran from the holes, like the cooked blood of a well done chicken. Behind him were more strangers; from the restaurant? Had they been there, seen my mother’s last meal?
I wanted to ask them about her face. Was she happy? Was this the best time of her life? Could things only get worse? It was lucky then that she died. Someone tied knots in my hair, tugged at it. The skinny hairdresser. “I paid you,” I said. She pulled harder, ripping out clumps of my hair out by the roots and tossing them to the floor. She wasn’t listening.
None of them listened.

Another kid from school, a shitty little bore, Ian, Ian Pope, was there and some young kid in cricket whites, “You’re out,” I said, and he swung his bat flat onto my nose. I heard a crunch and felt blood cover my chin.
This was no sun-dappled heaven. These people did not love me. The driver of the other car – was he dead too? Did we all die? But there was no other car. A wall. A box which looked like a child. Another car. Opposite direction. Stopped to help. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. I shouldn’t be here. I should be at home. I shouldn’t be here. This is not where I belong, stinking weakness waiting for something, pain. I moved my limbs, opened my mouth to scream, leave me, leave me. They seemed to exist for me.
Somebody saved my life. Rescued me from the dark room.

I missed my mother’s funeral. Peter and I were now orphans. He took charge of everything, “I made the arrangements,” he said. The image in my mind was of Mum’s body, people moving her rag-doll limbs until she sat as they wished her to sit.

In hospital, the smell of jasmine saved me. The nurses brought it in when they realised it made me smile. I lay with jasmine under my nose, I sucked it in, because my nostrils were full of shit and mothballs and the woman in the next bed began to choke and moan. I sat up to comfort her, but I could not sit up. I could not move.
Then I felt myself lift, my body turned over, and I looked at the two of us. She was writhing, dying, and there was nothing I could do. I realised then that I had died too, and I closed my eyes and waited to be taken to the cold room. It’s time to go back, I thought.
They’re waiting.

This second death, so soon after the first, surprised the nurses, I think. They did not expect me to go into arrest once I was in the safety of the hospital.
Once they had brought me back from the dead at the scene of the crime. Scene of the accident. It surprised them in the dark room, too. But I was not there for long this time. Someone came along and saved me.
“Stephanie? Stephanie? Are you with us?” The stink of shit and mothballs was gone. It was the hospital, antiseptic, starch, medicine and blood. I returned from the room and there were people surrounding
me, but they were medicos doing their job, watching tensely for me not to die so they wouldn’t be blamed.
“Mum?” I said. I knew the answer. One of them sat by my bed and took my hand.

There was kindness in the touch, and pity, but no respect.
“Your mother died instantly. She didn’t suffer,” the nurse said. I knew that wasn’t true. I remembered her screaming. I didn’t want to say that. The scream was on me and I didn’t want anyone to know about it.
Peter said, “God, you gave us a fright.”
“He’s been shuddering like the Nazis were goosestepping on his grave,” my nurse said. I quite took to her. She could shock a room full of patients without blinking.
“I’ve been somewhere terrible,” I whispered to Peter.

SLIGHTS by Kaaron Warren
520pp mass-market paperback,
eBook anddownloadable audio format
UK/Australia: July 2009
North America: October 2009

Want more info about Kaaron? Check out her LJ here, and check out this great interview with Kaaron on My Favourite Books! 🙂


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Posted by on June 8, 2009 in Angry Robot


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Angry Robot Books: Free Fiction Extracts No 1

Hey Guys and Girls, got some free fiction for you! 🙂 Granted, it is only an extract from the full novel, but still, it should be enough to wet your appetite! 🙂 First up, I’ve got an extract from fellow South African and Angry Robot author, Lauren Beukes’ novel, Moxyland! 🙂




There is already spillage out of the doors by the time I get to Propeller, which can only be a good sign when it’s just gone six-thirty. I feel fractal with nerves, or maybe it’s that I’m on
my fourth Ghost in under an hour.

‘You’re late.’ Jonathan latches onto my arm at the door and swishes me inside through the crowd. I can’t believe how many people there are, crowded into the gallery. There is a queue up the stairs to see Johannes Michael’s atom mobile, but the major throng is in the main room, and not, I regret to say, for my retro print photos.

