Posts Tagged ‘David Thomas Moore’

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Abaddon Books have produced another, fantastic collection of novellas in their shared-world setting of the Afterblight. After the awesome Journal of the Plague Year which I reviewed here and here comes End of the End, a collection of stories detailing the post-apocalyptic landscape years after the ‘Cull’.

Each story revisits some of the best works in the series, and first up is Fall Out by Simon Guerrier taking up the story begun in Scott K Andrew’s School’s Out. Guerrier lands us solidly into the wild and brutal place that England has become as protagonist Jack Bedford and his companion Jane, travel to Oxford to consult with the new government forming there. Touching on Jack’s past, Fall Out stands squarely between doing what is right and what is politic. In a series of power plays and double blinds, Jack and Jane find themselves coerced into decommissioning a nuclear power station.

As the rightful ‘King’ of England, Jack understands he has no choice; cowardice would destroy his place in the emerging society and result in probable death; entering a power station about to go into meltdown is equally fatal. For Jack, the idea of the King is to unite a fractured, warring country; to help restore peace under a common idea. It is about legacy, about the image of a King’s duty but little is as it seems. The journey is fraught and treacherous, and the writing fast paced and action packed. In the end, Fall Out is an exacting test for the young Jack, one that leaves little space for respite. The post- Cull world is a savage place where hope is crushed and defiance strangled, and Fall Out is a brilliant addition to this excellent series.

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Published by Abaddon Books

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The good folks over at Solaris Books offered me a guest blog and editor of the brilliant anthology Two Hundred and Twenty One Baker Streets stepped up to offer his thoughts on that most enigmatic of characters, Sherlock Holmes.

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Hey there, and thanks for having me on the Bookbeard’s Blog. I hope my own modest beard serves in this illustrious company…

So, with less than a week to go (at time of writing) before the release of my first anthology, Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets, I’ve been asked to write about the reinvention and appropriation of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. It’s an interesting question, and “reinvention” is, truthfully, an engaging idea. To reinvent; to invent again; to create what has been created already, because in creating it again we are both creating something new and shedding new light on the old.

Baker Streets has been described in more than one review as “fan fiction,” generally in a positive way, and while that term invokes a fairly specific body of work – informal, unpublished, unpaid, often written without permission – the comparison’s not unreasonable. Apart from anything else, the fourteen women and men I brought together to tell the many stories of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are fans; nearly half of them have published Holmes pastiches elsewhere, and at least one of them was recruited when she overheard me talking about the project at a con and jumped on me: “I love Sherlock Holmes!” And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

And what fan-fiction – pastiche – reinvention – call it what you will – does is democratise art. If you’ve studied lit-crit to any level, you’ve almost certainly been sat down in front of a copy of Roland Barthes’ “Death of the Author,” in which the French literary theorist tells us that the author, as owner and authority, “dies” as soon as her work is published. As soon as the work is read by others, it becomes theirs; their experience of it, their interpretation, becomes the truth, pre-eminent over the intent, reported or imagined, of the original.
Pastiche legitimises the reader’s new authority. “This is what I saw in the original,” says the author, “and so I rewrite it in that light and share it with you,” and – not accidentally – the new author dies with publication, and the reinvention is reinvented by a new round of readers. Sherlock Holmes, reimagined and rewritten scores of times, filmed, recorded and set in board, roleplaying and computer games, belongs to everyone.

The irony of course being that the very idea would be anathema to Sherlock Holmes himself. As an investigator, picking up the miniscule clues for which he’s famed, he depends on finding the objective truth, free of interpretation and bias. He knows that that scuffing on your shoe, and that smudge on your cuff, and that hair on your shirt, means you’re a philandering war correspondent for the Times, and in his eyes, that’s all those things can mean. If there’s one truth – one perfect, objective truth – always findable at the heart of any mystery, then how can there be many truths within the man himself? How can there be many Sherlocks?
Maybe there can’t. What Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets shows us is that, from seventeenth-century Worcestershire to 1960s New York and from the townships of Pretoria to the fantastic world of the Seven Lords Wizard, Holmes himself (or herself) is the same. The same acerbic, short-tempered, superior, wild, dangerous champion of truth, striding impatiently through the lies and misdirections wherever you find him.

What the reinventors do, with Holmes, is summon him to their worlds, like the wizard’s assistant Wu Tsen in Tchaikovsky’s “The Final Conjuration.” They summon the old bastard to witness injustice and fight exploitation – the oppressive government of Emma Newman’s “A Woman’s Place,” the sexual predator of Gini Koch’s “All the Single Ladies,” the strange, murderous cult of Kaaron Warren’s “The Lantern Men” – and, like any amateur demonologist, having summoned him, they often find him singularly hard to banish.
I suspect we’ll be seeing more of him.

Solaris and Abaddon have recently been producing some great anthologies of late and Autumn 2014 will see them print three more collections. Check out the blurbs below.

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Following its critically well-received and continuingly popular predecessors Solaris Rising 1, 1.5 and 2, Ian Whates returns to curate this latest collection of cutting edge SF short stories in Solaris Rising 3.

With an exciting line up of authors that continues Solaris Books trademark of mixing bestselling, award winning and emerging authors to break new ground in SF publishing, Solaris Rising 3 is a beautiful executed SF anthology that resonates far beyond the known boundaries of the universe

Solaris Rising 3 pushes the boundaries of current SF publishing and hammers home, story after story, Whates’ mission statement to prove that SF is the most exciting and inspiring of all the fiction genres; offering the poignant reflection of humanity – often funny, often dark and always surprising – that sits at the heart of all great fiction writing, and stretching it across time and space.

With contributions from Ken Liu, Rachel Swirsky, Gareth L. Powell, Aliette de Bodard, Tony Ballantyne and many, many more, Solaris Rising 3 is a diverse collection of ground-breaking stories that will be essential reading for SF fans everywhere.

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From under the mirror balls of Studio 54 to the heart of a bloody Wizard war, this is Holmes and Watson as you’ve never, ever seen them before. In Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets Abaddon Books editor David Moore has brought together the finest celebrated and new talent in SF and Fantasy writing to create a new generation of Holmes stories that will confound everything you ever thought you knew about Doyle’s most famous characters.

Featuring witch trials, fanfiction and a host of grisly murders Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets is a contemporary look at the world of Sherlock Holmes that will go far beyond just delighting fans of the books, television shows and films, and provide a challenging new world for genre lovers to explore

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Award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan takes up the mantle once again for the latest edition of Fearsome Magics: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy – the new generation of the acclaimed fantasy anthology series from Solaris Books.

With the incredibly warm public and critical reception of his SF based anthologies Reach for Infinity and Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 8, alongside two Hugo nominations (including Best Short Form Editor), 2014 really has been the year of Jonathan Strahan, and it looks set to continue with his final Solaris anthology release of the year: Fearsome Magics: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy.

Continuing the legacy of George Mann’s original Solaris Book of New Fantasy series with finesse, Strahan’s latest Fearsome Magics collection brings together some of the brightest and best names in fantasy writing and allows their imagination to run riot in an out-pouring of awe, wonder and – of course – magic.

From the creeping corridors of ‘Dream London Hospital’ (Ballantyne) to the omniscient tower of ‘The Safe House’ (Parker) and across into the archaic rural of ‘The Changeling’ (Bradley), Fearsome Magics paints a vivid tapestry of the fantastical worlds that sit just outside our reality; one in which mathematics and magic are interchangeable and where the wildest dreams of our imagination are realised.

Fearsome Magics: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy includes new short stories from Tony Ballantyne, Genevieve Valentine, Justina Robson, Robert Shearman, and many more