What the Author Says

It was another good week on the FPI blog for author pieces as I had several writers who kindly took time out to write for the What The Author Says feature. The terrific Neal Asher scored a two-for-one, writing about his latest novel Voyage of the Sable Keech (not to be confused with Stacy Keach) and his forthcoming Polity Agent. I love Neal’s work – it is strong stuff and not for everyone, but I think it will appeal to folks like me who love Richard Morgan’s Kovacs novels since Neal builds an absorbing future society, gripping narrative and also some tremendously violent scenes which could easily be simple action-porn but, as with Richard’s work, are underpinned by intelligence rather than simple action for the sake of it (although you still get the guilty pleasure and thrill from reading those parts).

A debut Scottish novelist who Neal has praised highly was another willing victim for WTAS; Alan Campbell, one time game programmer (he was involved in the jiggly hookers for GTA he tells us), talks about his first novel, Scar Night. The first of the Deepgate series, the main location of Deepgate is a dark, religious town suspended by endless chains over a yawning abyss, where their dark god is supposed to dwell. The setting is as effective a location as I’ve read in fantasy since Jeff’s Ambergris or China’s New Crobuzon (although Cheryl Morgan and I were joking the whole thing was a cunning pastiche of the dour ultra-protestants on the Western Isles of Scotland). You probably remember me this time last year endlessly singing the praises of Glasgow author Hal Duncan’s Vellum; well, Hal also praised Scar Night and with the second part of Hal’s tale running late I recommend those who enjoyed Vellum have a look at Scar Night if you need a good, dark, intelligent fantasy for reading this summer.

The third WTAS victim this week was more unusual – Michael Reccia is one of the guys behind what is essentially a journal, but a journal which he is treating more as a book, SciFi and Fantasy Modeller. Partly a fan publication exploring the age-old craft of model building for SF shows and movies (not everything is CGI even today) it has some incredibly in-depths looks at contemporary and classic material which a lot of fellow geeks who are interested in special effects will enjoy. As you might guess from the title is also showcases creations by amateurs and gives ideas and tips for doing your own – check out Michael’s post on the FPI blog, it’s worth looking at just for some of the pics of finished models he sent me, I’m jealous I’m too handless to ever make something so intricate. The second has one of the most in-depth articles around on the new Cybermen from Doctor Who, which is rather timely since they cropped up again last night in the first of the two-part season finale.