Tuesday 31 July 2012

Tie-in Tuesday: Terrible Lizards' not so terrible review

My Doctor Who story Terrible Lizards has been available for some time now, and I was very pleased to stumble upon this review by someone who's clearly a fan:

This is the 4th Doctor Who 2in1 books omnibus that I have read and so far this story is the best of them. The setting for Terrible Lizards is the Doctor, Amy and Rory landing on a Tramp Steamer, during the Victorian ages, that is headed to the Florida Everglades in search of the Fountain of Youth. As the Doctor, Amy and Rory join the adventurers on their travels they come across some prehistoric creatures that were extinct millions of years ago and should not exist in the time that the story is set.

So what more could you ask for in a Doctor Who book than The Doctor, Amy and Rory being chased by a T-Rex, Triceratops, and Stegosauri in Florida in the late 19th century?... The main three characters were pretty similar to the characters who appear in the TV show. And the throwaway characters in this book... were interesting enough, set the story up nicely and provided some nice little twist at the end. 

Oh, and while we're talking of Doctor Who fans and Terrible Lizards...

Happy Birthday, Jake!

Monday 30 July 2012

SFX Book Club: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

SFX Magazine #225 is available now from your local newsagent and, as part of The SFX Summer of SF Reading, this month's Book Club is all about the original Fighting Fantasy adventure The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - written by Yours Truly.

Because The SFX Summer of SF Reading is sponsored by Black Library, m'colleague Rob Sanders is also interviewed inside the mag. You can read more about Rob's interview over on his blog.

My piece has already garnered some interest. Here's what G D Pompa had to say:

Loving the new issue. I must say my favourite features are the book club page (very annoyed with myself giving away all 20 of my Fighting Fantasy books recently after reading that article.)

If you've yet to pick up the latest issue, why not subscribe to SFX today?

Thought for the Day

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." 

~ George Santayana (1863 - 1952), Spanish-born US philosopher

Saturday 28 July 2012

Mission: Games Workshop - Salisbury again

It's been a while since I last dropped by the Salisbury GW store (for one reason or another) but I made it back there today and was very impressed with the new layout. And it wasn't only the store that had had a make-over - Manager Anthony and Full Timer Matt had too!

Whilst there I had a thumb through of the new White Dwarf and picked up the new Black Library Previews Catalogue, uttering the famous last words, "even though I'm not in this one" - completely forgetting that my second Path to Victory gamebook Shadows over Sylvania would be included (and I'm also in the anthology Treacheries of the Space Marines, of course).

The mocked-up cover looks cool (in fact I'd be very happen if this was the final cover) and the write-up should get any warm-blooded Warhammer fans excited about the gamebook:

You are a vampire, a shadow-clad terror of the night. Vlad von Carstein, the closest your cursed breed had to a leader, is dead, killed at the gates of Altdorf by the head of the Imperial Sigmarite church. Now your kind fight amongst themselves, each desperate to grab the power that Vlad held. You have been sent by your dark master to retrieve three powerful artefacts - a sword, a ring and a chalice - that are prophesied to provide the wielder with ultimate power. With other vampires ahead of you and the witch hunters of the Empire at your heels, can you claim the artefacts and unite the armies of Sylvania?

Shadows over Sylvania will be released this October as a Black Library Direct Exclusive.

Short Story Saturday: A Short Story

Friday 27 July 2012

Gamebook Friday: Countdown Sector 106

Coming soon from Tin Man Games...

Gamebook Friday: Blood of the Zombies launch at Forbidden Planet

Blood of the Zombies – 30 Years of Fighting Fantasy

In 1982, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson wrote The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and changed the publishing landscape. It was the first interactive gamebook in the Fighting Fantasy series that went on the sell over 17 million copies worldwide.

This August, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the legendary series, Wizard Books (the children’s book imprint of Independent Alliance publisher Icon Books) is publishing a brand new title written by Ian – Blood of the Zombies.

‘I’ve really enjoyed writing Blood of the Zombies having been inspired by Fighting Fantasy fans everywhere. It is very gratifying to meet so many people who grew up reading The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, remembering it so fondly. I hope that today’s 10 year old, or the 10 year old of the 1980s, will consider my new book a worthy addition to the series – assuming they survive the zombies!’ said Ian Livingstone.

Ian will be signing exclusive copies of his new zombie-slaying adventure at Forbidden Planet London Megastore, Shaftesbury Avenue on 4 August 2012, 3-4pm.

