17 January 2015

Competition Time

Right. I have a signed copy of my urban fantasy thriller The Pendragon Protocol to give away, to someone who can demonstrate their close reading abilities and knowledge of obscure science fiction.

To win this you'll need to find a copy of the anthology Iris Wildthyme of Mars. This may sound like a large investment, but a) the ebook version is currently only £5.99 in the Obverse sale, b) The Pendragon Protocol paperback costs £7.99 at Amazon, and c) you'll be getting to buy and keep an anthology I'm very proud of with stories by lots of talented authors that you'll really enjoy. And if you're lucky and win, you'll end up with £13.98 worth of book for £5.99.

The prize will go to anyone who can identify all the types of fictional Martian who are referred to in my story 'Green Mars Blues' in Iris Wildthyme of Mars. There are (I believe) nineteen to identify altogether.
Iris Wildthyme of Mars
  1. Email entries to me at martians@infinitarian.com. Please don't post identifications as comments here
  2. If nobody identifies all nineteen types of Martian, whoever makes the most correct identifications wins. 
  3. Some references are deliberately ambiguous, so I'll accept more than one answer. (Identifying both my intended answers will count as an extra point for the purposes of rule 2.) 
  4. The closing date will be Sunday 15 February.
Feel free to post any queries here or on Twitter.

19 December 2014


A Merry Christmas to all those of you reading this.

Every year I send out a story in my Christmas cards, and every year I put the previous year's online. The past ones are all archived on this blog, but 2013's was a touch experimental, being 720 words of prose supplied on seven cards that could be rearranged in different combinations to create 720 different narratives[1].

That isn't something I can really present via Blogger, but the indispensable Dale Smith has kindly translated it into PHP so I can publish it on my website.

I give you my 2013 Christmas 'story', 'Tableaux'. 

2014's story is more linear, and is a direct tie-in with the Devices trilogy, taking place between The Pendragon Protocol and the second book. I'm not sure quite what's going to happen with that one -- it may appear as an extra in the books at some point. (I'll tell you, though, that it's called "Mummers and Poppers: A Devices Story for Christmas".)

A very pleasing festive season to you all.

[1] Note for the mathematically competent: Yes, I know. One of them always comes first.

17 October 2014


51S94JB1VNLI’m delighted and slightly stunned to discover that, with the publication of The Pendragon Protocol, I now merit my own entry in the science fiction readers’ Bible, John Clute et al’s The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.  I owned the first edition from the age of twelve or thereabouts; I still have the 21-year-old second edition (see right) and its sister volume, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, on my shelves, and I’ve been avidly consulting the third edition since it went online in 2011. It’s difficult to express quite how proud I feel of finally warranting an appearance of my own in this arcane compendium.

Admittedly I don’t entirely agree with the details of my entry. (I’d argue, for instance, that while The Pendragon Protocol does indeed mention Christian values, it’s hardly uncritical of them, and that — while I’m delighted if the novel works for a Young Adult readership — that wasn’t actually the demographic I was primarily aiming for. Also, the Encyclopedia doesn't seem to be aware of Peculiar Lives, which I would have thought was pretty much up its street.)

This is scarcely the point, though. Among other things, John Clute (John Clute! The SF critic's SF critic!) thinks Of the City of the Saved is "ambitious". I'm unbelievably pleased about this.

* * *

Iris Wildthyme of Mars...Well, anyway. In other, not-at-all anticlimactic news, Iris Wildthyme of Mars now exists in hard copy, and is available to order from Obverse Books:
As well as writing the third Devices book (the second having been submitted to Snowbooks at the end of September), I'm talking to Stuart at Obverse about possible future anthologies. Watch this space.

19 September 2014

Iris and Sherlock (at last, but not together)

Tales of the Great DetectivesIris Wildthyme of MarsIt's rather later than expected, I know, but it's now possible to pre-order the two anthologies I've edited this year, Iris Wildthyme of Mars and Tales of the Great Detectives, from Obverse Books. If you're not of a mind to wait for another couple of weeks, or would rather not pay for the print versions (hardback and paperback respectively), it's also possible to buy and download the ebooks for consumption this very instant.

I'm very proud of both anthologies: a total of seventeen thoroughly talented people have contributed to them, they deal with two of my favourite genre characters (albeit in unfamiliar contexts in both cases), the covers are excellent, and I think they've turned out as really lovely books through and through.
Here are the links to do that ordering you'll be so keen on:

