Book launch day! Sometimes, apparently, book launches are like buses. Still recovering from the excitement around the launch of Inklings Press’s Tales from the Underground, but no rest for the wicked, as today sees the launch of the Sci-fi Roundtable’s debut anthology The Quantum Soul. Available in Kindle format right now, with paperback coming later this month.
The theme of the anthology is “What is life?” and for my story, Shepherd of Memory, I wanted to write something that really felt like good solid science fiction. The story follows a team of scientific explorers on the planet Phi Lima Upsilon, where they encounter a life form unlike any they expected. Or perhaps Dr Jim Wilson is imagining it all?
You can catch an excerpt from Shepherd of Memory in this month’s podcast, as well as the latest chapter of my novel.
The Alchemist’s Box by Alex Avrio is the first book of the Merchant Blades series. It follows the adventures of Captain Regina Fitzwaters and her mercenary team on a simple mission to recover the eponymous box from a neighbouring city-state. As things go wrong and the mission spirals into complexity, her team must deal with wolves, politics, crocodiles, curses, betrayal and ancient magic beyond their comprehension. All complicated by the presence of her second-in-command, Kapitan Maximillian Jaeger, a down-on-his-luck mercenary that served on the other side of a recent war. They will need to do more than simply co-operate if they’re to get through all this alive.
There’s a lot of good in this book. The style is light and thoroughly readable, the pacing is brisk, and Captain Fitzwaters is a likable and believable character, who goes through the book making reasonably astute and sensible choices (always a plus). The world is fleshed out enough, there’s a sense of place without being buried under world-building (though I am curious what the people who live in South Beyond the Waters call their homeland).
It’s not flawless. Some of Fitzwaters team are rather one-note, and the more the story steered away from the mercenary company roots and into the ancient magic in the third act, the less engaging I found it. There are a couple things that felt like they were being set up as big reveals, and they were all rather thrown away. And while the relationship between Fitzwaters and Jaeger was generally very well handled there were two or three moments which rang strange.
But I do recommend this book for all that. If you’re looking for an enjoyable fantasy romp with a mix of military and dark magic, The Alchemist’s Box would be a fine choice. A no-nonsense, readable, four stars.
Get The Alchemist’s Box from Amazon.
New chapter of the podcast is out today! In Chapter 9, Matt faces off a new demon minion alone!
The latest anthology from Inklings Press is Tales from the Underground, available from 6th October 2017. You can pick it up from Amazon from Friday.
If the name sounds familiar, and you’re a long time listener to the podcast, you are right, it has been on StorycastRob the podcast for some time. To listen to the story, check out Episode 5, right now. The version in the anthology is a little different from the podcast version, but it is essentially the same story.
Lords of Trivia Space
- This story started life as a writing challenge I set myself. If you’ve heard or read a lot of my stories, you may have noticed that I have a lot of dialogue, letting reported speech do a lot of heavy lifting in my story. I set out to pare back the dialogue on this one, and we are several pages in before you see any quote marks. That said, the narrator’s voice became a lot more conversational as a result.
- It pulls from all over my personal history. For example, like Sarah, I worked as a medical records clerk for a while a few years ago, the struggle is real. The corridor I describe in the story exists, or at least it’s based on a corridor in Western Eye Hospital in London.
Glad we made it, September was awesome, we had so much traffic on my podcast that I hit my monthly bandwidth limit in the last few days. I hope that didn’t stop anyone listening to something they wanted to from my back catalogue. But now’s the time, the limit is reset, go listen to as much as you like!
October is going to be EVEN MORE AWESOME! Not only will I be recording the next chapter of the podcast later this week, but you will be able to buy not one, but two books with my stories in them in October.
October 6th sees the launch of Tales from the Underground, the sixth anthology from Inklings Press. In it, you will find my story The Lords of Negative Space. Pre-order now at Amazon: myBook.to/Uground
Then on October 19th, the Sci-fi Roundtable launches its first anthology, The Quantum Soul. In there you will find my story The Shepherd of Memory. Pre-order this on Amazon: myBook.to/QuantumSoul
So if you want to catch my stories, you’re spoiled for choice this month!