Claude Lalumière‘s Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes (infinity plus, December 2013) collects twenty-five dark stories of sex and death, spanning realism and a breadth of fantastical genres. Previous books include the collection Objects of Worship (2009) and the mosaic novella The Door to Lost Pages (2011). He has edited or co-edited twelve anthologies in various genres, including Island Dreams: Montreal Writers of the Fantastic (2003), Lust for Life: Tales of Sex & Love (with Elise Moser; 2006), Tesseracts Twelve: New Novellas of Canadian Fantastic Fiction (2008), Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories (with Camille Alexa; 2013), and Super Stories of Heroes & Villains (2013). With Rupert Bottenberg, he’s the co-creator of the multimedia cryptomythology project Lost Myths.


KEITH BROOKE: Your most recent collection, Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes, falls into three sections: “Shades of Noir”, “Nocturnes” and “Strange Tales of Sex and Death”. What’s the rationale behind this collection and the way it’s organized?

CLAUDE LaLUMIÈRE: As a reader I love the concept of the thematic collection, so, as a writer, I try to organize my stories and books that way, too. I’ve known for a few years that I had a collection brewing on the related themes of sex and death. Its exact breadth and scope kept changing, though. Of course, sex and death are a big part of most stories we tell, but I wanted to assemble those stories of mine that put those themes explicitly – and intimately – in the forefront. Until recently, I couldn’t quite figure out how to make the book come together and make sense as a statement or united work.
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Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s the UK science-fiction scene was reinvigorated by an influx of young writers whose short fiction started appearing in Interzone magazine, and in anthology series like Other Edens, Zenith and, then going through one of its occasional revivals, New Worlds. These writers included the likes of Eric Brown, Nicola Griffith, Stephen Baxter, Charles Stross and one Simon Ings, an author who, apparently effortlessly, managed to combine striking innovation with the slickest literary style (it’s no surprise that Ings has collaborated with one of British SF’s most stylish authors, M John Harrison). Ings went on to write novels ranging from smart post-cyberpunk thriller Headlong to the quirkily different fantasy City of the Iron Fish. This year UK publishers Gollancz are re-launching Ings’ backlist in what they describe as ‘a collectable set of paperbacks designed by award-winning illustrator, Jeff Alan Love’ – the same artist responsible for the striking cover to Ings’ new novel Wolves (Gollancz, January 2014).


KEITH BROOKE: Your novels show a clear career path over the course of fifteen years or so, moving from genre heartland (be it SF or fantasy) to psychological, literary thrillers. With Wolves you’re back in SF with a novel that leads us into a near future on the brink of collapse, with reality increasingly overlaid with augmented reality veneers. Is that a fair overview? Is this return to SF a deliberate move, or merely the sign of a writer following the muse?

SIMON INGS: Well, much as I would have liked to have followed a grand plan, I’ve pretty much spent my life scrabbling around looking for venues that won’t completely misrepresent me to an audience. I’m not slagging off publishers here – I do think I’m a genuinely hard sell. I tend to write difficult, read-em-twice books – and then stick guns in them. With readers gobsmacked and driven up the walls in roughly equal measure, necessity has meant that I have pretty much hurled myself down whatever rabbit-hole has presented itself to me at the time. And because I find writing hard, I counter that by trying not to repeat myself. It completely foxed me that some people thought my last novel, Dead Water, was a work of science fiction. I didn’t mind – I was just disconcerted, as though I’d spent a day walking up a hill only to find myself within earshot of that morning’s campsite.
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Between January 8th and 15th, you can get the box set of Expatria by Keith Brooke for less than $1.

Here’s what it’s about:

Available for the first time in a single volume: the Expatria duology (two full-length novels).

Book one:
The descendants of Expatria’s first colonists from Earth have rejected technology. When Mathias Hanrahan, heir to the primacy of Newest Delhi, wants to reintroduce the old ways he is framed for his father’s murder and forced to flee.

Recruited by a research team which is trying to relearn the ancient technologies, he goes to work for them, and against a background of impending war, Mathias discovers that strange messages are coming from space.

