Archive for December, 2012

That end of the year thing

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. I know. Like, what? Already? I mean, I know this is the holiday season, and we just had Christmas, but honestly I’ve lost track of the date. The year is up, over with, finished. It is soon to be an ex-year. But… what a year it was. A lot happened for me.

I signed my first book deal, with Angry Robot, in March 2011, and in January 2012 I became a published author when my debut novel Empire State came out. We launched it at the Forbidden Planet Megastore in London, which was a dream come true, and at the New York Public Library, which was surreal and wonderful.

People seemed to like it, which was awfully nice, and SciFiNow magazine even made it their book of the year. It’s also appeared in various Best Of lists, including those of The Financial Times and Forbidden Planet.

All in all, I’m pretty chuffed. I mean, writing is hard work and getting published is even harder, yet somehow my book was in Waterstones and Barnes and Noble and on Amazon and people were reading it in Finland. It’s all very weird, and very cool, and I’m very grateful.

But, that’s not all. Angry Robot published my second novel, Seven Wonders, in September. We launched it in Chicago at the Book Cellar, along with Chuck Wendig’s Mockingbird, Kim Curran’s Shift, and Gwenda Bond’s Blackwood. That was a great night, as was the whole week of WorldCon, at which I met so many wonderful people and friends I’d only known online. Back in the UK, Seven Wonders was given a limited edition hardcover as well as the regular paperback, and we had another Forbidden Planet launch.

In March, a year after my first deal, I signed a second with Angry Robot for two more books. Then things went a little crazy, because in April I signed a third contract, this time with another publisher, Tor. This was for a dark space opera, coming out in hardback in winter 2014.

So… like, wow. Angry Robot and Tor? I have to say, that still hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

In terms of writing, 2012 was furiously busy, but mainly on one project – The Age Atomic, which went from blank page to edited, accepted manuscript between March and December. I can barely remember November – a mix of looooong days editing interrupted with a week of illness which put me in hospital (unrelated to the work, I should point out!). Other writing work this year was mostly the last pre-sale edits on the book for Tor, Shadow’s Call, some preliminary work on the rewrite of the fourth Angry Robot book, Hang Wire, and a variety of synopses and proposals which are still ongoing.

This year I also broke into another field, that of comics, with my debut serial, The Sentinel, coming from VS Comics in 2013.

All of which means next year is going to be even busier, which is fine by me. In fact, I’ve got some other stuff I need to get done as well, so my plans are ambitious. In 2013, I need to:

  1. Finish the edits on Shadow’s Call for Tor
  2. Finish the edits on Hang Wire for Angry Robot
  3. Write the second half of Night Pictures, which has been on hold while I worked on contracted books
  4. Write Sleep to Dream, an SF thriller
  5. Write New York Ghost Story, an urban fantasy/crime novel
  6. Write the rest of the first story arc for The Sentinel

Which means, by the end of 2013, I’ll have completed five books – two in-progress edits, one-half of a manuscript, and two brand new novels – and written at least 24 comic pages (which isn’t a lot, but VS Comics is bimonthly so that takes me to the end of 2013). All-in-all, it’s a lot, but I have Things To Do.

Amongst all that, I have two books actually coming out in 2013 – The Age Atomic drops in April, and Hang Wire comes out in November.

Overall, 2012 was a phenomenal year. So many wonderful things happened for me professionally, and I am grateful to so many people that I’m not even going to try to name them.

But thanks also to my readers – you’re who I’m doing this for, after all. Here’s to 2013!

My favourite things of 2012

Everyone is doing an end-of-year best-of-year blog post, and people grow weary. Which is fair enough, although personally I dig hearing about what people dug, given so much of my entertainment – books, movies, TV, music – comes from personal recommendations.

But I digress. This is my list of stuff what I liked this year.

This year I actually discovered my two favourite books ever, one after another, neither of which came out in 2012. They are Veronica, by Nicolas Christopher (first published in 1997)…

…and Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin (first published in 1983)…

Both are examples of literary fiction straying into genre – Winter’s Tale is probably best described as magical realism, while I think Veronica is more a straight urban fantasy. I’m torn between the two – Winter’s Tale is extraordinary, not just in terms of scope but the writing itself, which is wonderful. But it is very long, and there’s not a lot going on, plotwise. Veronica is much shorter and far less dense, and while the events within are distinctly weird, absolutely everything is explained and locks together by the end. Which is probably more my cup of tea.

Whatever. They’re both amazing and I recommend you read them. Both books are set in (and are about) New York City, and I happened to pick them both up while I was there in January.

