Sounds of Soldiers


Dropping a bunch of book prices (if you’re not in the US or Europe)

The lowest I can price my books on Amazon is 99 cents. In the UK and Eurozone, because of VAT, they price match to 0.99 (pounds or Euros). In other shops- India, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Canada- it matches the local currency. But, in all those places, I could price them lower. So, I just went through my catalogue and lowered the prices of my cheapest books. The following are now available at bargain prices, if you’re in the right place-

Sounds of Soldiers

Tiger

GOD Hunt

So Much To Answer For

Chosen Ones/Source

Kettled

Britain Looks To The Future

Britain Turns To Crime

Alternative Facts


Don’t say I didn’t warn you about Trump

Just bumping the content of a couple of posts from earlier this year, and pointing you all at Sounds of Soldiers again. Sounds of Soldiers is currently an incredible bargain at $0.99/£0.99/local equivalent. But, if you want an even better bargain, pick up Britain Looks To The Future (also just $0.99/£0.99/local equivalent), which includes it and eight other great tales by independent British authors.

I did this interview for The Daily Rundown last month in May, and only just worked out where to find it. It’s a little segment on the inspiration for Sounds of Soldiers, and why it’s still relevant- maybe even more relevant- in the age of Trump.

SoundsofSoldiers-cover_thumbI started work on Sounds of Soldiers in November 2008.

Luckily, the premise genuinely was fiction within a few days of starting the project, as Obama was elected US President, rather than McCain. Thus the (implied but not stated outright) backstory for the book- that Sarah Palin rose to commander-in-chief and started a stupid war with Europe- genuinely was fiction. For the next eight years, anyway.

Now, the USA is, once again, teasing us with the potential has delivered the setup for thousands of dystopian novels, in the shape of Donald Trump. Trump’s far scarier than Palin ever was. She’s stupid and incompetent, but he takes those two traits and piles bullying, vindictive, (more) racist, and thin skinned into the mix. If anyone had written President Trump (or even potential-presidential-candidate Trump) before this year, people would have said the character wasn’t believable.

If anything, Sounds of Soldiers is an optimistic read in a world where “The Donald” could be leader of the free world. A Trump inspired future would look a hell of a lot more like Mad Max.


In these Trumped up times, you need to buy Sounds of Soldiers for 99p

SoundsofSoldiers-cover_thumbI’ve reduced the price of Sounds of Soldiers as it’s so appropriate to current politics. It is now available for 99c/99p/the local equivalent.

Amazon

Smashwords

Five years ago the United States began to self destruct. As momentum toward a nuclear civil war grew at home, US covert kill teams- and then the military- rampaged through Europe attacking imaginary enemies. The USA found itself at war with former allies. Great Britain closed its borders and stayed mostly neutral.

Robert Jones didn’t get on the train out of Paris after it was bombed. He chose to stay on the continent and make a name for himself covering the conflict with reports on his blog. He saw the first blows, witnessed nuclear explosions lighting up the Mediterranean and was present for the final acts.

Now the borders have been reopened and Robert Jones is back from the war. He has returned to Manchester to reconnect with friends and family, to investigate the changes the city has gone through and to find out what life was like away from the warzone. He’s striving for a new, peaceful life, but there are still some ghosts and secrets from his time on the continent which are ready to come back and shake it up.

A novella about what happens when a technothriller goes horribly wrong, Sounds of Soldiers is part travelogue from the future, part war story satire, and takes a look at how the civilians usually ignored by the big war fantasies cope and survive.


Want to know what happens if Trump wins? I already wrote that book

SoundsofSoldiers-cover_thumbI started work on Sounds of Soldiers in November 2008.

Luckily, the premise genuinely was fiction within a few days of starting the project, as Obama was elected US President, rather than McCain. Thus the (implied but not stated outright) backstory for the book- that Sarah Palin rose to commander-in-chief and started a stupid war with Europe- genuinely was fiction. For the next eight years, anyway.

