A rare personal post from me today, one which I hope will redress some of the gloom of my ranting last post. Something wonderful happened a week ago today – my second granddaughter was born. Here’s a picture of me (the ugly old one) with the baby. Congratulations to Katie and Steweart on her safe arrival.
You’ll never guess what they’ve called her. It’s a beautiful name, and one which has particular significance to me. Please welcome baby AUTUMN!
I need to start with an apology. I’ve had a few messages from folks wondering if everything was alright because I’d disappeared. It’s true. I’ve barely left a mark online recently. This iteration of my website has been running since 2008 – more than 1000 posts in total – and April 2022 was the first complete month I didn’t post anything.
There are a few reasons why. You might or might not be interested, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Some are more personal while others are writing related. I’ll apologise in advance for the length of this post, however I promise a picture of cats and big writing news if you make it all the way to the end.
I have a few very quick updates to share. I have some BIG news coming soon, but I’m not allowed to talk about that just yet…
First, I used to keep a set of my books at my mum’s house. My brother and I are in the process of selling the house, so I’m having to sell the books too. There are a few rarities available, so I thought I’d list them here:
HATER trilogy – US first edition hardcovers SOLD
HATER – Infected Books original release (very rare!) SOLD
HATER trilogy – UK first edition hardcovers SOLD
AUTUMN 1-5 – UK first edition hardcovers SOLD
ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING – US hardcover SOLD
AUTUMN 1-3 + THE HUMAN CONDITION – rare Infected Books original releases SOLD
AUTUMN 2-5 – Gollancz (UK) first edition large format paperbacks SOLD
Next, in case you haven’t seen it yet, can I draw your attention to the new INFECTED BOOKS ETSY STORE. It was originally set up to make it easier to sell signed Infected Books titles from the UK to folks in the EU (thanks for nothing, Brexit), but readers have really taken to it. Click here to visit.
Finally, the paperback edition of THE LAST BIG THING has been updated. It’s now available from all the usual places online (links below) and you can order signed copies direct from INFECTED BOOKS or the ETSY store.
I try and post about this initiative every year. Last year I wrote about how important eBooks were to me in the early days of my career (they still are today). When we’re talking about eBooks, the conversation often focuses on how convenient they are, usually culminating in a debate between those who’ll read in any format, and those who insist on print. There’s no right or wrong answer, and I still do everything I can to give my readers the choice of how you want to read (or listen) to my books.
But there’s another facet of eBooks that often goes unspoken, and that’s how accessible they are to authors. There must be thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of novels that have been released electronically over the last couple of decades which would otherwise have remained unread. It makes you wonder how many magnificent pieces of work have been lost over the years because they didn’t appeal to the right publisher, editor, or agent at the right time.
On this darkest of days in Europe it doesn’t really feel appropriate to be posting about my nonsense books, but a number of people have worked very hard to make this happen and I’m keen for folk to hear this new release. The audiobook version of AUTUMN: INFERNO – narrated by the awesome AUBREY PARSONS – is now available from Audible, Amazon, and Apple.
The book is also available in print and as an eBook – links below. You can get hold of signed copies (and there are a few of the limited edition hardcover still available) from www.infectedbooks.co.uk.
As some of you will know, I like to give away copies when new audiobooks are released. I have a limited number of download codes (UK and USA only, I’m afraid) for AUTUMN: INFERNO and a number of other books. Use the form below to make your request (*terms and conditions apply).
Terms and Conditions:
You can request promo codes for some of the above titles using this form. All I ask in return is that you review the book(s) you listen to and/or tell your friends. Thanks in advance!
You can use this form to request any of the books shown above
You can make multiple submissions for multiple books
Numbers of codes available for each books vary and are strictly limited, so some or all of your requests may not be successful
If a particular book of mine is not listed, no codes are currently available
Thanks to all of you who got in touch following the sudden death of my mum last month. I’ve really appreciated all your comments. My brother and I have worked hard to get her estate in order over the last few weeks, and I’ll soon be back at my writing desk full-time again. Mum would have been appalled if she’d known that she’d inadvertently gate-crashed the release of AUTUMN: INFERNO. You see, she wasn’t a horror fan by any stretch of the imagination, but she supported my work tirelessly over the years and was one of my most ardent cheerleaders.
It was easy to take her support for granted. She used to infuriate me, if I’m honest. There were endless interrogations for news/gossip whenever I saw her, and I used to cringe whenever I released something new and she forced herself to read it out of motherly loyalty. She’d always report back with “it was quite good”, or “I enjoyed it (but it’s not my kind of thing)” when it was clear she’d had to force herself to finish every sentence, and I was forever telling her not to put herself (and me) through it every time I released a new book. She’d never been a lover of apocalyptic fiction, and nothing I wrote was going to change that! All that said, it will be strange when I next write a sex scene or a violent action scene filled with explicit language… I won’t be cringing inwardly thinking “Mum’s going to read this…”
As Pete and I have emptied the house, we’ve been forced to go through her most private things. Our parents’ love letters to each other, keepsakes and mementos, trinkets that meant everything to Mum, but nothing to anyone else.