They’re here to see Khanyi Nkosi’s sound installation, freshly returned from her São Paulo show and all the resulting controversy. She only installed it this afternoon, snuck in undercover with security, so it’s the first time I’ve seen it in the flesh. It’s gruesome, red and meaty, like something dead turned inside out and mangled, half-collapsed in on itself with spines and ridges and fleshy strings and some kind of built-in speakers, which makes the name even more disturbing: ‘Woof & Tweet’.

I don’t understand how it works, but it’s to do with reverb and built-in resonator-speakers. It’s culling sounds from around us, remixing ambient audio, conversation, footsteps, glasses clinking, rustling clothing, through the systems of its body, disjointed parts of it inflating, like it’s breathing, spines quivering.

It’s hard to hear it over the hubbub, but sometimes it’s like words, almost recognisable. But mostly it’s just noise, a fractured music undercut with jarring sounds that seem to come randomly. Sometimes it sounds like pain. It is an animal. Or alive at any rate. Some lab-manufactured plastech bio-breed with just enough brainstem hard-wired to respond to input in different ways, so it’s unpredictable – but not enough to hurt, apparently, if you believe the info blurb on the work.
‘It’s gratuitous. She could have done it any other way. It could have been beautiful.’

‘Like something you’d put in your lounge, Kendra? It’s supposed to be revolting. It’s that whole Tokyo tech-grotesque thing. Actually, it’s so derivative, I can’t stand it. Can we move
I run my hand along one of the ridges and the thing quivers, but I can’t determine any noticeable difference in the sounds.
‘Do you think it gets traumatised?’
‘It’s just noise, okay? You’re as bad as that nutjob who threw blood at Khanyi at the Jozi exhibition. It doesn’t have nerve endings. Or no, wait, sorry, it does have nerve endings, but it doesn’t have pain receptors.’
‘I meant, do you think it gets upset? By all the attention? I mean, isn’t it supposed to be able to pick up moods, reflect the vibe?’

‘I think that’s all bullshit, but you could ask the artist. She’s over there schmoozing with the money, like you should be.’
Woof & Tweet suddenly kicks out a looped fragment of a woman’s laugh that startles me and half the room, before it slides down the scale into a fuzzy electronica.

‘See, it likes you.’
‘Don’t be a jerk, Jonathan.’
‘There’s some streamcast journalist who wants to interview
you, by the way. And he’s pretty cute.’
My stomach spasms. This is another thing Jonathan does to
keep me in my place – as in, we’re not together.
‘Great, thanks. I need a drink.’
‘I’ll get it. Just go talk to Sanjay. What do you want?’
‘Anything.’ It’s unlikely that the gallery bar would have
Ghost on hand.
Jonathan propels me in the direction of Sanjay, who is standing in a cluster of people, in deep conversation. The one is clearly money, some corporati culture patron or art buyer; the other, I realise, is Khanyi Nkosi. I recognise her from an interview
I saw, but she is so warmly energetic, waving her hands in the air to make a point and grinning, that I can’t match her to her work. And the third, I realise with a shock, is Andile. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he should be here, considering he picked me on the basis of my work, but I still haven’t come clean with Jonathan about the branding, and this doesn’t strike me as the time.

I can’t deal with this right now. I push through the queue, detouring back towards the entrance and the open air – only to skewer someone’s foot with the ’40s-style blue velvet heels I bought for the occasion.

‘Hey! Easy!’
‘Oh god, I’m sorry.’ Shit, I really, really, really need a Ghost. I wonder if I can make it to the spaza down the road and back before Jonathan notices.
‘No worries. Art is what the artist does, right? So technically, my bruised toes could be worth something?’
I didn’t even realise it was Toby whose foot I had crushed.
‘So you must be the famous artist, then?’
‘I’m the less famous artist. I mean, I’m not; the thing, it’s not
mine. But you know that.’ I laugh self-consciously, still thinking about how to get a Ghost, my mind chanting a little litany of need, wondering if they serve them at the bar.
‘Is now a good time to get an interview?’
‘You’re the journalist?’
‘Ouch!’ He mock-staggers back, clutching his heart. ‘Yeah. I brought my own phone mic and everything.’
‘I’m sorry. That’s not what I… Oh God. Can we just start again?’
‘Sure. No prob.’
He turns away, clears his throat, and then does a little twirl, one hand raised in fabulous salute, hamming it up like he’s on
the red carpet.
‘Hello. I’m Toby. I’ll be your journo for the evening.’
And I can’t help but laugh.
‘Do you have a drink?’
‘No, thanks. Someone’s getting me one.’
‘Rocking.’ He suddenly turns serious. ‘Okay, now listen, Special K, if you want, we can talk later. I know it’s your opening and you’ve got things to do, people to schmooze. I will totally understand if now is not the most opportune moment.’
‘Actually, do you want to get out of here?’