Now, the USA is, once again, teasing us with the potential setup for thousands of dystopian novels, in the shape of Donald Trump. Trump’s far scarier than Palin ever was. She’s stupid and incompetent, but he takes those two traits and piles bullying, vindictive, (more) racist, and thin skinned into the mix. If anyone had written President Trump (or even potential-presidential-candidate Trump) before this year, people would have said the character wasn’t believable.

If anything, Sounds of Soldiers is an optimistic read in a world where “The Donald” could be leader of the free world. A Trump inspired future would look a hell of a lot more like Mad Max.


Indoor Farms- a vegetable patch in a cupboard

These indoor farms look cool. They’re not hydroponics, which the builder thinks is too complex for general adoption, but use a “smart soil” to regulate water use and nutrient release.

I don’t think they’d work in the world I’m building for my current story, but I could imagine them in some of the better off parts of the world I created for Sounds of Soldiers.

Source: This Indoor Farm Can Bring Fresh Produce to Food Deserts | WIRED


Is it Sounds of Soldiers time yet?

I haven’t commented on this year’s US elections as much as the 2008 one. I’m sure I should have been.

Sounds of Soldiers came, in part from pondering “What if the wrong people win?”, and took place in the aftermath of the sort of stupid war Palin might start after McCain keeled over with a heart attack.

Here’s hoping Romney loses, even though I could see a victory for him and the plastic thingy that would be his vice president would make Sounds of Soldiers even more relevant and no doubt boost sales.


Walking in the air: Castlefield’s own High Line Park – Gardening – Property – The Independent 1

Anything New York can do, Manchester can do better. Or so say the residents of Castlefield who are campaigning to create their own High Line Park on the top of one of the city’s derelict Victorian railway viaducts.

via Walking in the air: Castlefield’s own High Line Park – Gardening – Property – The Independent.

I’ve long felt that something like this needed doing on the Castlefield viaducts.  It was one of the things that didn’t make it into Sounds of Soldiers.


A farm in the sky- World’s first commercial vertical farm opens in Singapore

Land-strapped Singapore has opened its first vertical farm — an innovation that will increase the variety of foods it has available and decrease its dependance on foreign imports.

via World’s first commercial vertical farm opens in Singapore.

Vertical farms were one of the ideas I put into Sounds of Soldiers, and there was talk of building one in Manchester, though I don’t know what came of it.


Desaturated 1

Everyone else is talking about it, so I thought I’d give Fifty Shades of Grey a chance. Just the free sample you can download to your Kindle, mind, not the whole thing. I wasn’t allowed far enough in to get to the naughty bits, so I can’t judge those*.

The fan fiction roots show- there is a tendency to list what the characters are doing, action by action, and to give location descriptions that don’t conjure up much sense of location- but I’ve read “proper” books that have been worse**.

FSoG is a romance, I guess, though most people are going to work their way through the clunky seduction hoping to get worked up by the kinky rope play. It’s the erotic elements, after all, that have got it all the attention. Because it’s erotica aimed at women it’s earned the description of “Mommy porn” and because it’s been so successful it has attracted a lot of- mostly negative- attention. Some of the bad mouthing has to be down to jealousy (the three book series has sold 20 million copies sfter all) or snobbery, but, as Laurie Penny has pointed out, some of it is because it’s a dirty book aimed at women.

Penny also argues that it doesn’t matter that the Grey books are badly written, because they can be considered porn and it’s okay if porn is a bit crappy. On this I have to disagree with her. There’s no reason why dirty books should have to be bad. We need material we can hold up as high quality smut, and it needs to be supported.

I’m sure there’s a market for naughty tales with interesting stories- I am, after all, writing a sexy ghost story, so I’d best be right. Probably not anything that wants to be called literary erotica- too pretentious to be exciting- but something with the energy and joy of genre fiction, punctuated with sex as often as chases or fights. If you know of any that already exists then please do let me know about it.

*Is it bad that I want to read the naughty bits and see how good/bad/indifferent they really are.

**I’ve made a habit of it, in fact. I forced myself through to the end of The Da Vinci Code because that particular copy had already defeated two other people. And I used to have a bad technothriller habit, though it did provide the inspiration for Sounds of Soldiers.


