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August 19, 2016

The Dragon Awards. Vote now!

Awards! Back when I was a teenager in the 1980s and mined my local library for science fiction books, I got an extra little thrill if I took out a novel with words such as ‘Nebula Award Winner’ or ‘Hugo Award Nominee’.  Not much of a thrill, and I can’t say it ever made me pick one book over another, but nonetheless an award was something to proudly stamp on your book and helped me to imagine that I was a tiny part of a wider and international science fiction community. In recent years I’ve been eligible to vote in various science fiction awards – I was even nominated once – but I never bothered voting.  I was very happy for the winners – especially on the few occasions when I knew them personally – but the kind of books […]
July 27, 2016

BattleNet is up…

BattleNet, our new Human Legion forums went up last night. Come along for a chat. It’s something I’m trialing, partly to give a way to share feedback on the recon team editions of forthcoming books. However, I’m seeing a lot of people registering and then going straight to the lost password screen. Is something wrong? Update: I can see the confusion, thanks to some help from MildDiscomfort. BattleNet works, but it’s a little confusing to get started. I’ll tidy that up. If you want to join the recon teams, you need to first join the Legion, which you can do here. You don’t need to do so to chat away on BattleNet, which you can find here. We’re planning to put the recon edition of the first Sleeping Legion book out to signed up Legionaries next week. I can’t wait! No, […]
July 6, 2016

Audiobooks, beers, and book launches

The Legion sign-up competition for an audiobook on CD was won by… Simon Glovebox. Simon, please check your emails or get in touch with a comment so I can get that sent to you. Also a reminder to anyone in London, England this coming Saturday that I will be at the Star of Kings pub. There’s a whole range of events from 1pm to celebrate Newcon Press’s 10th anniversary including Live Music! Book Launches! (the ones in the image above) A unique anthology given to those attending! Real Ale! Exciting Announcements regarding NewCon’s Future! Author Signings!! Lots of Great Company! … And Cake!!   I’ll be there all afternoon but I’m on at 4pm for the launch of Crises and Conflicts, an anthology of military SF short stories from many fine writers that includes a new Human Legion story. There […]
July 1, 2016

The centenary of the Battle of the Somme

Today is the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Zero Hour was 07:30 British Summer Time, and that’s why there’s a two-minute silence across the UK from 07:28 when this post should go out. The battle lasted 141 days and cost a million casualties. Not just British casualties, but Australian, Canadian, French, German, Indian, Irish, New Zealand, Pakistani, South African and others too. The numbers are unimaginable to me, and that’s a good thing because it means my generation hasn’t been blighted by war on that scale. That’s why it’s important to remember. To remember those who found themselves caught up in the nightmare of July 1st, 1916, but also those who served their countries since, including those who still do. Because if we don’t remember, it’s more likely to happen again. I find this photo particularly poignant. These are […]
June 29, 2016

Interview with PP Corcoran

I’m a great admirer of author PP Corcoran, author of the Saiph series and who is now working on another military SF series. We worked together on the Empire at War anthology. He’s just been interviewed here by SFFWorld and it’s worth a read. The Empire at War includes (amongst other great things) the first Saiph novel and also the first Human Legion novel, so if you haven’t yet dipped your toe in either series, this is a good way to do so. You can read the start of The Empire at War online straight away by following this link, or check out the Empire website here. You can find out more about Mr. Corcoran at his website: www.ppcorcoran.com In other news, I’m hard at work finishing off the first Revenge Squad novel and have been discussing the final and sixth Human […]
June 23, 2016

Space Opera Politics: post-conflict politics in the Human Legion Pt. 2

After the war what next? That’s when the hard work starts, that’s what! In the forthcoming Revenge Squad series, the Human Autonomous Region is fighting for stability, and that’s not just to provide a decent life for its citizens. If you’ve read the Human Legion series as far as Book 5 then you will probably be thinking that if any freedoms have truly been won, then they are going to be highly fragile. Winning freedom is one thing. Making it work, is quite another. As we saw in part one, you can compare this chaotic region of space to Central and Eastern Europe between the First and Second World Wars. And it is a much more constrained area of space (and time) than we experience in the Human Legion books. To begin with, at least, the Revenge Squad books are […]
June 21, 2016

Space Opera Politics: post-conflict politics in the Human Legion Pt. 1

Back in the pulp science fiction of the 1930s and 40s, galactic politics in these earliest space operas were usually easy to grasp. You had space empires, space federations and sometimes space republics. (People must have had a lot of space in those days). Whether the person at the top of the tree was a queen, emperor, or president made little practical difference. And how were such sprawling empires held together? Well, naturally, with quasi-military or feudal setups, often supported by a pernickety bureaucracy that readers were invited to ridicule. Empires competed in a kind of military-political Olympic Games where the winners were determined not by the country with the most gold medals, but the empire with the most planets and star systems. In the constant struggle to expand your empire, there were three common mechanisms of advancement: Conquering planets […]
June 13, 2016

A revised map of Tranquility

The Human Legion series starts on the planet of Tranquility. The last we saw of the planet was the book Human Empire, where Colonel Nhlappo set in train the wakening of the Sleeping Legion, the inspiration for the series of the same name by J.R. Handley. In the forthcoming series, we will get to see parts of the planet we’ve never seen before. Team Handley have revised the map, which you can see below. I think they’ve done a superb job, much better than the scrawl and scribble I used for the first few Legion novels. If you haven’t already, sign up to become a Legionary to be notified of how to see advanced copies and get involved with the recon teams. There’s not much longer to wait now. Recon teams for the first Revenge Squad and The Sleeping Legion novels are likely to start operating […]