‘Just for a sec. I need some fresh air. And a drink.’
‘I thought someone was getting you one.’
‘A non-alcoholic.’
‘Ooooooh. Right.’ He winks.
‘You want to come?’
‘Sure. Can my mic come too?’
We’re not the only people hanging outside. We have to push through a crowd, including an astonishingly gorgeous blonde, with fucked-up hair, who makes me feel conservative. We get halfway down the block before I take off my heels in disgust.
‘That doesn’t make it into the copy, okay?’
He holds up his hands. ‘Do you see me making notes?’
We walk in silence for another block, stepping over a bergie passed out in the street. And I’m relieved not to feel any sense of an urgent compulsion to touch him. And no Aitos in sight, either.
At the spaza, Toby opens the fridge at the back. ‘Ghost, I’m assuming?’ he says, putting it on his phone.
It’s cold and crisp and clean and it hurts my teeth and I realise my hands have been shaking all this while – or maybe my whole body. And this can’t be good, but it doesn’t feel bad.
‘Mind if I join you?’
Toby cracks another can. ‘Wow. You really are an addict deluxe,’ he says, a little too admiringly.
‘Hey, did you check my coat tonight?
His BabyStrange is black, which is a relief after the goreporn he was projecting last time I saw him.
‘It’s my little shout out to Self-Portrait.’
‘Cute. So, do you want to do this?’
‘Am I allowed to take notes now?’

‘Yeah, yeah.’ I wave my hand impatiently.
He hooks a mic into his phone and points it at me. ‘So. What’s with the oldschool?’
‘Didn’t you read the press release?’
‘Let’s say I didn’t.’
I quote it from memory. ‘Adams’s use of non-digital format is inspired by her fascination with the capacity for error…’
‘Okay. Let’s skip the press release.’
‘Ah, it’s just – film is more interesting than digital. There’s a possibility of flaw inherent in the material. It’s not readily available, so I have to get it over the Net, and some of it has rotted or it’s been exposed even before I load it in the camera, but I don’t know that until I develop it.’
‘Like Self-Portrait?’
‘And it’s not just the film. It’s working without the automatic functions. The operator can fuck up too.’
‘Did you fuck up?’
‘Ha! That’s the great thing about working with damaged materials.
You’ll never know.’
‘It’s the same in audio, you know. Digital was too clean when it first came out, almost antiseptic. The fidelity was too clear. You lost the background noise, the sounds you don’t even pick up, but it’s dead without the context. The audio techs had to adapt the digital to synth the effects of analogue. How insane is that? It’s contentious, though – now they’re saying it’s been bullshit all along, just nostalgics missing the hiss of the recording
‘That’s exactly it. You can do the same thing in photography. Apply effects, lock-out the autofocus, click up for exposure, all to recreate the manual.’

‘And you’re looking for the background noise.’
‘Yeah. Or something like it.’ I set my empty can neatly down beside my shoes. ‘Got enough?’
‘Yeah. I’m good. You give good soundbite,’ he says admiringly, so that another Ghost down, we’re still sitting on the pavement, just talking, away from the madding, when a darkhaired boy I recognise as the guy from the band, from Andile’s office, comes walking down towards us.
‘Hey, photographer girl,’ he says, friendlier than last time. ‘Damian, remember? From Kill Kitten?’
‘Hey, Dame,’ says Toby. ‘How’s the bandscene? Did you catch the cast from your gig?’
‘Yeah, man, it was killer. Shot. We really appreciate the exposure.’
‘It was all you. I just filmed what I experienced. You guys were tight.’
‘Well, it was great, man, thanks. We’re playing next Saturday,
if you want on the guest list.’
‘Thanks. So, how do you know our star rising over here?’ Toby asks, nodding at me. We are both still sitting, sprawled on the kerb, so Damian is looking down at us.
There is a drawnout silence.
‘Ho-kay,’ Toby shrugs in mock defeat. ‘There’s obviously some deep unspoken going on here, and I do not need to know the gruesome details.’
‘It’s nothing like that. We’re…’ I look to Damian for approval, but he doesn’t seem concerned. ‘We’re both branded.’
‘How come you’re not chugging Ghosts, then?’
‘Are you kidding me?’ Damian laughs. ‘I’ve had three already tonight.’ He drops to sit on the pavement beside us.