This year I read 37 books, I think – 33 that I was able to add to Goodreads and another four that are not listed there yet. Which is one of the perks of being friends with authors – you get to see stuff early! It’s extremely difficult to pick favourites, as they were all genuinely great reads – if I don’t like a book I’ll stop when I’ve figured out that I don’t like it, as life is too short to keep reading just to be able to tick it off. But highlights this year include: Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm, Even White Trash Zombies Get The Blues by Diana Rowland, This Dark Earth by John Hornor Jacobs, Alpha by Greg Rucka, The Testimony by James Smythe, Shift by Kim Curran, The City’s Son by Tom Pollock, Prepare to Die! by Paul Tobin, City of the Lost by Stephen Blackmoore, and The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen.

There were also three 2013 releases, which I’m listing separately as they’re not out yet: Pantomine by Laura Lam, The Split Worlds: Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman, and The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty. Three fabulous books – but Mur’s Shambling Guide (which I *utterly* adored) just pips it for me. See, it’s the New York thing again.

Moving to music – the album of the year for me is Kill My Blues by The Corin Tucker Band

I’ve been a fan of Corin’s since Sleater-Kinney, and her second solo(ish) album is probably the best thing I’ve heard since her old band’s last album, The Woods, came out in 2005. I’ve also enjoyed Lost Songs by …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and This Machine by The Dandy Warhols.

Film and TV – actually, I’ve lost track of what I watched at the cinema this year. The Avengers was loads of fun but not a film to think too deeply about, while The Dark Knight Rises was an illogical mess of plot holes. To be honest, cinema in 2012 didn’t leave that much of an impression on me. What else did I go and see that was a new release? I actually can’t remember.

Unlike television – this year I have enjoyed Person of Interest (still my favourite show), Revenge (I love the cheese and melodrama), 666 Park Avenue (and it’s a big shame it got the chop) and Elementary (Jonny Lee Miller is brilliant) and Longmire (can’t wait for season two of that). Homeland was good, but I think the concept has run its course now and I’ve probably had enough of it. Five seasons on, Castle continues to be marvellous when they have fun and terrible when they go all serious. Haven had a very rough start to the season then steadily improved, while Fringe continues to limp towards its finale with a truly dismal season, to my mind the worst drop in quality during a series since Heroes season two. I’ve also been watching Arrow, although I’ve paused mid-season and I’m not sure it’s quite good enough for me to continue.

And finally comics… this is a tough one. From someone who used to try and stay up to date with monthly comics, I’ve found myself being drawn more and more to collected editions, possibly because I don’t have the time to keep track of everything. I did make a concerted effort to get into some of the new Marvel Now! titles, but I fell behind one month and suddenly discovered there were like six issues of Iron Man to catch up on. I did enjoy what I read, even if I was a little lost some of the time – not being a Marvel reader, I thought this would be a good place to jump in (much like the DC New 52), but a few of the titles (Uncanny Avengers in particular) seemed to assume you’d been following along for a while now.

So of current comics, I did enjoy the new Aquaman, but my pick for 2012 has to be the first volume of the new DC Archive Edition series, Superman’s Girl-Friend Lois Lane, beginning a new collection of the frankly bizarre and occasionally disturbing Silver Age title.

However, anyone who has read Seven Wonders will know I have a soft spot for Silver Age wackiness. Maybe we’ll see the start of the Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen archives in 2013? I certainly hope so!

And that’s the stuff I like in 2012. Well, most of it. This year I also got thoroughly engrossed in the Formula 1 season (I’m a big Alonso fan) and have been enjoying Mists of Pandaria, the fourth (and I think best) expansion for World of Warcraft.

This year was also rather important for me, professionally, but more about that later.

EMPIRE STATE and SEVEN WONDERS hit more “Best of 2012″ lists, and a Christmas competition!

A nice pre-Christmas surprise – Seven Wonders gets a stonking review over at the Ranting Dragon, who give it 5/5 stars and say:

If you are a fan of comic books and superheroes, Seven Wonders may well be your perfect read. Its grand scale and impressive prose will definitely appeal to anyone who enjoys comics. Its flamboyant action and incredible characters will entertain you for hours. I dare say that—if done well—this may make one of the best film adaptations ever. I would love to see Christopher Nolan or Joss Whedon take a swing at this.

Practically the whole review is quotable, and it really blows me away – thanks!

Seven Wonders was also named the “best novel of 2012” by SuperheroNovels.com, who say:

Christopher has written a book that explodes off the page like gamma ray grapeshot. And that’s a good thing. The author’s enthusiasm and commitment to his muse has made superheroes fun again. Mission accomplished. Seven Wonders wins our prize for best novel of 2012.

My book tops a fine list of five novels which includes one of my favourites of 2012, Prepare to Die! by Paul Tobin, and another from Angry Robot, Costume Not Included by Matthew Hughes. Although I’m bound to say it, SuperheroNovels.com really knows their onions, so to be crowned their number 1 novel really means a lot.

