With all the interest in SWITCH/BLADE, I made another one of my fake covers/images for it the other night...
It's no secret I'm a massive Star Wars fan. There's probably nothing that has shaped me as a person than the effect seeing the first one back in 1977 when I was 8 years old. My father took me, my sister, my grandmother and my best friend at the time to see it in a cinema at Leicester Square one evening. It blew my mind and I came out pretending a rolled up newspaper was a lightsabre. I then read the books, the comics, played with the toys, collected cards, listened to the soundtrack and basically lived and breathed Star Wars. I persuaded my father to take me a second time, and another friend's mum to take me a third. I couldn't get enough of this world from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, far away.
I was excited when they announced the prequels, crowding around a computer while a friend downloaded the trailer over the internet (wait time 4 hours). Unfortunately they turned out to be rather crap.
So when Disney bought LucasFilms and announced they were making Episode 7, I was excited but rather cautious. But every trailer worked that doubt out of me. It all looked so good. I even didn't mind that they were using the same name I'd picked for my bad guy in HWF for the planet Rey is stranded on - Jakku. This just showed we were thinking in sync.
I finally got to see the film a week ago and the short review is wow!
It was perfect. Its was action-packed, with great fresh new characters, with funny moments, tender moments and on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments. The scale was epic with crashed star destroyers and planets designed to destroy stars.
The new characters really stand out - Rey, Finn and the new baddie, Kylo Ren. I really like the fact that Kylo doesn't think he's bad but he's continuing his Grandfather's legacy (his grandfather being Darth Vader).
And I love BB-8. What a great little droid. Amazing how a rolling ball with one eye that doesn't speak can have so much emotion.
I've already seen the film twice in eye-popping IMAX 3D and can't wait to go again.
Bravo Disney and JJ Abrams.
It's been really interesting to reread SWITCH/BLADE over the last few days. Its been awhile and there was lots I couldn't actually remember writing. I know that sounds weird but its true. Probably why they always say put a book away for awhile after you finish writing it before you start editing it. Not that anyone does.
I also relooked at my ideas for books 2 & 3. I think there's a great series to be written with these characters and I'd love to have the opportunity to write them. A great 24 meets cyberpunk series.
A series is important these days as its all about the franchise. If people like a book, they want more of the same, just like in the movies. One offs don't sell that well and in fact no 1's in a series only really pick up sales after no 2 is out.
Anyway, I've sent the outlines off so lets wait and see what happens next.
In the meantime, its time to get back to Rane.
Wow. What a blast these past few weeks have been.
On the day job, I've just completed a massive campaign for a major airline. 27 print and poster images, 5 films, one TVC. I worked with a photographer that I've wanted to work with for ages and a great crew over a very intense period but everyone is very happy with the results.
On the writing side, HE WHO FIGHTS is progressing nicely. However, a few weeks ago, I received an email from my old agent. He'd been asked if he knew anyone who could write a military sci-fi book by another agent and he recommended me.
Emails flew back and forth between myself and agent no 2 and I sent him SWITCH/BLADE as a writing sample to show what I can do.
I then met with him while I was in London. He told me that he loved the book and wished to represent me. This is great news as he's a top chap and one who was on my list to query with HWF. Now I haven't signed terms yet but hopefully that will happen in the next week.
The publishers are also keen on having me write the sci-fi project too however, when they read SWITCH/BLADE, the owner loved it too. He's passed it onto his MD to read so there is a possibility that they might want to go with SWITCH/BLADE instead. They want me to send over the ideas for books 2 and 3.
I'm now rereading SWITCH/BLADE for the first time in ages. It holds up well and there are bits I just don't remember writing. So exciting stuff! This is the closest I've gotten to being published since I begun to seriously write 5 years ago.
I must admit if I could spend my time writing Ziyi and Rane novels, I'd be a very happy man.
In the mean time, the head of the publishers asked: "What are your top three SF books of all time?" He added (rather opaquely): “That will tell me all I need to know”.
Now this is a tough question. I hate choosing my best of anything. How do you narrow things down like that? More recent books are fresher in the mind and there are probably great books I've forgotten I've even read. But I had to send a list so...
I choose four books/series. (And that in itself probably says a lot about me!) Two from my formative years and two more recent entries.
JOHN CARTER OF MARS by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My Grandmother introduced me to this series of books by when I was very young. She was a big sci-fi fan who took me to see Star Wars when I was 7 years old. Afterwards she told me about the things that had influenced it like Flash Gordon serials and some books she had upstairs. She then led me to her bookcase, a big dark thing with glass doors and she gave me A PRINCESS OF MARS to read. I complained at first as the book was old and smelled and as a 7 year-old boy, I didn’t want to read about princesses. But she insisted and I devoured it within a week, returning a week later for more.
STARSHIP TROOPERS by Robert A. Heinlein
I was 14 and in love with a comic book called the STAR SLAMMERS by Walt Simonson. He mentioned in an interview STARSHIP TROOPERS had been an influence on creating the comic. I got hold of a copy and was blown away by the adventures of Johnnie Rico in the Mobile Infantry, being shot out of space ships as they fought bugs across the galaxy. I’ve never reread it but I can feel its influence on me still and see it in others too.
THE EXPANSE SERIES by James S.A. Corey
I bought LEVATHAN WAKES originally to read on my iPad and gave up on quite quickly. However after abandoning a few other eBooks, I realized I just liked reading books that I could hold in my hand so perhaps it was the format’s fault rather than the books themselves. So I picked up a paperback in a Waterstones 3 for 2 deal and tried again. Wow. I raced through it, and then rushed out to get CALIBANS WAR, ABADONS GATE and CIBOLA BURNS immediately afterwards. I love it when I discover a ‘new’ author and there’s a back catalogue ready and waiting to enjoy. Now however, I have that long, painful wait for a new one to come out every year.
RED RISING/GOLDEN SON by Pierce Brown
I ignored RED RISING when it first came out, most probably because it was classified as YA, but when it kept appearing at the top of the best of year lists, I thought I’d give it a go. At first I wasn’t that impressed. I liked the pace and intensity of the writing but I could see its influences rather too clearly. But halfway through, it had me in it’s grip and refused to let go. I moved straight onto GOLDEN SON and marveled as Brown took everything up to eleven. Planets scorched by Iron Rain, soldiers shot through the side of space ships, epic swordfights, love, betrayal – and an ending that knocked me to the floor. GOLDEN SON probably would make a top ten list of my favourite books of any genre.
So there you go. I could have mentioned the GOD's WAR trilogy by Kameron Hurley or the FOREVER WAR or DUNE or the STAINLESS STEEL RAT or ROBOPOCALYPSE or... well I could easily go on.