‘How much do you drink in a day?’ I ask, trying to make it sound throwaway.
‘Six, seven? Somewhere around there. My girlfriend keeps tabs on me.’ I don’t say anything. I’m doing nine to twelve. This is my seventh since four-thirty.
‘It’s lucky you’re both the same brand,’ Toby says, and is that
envy in his voice?
‘What if you were competitive? There must be a clause about that. “Section 31c. Thou shalt not fraternise with the enemy.”’
‘Yeah, can you imagine?’ Damian says. ‘Coke wars for real.’
‘No rival soft-drink friends for you!’
‘I don’t think that’s going to be an issue anytime soon,’ I interrupt their banter. ‘Andile said they’re not doing this with other brands just yet. Ghost has the proprietary licence for three months.’
‘Yeah, but we’re only first gen. They’ll be popping out sponsor babies like toast.’
‘I hate that word.’
‘Toast?’ chirps Toby, trying to find a way in.
‘And what happened to it being exclusive?’
‘You’ll be able to buy your way in. Got enough cash, enough cool, you’re representing. Just like the cosmetics.’
‘So we’ll be outmoded already.’
‘Bleeding edge no more.’
‘So, Dame, where’s yours? Can I see?’
‘Toby!’ I’m scandalised, but Damian shrugs it off.
‘S’cool. I don’t mind. I signed up for the freakshow.’ He turns his back to us and yanks down the collar of his shirt to reveal the faint radiance of the glowlogo between his shoulderblades.
‘That doesn’t seem exactly high vis,’ Toby says.

‘Not now, but I have a tendency to take my shirt off on stage. I get hot, okay? It’s not like some sex-appeal thing. Hey, are you recording this?’
‘Sorry, bad habit. I’m a junkie for collecting vid. I can delete it if you want.’
‘No, it’s cool. Shouldn’t we be heading back, anyway? Aren’t
there supposed to be speeches and shit? And I know Andile wanted to say what’s up.’
‘You go ahead, we’ll catch up,’ Toby says, laconic, and this suddenly strikes me as a very Jonathan thing to do.
‘I think I’ll go with Dame. We’ve been gone a while.’
The gallery seems even more oppressive, but I’m less freaked
now, even when I see Andile talking to Jonathan. Luckily I get side-tracked by Mr Muller.
‘Congratulations. It’s wonderful. Wonderful. Although I’m not sure about this messy animal thing. It’s very Damien Hirst. Cheap shock-treatment stuff. Yours is infinitely superior. And people will see that, take my word for it.’
I’m still basking in the afterglow, when I overhear some overgroomed
loft dwellers giggling into their wine. ‘And this. I’m so tired of Statement! Like she’s the only angst child ever to embrace the distorted body image.’
‘Oh Emily. I quite like the undeveloped. Because she is. You
know, still young, coming into herself. The artist in flux, emergent.’
‘Well, precisely. It’s so young. You can’t even tell if it’s technically good or not, it’s all so… damaged.’
‘Don’t let the heathen savages get to you.’ Toby has popped up again, speaking loud enough for the woman to hear, but I’m more amused than insulted. I’m about to point out that under the black of Self-Portrait is a photograph of a photograph, clutched in my fingers, captured in the mirror with a reflected flash of light. That it’s all meant to be damaged. But then I realise I don’t have to. I don’t have to make my motives transparent.
Damian appears at my shoulder with the astonishing blonde, who he introduces as his girlfriend, Vix, a fashion designer for her own small label. Vix distracts Toby, the two of them heading off to the bar to lay in supplies for all of us, leaving me with a convenient gap to ask Damian if he’s experienced any weird side-effects. He seems puzzled.
‘Like what? I had really mif flu for about four days. Sinuses and sweats, but it worked its way out.’
I try and tell him about the thing with the Aito, but it comes out all garbled.
‘It doesn’t sound that freaky,’ says Damian. ‘You felt sorry for her. You stopped to help. That’s pretty awesome.’
I’m miserable that he doesn’t get it. ‘It wasn’t empathy or altruism or anything. It was like I had to, like a real compulsion.’
The same way we’re compelled to drink Ghost, I think but don’t say. Damian isn’t paying attention. He’s watching his girlfriend
across the room, trying to get through to the bar while Toby clowns around, making her laugh.
It makes me feel desperately alone. There are all these people circling, like Johannes Michael’s swirl of paper atoms upstairs, but the connections to me are only tenuous.
‘You know the dogs also function on nano?’ Damian says, ripping his eyes from Vix. ‘Maybe you got crossed lines,’ he jokes.