Empire State has also been making some more appearances – over at The Eloquent Page, it’s Book of the Month for June 2012 (closing a three-month run for Angry Robot, with Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle and Blackbirds by Chuck Wending coming in as books of the month for April and May, respectively).

At Angel of Retribution, Empire State comes in at number 3 on their list of Best Debuts of 2012 – Angry Robot has a strong showing here too, with The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins (#1), Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm (#5), Pantomime by Laura Lam (#6 – although this Strange Chemistry title is out in February 2013), and The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle (#8) filling out the list.

Forbidden Planet, the mighty retailer of all things wonderful, has released their Best Books of 2012 list, with Empire State in at number 6, among some very heavyweight title and authors indeed. Woot!

And finally, Empire State gets another Italian review over at Space of Entropy. Unfortunately Google’s translation doesn’t really give a good pull-quote, so I’d recommend you check it out for yourself – in short, they liked it a lot! Incidentally, the Italian edition of Empire State is on the way – more information as I have it. I’m dying to show off the cover!

Now, time for a competition! I have one signed copy of the UK paperback edition of Seven Wonders, and one signed 12-CD audiobook of the same. Although I can’t get them to the winners by Christmas, I’ll draw the competition on Christmas Day – all you need to do is to add a comment to this blog post indicating your entry, and my magical random contest plugin will then draw the winners. The first person to be drawn gets the audiobook, the second person to be drawn gets the signed paperback. The competition is open worldwide.

Award eligibility for 2013

It’s getting to that time when various awards start to call for suggestions and nominations – these include the Hugo, British Science Fiction Association, British Fantasy Society, Sir Julius Vogel, Nebula and World Fantasy awards, and others. As a couple have opened already, I thought it a good time to post this aide-memoire on my work from 2012 that is eligible.

Now… some people get twitchy when an author posts stuff like this, but personally I’m grateful when they do – when it comes time to nominate something, I spend far too long just trying to remember what the heck I read in the last year, and in the past there have been plenty of books I would have nominated had they not slipped my mind completely. That is annoying.

So, onwards. Here’s a list of my 2012 work that is eligible for awards in 2013. It’s not a long list!

Novels

Empire State - published 5th January 2012 (worldwide) by Angry Robot (paperback; science fiction/fantasy)

Seven Wonders – published 6th September 2012 (worldwide) by Angry Robot (paperback; science fiction/fantasy)

Note: Empire State was my debut novel and first professional sale, which makes me eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer 2013 and 2014, and Sir Julius Vogel Award, Best New Talent category for 2013-2016. I’m eligible for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards generally as I am a New Zealand citizen.

Art/Cover artist

Will Staehle – for the Empire State and Seven Wonders covers.

And…that’s it!

Now to figure out what I read and enjoyed in 2012…

SEVEN WONDERS reviews and best cover polls and an update on THE SENTINEL

But first… my two 2013 novels, The Age Atomic and Hang Wire, have appeared in a list of most anticipated fantasy novels for 2013 over at Reddit, alongside some very fine books indeed. Woot! The Age Atomic is out in April 2013 – you can find pre-order links here.

Seven Wonders has been getting a bit of love recently with two new reviews. At SFFWRTCHT, M.A. Chiappetta says:

Seven Wonders is a fun read. The setting is entirely believable for a story with superheroes in it, and the book contains the unique tone and flavor fitting for a comic-influenced story line. For readers who like their novels to move fast with unexpected plot turns, Seven Wonders should be worth the investment.

There’s also another Italian review over at The Plutonia Experiment – Google’s English translator tells me they said:

Adam Christopher wrote what could be considered the perfect novel of superheroes.

Huzzah!

Will Staehle’s amazing cover for Seven Wonders has made it through to the second round of The Ranting Dragon’s Cover Battle 2012, although it’s up against some stiff competition. You can vote for your favourite here. The cover is also included in the “Most Unique Cover” category of the All Things Urban Fantasy 2012 Paranormal Cover Art Awards. Voting for that is also still open.

Finally, a quick update on my comic debut, The Sentinel. Originally scheduled for the first issue of VS Comics, due out around Christmas, it’s been pushed back until at least February 2013. I’ll keep you updated on progress. You can find VS Comics here, where previews of the first issue are already up.

EMPIRE STATE in the Financial Times Best of 2012 list!

Well now.

Hot on the heels of being named SciFiNow’s magazine’s Book of the Year 2012, Empire State has made it into the Financial Times Best of 2012 list, alongside three other science fiction and fantasy novels. The full list is online here, and it also appeared in print this past Saturday:

All I can say is: oh hell yes. I’m chuffed to bits! Woot! Four books on that list and two of them by someone named Adam. Rock. On.

Congrats to Adam Baker, Tim Powers, and Danie Ware!

The Financial Times reviewed Empire State way back in January (where the heck has this year gone?), which you can read here, and in July the book appeared in their Best of 2012 So Far list.

Wheee!