Thus Falls the Shadow is out today!

It’s getting great reviews, including some that say it has a bit of a Star Wars feel, so why not pick up your copy for just 99c today. Click the picture.

Advertisements

Book Review – Straight Outta Fangton by C.T.Phipps

I loved this book. It is a fast-paced, wise-cracking, wild ride of a book, with great characters and loads of action. It balances humour with a twisty plot line and some of the references to popular culture made me laugh out loud. I totally recommend it. If you click the picture it links to the amazon page if you want to check it out.

So, vampires right? To be honest, vampires haven’t really been on my radar for a long time. It was only when I started reading this book that I started to think about all the vampire books and films that I have read or seen over the years. The Lost Boys is one film that really stands out. I read Interview with the Vampire when I was at Uni and loved it. Reading Dracula in an almost empty house, on my own, in the middle of winter, is an experience I won’t forget either. Also The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is a great read, a good update of vampire classics. I even read the first two Twilight books but tbh it was a bit too teen romance for me.

What’s great about Straight Outta Fangton is the way that the author manages to subvert a lot of the traditional vampire lore and yet does it with a light touch and lot of love for the subject. Together with all the cultural references, it makes it a fun read, but there’s a great storyline as well. It is a book which hooked me early on and I read quickly because I wanted to know how it was going to go. Like I said above, well worth a read.

While we’re talking about reviews, there is still time to get a review copy of my new book. Just click the picture:

In which I get overexcited about my new book.

Thus Falls the Shadow is now available on pre-order! Launch will be 1st December but you can get an Advance Review Copy right now. I’m really excited about this book. It’s got everything! Well, not everything, but it has space travel, aliens, gun fights, line dancing robots, gay lead character, swearing (a lot of swearing!), touches of humour, in fact someone on The Book of the Face described it as #funspaceromp which seems as good a description as any other, although the book has a darker side as well.

If you want a copy – click the picture above and it will take you to a site called Booksprout which hosts my review programme. Or if you dont want to bother with that just email me at gablepress@outlook.com and say “Send me the space book with all the swearing in!” or some such message. Or even just leave a comment below.

Bargain Book Section

First up, a selection of free books. I think some of these look really interesting so well worth checking out. Just click the picture.

Also, I’ve just started reading this and I’m really enjoying it. It is a fast paced SF with some imaginative touches and I really recommend it. It is free as well, so worth a click.

Enjoy.

Martin

P.S. Remember, click on the image at the top or just email me to get your free advance copy of my new book ,Thus Falls the Shadow.

Too many books!

Does this ever happen to you?

I just tried to open my wardrobe door and failed because I had too many books by the side of my bed. Had a bit of a sort out, removed two books I had actually read, took out my kindle (which has a whole virtual pile of books on it) took out two more which were actually my kids books, and I was left with this.

I am currently reading Labyrinths, which is about Emma Jung and the early years of Psychoanalysis. I’m reading this first because one of my students recommended it and I want to get it back to them. It is interesting but harder going than my usual reads!

All Hell Let Loose is a one volume history of WWII covering the conflict across the whole globe. It’s good but I tend to dip in and out. The Stephen Donaldson I picked up second hand, and it’s sitting there while I work out if I need to read the original 6 books again before I read this. It must be ten to twenty years since I read them. The Ian.M.Banks Culture books I also picked up second hand. I got very excited because I was thinking of reading them again and then saw them 50p each in very good condition.

The N.K.Jemisin were a present from my sister, and I feel guilty for not starting them yet, but they are the most recent on the pile. Malice I have had for nearly three months and still haven’t started it.

It’s the same old problem, too many books, too little time.

What are you reading?

Never get out of the boat, part four – Thus Falls the Shadow

A dark tale of romance, obsession and interplanetary war.

Thus Falls the Shadow is my latest book, due for release at the end of November. It’s a story that I didn’t intend to write, a story that crept up on me and took me by surprise.

I wrote the first fragment of a short story called ‘Dust’ in May 2016. I liked what I had written, but I was busy redrafting the first book of my fantasy series, so ‘Dust’ was put to one side. I returned to it in the September and again in October and by November I had a solid start to a story, some characters I liked and a sense of where it was going. I was still thinking of it as a short story, although longer than any short story I had written before.