I was talking to one of my daughters the other day about the transitory nature of memories. I have a cardboard box full of what can only be described as crap, but which I wouldn’t part with for the world. It’s filled with odds and ends that remind me of special times – mostly when Lisa and I first fell in love, and when the kids were born. I look in there and the emotion is almost overwhelming, but anyone else peeking in would just see junk: things like a perfectly preserved paper bag, a plastic roller skate keyring, a scrappy notebook filled with the track listings of mixtapes, a bunch of receipts for meals and gifts… To me, a box full of memories. To almost everyone else, a box full of rubbish.
It broke my heart when I found more memories in Mum’s purse. She’d been carrying these two scraps of paper with her for more than twenty-five years. They wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else, but to Mum they were clearly priceless. An invitation to the party Mum and Dad threw when my first book was released. Hundreds of friends, family, and neighbours piled into their back garden to eat, drink, and buy books. I know it started at 4pm, but I can’t remember when it finished… But it’s the receipt behind that touched me most. It took me a while to work out what it was for, then realisation struck – Mum posted the final edited manuscript of STRAIGHT TO YOU back to the publisher as I was at work, and she’d carried the receipt with her ever since. That release was the beginning of my writing career, the moment it stopped being a pipe-dream and became a reality.
To everyone else, these are just two dog-eared scraps of paper. To Mum – and now to me – they’re so much more than that.
It’s the number one film on NETFLIX at the moment, so I’m sure you’ve either already seen this movie or have heard plenty about it. That said, for posterity I’m adding it to the ongoing list of films I recommend here on this site, and I’ll explain why after the trailer.
Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.
Reaction to DON’T LOOK UP has been polarising, to say the least. Glancing at IMDB just now, the Metascore is 50. On Rotten Tomatoes it currently stands at 55%. I don’t think the stats are at all surprising – if anything they’re quite appropriate – because the polarisation of society is at the core of the film. As an apocalyptic story, it’s by-the-numbers. As a comedy, it’s intermittently very funny. I can understand why people expecting either a laugh-fest or a GREENLAND or ARMAGEDDON style action adventure would be disappointed. Much has been made of the fact that the destruction of the planet by a comet is an allegory for climate change, but you can substitute any number of current social issues. I think the film’s scope is far broader than any one scenario. It holds up a mirror (albeit a deliberately distorted and exaggerated one) to some of our worst traits as individuals and as a society.
Throughout the story, the characters are fixated on things that don’t matter at the expense of things that do: the President of the United States wants to sit on news of the impending apocalypse so as not to tarnish her approval ratings, a tech guru concocts a plan to mine the planet-killing comet to tap into the trillions of dollars worth of minerals it contains… even the scientists become distracted with the irrelevances of fame. There are many levels to this film, but what hit me hardest was the demonisation of critical thinking and the absolute intolerance of other perspectives. In some respects, it felt like a comedy version of HATER.
It saddens me that in the sixteen years since I wrote HATER, it feels like it’s become more and more relevant with each passing week. I never explain the reason for the Hate in the books, but I’d always had it in mind that it was some kind of biological quirk that separated them from us, a genetic or other physical difference. Turns out it was worse than that. Turns out we’re capable of killing each other on the basis of our ideologies, beliefs, opinions, and personal desires. That’s always been the case, of course, and I’m being deliberately simplistic here, but it truly does feel like we’ve reached the point in our evolution (devolution?) where many of us appear incapable of even listening to, let alone considering or accepting, another person’s point of view when it doesn’t fit with our own world view or if it will be detrimental to ourselves in any way, shape, or form. There is no maybe anymore, there’s just right and wrong, and if one person’s right is another person’s wrong (which it inevitably will be), then we hit an impasse.
It’s fucking terrifying when you think about it, and pretty depressing, but that’s why I’m recommending DON’T LOOK UP. The characters are caricatures and it doesn’t offer any solutions or profound explanations, but it does a great job of showing how heartbreakingly stupid and blinkered us human beings can be. I’d like to think we’ll smarten up before the planet is destroyed (either by a comet, climate change, a rogue AI, aliens, or – most likely – ourselves), but like the scientists in the story, I’m not holding out a lot of hope.
Very, very, very, very happy that folks seem to be enjoying AUTUMN: INFERNO. Available now - paperback, limited edition hardcover, eBook, and audio.Not yet started #thelondontrilogy? Grab an eBook copy of book one - AUTUMN: DAWN - for only 99c/99p for a limited time.Read more about the new AUTUMN books at www.lastoftheliving.net.#autumn #zombies #undeadlondon ... See MoreSee Less