Exclusive Excerpt: NO HERO by Jonathan Wood

Out this week from Titan Books is No Hero by Jonathan Wood and SF Signal brings you an exclusive excerpt!

Here’s what the book is about:

Oxford police detective Arthur Wallace is no hero. He’s a good cop, but prefers for action and heroics remain on the screen, safely performed by professionals. But then, secretive government agency MI37 comes calling, hoping to recruit Arthur in their struggle against horrors from another dimension known as the Progeny. Can an everyman stand against sanity-ripping cosmic horrors?

Following is an excerpt from No Hero
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Jonathan Wood is an Englishman in New York. There’s a story in there involving falling in love and flunking out of med school, but in the end it all worked out all right, and, quite frankly, the medical community is far better off without him, so we won’t go into it here. His debut novel, No Hero was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a funny, dark, rip-roaring adventure with a lot of heart, highly recommended for urban fantasy and light science fiction readers alike.” Barnesandnoble.com listed it has one of the 20 best paranormal fantasies of the past decade, and Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels described it as, “so funny I laughed out loud.” His short fiction has appeared in Weird Tales, Chizine, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, as well as anthologies such as The Book of Cthulhu 2 and The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year One. His next novel, a sequel to No Hero, is called Yesterday’s Hero and is due out in September 2014. Follow Jonathan on Twitter as @thexmedic.

Worth a 1000 words

by Jonathan Wood

Whenever I want to start writing something new, the first thing I do is look for a picture. It’s become a ritualized part of my writing process. When I’m first starting to plan out a novel, I move like a magpie from tumblr to DeviantArt to Lost at E Minor, looking for fresh sources of inspiration that I can add to my stockpile. Then when it’s time to flesh out an idea from nascent impression into an actual plot, I crack open my art file and start digging. Soon, I’ll find a piece that feels like it’s somehow part of the nascent story in my head, so I’ll stop and use the picture as a springboard for a scene. Just a few hundred words, but enough to generate an idea, a moment of wonder, a potential conflict that will make its way into the novel.

I started this process with my first novel No Hero, and I’ve repeated it a number of times now. Over that course of time, a couple of favorite artists have risen to the fore, old faithfuls that I can always rely on to spark new ideas.
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Available Now on Amazon Kindle: KAIJU RISING: AGE OF MONSTERS (Read an Excerpt)

Hey all! I’m wearing two hats at the moment — one as the co-creator/editor of Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters from Ragnarok Publications and one as SF Signal contributor. As co-creator/editor of Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters I’m proud to announce that the anthology is now available on the Amazon Kindle store for immediate purchase! As an SF Signal contributor I have to stress how awesome this book is — you really need to read it! For just $4.99 you can get 25 thrilling stories, accompanied by 25 awesome pieces of interior art. By funding the project through Kickstarter (achieving 185% of our initial goal) Ragnarok Publications was able to assemble a one-of-a-kind anthology featuring authors such as Peter Clines (Ex-Heroes), Larry Correia (Monster Hunter International), James Lovegrove (Age of Zeus), Gini Koch as J.C. Koch (Touched by an Alien) and more. The interior art was provided by the superb Robert Elrod and the imaginative Chuck Lukacs. To top it all off comes a tie-in story with Colossal Kaiju Combat from Sunstone Games, written by New York Times bestselling author James Swallow. All this comes wrapped in a beautiful cover provided by the legendary Bob Eggleton. That’s a lot of awesome for just $4.99 but if you’re not yet convinced here’s an exclusive excerpt from “The Banner of the Bent Cross” by Peter Clines…
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

I recently watched The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb. I really enjoyed the movie, especially after the horrendous Spider-Man 3, but I know that a lot of people felt that the reboot came too soon. With this on my mind I thought I’d get some feedback from authors regarding the topic of reboots.

The question posed to this week’s panelists:

Q: When are reboots necessary, if ever? What properties could use a reboot? What properties should be protected from reboot? What are some of the best and worst reboots?

Here’s what they said…

Francis Knight
Francis Knight was born and lives in Sussex, England. When not living in her own head, she enjoys SF&F geekery, WWE geekery, teaching her children Monty Python quotes, and boldly going and seeking out new civilizations.

Necessary? Hmm, I’m not sure ever really necessary. Remakes either. I think you really only want to start playing with established works if you’re sure that you can bring something new (and better!) to it. Expand the characters, the universe. In that sense, I don’t think any project should be protected from reboots, if it has the potential to become better and richer for the experience, say something new.

What properties could do with a reboot? Well, perhaps Rambo? With a younger actor, as a veteran of Iraq/Afghanistan? Could work…preferably with less jingoism though, get it right back to ‘Troubled soldier tying to make sense of the aftermath’. Highlander would be superb – we could not have number 2 as well! Blade maybe could do with an overhaul, and Spawn. I’d have said Mad Max and Robocop too, but they’re being/have been done. Perhaps try again on Mad Max

For me, some of the best already done are the Batman series, the new Star Trek (I love how they expanded on our knowledge of characters we thought we knew inside out, and then put them in new and interesting positions), which also goes for the Bond reboot. I also liked the new Dredd. What didn’t work for me? The Conan reboot, Mad Max’s Doomsday… Remake/extensions of old franchises, Prometheus and The Thing prequel just didn’t work for me. The originals (Okay, the Carpenter version of The Thing was a remake itself) were so good, that they would have been better leaving well enough alone.

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Jonathan Wood is an Englishman in New York. He is the author of the Lovecraftian urban fantasy novel, No Hero, named one of the best paranormal fantasy books of 2011 by Paul Goat Allen. He also writes odd little things that show up in odd little places, such as The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Chizine, and Weird Tales. Follow him on Twitter as @thexmedic.

Looking for Lovecraft in All the Wrong Places

If there was a fight between the big three staple monsters of horror writing—vampires, werewolves, and zombies—do you know who would win?  Goddamn Cthulhu.  I know he wasn’t in the fight.  It doesn’t matter.  He’s Cthulhu.  He has tentacles coming out of his face.  He is dead and dreaming.  He’s on an island called Rl’yeh.  It has an apostrophe in it and isn’t really pronounceable.  He goddamn wins.  Live with it.

This is the genius of Howard Phillips Lovecraft.  A man whose horror writing was so good that he has transcended the silliness of his own last name.  Because Lovecraft tapped into a terror deeper than any fear inspired by our own bestial inner nature (suck it werewolves) – he managed to capture and crystallize exactly how small and meaningless we are in the face of the large uncaring universe.  His work taps into a profound existential terror that can freeze your blood.

And then he gave it tentacles.
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Wired tells us that Jonathan Wood’s two Hero novels are available for the low, low price of FREE for the next week.

Even better: the eBook is available in multiple formats. So, pick your favorite format, grab your eBook reader and get to work!

Synopses after the jump…
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