Wednesday 28 March 2018

Exciting Acquisition News From Gollancz

So, this popped up in my inbox today and I just had to share it with you.

Gollancz acquires novel version of THE QUANDERHORN XPERIMENTATIONS, a new Radio 4 series from the creators of Red Dwarf and 2point4children

Marcus Gipps, Gollancz Commissioning Editor, has acquired World All Language rights to a new novel from Red Dwarf co-creator Rob Grant and 2point4children creator Andrew Marshall.

THE QUANDERHORN XPERIMENTATIONS is a full length novel springing and expanded from the soon-to-be-broadcast six-part Radio 4 series of the same name. The series will be broadcast alongside the release of the book and features a stellar cast of comedy performers.

England, 1952. Churchill is Prime Minister for the last time. Rationing is still in force. All music sounds like the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. People like living in 1952: it's familiar and reassuring, and Britain knows its place in the world. Few have noticed it's been 1952 for the past 65 years.

Meet Professor Quanderhorn; a brilliant maverick scientific genius who has absolutely no moral compass. Assisted by a motley crew of outcasts – a recovering amnesiac, a brilliant scientist with a half-clockwork brain, a captured Martian prisoner adapting a little too well to English life, the professor’s part-insect “son” (reputedly ‘a major breakthrough in Artificial Stupidity’), and a rather sinister janitor – he’ll save the world. Even if he destroys it in the process. With his Dangerous Giant Space Laser, High Rise Farm, Invisible Robot and Fleets of Monkey-Driven Lorries, he's not afraid to push the boundaries of science to their very limit. And far, far beyond …
Marcus Gipps said: “I’ve long been a fan of Andrew and Rob’s work, and Gollancz was the proud publisher of two of Rob’s earlier, brilliant novels, so it’s great to welcome them home. QX is witty, silly, clever and fun, and having spent a day at the recording I know it’s going to be a hit both on radio and in print.”

Rob /Andrew said: “We’re excited to be at Gollancz – the home of British science fiction. We hope Quanderhorn will thrill and delight in equal measure. It’s as if aliens had horrifically grafted John Wyndham onto P.G. Wodehouse and made the monstrous outcome write a book. We have to go now – we’re not really allowed to use these crayons.”

THE QUANDERHORN XPERIMENTATIONS will be published in hardback, ebook and audio reading alongside the radio broadcast, June 2018.

Rob Grant is the co-creator of Red Dwarf and was head writer of Spitting Image. His previous books include Red Dwarf novels, Fat and Incompetnce.
Andrew Marshall wrote and sometimes produced the comedies 2point4children, Dad, Health & Efficiency and the supernatural drama Strange for the BBC.
The Authors

It certainly sounds, to me at least, like a whole lot of fun and certainly something I shall be keeping an eye out for. What about you?

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Smoke Eaters by Sean Grigsby

The basic premise for Smoke Eaters (out now from Angry Robot) is an enticing one - Fire Fighters vs Dragons. I always like it when an author does something a bit different with genre favourites and fighting fire with firemen certainly does that.

The setting is America, a century from now and many parts of it are uninhabitable due to the rise of dragons (and the reason the dragons are up and about actually makes a lot of sense, it's to do with sleep cycles). Our hero is Cole Brannigan, a fireman just days away from retirement. On a callout to a fire he comes face to face with a dragon and, in trying to rescue his team finds he is one of the few not affected by dragon smoke.

This quickly leads to him waving goodbye to his retirement plans and being conscripted into the titular Smoke Eaters, the guys and gals with all the best toys, whose job is to tackle the dragons and the fires they cause. Seeing Cole go from being a seasoned veteran to becoming a rookie recruit is handled well. He knows his stuff but quickly has to learn his place.

Now, if it were just fire fighters v dragons it would probably be enough but, just to add an extra arm to the story there is trouble with City Hall and a corrupt mayor who is happy to line his own pockets while putting the lives of countless civilians at risk.

One thing that really stands out, for me, is the technical side of the story. Grigsby is himself a fire fighter and, obviously, he puts a lot of what he knows into the fire fighting scenes but it is done in a way that is understandable for the reader without leaving them to get bogged down in technical jargon.

So, there are dragons galore, of various shapes and sizes (and the Boss Level dragon towards the end is a phenomenal creation) on one side, City Hall on the other but at least with those Brannigan has a chance of winning the battle, even if it is the slimmest of slim chances. There is one battle he will never win though... just wait until you meet the formidable Mrs. Brannigan.

I know it's only March but this has to be a contender for Book of the Year. An excellent debut by an author I will certainly be keeping an eye on.

Highly Recommended

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Today's Book Post From Sean Grigsby and Angry Robot

So, the first post I saw on Facebook when I switched on my phone was this one. 

"Looks promising" thinks I.

So, when I get up and go see what the Postie has delivered, you can understand I was chuffed to find... 

And so I started reading...

Believe me, if the first chapter is anything to go by, this is looking to be something a bit special.

Review will follow when I've finished it.