June 2017 Archives

Hi: I'm back. And a regular commenter asked me an interesting question anent the state of current US/UK politics: how much money can you make by crying fire in a crowded theatre?

Note that "crowded theatre" and "crying fire" are not to be taken literally; rather, it's a question about how much money you can make by manipulating social media to drive public opinion.

I am off to Dortmund is a bit over than 12 hours.

Meanwhile, "Dark State" is coming soooooon ... click on the cover below to read an excerpt:

(You can now pre-order the US hardback and the UK trade paperback.)

Sorry about the quiet around here. I'm stuck dealing with a couple of parallel deadlines, and I'm about to take a week out for U-Con in Dortmund, the Eurocon (next weekend).

Meanwhile the UK has just gone through another surreal eruption of politics—and it's too early to say that it's over.

The Nightmare Stacks has been reissued in paperback in the UK and as a lower cost ebook in the USA, and The Delirium Brief is nearly upon us, so it's about time for me to write my usual crib sheet essay about the seventh Laundry Files novel!

It should be fairly obvious by now that, although initially the stories were set in the same year as publication, the Laundry universe has now dropped behind the real world calendar and diverged drastically from our own history. "The Annihilation Score" was set during the summer of 2013, in a UK suffering from a surplus of superheroes (or at least extradimensional brain-eater afflicted humans experiencing outbreaks of eldritch powers before their heads exploded: some of whom assumed that donning skin tight lycra and committing vigilante crimes was a sensible reaction to being parasitized). It reached a conclusive and grisly climax in the massacre at the Last Night of the Proms, an annual British cultural event; a horrible event the true nature of which was, nevertheless, suppressed and presented to the public as a terrorist incident not unlike the Moscow theater hostage crisis of 2002. At the end of "The Annihilation Score" the Laundry's cordon of secrecy was in tatters but plausible deniability had been maintained—barely.

"The Nightmare Stacks" takes place in March-May 2014, and is the story of how the continually escallating threats faced by the Laundry finally overcame the agency's ability to suppress and contain incursions without public notice, and is the first half of a two-book pivot point in the series (the ongoing consequences of the disaster in Leeds continue to the inevitable conclusion in "The Delirium Brief"); it's the beginning of the tumble over the cliff-edge leading down to the Lovecraftian Singularity.

And we have a new narrative viewpoint, and sundry new protagonists showing up.

"Maaaartin...?" begins one of Kurtzhau's friends.

I've just stuck my head around the door to offer refreshments to the gang of 13-year olds currently camping out around my son's wargame table.

"Remember that time the doorbell rang and there was nobody there...?"

 "Um," I say, yes remembering but also, cringing. Oh shit. I'd forgotten that.

When that doorbell rang, I was in the middle of writing a fight scene for The Wreck of the Marissa. It's first person, and the main character is a foul-mouthed former mercenary NCO I vaguely imagine played by Daniel Craig.

You ever seen that experiment where you get somebody who swears they never dream and you wake them up from REM sleep?

And they say something like, "But the giant chickens are genuflecting"?

Well...

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