We’re cut short by a flurry of activity at the door. I’ve been aware of a low peripheral clamour, but now it erupts. There are people shoving, wine spilling from glasses and yelps of dismay.
‘This is a private function!’ Jonathan of all people yells, spouting clichés at the rush of people in black pushing in through the crowd, their faces blurred like they’re anonymous informants in documentary footage. It is so disturbing, that it takes me a second to catch on that they’re wearing smear masks. Another to realise that they’re carrying pangas and a prog-saw.
A few people scream, sending out a reverb chorus from Woof & Tweet. The crowd presses backwards. But then the big guy in
front yells, ‘Death to corporate art!’ and Emily, the woman who dissed my work, laughs scornfully and really loudly. ‘Oh god! Performance art. How gauche.’ There are murmurs of relief and snickers, and the living organism that is the crowd reverses direction, now pressing in again to see.
Damian grabs my arm and pulls me back out of the front line, because I haven’t moved, just as one of the men (women?), towering over the others, grabs Emily by her hair and drags her forward, forcing her to her knees, spitting with contempt, ‘Don’t you dare make me complicit in your garbage!’
The terrorist raises the panga, pulling back Emily’s head by the roots of her hair, exposing her throat. She raises a hand to her mouth, pretends to stifle a yawn.
‘Are you going to chop me into little itty-bitty pieces now? This is so melodramatic.’ And it is. The crowd is riveted. But I didn’t think this kind of promotional stunt would be Sanjay’s thing.

From the bar, Toby catches my eye and mimes mock applause to the spectacle. Vix has her hands clamped tight round his arm, looking shocked and excited at the same time. And that seems to be the prevailing mood. Not outrage or fear, but excitement.
People are grinning, nodding, eyes overbright, which makes it seem all the more horrific.
But what frightens me most is the reaction of one of the men in smear. When the protagonist yanks Emily’s head further back, the other guy moves forward, as if frightened himself.
‘What are you–?’ he starts, but the one with Emily’s hair twisted round his wrist gives an impatient jerk of his head, and his hesitant friend backs off. Bowing his legs, he raises the arm with the panga as if to slice across her throat, only at the last instant – so late that she winces back involuntarily – he deflects the blow to a side-swipe, aimed not at her, but at Woof & Tweet, which is directly in front of them.
The thing emits a lean crackle of white noise. The audience is rapt, camera phones clicking. There is a scattershot of applause, and laughter, as the others move in, four of them, with one guarding the door, to start laying into it. It’s only when the artist starts wailing that it becomes apparent that this was not part of the program. And only then do the smiles drop from mouths, like glasses breaking.
Mr Hesitant hangs back as the others step in, pangas tearing through the thin flesh and ribs of Khanyi Nkosi’s thing with a noise like someone attacking a bicycle with an axe. The machine responds with a high-hat backbeat for the melody assembled from the screams and skitters of nervous laughter. It doesn’t die quietly, transmuting the ruckus, the frantic calls to the SAPS, and Khanyi wailing, clawing, held back by a throng of people. It’s like it’s screaming through our voices, the
background noise, the context.
The bright sprays of blood make it real, spattering the walls, people’s faces, my prints, as the blades thwack down again and again. The police sirens in the distance are echoed and distorted as Woof & Tweet finally collapses in on itself, rattling with wet smacking sounds.
They disappear into the streets as quickly as they came, shaking
the machetes at us, threatening don’t follow, whooping like kids. With the sirens closing in, the big guy spits on the mangled corpse. Then, before he ducks out the door and into the night, he glances up once, quickly, at the ceiling. No one else seems to notice, but I follow his gaze up to the security cams, getting every angle.
I’m sick with adrenalin. The woman who was taken hostage is screaming in brittle, hyperventilating gasps. Her friend is trying to wipe the blood off her face, using the hem of her dress, unaware that she has lifted it so high that she is flashing her lacy briefs. Khanyi is kneeling next to the gobs of her animal construct, trying to reassemble it, smearing herself with the bloody lumps of flesh. There is a man trying to comfort one of the drinksgirls, but he is the one weeping, laid waste by the shock. Toby is clambering down from the bar, why I don’t know, Mr Muller is sitting slumped on the staircase, hugging the banister like a friend. Vix fumbles with lighting a cigarette, her hands shaking, until Damian materialises by her side, takes her hands in his, and holds the lighter steady. She folds into him like a collapsible paper lantern. And even from here, I can see him mouth her name. I hadn’t even realised he was gone.

