05 April 2005

Peculiar Lives

Well, the news is finally out: my novella, Peculiar Lives, is to be published by Telos Publishing as the seventh book in their Time Hunter series. To many of you who've been following this blog closely, of course, this won't come as the biggest surprise you've ever experienced.

(Incidentally, you'll not be able to read that first link unless you're subscribed to the Outpost Gallifrey forums.)

Updates to my website may well be in order, but I'll hold off uploading the pages I've prepared until I've heard back from Telos. As you'll have spotted if you followed the links above, their website hasn't got details up yet for Peculiar Lives, and I don't want to pre-empt their grand unveiling of the book's very splendid cover.

Instead I'll say a little about the Time Hunter novellas, a rather excellent series which I'm seriously proud to be associated with.

Telos's Doctor Who novellas, which ran from 2001 to 2004, were the strongest of the many tie-in ranges spawned by the series, attracting such notable talents as Kim Newman, Paul McAuley and Simon Clark to write for the Doctor, as well as eliciting the best work of a number of regular Doctor Who authors.

Since Telos' tie-in licence was withdrawn by the BBC, the Time Hunter novellas have been continuing this tradition. The central characters from Daniel O'Mahony's excellent The Cabinet of Light (one of several Doctor Who novellas which examine the Doctor as a mythic archetype, and one in which he personally barely appears) return as time-travelling detectives: Honoré Lechasseur and Emily Blandish are based in London in 1950, but are able through a kind of alchemical symbiosis to travel along the life-lines of anyone they meet.

To date there have been five Time Hunter books, with a sixth, Echoes, hitting the shops today.

Lance Parkin's The Winning Side, a direct sequel to The Cabinet of Light, is a slippery political thriller which sees Emily and Honoré visiting the future of George Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty-Four. (Lance is the fine author who also gave us the Faction Paradox novel Warlords of Utopia.) Stefan Petrucha's The Tunnel at the End of the Light is a horror story with some interesting period twists.

Claire Bott's The Clockwork Woman is a truly fantastic book, a gorgeous magic-realist fable about an automaton who frees herself from the bonds of her design as a clockwork courtesan. John Paul Catton's Kitsune is a fantasia on Japanese folklore and mythology, told in a dark, velvety prose which complements the exotic subject-matter perfectly. These two books, in particular, I can't recommend highly enough.

George Mann's The Severed Man is a time-jumping horror tale set in four separate time periods. Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett's Echoes is a clever and affecting ghost story with some interesting stylistic devices, told partly from the points of view of the ghosts -- and has an advert for Peculiar Lives in the back, which is where we came in. With these predecessors, Peculiar Lives has a lot to live up to.

Fortunately, I'm fairly pleased with it, as are the publishers. Whether its readers will agree remains to be seen, but the book's due out in July. You can make your minds up then.

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