‘We’re delighted to be hosting the launch for Blood of the Zombies and welcoming Ian back to Forbidden Planet,’ says Danie Ware, who runs social media and marketing at the iconic store.

  • Ian Livingstone OBE is, with Steve Jackson, the originator of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series. He co-founded Games Workshop in 1975, launching Dungeons & Dragons in Europe and subsequently its retail chain and White Dwarf magazine. 
  • Ian has become a major figure in the world of computer games and is Life President of Eidos, the company behind Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. As the government’s skills and games champion, he sits on many boards including trade body UKIE, industry charity GamesAid, Creative Skillset games council, BAFTA games committee, the Creative Industries Council and is an advisor to the British Council.
  • He recently co-authored the NextGen report for the British government, urging changes in education policy to assist the UK games and digital creative industries. He was listed as the 16th most influential person in the UK’s digital economy in Wired magazine’s Wired 100 list for 2012. Twitter @ian_livingstone

Thursday 26 July 2012

Steampunk Thursday: Pax Britannia Reviews

It would appear that some people are still only just discovering the joys of my Pax Britannia series of steampunk novels. And here's what some of them have been saying...

I started reading these books for something to do whilst waiting for my spouse in a local public record office and library and got hooked... I'm going to work my way through the whole series in every anticipation of a feast of steam-punk mayhem, monsters, and mystery... So, jolly good show we say to Mr. Green, the Empire is with you!

Pax Britannia: The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibusexplores the modern world, had England embraced technology and out-invented the United States. The Babbage Machine was built, and steam really did get the world ahead. Into this world of brass and teak jumps Ulysses Quicksilver, a man with abilities straight out of comic book’s Golden Age... It reads as a literary version of the old serials that used to play in cinemas before the main feature. There is a lot of high-flying adventure backed by some solid plot and characters. The world itself is fully-developed, with a number of really nice touches, and technology is embraced here, unlike a lot of steampunk where the technology is the enemy at best. Fans of Doc Savage and Indiana Jones will love this book, and it’s a great read for everyone else.

I admit it, was was predisposed not to like this book for the most shallow of reasons: its title reminded me too much of one of my favourite novels, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman... Despite my early misgivings, it is my favourite in the series so far... This book is one you could easily read without having read any of the others in the series; while there are references to events in the other stories, it's not critical to the plot that you know any of them. And if you like foolish but fun adventure stories, I recommend it.

I haven't read any Pax Britannia before and after reading this I am actually wondering why, it's a mesmerising alternative universe that manages to blend Victorian era Steampunk within a more modern setting and with a resulting richly detailed world that keeps enough real elements to suspend the disbelief while still clearly being very different. There is a real dark edge to the novel but this is lightened by the clever use of subtle humour (the author is also clearly a star trek fan) while the plot bounds along at breakneck speed. It's another of those books that I just couldn't put down and read nearly the whole novel in one sitting... There is an almost movie-like, visually acute style to the prose that really drags you in to the story and the relentless, energetic pace doesn't let up through the whole of the novel. The story too is very engaging with plenty of action and a tight dialogue... Anno Frankenstein is a rambunctious, effervescent story full of Victorian steampunk grandeur and James Bond style action, suitable for anyone with a pulse.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Warhammer Wednesday: Work In Progress

Not my work...

But this project has been inspired by a certain project of mine.

Can you guess which one?

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Tie-in Tuesday: Ever Wanted to Write for Abaddon Books?

Well, have you?

If you have, then this post on the Abaddon Books website will be of interest to you.

The Dark Overlords of the Pit (a.k.a Abaddon editorial) are looking for novella submissions set within one of their existing shared-world properties, or even ones set within a brand-new world of your own creation.

To find out more about this amazing opportunity, follow this link.

However, it is worth noting that Abaddon Books operate on a Work For Hire basis. Abaddon retains all the rights to those worlds and characters that appear in the stories they publish. If this doesn't work for you, then try elsewhere. But if you're happy with that arrangement, then this could be the launch pad to who knows what...

Tie-in Tuesday: Shadows over Sylvania

So this is what's been taking up most of my time recently...

Not long to go now until it's ready to go off to my editor. I shall of course keep you posted on its progress, but in the meantime, why not check out my Warhammer 40K Path to Victory gamebook HERALD OF OBLIVION?