* * *

I've no particular reason to suppose that these will be the last anthologies I'll be editing for Obverse Books, but I thought it might be interesting at this point to look at who I've published so far (since with the publication of these two books the number nearly doubles). Excluding myself, the list goes like this:
    cover imagecover image
  • Helen Angove (Tales of the City)
  • Aditya Bidikar  (Iris Wildthyme of Mars)
  • Blair Bidmead (Tales of the City and Iris Wildthyme of Mars -- also the cover artist for Tales of the Great Detectives)
  • Simon Bucher-Jones (More Tales of the City and Iris Wildthyme of Mars)
  • Rachel Churcher (Iris Wildthyme of Mars)
  • Mark Clapham (Iris Wildthyme of Mars)
  • Jay Eales (More Tales of the City)
  • Elizabeth Evershed (Tales of the City and Tales of the Great Detectives)
  • Jess Faraday (Tales of the Great Detectives)
  • Kelly Hale (More Tales of the City and Tales of the Great Detectives)
  • Dave Hoskin (Tales of the City)
  • Juliet Kemp (Tales of the City and Iris Wildthyme of Mars)
  • Selina Lock (Iris Wildthyme of Mars)
  • Stephen Marley (Tales of the Great Detectives)
  • Chantelle Messier (Tales of the Great Detectives)
  • Lance Parkin (Iris Wildthyme of Mars)
  • Ian Potter (More Tales of the City and Iris Wildthyme of Mars)
  • Dale Smith (Tales of the City and Iris Wildthyme of Mars)
  • Daniel Tessier (Iris Wildthyme of Mars)
  • Susannah Tiller (More Tales of the City)
  • Richard Wright (More Tales of the City and Iris Wildthyme of Mars)
  • Andrew Hickey (Tales of the Great Detectives)
  1. That's 22 authors, eight of whom I've commissioned twice, two of whom co-wrote a single story, thus contributing a total of 29 stories (mine excluded). 
  2. Of these authors, if I'm remembering correctly, nine hadn't previously been published by Obverse Books or their online wing Manleigh Books; six were making their debuts as professionally published writers. 
  3. Of those 22 authors, 16 are British (and I believe in fact English), three American, two Australian and one Indian. However, two of the Brits are based in the USA, and one returned to the UK from India between their first and second commission. The book with the highest concentration of non-UK authors is Tales of the Great Detectives, half of whose contributors are American. 
  4. Nine of the authors are women, 13 men; of the stories, 12 are by women and 17 by men. (Those aren't great statistics, admittedly, but they're better than many genre anthologies manage.)  Of the individual anthologies, Tales of the Great Detectives has a majority of female authors, and Tales of the City at least achieves parity (although only if you exclude my contributions).
  5. To the best of my knowledge without having actually met them all (see 6), all but one of these people are white. 
  6. Eight of the authors are people I've met in real life: five of them I'd never interacted with prior to commissioning them. The rest, predictably, I knew online. (Only three of them are people I went out with, went to university with or invited to my wedding.) 
  7. Between us to date (counting co-author credits, and including my own titles this time), the contributors to these anthologies are responsible for 15 Doctor Who novels, four Bernice Summerfield novels, four Faction Paradox novels (with more in the works), four Señor 105 novellas, three Time Hunter novellas and something like 65 short stories for Obverse Books.
Those, then, are the facts. Suggestions as to what any of this might mean, or other ways in which I could (feasibly, and within the bounds of decency and good taste) break that list down, will be received with interest.

20 June 2014

Duck and Cover

Did I mention that the cover design for Iris Wildthyme of Mars (created by Cody Quijano-Schell around Paul Hanley's outstanding artwork) has now been finalised?

No? Well, it has.

I'm amused that, of the three covers of books which are out this year with my name on them...

full cover design

full cover design

TPP full cover

...two have union jacks on them, two have city skylines, and the other pair have something more unusual in common, which I'll leave it to you to discover. (One instance of it isn't at all easy to spot on the version above.)

I must say, I'm really very pleased with all of these. I'd say Iris Wildthyme of Mars and The Pendragon Protocol are easily the two best covers for books I've been published in, and Tales of the Great Detectives is great too.

17 June 2014

Oh, What a Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Pendragon Protocol by Philip Purser-Hallard

The Pendragon Protocol

by Philip Purser-Hallard

Giveaway ends July 01, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

02 June 2014

Detective Art

The cover has now been finalised for Tales of the Great Detectives, the third City of the Saved collection due out from Obverse Books in the next month or two.

The artwork is by the polytalented Blair Bidmead, with cover design by Cody Quijano-Schell, and it's a bit of a departure from the previous Tales volumes (click for full-sized versions):

large cover image

full cover design

I'm really pleased with how this has come out. Blair's captured just the right blend of tradition and weirdness, as well as visualising the headquarters of the Great Detective Agency exactly how I've always pictured them.

We have a new version of the blurb as well:

The Afterlives of Sherlock Holmes

The City of the Saved logo

The City of the Saved houses every human being who ever lived... but some of its immortal Citizens need more. For the Remakers, one fiction above all exerts its fascination: a character existing in countless interpretations, many of them now recreated in the flesh and in business together as the Great Detective Agency.

These are their tales.

In the Agency’s annals, the City’s many Sherlock Holmeses solve the Case of the Pipe Dream, experience the Adventure of the Piltdown Prelate and explore the strangely clichéd Mansion of Doom. A Watson falls in love; a Moriarty goes missing; and Holmes comes face-to-face with his arch-nemesis, the sinister Dr Conan Doyle...

Hopefully the book will be appearing for preordering from Obverse soon. I'll let you all know as soon as that transpires.