As some of you may know, I was asked by Titan Books if I would be willing to write a Firefly tie-in novel. You know, Firefly. The Joss Whedon show (and movie). The one with the space cowboys and the deliriously delicious dialogue and superbly-drawn characters.
It so happens that I mentioned to my editor Miranda Jewess a couple of years ago that the only licensed property I would be interested in writing for was Firefly. She remembered this, and when Titan got the licence to produce Firefly tie-in fiction, she very kindly (and wisely) called me.
The result is that I now have not one but two Firefly novels ready to go.
The first is Big Damn Hero, and it’s based on a story by the esteemed Nancy Holder, who was herself unable to complete the book for various reasons. It’s a rollicking tale of kidnap and revenge as the sins of Mal Reynolds’s youth catch up with him. It’s out in November.
The second is The Magnificent Nine, in which Jayne Cobb is contacted by an old flame, Temperance McCloud, asking for his assistance against bandits who are attacking her hometown. In it, I indulge in just about every Western-movie trope imaginable. You may be able to gather as much from the title alone. It’s out in March.
I had a blast working on these books. It was so much fun, in fact, it was hardly work at all.
Both are available where all shiny books are sold. And there may be more to come…
To coincide with publication day for The Devil’s Dust, here’s a blog post I’ve written for Crime Reads about Sherlock Holmes and the supernatural, with reading list.
A couple of links pertaining to Gaslight Gothic, a new collection of supernatural Sherlock Holmes adventures from EDGE Publishing. Not uncoincidentally, I have a story in it, “The Strange Case of Dr Sacker and Mr Hope”.
Here’s a webcast interview with the mighty editing duo, J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec.
And here’s the first review of the anthology. You should, of course, read the whole piece, but I found the following excerpt rather pleasing, for the obvious reasons:
“It’s always a good sign when you see James Lovegrove attached to an anthology, and even moreso when it’s a Sherlock Holmes anthology. Mr. Lovegrove has written a number of Holmes novels and short stories and they have always been immensely enjoyable. In particular, he has been one of the few authors to try and bring back the ‘original’ Watson from the early Holmes canon, rather than the later simpleton; the Watsons to be found in his tales are always proactive rather than passive, fiercely independent and actually intelligent, rather than the canine-like ‘faithful companion’ that seems to be the default for most Holmes pastiches. He has also begun writing a series of novels that pits Holmes against the Lovecraftian Elder Gods and his story for this anthology, The Strange Case of Dr Sacker and Mr Hope, has a similarly occult, cosmic horror angle; taking inspiration from Conan Doyle’s original names for Holmes and Watson, he effortlessly weaves a bizarre, dream-like and hugely enjoyable tale that focuses on the conflicting dual natures of Holmes as a character, and what the consequences might be if one were allowed to reign supreme over the other. It has an ending that completely fooled me, taking Holmes and Watson down a very dark path that reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s A Study in Emerald, and is another stand-out story in the anthology.”
Voilà! Photographic evidence of brand new edition of Royaume Désuni, a.k.a. Untied Kingdom, now on sale in la belle France, courtesy of those excellent folks at Éditions Bragelonne. For a measly 10 euros, it’s vraiment a bargain.
“That depends, Watson,” replied my friend, “on what you think it is.”
“Well, it appears to be a cover image for a new collection of stories detailing your and my exploits.”
“Indeed so. But it is unusual in that there is a marked supernatural theme to the narratives.”
“How on earth can you have deduced that?” I said, ready to be as baffled as ever by Holmes’s powers of logical analysis.
The great detective snorted. “Watson, Watson, do you not observe the rather sinister pictorial image with which the cover is adorned? It fairly reeks of the occult and the outré. Perhaps a more obvious clue would be the legend ‘New Tales of Terror’ which precedes the list of contributing authors.”
“And what a fine gathering of talent that list comprises,” I remarked with genuine pleasure. “Noteworthy chroniclers of your adventures, one and all… save for that Lovegrove fellow. A reprobate and a ne’er-do-well, in my opinion.”
“Come, come. Lovegrove is an honest scrivener such as yourself.”
“I have heard dark rumours about him. The literary world is known to shudder at the mere mention of his name.”
“Be that as it may,” Holmes said, “Messrs Campbell and Prepolec have surely gifted the world with a fine anthology, which I believe will be available to buy very soon.”
“Should I purchase a copy?” I enquired.
“The answer is elementary, Watson. Yes.”
For anyone curious to know what it’s like to write a novel co-starring Sherlock Holmes and Allan Quatermain, look no further.
Many thanks to the inestimable Barry Forshaw for commissioning this piece.
Here’s me talking about Sherlock Holmes to TRT, Turkey’s English-language news network. My pearls of wisdom begin at around the 3-and-a-half minute mark.
The interview, conducted via Skype, was fun to do. The hard part was setting up my iPad at the right angle. Took about five minutes, with much raising, lowering and angling of the music stand it was perched on.
The eagle-eyed among you will spot that the bookshelf behind me contains a single copy of everything I have ever written. There’s also a Sherlock Holmes picture, the image made up of titles of and quotations from Holmes tales, and a huge framed, blown-up version of the original cover of Days. Comics fans will recognised the Hulk on the calendar on the wall and, on top of the bookcase, action figures of Hellboy and an assortment of Marvel horror characters from the 1970s, still in the box.