Michelle Bachmann is making Sounds of Soldiers relevant again

I started writing Sounds of Soldiers on November 1st 2008. It’s a near future travelogue satire on the presumptions and world view of technothrillers which takes place, mostly, after a big dumb war. Given when I started it, I always saw it as what could happen if “the wrong people” won the US elections.

Thankfully Obama won. His presidency may be turning out a huge disappointment, but just imagine how much worse it would have been if McCain/Palin had won. The simplified back story of Sounds of Soldiers was that McCain keeled over after a couple of years in one of the most stressful jobs in the world, Palin took over and the stupid just cascaded from there until the Americans were bombing their European allies and ordering their soldiers to run amok across the continent. This is mostly alluded to, but there is at least one mention of “the mad woman” taking over.

The mad woman was Palin, of course, but now Michelle Bachmann has come along as the Tea Party’s preferred Republican candidate and she may be even more scary. So Sounds of Soldiers is relevant again (well, Palin never went away, I guess Bachmann makes it more relevant).

Sounds of Soldiers is available from

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon DE
Smashwords
In print from Lulu


Wythenshawe’s vertical farm

At the Manchester International Festival there was an event discussing plans to build a vertical farm in an old office building or similar. Being my usual disorganised self, I didn’t get tickets for the event. It has been announced that a building in Wythenshawe has been selected and the farm will hopefully provide food for the 2013 Festival.

My take on a vertical farm in Sounds of Soldiers had a bunch of guerilla gardeners taking over a multi-storey car park. The first draft of that bit of the story can be found here.


Sounds of Soldiers Summer Sale! 99c/69p until August

I’ve dropped the ebook price of Sounds of Soldiers for the summer. If you’re looking for an interesting and different story to load onto your ebook reader (or phone, laptop etc.) to read over the holidays, then now’s the time to get it. For the Kindle it’s 99 cents at Amazon US, 0,99 euro at Amazon Germany or 69 pence at Amazon UK. For just about every other ebook reader it’s available from Smashwords as well.

I’m currently working on two new tales in the Irwin Baker series. If you’d like to catch up on the Irwin Baker series so far, just follow the link.


On thrillers

Guest blogging for Charlie Stross, Harry Connolly has some ideas on the classification of thrillers. To borrow his terminology, Sounds of Soldiers is a story which takes place after a High Thriller/Technothriller plot goes wrong (or, at least, resolves itself in a way which would be unthinkable to the likes of Clancy).

The comment thread seems to be a discussion of where, and whether, a technothriller would fall within Connolly’s definition and is interesting in itself.


Sounds of Soldiers is now available in various formats through Smashwords

You can now get Sounds of Soldiers for ereaders other than the Kindle. Smashwords have it in Epub and other formats, including rich and plain text for those of you who like to just dump a text file onto your phone and read it. The price is $2.99.

Get Sounds of Soldiers at Smashwords.

Here’s the extended blurb I recently wrote-

Five years ago the United States began to self destruct. As momentum toward a nuclear civil war grew at home, US covert kill teams- and then the military- rampaged through Europe attacking imaginary enemies. The USA found itself at war with former allies. Great Britain closed its borders and stayed mostly neutral.

Robert Jones didn’t get on the train out of Paris after it was bombed. He chose to stay on the continent and make a name for himself covering the conflict with reports on his blog. He saw the first blows, witnessed nuclear explosions lighting up the Mediterranean and was present for the final acts.

Now the borders have been reopened and Robert Jones is back from the war. He has returned to Manchester to reconnect with friends and family, to investigate the changes the city has gone through and to find out what life was like away from the warzone. He’s striving for a new, peaceful life, but there are still some ghosts and secrets from his time on the continent which are ready to come back and shake it up.

A novella about what happens when a technothriller goes horribly wrong, Sounds of Soldiers is part travelogue from the future, part war story satire, and takes a look at how the civilians usually ignored by the big war fantasies cope and survive.