Book two:
For Katya Tatin, a passionate believer in and employee of the Holy Corporation of GenGen, the opportunity to join the mission to the recently rediscovered colony of Expatria is much more than a chance to spread the gospel. For her, it represents a break with the past on Earth, with the Consumer Wars and the subversives who seek to undermine the standing of the Holy Corporation itself. It offers a chance to reconfirm her faith.

On Expatria itself, and on the ancient arkships that orbit it, the news of the impending arrival of a mission from Earth further complicates an already murderously complex web of religious and political intrigue. For some, it looks like salvation from a backward-looking, superstition-ridden society; for others, it looks suspiciously like an invasion.

This deal won’t last forever, so grab it now.

[GUEST INTERVIEW] Frank Chadwick, Interviewed by Keith Brooke

Frank Chadwick has designed or written over one hundred games and game-related books. In the science fiction field he is probably best remembered for his work on Traveller and Space: 1889. He also writes military history and his Desert Shield Fact Book (1991) reached number one on the New York Times best-seller list. His debut print novel, How Dark The World Becomes, was released by Baen Books in January of 2013. The Forever Engine will appear in January of 2014 and he is currently working on the sequel to How Dark The World Becomes. He lives in east-central Illinois.


Keith Brooke: Published earlier this year, How Dark the World Becomes is the story of a second-generation human native of a brutal colony buried beneath the crust of the inhospitable planet Peezgtaan, and his quest for freedom – and survival. Your protagonist, Sasha Naradnyo, is described as ‘toughest thug in Crack City’ – was he fun to write?
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[GUEST INTERVIEW] Kit Reed interviewed by Keith Brooke

Kit Reed has two new books this year: her spontaneous human combustion novel, Son of Destruction from Severn House (US and UK), and her “best of” collection, The Story Until Now, from Wesleyan University Press. The collection includes some classics and some favorites, as well as six new, never-before-collected stories. Earlier books include What Wolves Know (PS Publishing), a Shirley Jackson Award nominee in 2011, and Enclave (Tor, 2009). She is Resident Writer at Wesleyan University.


Keith Brooke: Your work could be labeled SF, fantasy, horror, suspense, weird, literary and/or any number of other things, but taken as a whole (and even in many cases individually) your stories defy categorisation, and you describe your work as “transgenred”.

Kit Reed: I do, because there are so many things my stories are, or aren’t. Some them are clearly SF, if you read that as Speculative Fiction, but some of them are straight-up realism, or “literary,” and it bothers me that “literary” has become both a “genre” and a dirty word. And, me as transgenred? I think I made up the word because I moved around so much as a kid. It opened up so many possibilities that people don’t get when they’re rooted in one place. The word fits because I’m like the boll weevil, I go everywhere and I don’t belong anywhere.
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Keith Brooke‘s first novel, Keepers of the Peace, appeared in 1990, since when he has published seven more adult novels, six collections, and over 70 short stories. For ten years from 1997 he ran the web-based SF, fantasy and horror showcase infinity plus, featuring the work of around 100 top genre authors, including Michael Moorcock, Stephen Baxter, Connie Willis, Gene Wolfe, Vonda McIntyre and Jack Vance. Infinity plus has recently been relaunched as an independent publishing imprint producing print and ebooks. His novel Genetopia was published by Pyr in February 2006 and was their first title to receive a starred review in Publishers Weekly; The Accord, published by Solaris in 2009, received another starred PW review and was optioned for film. His most recent novel, Harmony (published in the UK as alt.human), is a big exploration of aliens, alternate history and the Fermi paradox, published by Solaris in 2012. Writing as Nick Gifford, his teen fiction is published by Puffin, with one novel also optioned for the movies by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish’s Caveman Films. He writes reviews for the Guardian, teaches creative writing at the University of Essex, and lives with his partner Debbie in Wivenhoe, Essex.


Eric Brown: So far this year you’ve published two books. Or is it three? First there was Strange Divisions and Alien Territories: The Sub-genres of Science Fiction; then there were Harmony and alt.human. Would you care to explain?

Keith Brooke: It’s actually only two books! Strange Divisions and Alien Territories is a non-fiction book about SF, published by Palgrave Macmillan in March. Harmony and alt.human are a single novel, going by different titles for the North American and UK markets.
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