There is still a prevailing undercurrent of thrill, a rush from the violence – no one was hurt, apart from Khanyi Nkosi’s thing. Everyone is on their phones, taking pictures, talking.
Toby is shouting above the ruckus, into his mic, like he’s reporting live. There are even more people trying to wedge into the space, so that the cops, who have finally arrived, have to shove their way inside. Self Portrait is covered in a mist of blood. I move to wipe it clean, although I’m scared the blood will smear, will stain the paper, but just then Jonathan wraps his arms around me and kisses my neck. And now it’s my turn to collapse against him.
‘It’s okay, sweetheart, everything’s going to be okay.’

MOXYLAND by Lauren Beukes

JULY 2009
UK/Australia 320pp B-format paperback and eBook

US/Canada 386pp mass-market paperback

Charles Stross says: “It’s what you get when you take your classic 80s deracinated corporate alienation sensibility, detonate about six kilos of semtex under it, and scatter the smoking wreckage across 21st century South Africa – full of unselfconscious spiky originality, the larval form of a new kind of SF munching its way out of the intestines of the wasp-paralysed caterpillar of cyberpunk.”

For more info on Lauren Beukes, check out her site here, and while you’re at it, go to Moxyland’s page at Angry Robot! 🙂


Next post: An Extract from Kaaron Warren’s Slights!

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Posted by on June 7, 2009 in Angry Robot


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Angry Robot News!


This news from Lee Harris @ Angry Robot Books!

Hey guys and girls, the great folks over at Angry Robot have chosen their first-ever winner of the Website of the Month! 🙂 And the winner is…. (drumroll…)

SF Signal! 🙂 Congrats to the excellent people over at SFSignal – I couldn’t agree more that they definitely run a tight ship there, keeping us up to date with everything to do with SFF! 🙂 Congratulations, SFSignal 🙂

What have they won? Well, keep an eye on their site for the next two or so weeks – hopefully they’ll post the good news there, too, and fill us in on the prizes! 🙂

Once again, congrats! 🙂

Also, Angry Robot has signed a new author! 🙂

We’re over the moon to welcome British science fiction writer COLIN HARVEY to our happy but metallic band. The Bristol-based author has signed up with us for two novels, the first of which – WINTER SONG – will be appearing as soon as October this year, with the second to follow in May 2010.

Colin has for some years been an active contributor British small presses and blogs, and he is a regular reviewer for Strange Horizons, but these novels will mark his debut with a major publisher. His writing manages to combine solid action with a deeper, more reflective style that, when combined, delivers fabulous modern science fiction. The deal was done with his US-based agent, Jenny Rappaport, with the invaluable assistance of the Two Johns at Zeno Literary Agency in London.

