Archive for June, 2015

AVA Evolved

June 30, 2015 - 11:05 am No Comments

The creative process behind the break-out science fiction hit movie of 2015, Ex Machina, is to be opened up in a very special book this August.

Alex Garland’s directorial debut has confirmed his position as the master of indie SF cinema and artist Jock’s concept work behind the film’s robot AI and the heart of the story, Ava, is being printed for the first time in a unique showcase format.

AVA Evolved is a very special limited edition art book, that will feature loose-leafed A3 scale portfolio pieces, collecting Jock’s incredible concept art, detailing the evolution of Ava, from early mood-pieces to detailed key concept art.

This stunning sequence of drawings, paintings and collages by the concept artist behind DREDD (2012) provides real insight into the creative process behind one of the most striking SF films of recent years. The book also includes an introduction by Garland, whose directorial vision has seen Ex Machina become a sleeper hit, as more audiences have discovered the film’s incredible aesthetic, complex characters, and insightful moral questions.

The book is limited to just 500 copies and will be available exclusively from the 2000 AD webshop at http://shop.2000adonline.com/products/ex_machina_ava_evolved

A handful of special editions will also be available at the 2000 AD booth (Booth 2806) at Comic Con San Diego, 9th-12th July, where Jock will be signing on the Thursday of the event.

Jock said: “It’s been an incredible experience for me seeing Ava come to life in the final film, and the response people have had to her. I worked with Alex in the very earliest stages of production, and this portfolio contains all the images from that time, before she was handed over to the amazing VFX team at Double Negative. It was a few intense weeks trying to figure out what this machine was and I’m looking forward to people getting to look behind the scenes and see the process from the first sketch to the final concepts in this beautifully designed package from Rebellion.”

Ben Smith, Rebellion Publishing’s Head of Books and Comic Books, said: “Ex Machina continues to surprise and delight audiences, so it is a privilege and a pleasure to bring Jock’s work on Ava into the light. Ava Evolved really is a unique opportunity to see the process behind the character’s look in a showcase format, as well as learning so much about one of the most in-demand concept artists in movies today.”

Wheels of Terror

June 17, 2015 - 12:28 pm No Comments

Sven Hassel

Weidenfeld & Nicolson, an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, has acquired World Rights to publish an illustrated version of Sven Hassel’s iconic war novel, Wheels of Terror.

Wheels of Terror: The Graphic Novel vividly captures the violence and inhumanity of the Second World War, and is published to mark the 70th anniversary of the conflict’s conclusion.

Denmark-born Sven Hassel began writing during his time as a prisoner of war. His 14 Second World War books draw on his own encounters and experiences as a soldier, and have been published in more than 50 countries: 53 million copies have been sold worldwide and 15 million in the UK alone.

From the blistering cold of the Russian steppe to the horrors of tank warfare and the grim realities of life on the Eastern Front, Wheels of Terror has been adapted to graphic novel format by Sven Hassel’s family (Sven’s son, Michael, is pictured below with his father in 1965) and Spanish artist Jordy Diago, whose illustrations vividly capture the gritty, gory detail of the novel.

Based on the book that inspired many of today’s leading war comics, the graphic novel has already won support from leading names in the comics world.

‘An excellent and faithful adaptation of the classic anti-war novel by Sven Hassel’

Sven JHassel 2

Pat Mills, author of CHARLEY’S WAR
Description: Description: http://biblio.hachette.hluk.net/images/transparent.gif
‘Jordy Diago is to be complimented for his achievements; I certainly hope to see more from him’

Garth Ennis, author of PREACHER
Description: Description: http://biblio.hachette.hluk.net/images/transparent.gif
‘This is a book of horrors. And should be left alone by those prone to nightmares . . . A great war novel’

Alan Sillitoe, author of SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING

Wheels of Terror: The Graphic Novel will be published in paperback and eBook on 1 October 2015.

The Sword of Destiny

June 9, 2015 - 1:08 pm No Comments

TITLE: THE SWORD OF DESTINY.
AUTHOR: ANDREZEJ SAPKOWSKI
PUBLISHER: GOLLANCZ
RELEASE DATE: 21ST MAY 2015
PAGE COUNT: 374
REVIEWER: S.G. MULHOLLAND

The Sword of Destiny, unbeknownst, to most UK fans of the books/games is in actual fact the first to be written by author Anderzej Sapkowski and introduces some of the series’ most beloved characters. Unlike The Last Wish (published here in 2007), The Sword of Destiny possesses no frame story but in fact operates much as a single volume of selected stories written by Sapkowski. None of them interlink but all have bearing on the future saga’s tale and serve as more of an introduction to the cast. Familiar faces such as Dandelion, Yennefer and Ciri all make appearances while a few, previously unknown, characters make their debut to a fresh new audience waiting to embrace it.

