Hello, all. It’s now well into the month of May, and round here at Lovegrove Towers our main preoccupation is how soon it’s going to be before Theo stops having a cold and producing huge, green drooping goobers of snot and coughing like a twenty-a-day crim and ever so often vomiting great wads of mucus. Ah, the joys of childhood. By which I mean, you can do all that and not have to worry about who’s cleaning it up afterwards and whose shirt you’ve just made psychedelic.
Our other, perhaps more main (mainer?) preoccupation is an imminent return to the Home Counties. Yes, after three years in Devon we’ve finally admitted defeat and decided to move back closer to London. We thought that, when we relocated to the sticks, everyone else would up and follow us, therefore we wouldn’t need to visit the Big Smoke and related places so often, but surprisingly it seems that London and its environs have remained pretty much where they were and so have the people who live there, several of whom keep inviting us to go and do things with them, dammit. All being well (and in house-selling and -buying there’s no such thing as a sure thing) we should be tracking back over our footprints sometime in July, and our prospective new home is in … the town of Eastbourne.
Yeah, yeah, I know, you can get the jokes about retirement and God’s waiting room out of the way now, thank you very much. Eastbourne is a beautiful, thriving town, honest it is, and one of the three sunniest spots in all of the UK, I’ll have you know. We’re looking forward to getting there, and I’ll update on the progress of the move and the status of the new pad as and when it all happens. To repeat, nothing is certain in the real-estate arena. So we’re touching wood (and cloth) frantically, in the hope that everything pans out as planned.
Work-wise, I’ve got a semi-regular reviewing gig at the Financial Times now, following my SF article in February. I cover children’s fiction and the occasional SF novel, graphic novel, and just plain modern fiction novel, and my pieces appear in the magazine section of the weekend edition. This sort of journalism is great fun to do and doesn’t harm the bank balance in any way. Oh, and publishers take note. I am completely unbribable. I will not be coaxed into giving a glowing review by any inducements you may offer. None whatsoever. Sports cars, private jets, tropical beach holidays — dangle these plump, juicy and above all costly carrots before me, and I will not be swayed. Oh no. Not in the least. No sir.
On the publishing front, August looms, and in that month I have two titles forthcoming. One is volume two of the teen series that cannot be named (but I will tell you, I have been casually “outed” as the true author of the series in a recent issue of Locus). The other book is Dead Brigade, one of the first titles in Barrington Stoke’s new Most Wanted line. These are books for Reluctant Readers but written for an adult rather than teen audience. Dead Brigade is a zombie tale, and I’ve been dying (ho ho) to tell a zombie tale for ages. Here’s the cover:
Cool, no? I think I recognise the flaky-skinned gentleman from an Italian 1980s zombie flick but I’m damned if I can remember which one.
Finally, I’ve penned a new short story for a new Pete Crowther anthology, We Think, Therefore We Are, due out next year from Tekno Books. The theme is artificial intelligence and my tale, ‘The Kamikaze Code’, is a follow-up to ‘The Bowdler Strain’, set in the same MoD research establishment, Chilton Mead. I hope to do a couple more stories set there, if and when suitable ideas occur to me.