Book one, WINTER SONG, sees bio-engineered starship pilot Karl Allman crashing his craft onto a snowy planet inhabited by Viking-like tribes, the remnants of earlier colonisation efforts. As the natives help him find a way back to the stars, he comes to realise that they are far from primitive. That will be followed by DAMAGE TIME, a near-future thriller from a world where America is on its last legs (topical, us?) and being parcelled off between the Chinese and the Muslims. A policeman who specialises in reading the last memories of murder victims comes under suspicion himself…

Colin blogs at Suite 101 and can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.



As always, check out Angry Robot at this link – there’s plenty more news there! 🙂

Be Fantastic!

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Posted by on May 9, 2009 in Angry Robot


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Angry Robot: Signings and a Competition!


Some great, great news from Angry Robot! First of all, the signing of two, new-to-Angry-Robot authors! 🙂

Here’s the info:

Press Release

6th April 2009 • For Immediate Release

J Robert King & Andy Remic sign to Angry Robot

ANGRY ROBOT have been busy signing more brilliant authors for its upcoming SF/F/WTF?! imprint, due to launch in July 2009. No flannel, here they are…


Award-winning US author J ROBERT KING has been snapped up for two novels brimming with wild creativity and extraordinary ideas. He calls his books “metaphysical suspense” – don’t worry, that just means they blow your imagination apart while at the same time freezing your blood. Rob’s debut for Angry Robot, the fabulously named THE ANGEL OF DEATH, does exactly that.

The Grim Reaper becomes strangely fascinated with a human cop investigating the deaths caused by a serial killer that Death has been following. But Death is a killer too, of course, and is not above the law. It’ll be published in the UK, US and Australia in September 2009, as a mass-market paperback.

This will be followed early next year by DEATH’S DISCIPLES. The sole survivor of a terrorist attack on a plane starts to hear the voices of the dead passengers. But what they’re telling her is far worse than what she’s suffered already.

King’s recent Sherlock Holmes novel for Tor, The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls, attracted a mass of critical attention, as did his Mad Merlin trilogy for the same publisher. And he can ride a unicycle, though maybe not while typing. Find out more at


From the UK, meanwhile, we’re delighted and just a little scared to welcome ANDY REMIC to our ravening horde. His reputation as the hard man of British SF is well-deserved. Now he’s taking the tough guy stylings of Quake, Spiral and his recent Combat-K novels into fantasy, for a brand new trilogy that sees him, in one mighty bound, become the natural successor to the much-missed David Gemmell.

KELL’S LEGEND, due September 2009 in mass-market paperback, introduces Kell, grizzled veteran warrior much at odds with a civilised world where humanity has become soft. When a new foe arises to threaten the cit y of Jalder, only Kell remembers that to live, you have to fight, and fight dirty. But how can one man hold off against the Vachine, the terrifying clockwork vampires of legend?

SF Signal said this about Remic’s books: “A roller-coaster of fun… fun and fast-paced @$$-kicking action.”

Fantasy Book Critic agreed: ”Every once in a while a novel comes along that surprises the hell out of you. That was the case with “War Machine” by Andy Remic. Imagine my surprise when “War Machine” became my favorite science fiction novel of the year. Yes, you heard correctly. Gary Gibson’s “Stealing Light”, Peter F Hamilton’s “The Dreaming Void”, Neal Asher’s “Hilldiggers”, Josh Conviser’s “Empyre”, Richard K. Morgan’s “Black Man/Thirteen”, Matthew Jarpe’s “Radio Freefall”; “War Machine” topped them all and no one is more shocked than I am! …I loved every testosterone-fuelled second.”

Join the battle at

More information on Angry Robot can be found at


And now for the competition! 🙂 See that Angry Robot above this? All you have to do is come up with a cool name for him – that’s right, just name the Robot!

The winner, drawn by the folks over at Angry Robot, will be winning a set of the first 7 (that was not a typo, I really did type) 7 novels from the Angry Robot imprint! Sound awesome or what? So go ahead and follow this link through to Angry Robot’s competition-page, read the rules and fill in your details with the Robot’s name! 🙂 Couldn’t be easier! I might win something, too, so enter here! 🙂

Note: South African readers – YOU TOO MAY ENTER!! 🙂

And last but not least, do you want to see a real honest-to-goodness Angry Robot? Just click here and watch. 🙂

Be Fantastic!

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Posted by on April 6, 2009 in Angry Robot


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