As usual, Sapkowski attacks old world mythology with his own style and flair. Known mythological sites such as Atlantis are given a fresh overhaul to match the authors own take on such revered tales. Even Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid” gets twisted and distorted with comedic and imaginative effect, to fit Sapkowski’s own unique vision of what can only be described as practical fairy telling.

All in all, The Sword of Destiny is a true delight and serves as a great introduction to new readers and to flesh out an already well rounded story to current fans of the series.

The Ships of Aleph

June 6, 2015 - 8:55 am No Comments

THE SHIPS OF ALEPH by Jaine Fenn
Tower of Chaos Press / 42 pgs / £0.99 eBook /
Reviewed by Carol Goodwin

http://www.towerofchaospress.com/2015/03/the-ships-of-aleph-jaine-fenn/
Ships of Aleph

If you are going to start a new small publishing company, then it is vital to produce a quality product from the start and this novella is certainly that. Tower of Chaos Press are a small independent publisher, run by Dave Weddell (Jaine Fenn’s partner) and THE SHIPS OF ALEPH is its first publication. It aims to produce mainly short stories and novellas, initially mainly by Jaine Fenn. THE SHIPS OF ALEPH was originally published as a limited edition chapbook for Novacon 42, when Jaine Fenn was Guest of Honour. It is now being made available as an eBook by Tower of Chaos Press.
A natural phase for children is the “Why?” stage, when they want to know the answer to everything about the world and how it works. Most people grow out of it but some adults retain that curiosity, not least among them many SF writers and readers. THE SHIPS OF ALEPH is a tale of that sort of curiosity and how far you would be prepared to go in pursuit of knowledge and truth. It is a science fiction story although it may not seem so at first. The narrator, Lachin grows up in a small fishing village. His enquiring mind and a lame leg leave him isolated from his peers. When the Duke announces a project to build a ship to explore the seas, Lachin is eager to join despite the prevalent mood that it is ungodly and thus doomed to failure. Thrown into the sea when the ship founders at the edge of the world he wakes up seemingly back in his home village although he is the only inhabitant. From there he faces a series of choices all of which involve remaining in his current state of knowledge or risking the unknown and ultimately a chance at another exploratory journey unimaginable to his earlier self.
I really enjoyed this story. The pace is quite gentle but keeps the reader interested. The characterisation of Lachin, as one would expect of Jaine Fenn’s work is excellent and he is a very believable and sympathetic character. Considerable attention has been paid to the structure of the story with the theme of journeys both spatial and intellectual integrated really well without detracting from the actual narrative – not an easy thing and one many authors don’t always manage satisfactorily. Although the story fits into Jaine Fenn’s SF Hidden Empires series, the story still works even without an awareness of these. As a final incentive to buy it also has a superb piece of blue-toned cover art by David A Hardy. CG
(Kindly donated by Tower of Chaos Press)

Phoenix Rising

June 5, 2015 - 2:52 pm No Comments

Phoenix Rising_Blogtour banner

I’m with #PhoenixCrew

PHOENIX RISING
By Bryony Pearce
Pub Date: 1st June 2015
Price: £6.99 Format: Paperback Age: 13+

From award-winning author Bryony Pearce comes this fast-paced and gripping YA trilogy set in a future world where fossil fuels have run out and democracy has collapsed.

An outlawed pirate crew fight for survival on their ship, the Phoenix, kept afloat by whatever they can salvage or scavenge from the debris-filled seas. Toby’s father is a wanted man. For as long as Toby can remember, they’ve been on the run. The Phoenix has become their home, their backyard the junk-filled seas surrounding it.

The crew of the Banshee lives for hunting down the Phoenix and now they’re closing in. Ayla has spent her whole life fighting – preparing for the moment when the Banshee will face its ultimate enemy. But Toby doesn’t want to run any more and Ayla is his only hope. Can he turn an old feud into a new alliance? The future is in their hands.

To survive, would you join the #BansheeCrew – feared and fearless – or will you ally with the #PhoenixCrew – trusting and true?

Bryony lives with her husband and two children in a village on the edge of the Peak District. She was a winner of the 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition and has also won the Leeds Book Award and Cheshire Schools Book Award. She is the author of two published novels; Angel’s Fury and The Weight of Souls. Bryony has never shied from writing about substantial topics as Angel’s Fury has the Holocaust at its core and The Weight of Souls explores the idea of vengeance. In Phoenix Rising, Bryony examines a dystopian, near-future setting resulting from environmental and political collapse of the world based on scientific and political predictions.

Readers are swearing their allegiance @StripesBooks – Which crew will you join?

@StripesBooks @BryonyPearce

Read the excerpt below for a taster!