At this point I put it aside. I had decided I would release The Song of Amhar as a series of novellas and was busy with my first attempt at self publishing. I had also started working on the fourth book on the series but it was here I hit a road block. I had two chapters down but half way through the third I just stopped and couldn’t get going again.

When my Dad had the equivalent of writer’s block he would stick a load of paper on the walls of his studio and just paint anything. He said it just took the pressure off, and eventually he could paint himself out of the corner. I decided to do the same thing and picked up ‘Dust’ again. It worked, the words came and I found myself writing a bigger story, one that looked like it would be novella length. This was good, but something strange was happening and I realised I was treading a familiar path. I had a story recounted past tense by a man who is searching for something, an elusive shadowy figure to be tracked down and a ship travelling through alien worlds.

So here was my dilemma, go with the story as it grew or abandon it as not original enough. I decided to go with it and by Easter 2018 I had a Science Fiction novel.

Thus Falls the Shadow is not Heart of Darkness or Apocalypse Now, and it is certainly not The Hollow Men. In a sense it is my response to these three pieces of art that have had such an influence on me. There are similarities, and I have deliberately referenced all three works in my book. I’m not going to list those references now, they are to there to find when you read it, but I will say that some are there to make you think, others to make you laugh, or at least crack a smile.

I think the big difference is in the overall themes. Both Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness place one man’s obsessive search for another against a background of the effects of colonialism. In Thus Falls the Shadow I have added another theme: love. The protagonist (Will) wrestles between his obsessive search for one man and his love for another. This was another bit of the story that took me by surprise, I was going to write in a woman but it just didn’t feel right. I like to give my characters some agency and it turned out that Will just wasn’t interested in women.

So if you think you might like to read Thus Falls the Shadow, I’m hoping to have ARCs ready in about two weeks. In the meantime can I just draw your attention to this promo. Some great bargains here so well worth a look.

Never get out of the boat, part three – Heart of Darkness.

I’m doing these in the wrong order, at least as far as the chronology of the works goes. I’m doing it in my order, the order that I experienced them, and Heart of Darkness comes third. In the early 2000s I bought a set of ten books called ‘The Banned Books Collection’. It was a great buy, with some great books, and Heart of Darkness was one. It wasn’t the first that I read, but when I did, it made a big impression.

Heart of Darkness is a novella by the Polish-English writer Joseph Conrad. First published in 1899 it tells the story of a journey by paddle steamer up the Congo river in Africa. It is a framed narrative, with the narrator, Marlowe, sitting with friends on a yacht anchored in the Thames, and recounting the journey. Marlowe describes his mission to travel up the Congo to find Kurtz, a station chief and Ivory trader who seems almost a legendary figure. Every time Marlowe meets a European, they talk about what a great man Kurtz is, how he will do great things, how he will become a big figure in ‘the company’. After a long and difficult journey Marlowe finally gets to meet Kurtz only to find ‘the great man’ wasted by illness, yet still able to cast his hypnotic power over the African tribespeople. The last words of Kurtz, echoed by Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now are “The horror! The horror!”. The “manager’s boy” announces to the rest of the crew, in a scathing tone, “Mistah Kurtz—he dead”.

Twenty years later the quote is used by T.S.Eliot to preface ‘The Hollow Men’.

It is a brilliant book, beautifully written. Conrad draws on his own experiences of travelling up the Congo in 1890 to capture both the dramatic landscape and the otherness of being in an alien place. The framing of the narrative enables Conrad to create a parallel between what Conrad calls “the greatest town on earth”, London, and Africa as places of darkness. It is essentially anti-colonial, although it has since been criticised for its depiction of African people.

I once took a tourist boat up a river in Turkey when I was on holiday. It was in a sparsely populated area and we were going to view ancient rock tombs cut into the cliffs on the side of the valley. I remember the heat, the sound of the motor and the reeds slipping by on either side. It was a strange, dream-like experience, I felt dislocated from the world, an observer of an alien landscape. It is the same feeling I get when I read Heart of Darkness.