I’m pleased to report that THE LAST BIG THING is now available in paperback. Originally released in early 2019, this is a collection of some of my favourite non-zombie short stories from the last 15 years or so, along with a number of other stories I wrote especially for the book. Of note, this is currently the only place you can get EVERYTHING AND NOTHING (my lone HATER short story) in print. Personally, I think it’s worth picking up for the title story alone. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written.
Thanks to those of you who’ve already pre-ordered THE LAST BIG THING. I’m humbled by the number of folks who’ve picked up a copy, and I’m anxiously/nervously looking forward to hearing what you think. Don’t forget – if you’ve pre-ordered a signed copy from Infected Books, you can download a complementary ebook version straightaway and get reading immediately.
I’ve mentioned the art that Craig Paton put together for the book. As you’d expect with a collection like this, the cover is a grouping together of a number of disparate ideas. One of the new stories is about a band, and that’s where the initial idea for the artwork came from: a faded and torn tour poster that’s been pasted to a wall. Craig had a lot of fun adding loads of Easter eggs and in-jokes to the rest of the wall which I’m sure you’ll appreciate once you’ve read the collection. If you’re reading this piece on my website, you should be able to see a small sample immediately to your right.
I’ve been wanting to release this book for quite some time as I’ve built up a stockpile of short stories and it’s often the case that years after publication they can sometimes prove difficult for people to find. As you’d expect, there’s a certain amount of my trademark Moody bleakness in there with apocalyptic stories like THE LUCKY ONES, but it’s not all about the end of the world (for once). Once I looked back at the finished collection, I realised just to what extent some of my biggest influences have shaped much of what I’ve written over the years. My love of 1950s B movies and obscure 1970s horror films comes to the fore in stories like BIG MAN and ALMOST FOREVER, whereas OSTRICH, THE DEAL and NOLAN HIGGS IS OUT OF HIS DEPTH wouldn’t be out of place as episodes of TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED or THE TWILIGHT ZONE (aka the greatest TV show in history).
THE LAST BIG THING also marks the first time that my one and (currently) only HATER short story – EVERYTHING AND NOTHING – has appeared in print. It’s an interesting little off-cut which takes place in the days running up to the events of DOG BLOOD and which features a certain Danny McCoyne taking a break from the fighting and realising how close he is to home…
With the release of ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING – the first book in the second HATER trilogy – fast approaching, I thought it would be interesting to start showing you how the two series are connected. They both tell different stories, but there are shared events and locations and… and I’m not going to tell you much more just yet.
With apologies for my limited graphics skills, here’s a handy timeline:
I have a feeling many of you might have missed this first time around…
Just prior to the release of DOG BLOOD back in June 2010, I released EVERYTHING AND NOTHING, a free HATER short story which takes place just prior to the events of the second book in the series. It goes without saying, if you haven’t yet read HATER, read that first. It also goes without saying, it’s a HATER story, so expect copious amounts of violence.
“The world has fallen apart with incredible speed and brutality. Your only choice now is how hard you fight – hate or be hated, kill or be killed.
With the war between the Haters and Unchanged increasing in intensity, Danny McCoyne drifts from fight to fight, from battle to battle. His old life is over. This is all he has now. But a chance incident on the battlefield changes everything, bringing him back into contact with everything he thought he’d lost forever.”
Can it be almost a year since THEM OR US was released? Incredibly it is, and today Gollancz are releasing a mass market paperback edition of the book.
I always knew the final HATER novel would be a divisive book. After the maelstrom and fury of DOG BLOOD, the violence couldn’t just keep increasing exponentially, and so I took the decision to follow Danny McCoyne’s story in the radioactive, rubble-strewn aftermath of the war between the Haters and Unchanged. It’s a grim and uncompromising conclusion, I think, and to my mind it’s the only way Danny’s story could have ended.
DOG BLOOD – the second book in the HATER trilogy – gets a US mass market paperback release today. For those of you who haven’t read it, here’s a very quick synopsis (which, of course, you shouldn’t read if you haven’t read HATER).
The Earth has been torn into two parts by an irreversible division. Whether due to nature, or the unknown depths of the mind itself, everyone is now either Human or Hater. Victim or killer. Governments have fallen, command structures have collapsed, and relationships have crumbled. Major cities have become refugee camps where human survivors cower together in fear. Amidst this indiscriminate carnage, Danny McCoyne is on a mission to find his daughter Ellis, convinced that her shared Hater condition means her allegiance is to people like him. Free of inhibitions, unrestricted by memories of peace, and driven by instinct, children are pure Haters, and may well define the future of the Hater race. But, as McCoyne makes his way into the heart of human territory, an incident on the battlefield sets in place an unexpected chain of events, forcing him to question everything he believes he knows about the new order that has arisen, and the dynamic of the Hate itself.
And in case you missed it earlier, click on the image below to read EVERYTHING AND NOTHING – a free novella following Danny’s progress in the few days prior to the beginning of DOG BLOOD.