Phoenix Rising Extract
Bryony Pearce

“You, there. Stop. All hands below deck.”
It was with a kind of awful relief that Toby realized he had been spotted. Even as his heart sunk, he straightened, tightened his hand around Nix and turned.
A single member of the Banshee’s crew stood silhouetted above him.
“You’re not crew. Who are you?” The voice was high, undoubtedly female.
Toby’s hand tightened on Nix and he sidestepped as the figure cartwheeled from the deck to land in front of him.
As she flew, a long coat like Nell’s flapped behind her. Her booted feet landed with a bone-jarring thud. Next to her the scrawny cat landed on silent paws. Toby watched as it wound itself around his legs, claws ticking through the puddles on the walkway.
Then it went to sit beside its mistress, growling low in its throat, as if daring Toby to move.
As the figure straightened, Toby stared. He was facing a girl who had to be about his age. His hand loosened on Nix.
All the crewmen of the Banshee that Toby had seen so far were shaven and tattooed; men or women, it didn’t seem to matter. This girl wore her long hair loose. Tiny braids decorated with beads and feathers kept it from falling into her eyes. Beneath the decoration, her hair was the colour of oil – a shiny black with prisms of colour beneath.
Toby balanced against the rise and fall of the ship and stared. The girl’s eyes were shockingly green – algae on seawater. Her face was as tanned as Toby’s own, but her skin was not as salt-burned or work-rough. She hadn’t the perfect face of the girls Toby had seen in his dreams. Her cheeks were hollow, her nose had clearly been broken at least once and she had a thin scar bisecting her lower lip.
As he exhaled, his breath shivered in the air between them and the girl put her hands on her hips to reveal black leather trousers and a tight waxed jerkin beneath her coat.
“Polly want a cracker,” Polly muttered, her warning obvious.
The cat hissed and Polly squawked angrily.
“I told them that boy was too young to be Ford’s son. You’re Toby, aren’t you?” The girl frowned. “Then who do we have in the cage?”
Toby growled. “That’s Hiko. I’m taking him home.” Finally he stepped backwards to run and the girl grinned.
“I don’t think so, boy.” Before Toby could react, she had grabbed his shoulders, slammed her forehead between his eyes, released him and leaped back.
Toby reeled from the sudden viciousness of the head-butt. Flashes of light burst in his vision and pain stabbed through his head. Half blind, he staggered, secured his grip on Nix and swung blindly.
The girl had already drawn a long knife from her belt. Nix clanged into the knife and struck on the hilt with an impact that shuddered up Toby’s arm.
He pulled free. “Sorr—” Half an apology slipped out, but the girl was already taking back her knife and lashing out with steel toecaps. Instinctively Toby blocked with Nix, making barely a dent in her thick boot leather. At the same time he remembered Callum’s favourite move from their sparring sessions and stepped in closer to her, his elbow aimed for her face.
The girl blocked with her own elbow and swung her left fist. Toby spun backwards, trying for the leg sweep, but the girl was also spinning, her coat flying behind her with a snap. Both missed.
They paused, panting and glaring at one another. Toby held Nix up and the girl held her knife in one hand, weaving it back and forth in front of her face. The other fist was closed in front of her sternum, protecting herself.
“Who are you?” Toby gasped, but the girl shook her head.
Then they were moving again. She slashed for Toby’s throat, but Nix flew, blocking her attack. Toby pressed against her knife and shoved her backwards. Then he lashed out with his feet, trying to plant his heel in her stomach. The girl shifted, but he caught her side. Air flew out of her, then she was already hacking towards his ankle. Toby moved, but not fast enough; pain burned and his blood dripped on to the deck. He hopped, sparing a quick glance downwards. A line of scarlet ran down his shin. He put his injured leg behind him, and raised Nix high, pinning his eyes on the delicate fingers that held the knife.
Polly flapped anxiously and the cat yowled, swiping upwards with wickedly sharp claws.
As Toby glanced towards his parrot, the girl feinted. Toby went to block, only to find a fist hammering into his kidney. It hurt, but he’d survived worse from Peel. He was lucky she had missed his injured rib. Somehow Toby managed to turn his lurch into a low block, caught her next slice on his leather glove, put his back to her and planted his elbow in her sternum.
The girl’s howl of rage was silenced by the outrushing of air. As she bent, Toby pressed his advantage by turning and hammering his fist into her side. Then he leaped backwards, leaving her to totter into the hull and lean on the wall, retching.
Toby gave her space. “You know who I am. Tell me who you are.”
The girl curled her lip, panting heavily. “I’m the one who’ll be taking you in.”
“Then tell me your name.” Toby pointed Nix towards his feet.
Eventually the girl shrugged. “My name is Ayla and I am second in command on the Banshee.” She raised her knife. “And seeing as you’re so fascinated by names, this is Boudicca.” She gestured with her blade to point to the cat. “I’ve been easy on you so far, but not any more. Will you come quietly?”