Monday 23 July 2012

Thought for the Day

"The word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT."
~ Alfred Brendel, Austrian Pianist

Saturday 21 July 2012

Short Story Saturday: Treacheries of the Space Marines

My Black Library releases are rather like London buses: nothing for ages and then two come along at once.

On Wednesday I received my author copies of Herald of Oblivion (my first Warhammer 40K gamebook) and then the very next day I received my contributor copies of Treacheries of the Space Marines.

I've not spoken about this book much yet. Here's the blurb from the back cover.

The Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes are the defenders of mankind, the ultimate superhuman brotherhood standing against the evils of the galaxy. But even among their hallowed ranks, there are those who would turn their backs on their brothers and follow the path of the traitor. Gathered within these pages, you will find tales from the dark side of the Imperium – remember, that which can defend, can also betray...

New York Times bestselling editor Christian Dunn presents a selection of short stories from some of Black Library’s finest authors: Anthony Reynolds, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Matthew Farrer, Sarah Cawkwell and many more*.

My story is called Liberator, and if you've read the most recent iteration of the Chaos Space Marines Codex then you may already have an idea as to who the story is about...

Treacheries... is available for pre-order now, although it isn't actually scheduled for release until October**.

Of course in the real world, my two most recent BL releases are Herald of Oblivion and The Best of Hammer and Bolter: Volume 1, which features my Warhammer story Sir Dagobert's Last Battle.

Such is the way of publishing. I'm currently working on a book that should see the light of day before the end of the year whereas the project I finished yesterday won't see print until well into 2013.

As usual, I'm one of the 'many more'.

** Although I expect it may well be available early at this year's UK Games Day, where you will also be able to pick up physical copies of Herald of Oblivion (and maybe even Iron Hands or The Armageddon Omnibus).

Friday 20 July 2012

Gamebook Friday: G*M*S Magazine

I first met Paco Garcia-Jaen at Dragonmeet 2011. He interviewed Neil Rennison and myself about Tin Man Games' Gamebook Adventures, an interview that later formed part of a podcast.

We ran into Paco again at this year's UK Games Expo where he interviewed the two of us again, this time on camera. And the video of the interview is now up. (Our bit begins at about the 12 minutes 40 second mark.)

And while we're on the subject of Paco Garcia-Jaen and G*M*S Magazine, Paco also reviewed Temple of the Spider God back in December. I liked these bits in particular:

The story is, to say the least, gripping... The story is just fantastic, the writing is very appropriate... providing plenty of descriptions clear enough to help create a good visual reference in your mind of where you are and what’s happening. And it is a lot deeper than you expect too. It was only after the first time I rushed to the end, and the book begun to ask me if I had items I should have collected in the way, that I realised how much more to it there was. And I had to start again. With pleasure. 

If you are a parent, you must buy this book and read it with your children... If you are one of those lucky ones who grew up with Fighting Fantasy, this is the time to have a good time again. Great story, easy mechanics and a ton of fun! (5 out of 5 Stars) 

You can read the complete review here.

Thursday 19 July 2012

Steampunk Thursday: Joe Golem and the Drowning City

Constantin Film has acquired Joe Golem And The Drowning City, a graphic novel by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden. Alex Proyas is set to adapt and direct the live-action feature, which will be shot in Australia.

The title is a supernatural-steampunk illustrated novel that follows an orphaned teenage girl, an aging magician, a lunatic scientist, a Victorian occult detective, and the stalwart sidekick, Joe Golem—a man whose strange dreams hint of a history he has forgotten–as they struggle for the fate of an alternate 1970s lower Manhattan. In this vision, lower Manhattan sank into the water during a catastrophic earthquake in 1925, leaving those unwilling or unable to abandon it to make a new life in streets turned to canals.

To read more about this story, click this link.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Warhammer Wednesday: Herald of Oblivion in the flesh (so to speak)

So, these arrived in the post today...

And so did this...

And here are a couple of photos comparing the two...

It's a real thrill to be able to hold Herald of Oblivion in my hands at last (about a year since I began work on my first Warhammer 40K Path to Victory gamebook). And it's great to see Ian Livingstone's new book Blood of the Zombies in print too (having first talked to Ian about it almost three years ago).

While we're on the subject of Herald of Oblivion, unfortunately it would appear that the powers of the Warp have been up to their old tricks and interfered with the printing process meaning that the wrong set of rules, and a couple of other errors, made it into the first few printed copies.

