my books

13Jul

Podcast Goodness

If you were sick of reading my words… if you were sick of looking at my overly posed pictures… if you were sick of watching me… then you can listen me talk in this podcast with author Gail Z. Martin. One of the main subjects we talk about is that joyous conversation topic of death. (One of the themes of my book, in fact.) It was recorded quite a few months ago now, before the release of the book.

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Edit: I’ll also be recording another one at the weekend for the Unbound! review site.

29Jun

Updates

Hey, kids. I’m back online with full support from Apple after my recent debacle with the Chardonnay. I really didn’t think I could become more of an Apple fanboy, but I am… Did anyone break the interwebs while I was away having cream teas in the country? Were there any of those pesky flame wars and existential crises?

Anyway, Julie from Pan Mac emailed me earlier today to say that Nights of Villjamur was going to have to be reprinted, which was rather lovely to hear. I mean, it’s not the bestseller lists by any means – it’s my hardcover debut, after all! – but it’s certainly better than having the novel stink out the shelves.

16Jun

Alex Reviews “Nights of Villjamur”

I’m pretty chuffed with Alex Carnegie’s review of Nights of Villjamur, since he really connected with the things I had in mind when writing the book.

After the New Weird, traditional Fantasy just doesn’t really do it for me anymore – or rather I don’t see it as a continuing, living genre in which I should invest my attention. “Show me something a bit different!” I cry. “Well, you know what I mean…” They shrug, as if to say “feudal intrigue and swordfights: what more could you want?” I reread ‘Perdido Street Station’ for the trillionth time instead.

This brings me to ‘Nights of Villjamur’. I heard about Mark Charan Newton early this year and the Internet hype for his second novel (although the first from a major publisher) has been absolutely deafening…

Hype, hype, don’t let me down again…

When I finally read the novel I wasn’t disappointed. One major factor in my enjoyment was the subgenre/tradition in which it is placed: the Dying Earth. There’s something very cool about Newton’s resurrection of this form of fiction, one that originates from the pulp Weird days where Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Horror were still all the contents of a great glorious melting pot rather than being neatly divided and subdivided into marketing categories… I have a suspicion, the same one that arose when reading ‘Thunderer’ and ‘Gears of the City’ by Felix Gilman, that the author’s trying to smuggle in some of that inter-genre, New Weird, a bit different goodness on the sly.

Shush. Don’t mention the New Weird! Although I’m guilty as charged.

This sense of Villjamur as a working city full of individuals and their lives as opposed to a broadly sketched stage for big events comes across in Newton’s handling of its numerous non-human inhabitants. He takes their unique characteristics, with their advantages and drawbacks, and shows (with evident thought) exactly how they fit into society, for instance showing us why the rumel might be particularly suited to police work, why garuda are found in particular sections of the armed forces, or how a banshee might assist in a murder enquiry. They aren’t just quasi-human monster-folk there for the sake of it. It is a coherent and expansively imagined world.

Alex goes on to mention the references he spotted to Gene Wolfe’s “Book of the New Sun” series, which I was very chuffed to see – they’ll only be apparent if you’ve read those books (recommend that you do actually, since they’re terrific pieces of literature).

I would even venture to describe this as an updated Dying Earth, one for a new century in the wake of the New Weird event.

Read the rest of the review. It’s one of those instances where I’m jumping around the room saying “He gets it, he gets it!”

16Jun

Interviewed By The Dark Wolf

Another “it’s all about me” post I’m afraid. There is a world out there, and I will blog about it again soon. Anyway… here I am, being interviewed at Dark Wolf’s Fantasy Reviews site. DW reviewed the book earlier in the week, and this is a follow up from that.

A snippet for you:

DW: Speaking of China Miéville, many people compared you with him. How does this comparison makes you feel?
MCN: That’s ridiculous, I have much more hair than China.

14Jun

Book Two

Well, I’ve reached the end of the draft of the second book in the Red Sun series. It’s now ready to be mailed off to Julie at Pan Macmillan, where no doubt her red pen will hack into it vigorously, and she’ll return it with a note asking me to kindly give up writing.

I’ve not got a definite title for the book yet. I know I’ve said I have before, but it turns out I was lying.

But the focus of this novel is on another city entirely. The book is darker, more full on, weird as hell and with a death count that would make Tarantino proud.

And there may or may not be a giant shape-shifting spider.

Update!

Julie twittered me to say that I’m exaggerating, and that she will in fact merely be using a pencil, not a red pen. (She didn’t say anything concerning the note about my writing. I’m guessing that will be written in the blood of the last writer who passed the offices of Pan Macmillan. Beware of the editor.)

11Jun

Two Reviews of “Nights of Villjamur”

Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews has a very thorough review of Nights of Villjamur:

I was caught in the spell of “Nights of Villjamur” but the end of the novel didn’t bring my release and I was left wondering about the outcome of its story. Mark Charan Newton shows in his novel a great potential, for him as a writer and for his fantasy series, “Legends of the Red Sun”, and I believe that he can sit without question in the hall of the new names of epic fantasy writers and bring his contribution to a great new generation of such authors.

I do so hate not bringing about his release – I never like to leave people in such a state, I feel like such a floozy.

Meanwhile, Liz at My Favourite Books also reviews Nights of Villjamur.

Nights is an epic fantasy chock full of fresh, off the wall ideas, yet Mark manages to keep the heady cocktail of cultists, flying soldiers, zombies, diabolical politicians, albinos and genocide under tight control, nimbly weaving the various storylines together into a satisfying whole.

Read the rest. Thanks, Liz!

10Jun

Mark Chadbourn Goes To Villjamur

Author Mark Chadbourn dropped a line to my editor after he finished reading Nights of Villjamur.

I wanted to let you know that this this is a remarkable debut, a lush, fully-realised world defined by a writer with a mesmerising style that evokes some of the greats of fantasy fiction without in any way being derivative. I look forward to following what will undoubtedly be a great career.

Which is wonderful indeed – thanks, Mark!

Supporting transparency, I’ll state here that I have met Mark a few times – but he has integrity, and I trust that he wouldn’t endorse anything he didn’t want his name attached to. That aside, coming from an author I respect greatly, the blurb is an honour.

6Jun

The Guardian Reviews “Nights of Villjamur”

Nights of Villjamur was reviewed in today’s Guardian, and this is the full review:

Villjamur is under siege from the encroaching ice age. Refugees threaten to overwhelm the city and stability is undermined from within by scheming chancellors. After the suicide of the emperor, Captain Brynd Lathraea is charged with bringing back the emperor’s daughter from self-imposed exile, to be installed as a puppet empress. Meanwhile Randur Estevu, a country lad with vaunting ambitions, comes to Villjamur seeking immortality. The first instalment in The Legends of the Red Sun series is a dark epic which shows its debt to Gormenghast: death stalks the shadows and scheming, idiosyncratic characters have their own agendas. This is fantasy with vast scope and ambition, and while the prose would have benefited from judicious compression and excision, the novel is a complex, eldritch vision with great potential.