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.