If you're one of those affected, you can download a list of errata here, and the correct set of rules here.

I am assured that any copies of Herald of Oblivion that are ordered from here on in will have the necessary corrections included. So what are you waiting for? If you haven't picked up a copy already, do so now!

Warhammer Wednesday: Warhammer goes Steampunk

It seems that everyone's going Steampunk these days. And now it's the turn of Warhammer.

Monday 16 July 2012

Temple of the Spider God for only a few pence more than the cost of a First Class Stamp? Don't mind if I do!

It’s been almot a year since Temple of the Spider God first appeared on the App Store and the Tin Man has generously decided that it was about time to unleash the arachnid and place her on sale with 80% OFF!

Over to the Tin Man:

If you’ve never played Jon’s amazing gamebook, then now is the best time to give it a go. If you’re unsure, here’s some Spider God award nomination and reviews that may just tempt you to fly into that gorgeous web:
  • Spider God was reviewed by Pocket Gamer and received a great 8/10!
  • It also received a Pocket gamer Silver Award.
  • It came 2nd in the 2011 Best Dice Game category for the 2011 Best App Ever Awards.
  • The Fiction Engine gave it a glowing review!
  • GMS Magazine gave it an amazing 5/5 in their review.
  • It was nominated for Best RPG in the Pocket Gamer Awards, with the eventual winner being The Legend of Zelda!

I loved this Tweet about that last one:

So @TinManGames didn’t win the @PocketGamer award. They lost to a little production called Zelda. It took ZELDA to beat them!

Want to know what all the fuss is about? Then download Temple of the Spider God (for less than the price of a chocolate bar) today!

Fighting Fantazine #9 - available now!

Issue 9 of the Fighting Fantasy fanzine, Fighting Fantazine, is available now for download - and it's free!

There's a fantastic interview with artist Ian Miller, and included in the news section is a bit about my current gamebook projects.

Follow this link to grab your copy today!

Thought for the Day

"When it comes to writing, there really is no substitute for re-reading, re-writing and double-checking. Unfortunately."

~ Jonathan Green, Author

Sunday 15 July 2012

Whatever you do, don't touch the Big Red Button

Because sometimes everybody needs a little BWHHARRRMMMM in their life...

Saturday 14 July 2012

Short Story Saturday: July releases

A short story update today. Three of my short stories (some new, some otherwise) become available in print this month.

First there's Sir Dagobert's Last Battle in The Best of Hammer and Bolter: Volume 1:

"I just picked up this massive tome and all I can say is WOW!!! What an impressive collection of awesome stories! The best of both worlds is represented here and I love it! Kudos to all you fellows at the Black Library for putting out the best collection since 'Let the GalaxyBurn'!" ~ blacklibrary.com

"I enjoyed Jonathan Green's 'Sir Dagobert's Last Battle' too - a very pragmatic and entertaining approach to religious fanatacism in Bretonnia. Good stuff." ~ The Black Library Bolthole

Then there's my short story Wraith Lights that kicks off the World's Collider shared-world anthology:

“Editor Richard Salter has overseen the creation of a chilling hi-octane future in which reality has been warped into nightmare by scientific disaster. Each component story cranks up the tension and the disparate tales combine in mosaic-fashion to deliver a truly gripping narrative.” ~ Ian Whates

And lastly, there's Resurrection Engines, which includes my take on the classic American novel Moby Dick, steampunk style!

Friday 13 July 2012

Gamebook Friday: Herald of Oblivion update

Gamebook Friday: A quick update

Having been all about my new Warhammer 40,000 Path to Victory gamebook HERALD OF OBLIVION last week, this Friday I've got a quick update for you concerning certain other gamebook properties.

First up there's some tantalizing news and images from Tin Man Games.

Secondly, there's up update from Attic Squad Games about Warlock's Bounty.

Thirdly, Mr Ian Livingstone - Games Industry Analyst - was spotted on the news this week.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Steampunk Thursday: My New Con T-shirt

So, my new Con T-shirt arrived in the post today...

T-shirt courtesy of Vistaprint, logos courtesy of Pye Parr, humorous catchphrase courtesy of Yours Truly, photographs courtesy of Miss M Green (aged 5).

Steampunk Thursday: Build A Squid

My second Pax Britannia novel Leviathan Rising involves, in part, a team of scientists building their own cyber-squid. Well if you fancy having a go at constructing a Kraken of your own, why not follow this link?